View Full Version : 4x5film tester needs your experiences

Bruno Di Nunzio
23-Mar-2004, 06:03
I am plannig to test these film: Ilford FP 4+, T-MAX 100, Bergger 200, FortePan 200, Tri-X, T-MAX 400, Bergger 400, FortePan 400, Ilford HP5+ and may be also Fuji Acros 100 (if I found a box). Yes, they are a lot but testing takes almost the same since it is development-time dipendent :-). I am intersted in silver printing only. I am using a step table (21 steps) and I will use a Jobo ATL 1000 at 25 rpm and 20į C. After I will analyse the results with a color densitometer reading all the three channels.

I would like to use Pyrocat HD and/or PMK. The idea is to stick on "one" developer and I think they could be a "right" choice. For this reason and I would be greatful if you could tell me your experiences and provide me all your details (concentration, times, chemicals etc.). I also interseted in comparisons you have made but only if the numbers can be compared (I like test but they must be sound if we want to use them).

Many thanks.

23-Mar-2004, 09:44
Testing that many films is a lot of work, especially if you plan to derive any really valid comparative analysis from the work. I test a lot of film specific purposes in conjunction with various writing projects. My procedures are based on BTZS testing with added complication that I am doing both Blue and UV analysis with stained negatives.

1. Expose five sheet of film to a Stouffer TP 45 step wedge. Use a light integrator for your timing otherwise any comparative data of effective film speed will be invalid.

2. Develop the five sheets for a different time. For silver printing I would recommend a range of 5-7-10-15-20 minutes with either PMK 1:2:100 or Pyrocat 1:1:100. The best way to do this is in individual tubes by bobbing the tubes in a water bath at the same temperature of the developer. For your tests to be valid you should maintain temperature to about 1/2 degree. Mix the working solution in quantities of 500ml or more to minimize errors of measurement and develop all sheets using developer from the same mix. The individual tube system has many theoretical advantages over Job for this type of testing. Develop with very gentle agitation in the water, rolling and bobbing the tubes around slowly.

3. Read the densities for each step wedge negative. There is no point to read densities in all channels with a color densitometer. The Blue channel will give you a good idea of effective printing density for graded papers, not exact but very close. For VC papers the correct reading is generally about 2/3 of the way between green and blue channel readings. In other words, a blue channel reading along for VC papers will indicate more printing contrast than you will find in practice with most VC papers. One way to approximate this is to use the Visual reading of your densitomer and but adjust it back to zero with a Kodak #47 filter (not 47B). This filter reads in a wider band than the Blue channel and allows some reading of green density, to which VC papers are also sensitive, thus giving a slightly better indication of rffective printing density than blue light itself.

4. Plot the curves. You can do this in Excel but a program like WinPlotter is more useful because from it you can derive such things as EFS with a given N or SBR development and other data that you might find useful in interpreting the results of your tests.

Jobo running at 25 rpm is not a good system for testing film that is developed in Pyro staining developers. You may see uneven staining and high general fog when using this system. P Pyrocat-HD is better than PMK for rotary but even it will develop a lot of undesirable B+F when using rotation that fast.

Graeme Hird
23-Mar-2004, 15:56
... and don't forget to do each test for each lens you own. They all have slightly different contrast characteristics.

When you've made your first real photo, say about this time next year, please let us know how it turned out.


Andrew O'Neill
24-Mar-2004, 08:38
Are you using graded or VC paper? In my experience negatives that were developed in PMK print very flat on VC papers. These negatives are yellow. I've had much much better results using Pyrocat-HD which has a brownish stain. I use HP5+ 4x5 and 8x10 printed on Forte Polygrade V.

Bruno Di Nunzio
21-Apr-2004, 03:27
Let me thank you for your reply to my post regarding film tests.

Since my post I have decided to move from Jobo to tank developing. For this reason I have bought a HP tank. As I wrote I would like to carry on my personal tests but it would be much better starting from where other guys have done. For this reasons I would like to pose you some questions:

1. in your opinion is it better tank inversion or dip in and out technique? 2. could you provide me your developing times for tanks developing for films you have tested up to now? 3. could you please give me your personal comments about film you have tested (what you like, donít like, etc.) 4. what do you think about Tri-X? 5. what do you think about T-max? Do you follow different technique for this film? 6. for silver printing whatís you personal film choice according to contrast values? 7. In your opinion it is better to modify developer concentration compared to developing time modifications for zone system (N-2, N-1, N+1, N+2) and how 8. what are the corresponding CI for N-2, N-1, N+1, N+2? 9. could you explain me how you prepare your stop bath? In particular I havenít understood your dilution for acetic acid 10. I have about 15 outdoor shoots made with a APX 100 rated at 64 ISO that will call for N-2, N-1, N, N+1, N+2. I have already developed their spare copy in D-76 and they look pretty good. Do you think it would be advisable to use Pirochat-HD and how? (unfortunately APX 100 is no more available!).

Ole Tjugen
21-Apr-2004, 12:20
1. I use tank inversion, trays or stand-development in an ancient "cutplate"tank. Results are similar with similar agitation.

2. No... I mostly develop by inspection, or stand for an hour...

3. I like FP4+, EFKE PL 25 and 100, MACO IR820c and ORT25. I used to like APX100.

4. and 5. I've never managed to get results I like with either film, but that's just me.

6. Any of the film I use are capable of exellent results over a wide range of contrast values.

7. Modifying developer concentration also influences grain structure. If you want to test one thing, stick to one at a time: Use time.

8. No idea, that's when I DBI!

9. I don't use stop bath, just water wash. In the few cases where I feel the need for one, I empty half a pack of citric acid into 1.5 liter of water. As far as I know, this is a lot better than acetic acid. It also lasts longer.

10. Pyrocat-HD is a very nice developer. I use it if I plan to print the same negative on graded paper and alt.proc., otherwise I stick with FX-2. So most of my 4x5's are processed in FX-2, about half my 5x7's are in Pyrocat-HD.