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  1. #1

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    Need Guidance on Getting a Sensitometer

    I have been reading the Kodak Basic Photographic Sensitometry Workbook H-740 and I think I am ready to start testing my film and developer combinations for creating a characteristic curve, determining D-min/D-max, Contrast Index, and exposure latitude.

    I already have a solid process already in place with my densitometer where I can accurately determine the EI rating for any film and developer combo as well as the associated development times for N, N+, N-, etc. While it is possible to calculate effective film speed from the characteristic curve data, that is not in scope for me because of my existing process is very reliable.

    My goal with the sensitometer in conjunction with the densitometer is to really compare same films in different developers and various films in the same developer to ultimately select the right films and developers that help me reach my personal creative vision.

    While the exposure part can be done with an enlarger and electronic timer, a sensitometer just makes that part of the process fast, painless, and easy with 35mm roll film. I also think it is more consistent than using an enlarger too.

    I would like to get a used sensitometer for testing B&W 35mm roll films.

    Can someone with experience here in the group look at the available options on eBay and let me know what make and model sensitometer will work for testing black and white roll films?

    I just want to make sure sensitometer that I get will allow me to create the characteristic curves as outlined in the Kodak workbook.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Larry
    Last edited by LFLarry; 6-Sep-2020 at 09:41. Reason: Making the post a little more clear to understand.

  2. #2

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    Re: Need Guidance on Getting a Sensitometer

    Iíd get an X-Rite 301. Get the single button as itís newer. If you look and take your time you should be able to get one for under $200. Make them an offer and Good luck

  3. #3

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    Re: Need Guidance on Getting a Sensitometer

    Hi Luis, I had a typo in the title and in the original message. I meant to say "Need Guidance on Getting a Sensitometer". I guess I had densitometer on the brain. I have an X-Rite densitometer already, and now all I need is a Sensitometer for exposing the test films. Sorry about the typo and confusion.

  4. #4

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    Re: Need Guidance on Getting a Sensitometer

    Quote Originally Posted by LFLarry View Post
    Hi Luis, I had a typo in the title and in the original message. I meant to say "Need Guidance on Getting a Sensitometer". I guess I had densitometer on the brain. I have an X-Rite densitometer already, and now all I need is a Sensitometer for exposing the test films. Sorry about the typo and confusion.
    If you want to test film for speed and developing time, I use a densitometer, NOT a sensitometer.

  5. #5

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    Re: Need Guidance on Getting a Sensitometer

    Hi Luis, I understand and agree with you. I am talking about using a sensitometer for creating a characteristic curve, determining D-min/D-max, Contrast Index, and exposure latitude. Basically, all the sensitometry "stuff". I have a solid process already in place with my densitometer only where I can accurately determine the EI rating for any film and developer combo as well as the associated development times for N, N+, N-, etc.

    My goal with the sensitometer in conjunction with the densitometer is to really compare same films in different developers and various films in the same developer to ultimately meet my personal creative vision.

    While the exposure part can be done with an enlarger and electronic timer, a sensitometer just makes that part of the process fast, painless, and easy with 35mm roll film. I also think it is more consistent than using an enlarger too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Luis-F-S View Post
    If you want to test film for speed and developing time, I use a densitometer, NOT a sensitometer.

  6. #6

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    Re: Need Guidance on Getting a Densitometer

    I've been very happy with my Gretag D200-II and, IIRC, I paid something like $150 for it. And, it came with various size apertures, calibration strip, and dust cover all in the original hardshell case. I didn't have one for most of my photographic life, but it sure makes testing easier, more efficient, and IMO more accurate.

  7. #7

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    Re: Need Guidance on Getting a Densitometer

    Hi Alan, I have a typo in the title and in the original message. I meant to say "Need Guidance on Getting a Sensitometer". I guess I had densitometer on the brain. I have an X-Rite densitometer already, and now all I need is a Sensitometer for exposing the test films. Sorry about the typo and confusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan9940 View Post
    I've been very happy with my Gretag D200-II and, IIRC, I paid something like $150 for it. And, it came with various size apertures, calibration strip, and dust cover all in the original hardshell case. I didn't have one for most of my photographic life, but it sure makes testing easier, more efficient, and IMO more accurate.

  8. #8
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    Re: Need Guidance on Getting a Densitometer

    Quote Originally Posted by LFLarry View Post
    Hi Alan, I have a typo in the title and in the original message. I meant to say "Need Guidance on Getting a Sensitometer". I guess I had densitometer on the brain. I have an X-Rite densitometer already, and now all I need is a Sensitometer for exposing the test films. Sorry about the typo and confusion.
    Larry, the error was mine, not yours. I've reset the thread title accordingly, and I apologize for the embarrassment. I've also deleted your added apology from the initial post because you weren't responsible for the error.

    FWIW, I can't recall reading about any still photographer using a sensitometer to expose film for these tests - it's always been a step tablet and/or carefully timed direct exposures to light. The methods Phil Davis describes in the various editions of "Beyond the Zone System" are par for the course. The only references I can find to sensitometers relate to use for X-ray and cine film process control in a commercial setting. I'm happy to be corrected if someone can point to documentation. Regardless, if you can lay your hands on one inexpensively enough, and can figure out how to check its calibration...

  9. #9

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    Re: Need Guidance on Getting a Densitometer

    Hi, being new to this, I was thinking a sensitometer would simplify the exposure process of the step wedge by not having to expose a test wedge and then either use a lux meter or convert EV values to lux of the exposure light source to ultimately create the characteristic curves, etc.

    I did find this interesting thread about various sensitometers used on B&W films:
    Color of Light in Sensitometer Tests by IC-Racer
    https://www.photrio.com/forum/thread...hootout.95837/

    I was originally thinking about making an in camera 4x5 sheet film 21 step Stouffer step wedge exposure by placing the Stouffer wedge in front of a sheet of test film in the film holder and then setting the lens to infinity and exposing the film against at white board at +5 stops (Zone 10) in open shade at various EI ratings. I think I read about this on Paul Wainwright's website first. I have used this method for finding the true film speed of my film and developer combinations and for establishing N, N+ and N- development times, but never for plotting the 21 densities for the purpose of creating characteristic curves. Maybe that approach is valid, or there is a better approach using an enlarger maybe? Anyone here shed some light on this with your experience?




    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    Larry, the error was mine, not yours. I've reset the thread title accordingly, and I apologize for the grief it caused you.

    FWIW, I can't recall reading about any still photographer using a sensitometer to expose film for these tests - it's always been a step tablet and/or carefully timed direct exposures to light. The methods Phil Davis describes in the various editions of "Beyond the Zone System" are par for the course. The only references I can find to sensitometers relate to use for X-ray and cine film process control in a commercial setting. I'm happy to be corrected if someone can point to documentation. But if you can lay your hands on one inexpensively enough, and can figure out how to check its calibration...

  10. #10
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    Re: Need Guidance on Getting a Densitometer

    Quote Originally Posted by LFLarry View Post
    I did find this interesting thread about various sensitometers used on B&W films:
    Color of Light in Sensitometer Tests by IC-Racer
    https://www.photrio.com/forum/thread...hootout.95837/
    Thanks for that link!

    As you're figuring out what will work best for you, do take a look at "Beyond the Zone System" if you haven't already - the current edition is pricey but earlier editions are available inexpensively on AbeBooks. Phil described his procedures in detail.

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