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Thread: Dense Negative

  1. #1

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    Dense Negative

    I am getting some pretty dense negatives from my 8x10 Ilford FP4+. I am developing for 9 minutes in Ilfotec DD-X using a Jobo tank, CL81 holder and continual agitation on a motorbase.

    Since the edge around the film looks good and clear I have to assume at this point that my shutter is probably running a little slow and allowing more light to the negative than I intend. I will test this hypothesis and adjust accordingly.

    Unfortunately, I still have several negatives from this batch to develop and I would appreciate a bit of advice. Although dense, the negatives are certainly printable. Should I reduce my development time in an attempt to lighten the negative a bit or should I just leave things be? I don't believe I have printed anything this dense so I am curious how this will affect the prints, beyond requiring additional time under the lamp?

    I am going to go try and get a print on one of these in the hopes of having something to scan.
    The Viewfinder is the Soul of the Camera

    If you don't believe it, look into an 8x10 viewfinder!

    Dan

  2. #2
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    Re: Dense Negative

    See how the already-developed sheets print before you make any decisions about the rest.

  3. #3
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Dense Negative

    Quote Originally Posted by AuditorOne View Post
    I am getting some pretty dense negatives from my 8x10 Ilford FP4+. [...]
    I am going to go try and get a print on one of these in the hopes of having something to scan.
    Print one now. Consider that negs most susceptible to scanning are usually thinner than those that still contact print well.

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    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Dense Negative

    Quote Originally Posted by AuditorOne View Post
    Should I reduce my development time in an attempt to lighten the negative a bit or should I just leave things be? I don't believe I have printed anything this dense so I am curious how this will affect the prints, beyond requiring additional time under the lamp?
    Increased density is increased silver. Increased silver is increased Callier Effect. You'll find that it becomes increasingly difficult to produce proper tonal separation in the print's highlight regions. Said another way, you'll loose linearity in the print via compression in the highlights -- they will shoulder off.

    There can be other artifacts, depending on how high the density actually is. For example, I've seen odd things happen at light/dark boundaries, like the dark edge of a building against a bright sky. Stuff you can see ("density waves" that look like ripples in a pond), but can't remove in the darkroom.

    The ideal, if there is one for a negative, is just enough density to let you easily print it using whatever process you are printing with. No more. So yes, by all means, reduce your development time to obtain a more reasonable highlight density.

    Bruce Watson

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    Re: Dense Negative

    hi AuditorOne !

    you might like negatives with extra density, after i started making
    excessively dense negativesi i would rather print nothing else but dense film.
    some of mine are so dense you can't see through them with a flashlight even
    but they make beautiful prints.
    of course it is all a bit of personal taste and as always YMMV
    good luck figuring out a solution to your troubles !
    john
    enjoy your coffee

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    Re: Dense Negative

    Quote Originally Posted by AuditorOne View Post
    I am getting some pretty dense negatives from my 8x10 Ilford FP4+. I am developing for 9 minutes in Ilfotec DD-X using a Jobo tank, CL81 holder and continual agitation on a motorbase.
    You didn't mention temperature, but according to the manufacturer (see http://www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/...7124733149.pdf ) a 9-minute time would only be appropriate at a dilution of 1+4. With continuous agitation you can further reduce development time by 15% or more.

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    Re: Dense Negative

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Lee View Post
    You didn't mention temperature, but according to the manufacturer (see http://www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/...7124733149.pdf ) a 9-minute time would only be appropriate at a dilution of 1+4. With continuous agitation you can further reduce development time by 15% or more.
    Thanks Ken,
    solution temp was 68F. Based on the datasheet that was a 10 minute develop time. I reduced by 10%, which has been my normal method. I have also developed some TMY 4x5 used in a different camera with the Jobo 2509n and those negs have turned out exactly as I expect with good detail in the shadows but nice highlights.

    I went back and looked at some negatives with this lens and shutter (Goerz Artar 19" w/Copal #3) and notice those were a bit dense though nowhere near as bad as these are. I sincerely doubt that the shutter went south that quickly. I note that I tray developed that time so I suspect that the additional density is coming from the continual rotation since that turns out to be the primary change. I think I'll drag out the tray for the remainder of these negatives and do some more experimenting with this Jobo CL81 method before I commit anymore serious work to it. I was kind of under the assumption that the CL81 would respond much the same as the 2509n but that does not seem to be how it is turning out for me.
    The Viewfinder is the Soul of the Camera

    If you don't believe it, look into an 8x10 viewfinder!

    Dan

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    Re: Dense Negative

    Thanks John.

    That was one of the reasons I asked. I have read that some do like dense negatives but most of those comments were coming from people who were using a developer like PMK or Caffenol that was staining the negative. There my not turn out to be a difference but I thought I would ask anyway.
    The Viewfinder is the Soul of the Camera

    If you don't believe it, look into an 8x10 viewfinder!

    Dan

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    Re: Dense Negative

    no worries AuditorOne:
    i started to make dense negatives when
    i began contact printing ( i did this with sprint film developer (like d76 / ID-11) or ansco130 )
    on azo or graded or mg /mc papers ..
    ive never used pyro or pmk or the developers you mention ( except for coffee ).
    goodluck !
    john
    enjoy your coffee

  10. #10

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    Re: Dense Negative

    Diluted 1+4, right ?

    A typical shutter speed is best, like 1/30 rather than 1 second. Same with aperture: f/22 is probably more reliable than f/128.

    You might find it helpful to test a scene with predictable illumination, like "sunny 16" lighting: broad daylight at mid-day. If your meter is set to ISO 125 but the meter recommends 1/15 at f/11 you'll know there's something wrong with the meter.

    Perhaps your thermometer is off. It never hurts to have another one lying around.

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