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Thread: Scanned Negative Shows Zone V

  1. #1

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    Scanned Negative Shows Zone V

    I conducted a simple test today and wasn't expecting the results I got...

    Test
    I spot metered a white card including all 4 corners and the centre to make sure it was evenly lit from the natural light.
    The reading was 1/15th @ f/8.2 according to my Sekonic L-758

    I then exposed this at 1/2 second at f/8 as I wanted the tones to be Zone VIII

    Development
    Film: Acros 100
    Developer: HC110 1:47 20 degrees 7 minutes

    After the film was dried I placed it under the densitometer and got a reading of 1.42 so my initial thought was that it was just a little hight than what I thought Zone VIII should be having read that Zone VIII was somewhere between 1.25 and 1.35

    Scanned
    I then scanned the negative and no matter which way I scanned it, RAW, Tiff with no adjustments, when I brought it in to Photoshop the histogram was right in the middle indicating to me more like Zone V.

    Darkroom Print
    I then printed it in the darkroom, let it dry down and then scanned the print and the histogram now represented close to Zone VIII what I was expecting

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Query
    Why didn't the scan of the negative yield a similar result. Is the scanner trying to average a single tone out to Zone V just like a light meter does ?

  2. #2

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    Re: Scanned Negative Shows Zone V

    My interest was piqued by this post as I've never tried to scan a Zone VIII negative. So, I just had to try it! Grabbed a Zone VIII 4x5 negative and scanned it using Epson Scan software on my Epson Expression 1680 Pro. The auto exposure that always occurs following a pre-scan made a valiant attempt to push the output toward Zone V. To fix, I reset the auto exposure, pulled the output boundaries back to 0 and 255, pulled the input shadow setting back to 0, and set the input highlight setting immediately below the right edge of the histogram display. Opened the resulting file in PS and, as you can see from the attached, the image appears at/near Zone VIII and the histogram reveals that the image values are within the Zone VIII region. In other words, exactly the results I'd expect.

    You didn't mention what scanning software you're using... Could it be doing auto adjustments behind your back?

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3

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    Re: Scanned Negative Shows Zone V

    Interesting Alan.

    Out of interest, can you remember how you created the Zone VIII negative

    Ian

  4. #4
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Scanned Negative Shows Zone V

    Was that density minus film base plus fog?
    May tomorrow be a better day.

  5. #5

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    Re: Scanned Negative Shows Zone V

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    Was that density minus film base plus fog?
    No Peter, to was a straight reading from the middle of the negative

  6. #6
    lenicolas's Avatar
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    Re: Scanned Negative Shows Zone V

    Sounds to me like your scanner is doing an auto exposure?
    "I am a reflection photographing other reflections within a reflection. To photograph reality is to photograph nothing." Duane Michals

  7. #7
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Scanned Negative Shows Zone V

    Readings should always be minus film base plus fog. As of now, we don't know if that density represents a good zone VIII, which is about 1.3 above film base plus fog. As lenicolas says, though, it seems like your scanner is doing an auto exposure.
    May tomorrow be a better day.

  8. #8

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    Re: Scanned Negative Shows Zone V

    I've set my Zone VII at 1.35 density units. (Not subtracting FB+f.) This is the density that I like for a Zone VII on Ilford Warmtone exposed at the same exposure used to achieve a Zone 1 minimum exposure maximum black.

    This density value is consistent with the Zone VII that John Sexton uses. (May not be exact; but, it's close.)

  9. #9

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    Re: Scanned Negative Shows Zone V

    Quote Originally Posted by lenicolas View Post
    Sounds to me like your scanner is doing an auto exposure?
    Ah, yes you was correct here. Having fixed the Auto Exposure, the scanner is now showing what I expected. Thanks

  10. #10

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    Re: Scanned Negative Shows Zone V

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    Readings should always be minus film base plus fog. As of now, we don't know if that density represents a good zone VIII, which is about 1.3 above film base plus fog. As lenicolas says, though, it seems like your scanner is doing an auto exposure.
    I have just measured the Film Base and Fog and the densitometer reads 0.14

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