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Thread: Getting ready for bw development which developer?

  1. #61
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Getting ready for bw development which developer?

    A densitometer can be helpful, but you don't need one. I'll give some advice regarding them in a minute. Zone I is a small amount of density over film base plus fog, so as long as you can see a distinct density difference between Zone I and FB+F, then you're fine. If you can't quite tell if there's a difference, move to the next 1/3 step. If you have the black card touch the edge of the negative, then it will be easier to compare FB+F to Zone I on a light table.

    A good general principle is to keep your test as close to what you're going to do as you can. So if you're going to scan, then scanning is the best test. If you're going to print optically, then that's the best test.

    I've owned and used a bunch of densitometers: A Cosar, Mantis, MacBeth 810, and now I have an X-rite 316T. For Zone I testing, any will work. You want one in good shape, and the calibration strips are helpful. For non-staining developers, any of these are fine. With staining developers, as densities get higher, the proportion of density from the stain increases, which is the case with Pyrocat. This stain blocks more UV than visible light, and many alternative processes are most sensitive to visible light. For Zone I, none of this really matters, as the stain is such a small part of the density at that level, but for Zone VIII tests it does matter. So if you read a Pyrocat negative with a standard BW densitometer, it will under-report density. Better would be the blue channel reading of a color densitometer, and the best would be a UV reading unit. But you can make do with any of the densitometers, as the percentage of density to stain is fairly well known.

    In any event, even after the densitometer tests, you'll want to keep an eye on your negatives, and if you're not getting the tonality that you want, then you make adjustments, as it's the prints/scans that really matter.

    If you can find a densitometer in good shape for a reasonable price, well, that's fine. If you can't, that's fine, too. I only use mine a few times a year. Note that many of us here have them, and I expect many of us would be happy to read a small number of negatives.

    The important thing is to give enough exposure to get good separation in the darker areas of the scene while developing long enough to get good tonality in the middle and brighter areas. Especially with TMX and TMY, you don't want to give too little exposure or too much development. They don't have much toe, so there's little cushion on the low end, and they can reach very high densities.
    "Poverty is the biggest cause of poverty." Rutger Bregman

  2. #62

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    Re: Getting ready for bw development which developer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Ruttenberg View Post
    Yeah I have seen that and others. Not a fan of windows.
    I'm a fan of linux, but my expertise is in windows.

  3. #63
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Getting ready for bw development which developer?

    Thanks. Maybe I will send out some negatives after performing the test so I can compare my results with those who have done this such as yourself and see if I have understood the concept.

    Now, after I have done this and for sake of argument, lets say, box speed is what I come up with (iso100, to make numbers easy) for zone 1 and zone 8 (curious why not zone 9?). When I go into the field now, I should be able to say, meter for zone V (this is what meter does) the darkest area I find (again, just an example) and then I can determine the amount of detail I want in that area and adjust exposure to do so. Say, I then place it to zone 2 or 3 stops darker from what I measured. Then I use the developing time I came up with (this is the purpose of the test I assume) to develop the film. But also knowing how my developer reacts with the film, I can further make logical adjustments to developing time to either slightly compress the highlights or possibly expand the shadows (but I understand it is not very practical to try and expand the shadow)

    For Pyrocat as an example, I would want a densitometer that is color or has uv capability or both if I wanted to be very accurate. Otherwise, I would carry out the tests in the same manner as with other developers?

    Since for the time being I will be scanning (I assume the same negatives can be used to dial in printing in the dark room at a later date, correct?) I would measure the negative with a densitometer, as well as scan the negative. If I use Vuescan it has a density function. Question, would I save the scan as a linear file (no gamma correction) and then apply the gamma correction in PS without converting the negative or do I convert the negative using whatever method I normally use? I would think you would not convert it and just apply the gamma correction.

    It sounds like once I have done this, my process would need to use the same scanner, etc in order to keep consistent results. But, having the negatives with good notes, I can always calibrate to a new scanner or to printing once I get that far. And would do this for each film I use, which in this case right now is Tmax100/400, Acros100. Maybe 1 or 2 others down the road once I get the hang of this.

    Would this work for color film as well? Slides?

    I know I ask a lot of questions so I apologize. I am taking this in and want to be sure I do it correctly.

  4. #64
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Getting ready for bw development which developer?

    The standard way is to spot meter the darkest area where you want good detail. Your meter will tell you want to expose for to get Zone V (or close enough). You want to place that subject area on Zone III, which requires giving two stops less exposure. Now meter the brightest area you want detail. The meter says how to make that mid-ish gray, but you want it brighter. N-development assumes of 5-stop scene, Zone III to Zone VIII. So the highlight should be 5 stops brighter. For instance, a shadow might be EV3. For N development, the highlight should be EV8.

    Standard Zone System is to vary development depending on the subject brightness range, the range between the darkest and brightest areas of detail. If the range is less than 5, than use + development. If it's less, then use minus. But I don't do any of that. Today's films are quite different from those of the 1940s. In particular many have much longer straight line sections of their characteristic curves, and we have more flexibility in printing and scanning. I never use minus development because it tends to cause a loss of good tonality. In an extreme case, I use other measures. I will only use + development if I need +2 or more. Changing development time is more about getting the tonal separation you want than it is matching densities.

    Yes, you can do all of this with color, but the sbr requirements are different, and development changes are more limited, and now I have class work to do.
    "Poverty is the biggest cause of poverty." Rutger Bregman

  5. #65
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Getting ready for bw development which developer?

    Thanks for the info. I think I have a good idea how to proceed. will try to get the test shots done this week. Will make development at standard time and temp with Tmax developer to start.

  6. #66
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Getting ready for bw development which developer?

    "Poverty is the biggest cause of poverty." Rutger Bregman

  7. #67
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Getting ready for bw development which developer?

    Okay, here is example from latest shoot where I exposed darkest shadows for Zone V (meter reading). This was on Tmax100, developed normal times in PyrocatHD (single bath) Yellow filter, 75mm Nikkor f/4.5@f/32 for 16 min. I scanned at 6000dpi, converted using colorperfect module. Left the color channels (I scanned as linear raw tiff, image -ie, what you see is what you get using Vuescan) I did some dust deletion in the sky (not foreground yet). Other than that, I did zero adjustments in PS other than the conversion to positive.



    If anyone wants the full size or negative sent to them, let me know.

  8. #68
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Getting ready for bw development which developer?

    (This is also in response to your post in the LF Landscape thread)

    Definitely hard to make too many statements about your exposure/development from an extremely long exposure and all the variables that come along with that. Sounds like you are definitely noticing the problems with overexposure, especially in scanning. Keep at it.
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  9. #69
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Getting ready for bw development which developer?

    Yes, I am. While not traditional, it does help me to understand things better and how the traditional testing will help me to achieve good negatives for scanning and for printing.

  10. #70
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Getting ready for bw development which developer?

    The one I was working on will not scan. Now I have an idea of how dense a negative will not scan correctly. I missed this one by at lest 3 stops. Interestingly enough, there are still areas that are very dark, while the the rest just sucks. Not to mention the image is super grainy. What I did notice is that all of these "over-exposed" images developed with Tmax developer at normal time and temp are over cooked. The ones developed with Pyrocat seemed more normal, like the one above. I will be making a series of test shots this week to determine how I should be exposing properly. I wonder if these dense negatives would print very well traditionally? Or if they are just crap.

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