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Thread: Old Glass, New Fun

  1. #1

    Old Glass, New Fun

    I was checking out an old, but new-to-me lens, when this appeared on the ground glass (scan of final print):


    Commentary welcome.


    Technical Details

    Camera: "Baby" Speed Graphic
    Lens: 180mm f/5.5 Tele-Xenar
    Film: Efke PL 100 M 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 sheet film
    Developer: Pyrocat-HD 1.5:1:200
    Development: Semistand - 2min initial agitation, 15 sec @ 31min, total 60min
    Paper: Fomabrom Variant 111
    Toner: Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner 1:40, 3 min

    This was taken very late in the afternoon and the plant was pretty much dead flat with only hits of highlights. The brightness in the print is largely attributable to the tone expansion that takes place in semistand development.
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  2. #2
    Foamer
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    Re: Old Glass, New Fun

    Looks good to me.


    Kent in SD
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    miserere nobis.

  3. #3

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    Re: Old Glass, New Fun

    Great choice of lens, film developer and developing technique. The beautiful image accentuates my interest and use of old lenses and PCat.

  4. #4
    digging for fire
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    Re: Old Glass, New Fun

    (semi) stand development expands tones? thats new to me, i always thought it is rather a technique to compress the tonal range. can you elaborate?

  5. #5

    Re: Old Glass, New Fun

    Quote Originally Posted by chris77 View Post
    (semi) stand development expands tones? thats new to me, i always thought it is rather a technique to compress the tonal range. can you elaborate?
    Sure. When film sits in developer for a long time without agitation, it is first and quickly exhausted in the image highlights - the darkest part of the negative. However, the shadows - the lightest part of the negative - continue to develop. The middle tones are somewhere in the middle - they continue to develop, though not as completely as the shadows.

    This has three effects:

    1. It compensates the highlights, thereby keeping them from blocking
    2. It fully develops the shadows, thereby giving you full box speed ASA (which normal development essentially never does).
    3. It expands the middle tones, thereby giving middle grays a lot of tonal richness.

    As an aside, with semistand, we very briefly agitate once in the midpoint time to reduce the risk or bromide drag. This has the effect of restarting the highlight development, but the effect is so small - and so quickly depleted - it doesn't seem to affect highlights visibly at all. That is, this doesn't cause highlight cooking or blocking.

    In the image above, the scene was mostly just a muddle of gray with just a hint of some light reflecting off the green basil leaves. In that image, pretty much everything was a "middle tone" and the semistand development pushed slight difference in middle gray apart further to get the effect you see.

    I wrote at some length on my explorations in low/no agitation techniques, here:

    https://gitbucket.tundraware.com/tun...nd-Development

    P.S. If you are familiar with H/D curves, another way to think of this is that it moves the left end of the curve lower and/or to the left. It increases the slope (gamma) of the curve in the middle, and it flattens the right end of the curve. You can actually fiddle with a digital monochrome image in an editor like GIMP or Photoshop to see the same effect.
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  6. #6

    Re: Old Glass, New Fun

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Noel View Post
    Great choice of lens, film developer and developing technique. The beautiful image accentuates my interest and use of old lenses and PCat.
    Thanks Jim, I think it's beautiful too

    I should mention that the other part of the magic here is split VC printing. By independently controlling the exposures of soft light and hard light you can really punch up the image to get it to "glow" like this. The PCat neg gives me the score, but split printing gives me the performance. I actually printed 4 or 5 versions of this until I got the effect I liked the best.

    Also of note is that the Fomabrom Variant 111 is possibly the most rich paper I've seen since Brilliant graded disappeared. If Fomabrom had the "tooth" of the old Brilliant, it would be the perfect paper.
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  7. #7
    digging for fire
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    Re: Old Glass, New Fun

    Quote Originally Posted by tundra View Post
    Sure. When film sits in developer for a long time without agitation, it is first and quickly exhausted in the image highlights - the darkest part of the negative. However, the shadows - the lightest part of the negative - continue to develop. The middle tones are somewhere in the middle - they continue to develop, though not as completely as the shadows.

    This has three effects:

    1. It compensates the highlights, thereby keeping them from blocking
    2. It fully develops the shadows, thereby giving you full box speed ASA (which normal development essentially never does).
    3. It expands the middle tones, thereby giving middle grays a lot of tonal richness.

    As an aside, with semistand, we very briefly agitate once in the midpoint time to reduce the risk or bromide drag. This has the effect of restarting the highlight development, but the effect is so small - and so quickly depleted - it doesn't seem to affect highlights visibly at all. That is, this doesn't cause highlight cooking or blocking.

    In the image above, the scene was mostly just a muddle of gray with just a hint of some light reflecting off the green basil leaves. In that image, pretty much everything was a "middle tone" and the semistand development pushed slight difference in middle gray apart further to get the effect you see.

    I wrote at some length on my explorations in low/no agitation techniques, here:

    https://gitbucket.tundraware.com/tun...nd-Development

    P.S. If you are familiar with H/D curves, another way to think of this is that it moves the left end of the curve lower and/or to the left. It increases the slope (gamma) of the curve in the middle, and it flattens the right end of the curve. You can actually fiddle with a digital monochrome image in an editor like GIMP or Photoshop to see the same effect.
    i do partially agree. but you are misusing the terms expansion and separation in my opinion.
    stand development ist definitely not expanding the
    overall tonal range as it is a contracting technique (due to exhaustion as you mentioned), but i do agree with you that it separates the low and midtones differently, or even better, and therefore seemingly increases filmspeed.

  8. #8

    Re: Old Glass, New Fun

    Quote Originally Posted by chris77 View Post
    i do partially agree. but you are misusing the terms expansion and separation in my opinion.
    stand development ist definitely not expanding the
    overall tonal range as it is a contracting technique (due to exhaustion as you mentioned), but i do agree with you that it separates the low and midtones differently, or even better, and therefore seemingly increases filmspeed.
    Nope, still not right. It is not expanding the overall tonal range, but it is absolutely expanding the local contrast in the middle tones. Moreover, there is nothing "seeming" about the increased film speed. It absolutely increases effective ASA to box speed as defined to be the ASA that gives you proper Zone I exposure of .01 DU above FB+F as a sort of nominal target.

    The real explanation here that matters is that semistand is changing the H/D curve as described above.

    As a practical matter, it is increasing the usable tonal range. I've semistand developed negs that were shot in 12-14 stops of Subject Brightness Range that held both the brightest subject areas and delivered full ASA based on shadow exposure. This is possible because of the reshaping of the H/D curve that is taking place.

    Normal N- and N+ development cannot do this. With a high SBR, either you compress the highlights with N- and and get muddy mid tones and reduce effective film speed, OR you get better film speed and better mid-tone local contrast at the expense of blown out highlights in with N+. The only other way I've seen this handled is with Kachel's SLIMT. Semistand solves both the shadow and highlight management AND gives nice mid-tone local contrast. The cost, of course, is the concern of bromide drag. If you read the article I posted above, you'll see that the trick is minimal suspension points of the negative to avoid trapping dead developer and bromides along the edges of the film (not to mention the long dev times).

    Notice that in the example image I posted original, the SBR was the opposite - it was very short range of light and the mid tones were jammed tightly together with no local contrast. As the image demonstrated, even here, semistand pushed things apart to improve local contrast and light up the highlights beautifully.

    In the beginning of all this, I figured semistand would be a fit-for-purpose development technique to be used only where- and as needed. After almost a year of extensive use, I've found it to be appropriate for pretty much every lighting environment found in nature. I now no longer worry about placing highlights. I expose to properly place shadows. The combination of semistand behavior and split VC printing pretty much manages the highlights for me nicely.

    EDIT: Corrected to say "proper Zone I exposure of .01 DU above FB+F" instead of "proper Zone III ..."
    Last edited by tundra; 2-Nov-2021 at 06:11.
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  9. #9
    digging for fire
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    Re: Old Glass, New Fun

    Quote Originally Posted by tundra View Post
    Nope, still not right. It is not expanding the overall tonal range, but it is absolutely expanding the local contrast in the middle tones. Moreover, there is nothing "seeming" about the increased film speed. It absolutely increases effective ASA to box speed as defined to be the ASA that gives you proper Zone III exposure of .01 DU above FB+F as a sort of
    nominal target.

    The real explanation here that matters is that semistand is changing the H/D curve as described above.

    As a practical matter, it is increasing the usable tonal range. I've semistand developed negs that were shot in 12-14 stops of Subject Brightness Range that held both the brightest subject areas and delivered full ASA based on shadow exposure. This is possible because of the reshaping of the H/D curve that is taking place.

    Normal N- and N+ development cannot do this. With a high SBR, either you compress the highlights with N- and and get muddy mid tones and reduce effective film speed, OR you get better film speed and better mid-tone local contrast at the expense of blown out highlights in with N+. The only other way I've seen this handled is with Kachel's SLIMT. Semistand solves both the shadow and highlight management AND gives nice mid-tone local contrast. The cost, of course, is the concern of bromide drag. If you read the article I posted above, you'll see that the trick is minimal suspension points of the negative to avoid trapping dead developer and bromides along the edges of the film (note to mention the long dev times).

    Notice that in the example image I posted original, the SBR was the opposite - it was very short range of light and the mid tones were jammed tightly together with no local contrast. As the image demonstrated, even here, semistand pushed things apart to improve local contrast and light up the highlights beautifully.

    In the beginning of all this, I figured semistand would be a fit-for-purpose development technique to be used only where- and as needed. After almost a year of extensive use, I've found it to be appropriate for pretty much every lighting environment found in nature. I now no longer worry about placing highlights. I expose to properly place shadows. The combination of semistand behavior and split VC printing pretty much manages the highlights for me nicely.
    Thank you for your detailed answer. it is very good to read all this. i have been using semi and stand development since years occasionally in r09, i do love pyrocat hd in combination with fomapan 200 using minimal agitation technique for 13x18 sheet film. but as i am not all too scientific and have not examined densities or used step wedges i have never come to the point you are making clear. fascinating.
    i have so far only used it in very high contrast scenes.
    the only things that i do not like about it are the risks of streaks or uneven development or bromide drag which you say can be controlled, and the sometimes pronounced edge effects are not always desired. but as you point out this can be dialed in by minimum agitation half or quarter stand so to speak. your post hast motivated me to work with it more in de future and experiment with it.
    thank you,
    chris

  10. #10

    Re: Old Glass, New Fun

    Quote Originally Posted by chris77 View Post
    Thank you for your detailed answer. it is very good to read all this. i have been using semi and stand development since years occasionally in r09, i do love pyrocat hd in combination with fomapan 200 using minimal agitation technique for 13x18 sheet film. but as i am not all too scientific and have not examined densities or used step wedges i have never come to the point you are making clear. fascinating.
    i have so far only used it in very high contrast scenes.
    the only things that i do not like about it are the risks of streaks or uneven development or bromide drag which you say can be controlled, and the sometimes pronounced edge effects are not always desired. but as you point out this can be dialed in by minimum agitation half or quarter stand so to speak. your post hast motivated me to work with it more in de future and experiment with it.
    thank you,
    chris

    Do post some of your results!

    It's kind of a strange thing. With care, you handle very long SBRs and very low contrast short SBRs all using the same technique because of the differential development exhaustion of highlight and shadows. In nearly 50 years of doing this stuff I've never quite found anything so wide ranging in application.

    I've also done this with D-23 - another compensating developer - with similar results, except that D-23 produces more visible grain. Still to come is testing with HC-110 in one of its highly dilute forms, D-76 1:3, and possibly even DK-50 (of which I have tonnes hanging about)...
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