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Thread: question re metering for zone III and overexposing HP5+ a little

  1. #1

    question re metering for zone III and overexposing HP5+ a little

    Getting back into LF after a long break. I read up on my notes for what I had carefully decided was the best routine for me using 4x 5 HP5+ for general LF photography. Now I have forgotten the reasons I chose this system that worked really well for me. Can anyone tell me what exactly I am doing here? I think I had worked it out as a shortcut.
    Here is what I do:
    1. Set meter iso at 200
    2. meter for darkest area where I want texture.
    3 set F stop on meter
    3. Set time and F stop on lens as indicated on meter
    4. take shot
    5.process negative and scan (I don't do paper developing anymore)

    I have tried this using HC110 1:31 for 5 mins as the developer. It seems to work although a few of the negatives are a touch thin. BUT I cannot explain the rationale behind it.
    Is it working reasonably well because of the wide latitude of HP5+ or becasue what I am doing makes sense?
    Please help me figure out what I was trying to do in the past and how I should approach this now. I don't want to start all over with testing everything again but I am willing to tweak each part of the process individually.

  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: question re metering for zone III and overexposing HP5+ a little

    All I will say is

    My V700 can scan/save very underexposed negs

    Some so thin, I almost saw nothing on neg

    But I no longer scan for DIGI printing
    Tin Can

  3. #3

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    Re: question re metering for zone III and overexposing HP5+ a little

    You don't mention anything about taking a highlight reading or development technique. Both can change your results pretty dramatically.

  4. #4

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    Re: question re metering for zone III and overexposing HP5+ a little

    In general, the basic routine you've listed will work and provide usable negatives most of the time. The trouble is that without some, at least, basic testing you really don't know much. For example, you say "meter for darkest area where I want texture." Without knowing your own personal EI for that film, your equipment, and processing procedures you really don't know if you'll be getting adequate texture or not. Without some sort of development test, you don't know where the high values are landing. But, then again, a lot of photographers will say, "Just use half box speed, shoot pictures, and develop based on the MDC." That is certainly a way to start, but IMO will take longer to really dial in everything leading to first class image creation.

  5. #5

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    Re: question re metering for zone III and overexposing HP5+ a little

    I would add my voice to suggesting that a little more information would be helpful.

    It seems that you say that you read for the lowest value in which you want texture and set the meter to that. You don;t say that you close-down two stops from that middle-gray reading, i.e., meters tell you how to get "middle gray" from whatever you read, average, spot, whatever. It is often the case that the minimum texture area falls somewhere around two stops less exposure than "middle gray."

    Setting an exposure index of 200 is common among many serious photographers using HP5 or other ISO 400 films. Many find that the ISO rating does not give adequate exposure with their equipment, so the lower setting on the meter gives the lacking exposure without your individually compensating shot by shot. Lots of variables affect this practice, including your meter's calibration, its linearity in reading from bright to dim, your judgement of scenes and lighting conditions, your camera's shutter (and possibly aperture) accuracy at various settings, and your developer, development technique, and printing, scanning set-up, etc.

    I don't use HC-110 and can't speak to your development time, though it sounds a bit short to me.
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  6. #6

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    Re: question re metering for zone III and overexposing HP5+ a little

    Quote Originally Posted by Geraldine Powell View Post
    Getting back into LF after a long break. I read up on my notes for what I had carefully decided was the best routine for me using 4x 5 HP5+ for general LF photography. Now I have forgotten the reasons I chose this system that worked really well for me. Can anyone tell me what exactly I am doing here? I think I had worked it out as a shortcut.
    Here is what I do:
    1. Set meter iso at 200
    2. meter for darkest area where I want texture.
    3 set F stop on meter
    3. Set time and F stop on lens as indicated on meter
    4. take shot
    5.process negative and scan (I don't do paper developing anymore)

    I have tried this using HC110 1:31 for 5 mins as the developer. It seems to work although a few of the negatives are a touch thin. BUT I cannot explain the rationale behind it.
    Is it working reasonably well because of the wide latitude of HP5+ or becasue what I am doing makes sense?
    Please help me figure out what I was trying to do in the past and how I should approach this now. I don't want to start all over with testing everything again but I am willing to tweak each part of the process individually.
    You're fine. Setting the meter to 200 gives you a safety factor against underexposure due to the idiosyncrasies of metering, errors etc. No need to make it more complicated.

  7. #7

    Re: question re metering for zone III and overexposing HP5+ a little

    Thank you everyone for your input. I forgot to say that I spot meter the dark textured area for Zone 111. Next time I work out a routine I will try to write down the rationale behind it.
    I am going to do some tests and read my handwritten notes from years ago.
    Then maybe I will come up with a less vague question.
    Geraldine

  8. #8

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    Re: question re metering for zone III and overexposing HP5+ a little

    If that 5:00 min. developing time in HC110B is at 68*, it is way too short in my experience. Try this old William Mortensen method to get you in the ballpark.

    Years ago I learned an excellent method to find the correct developing time and EI for any film. I source was an article by William Mortensen. Mortensen wrote some excellent books and articles about basic sensitometry. The last time I did this test was when I abandoned Tri-X and switched to HP5+ due to cost about five years ago. I proceed as follows.

    I set up my trays with my favorite developer HC110B (1:31), now Ilfotec HC (1:31). I pull out a sheet from the package in the dark. and then when the package is sealed again I turn on the room lights. This part of the test is done under the lights. I cut the sheet into five strips and mark them 1-5 by punching holes with a paper punch. Lets say the recommended time is 5:00. I want to see 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, 6:00 and 7:00, so I throw all the strips into the developer and agitate as usual until 3:00 when I move the No.1 strip over to the stop bath. Then I pull No.2 at 4:00, No.3 at 5:00, etc. I fix, wash and dry the strips as usual. What we are looking for is the best usable film DMax value. Obviously the film has been fully exposed! When strips dry lay down a page of news print on a table in good light. Find the strip through which the news print is barely visible. That's your developing time. Now to find the film speed.

    Go outside in unchanging light conditions and expose five sheets and expose one at the manufacturers rating and then the other four at one half a stop and one stop less and one half a stop and one stop more. In the dark, develop them all together for your newly derived time. Contact print them together exposing and developing the paper for maximum usable paper DMax value through the film base plus fog negative rebate area. Pick out the best-looking contact print and you have your film speed.

    Because my 7:00 negative looked the best on the first test, I did the test again with 7:00 as the central developing time and found that 8:00 was indeed too dense. This HP5+ time was the same as the as the developing time I had been using for Tri-X and film speed was also the same, EI400. I have also switched to Ilfotec HC developer due to cost and availability and find it to be a clone of HC110.

    Many of the last generation of B&W gurus favored a development time of 5:00 for Tri-X and suggested an EI of 64-100. You can do the above test backwards, developing for 5:00 minutes and finding the film speed. I like 100. The difference between negatives exposed at 100 and developed for 5:00 and those exposed at 400 and developed for 7:00 is quite subtle. Both could be considered "normal" or N negatives. The 100 negative has slightly greater shadow and highlight detail that only a careful, knowledgeable viewer could detect. This slight improvement might not be worthwhile trading for two stops in the field. I do routinely rate HP5+ at 100 under powerful strobe light in the studio and it produces beautiful skin tones.

    From here, if you are still with me, you can derive expansion and contraction schemes for both the 100 and 400 "normal negs". I do this by changing dilution rather than time. Make sure you have at least 1 oz. of the concentrated sauce for each 8X10 sheet or equivalent. For contractions I found that 3/4 oz. concentrate to 31 1/4 ozs. H20 yields an N-1 neg at a one stop loss in film speed and 1/2 oz. concentrate to 31 1/2 ozs. H20 yields an N-2 neg at a two stop loss in film speed. For expansions, 1 1/4 oz. of concentrate to 30 3/4 ozs. H20 yields an N+1 neg at a one stop gain in speed and 1 1/2 ozs. concentrate to 30 1/2 ozs. H20 produces an N+2 negative with a two stop gain in speed.

    If you look at the chart of Tri-X film speed in Phil Davis' BTZS book you can easily pick out the film speed in HC110B 5:00 as EI 64.

    Don't apply reciprocity exposure and development corrections for long exposures (1/2 sec. +) based on published data. Test for yourself and you may be surprised. I wasted a lot of time and effort producing long exposure negatives that were thick and flat. When I finally tested, I found no compensation was required for TXP or now HP5+ out to one minute.

  9. #9

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    Re: question re metering for zone III and overexposing HP5+ a little

    Another note from my years of teaching students - Get your shutter tested. I can't tell you how many times we had to chase exposure problems because the student had a shutter that was fine at (let's say) 1/250th but was wildly off at 1/8 - 1 sec.

    Brian

  10. #10
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: question re metering for zone III and overexposing HP5+ a little

    Well, if you're rating HP5 at 200, but at the same time, placing shadow values on alleged Z3, then for all practical purposes, your low value is really way up there around Z4. That forces you to severely under-develop the film to avoid excessive highlight density. And yes, 5 min is ridiculously short.

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