4x5 FP4+ Processing

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by mikefiction, Apr 15, 2006.

  1. mikefiction

    mikefiction Member

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    I'm using 4x5 fp4+ and processing in D76 1:1 and also Ilfosil S 1:9 and am getting consistantly thin negatives with both processes. I used the Massave Dev Chart from digitaltruth.com to get my processing times for both. When I process 35mm with both I get great results. I shot the same scenes (metered handheld on both) with the 35 and the 4x5 to test they all get consistantly the same thin results on the 4x5 only. I assume this means I need to increase development times and the advice I've been given were to increase 15% and increase 10% from 2 different people.

    Just wanted to get more opinions or see if anyone has had any direct experience with these 2 combinations.
     
  2. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Are you getting reasonable shadow detail? Therefore are you getting the same speed...are you metering the same in both formats?..... TTL with 35mm and spot meter with 5x4?

    Dev times also do differ quite a bit with sheet film and also sometimes between roll and 35mm.

    You need to determine if you have thin shadows (underexposure), highlights (under developing) or both (prob both underexposure and under developed or or a huge error on either one.

    1. In case of poor shadow detail, reduce film speed, give more exposure and test again using same dev time as you have been using.

    2. once you are close on the shadow detail you want then adjust dev time for good highlights of appropriate density. As this might slightly change the shadow detail as you adjust for highlight densiy, then tweak the speed rating you are giving if required.

    I personally find FP4 makes little more than 64 in normal speed devs (such as ID11, Pyrocat HD) but up to full box speed in DDX with other devs anywhere in between.


    Good luck,

    Tom
     
  3. pandino

    pandino Member

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    No experience with those developers, but an opinion on another...

    I've had some trouble with the times from that chart and no longer refer to it. For FP4, I use HC-110 developer and have settled on winter and summer procedures since my temp control is pretty limited.

    In the winter, I use dilution B @68 degF for 6 minutes (still tweaking this time). In the warmer months, I use dilution H (half of B) for 6:15 @ 75 degF (my preferred method). In both cases, I use constant agitiation via drum development in a Unicolor print drum.

    I really like using HC-110 as a one-shot developer because it's so easy to mix and seems to last forever.
     
  4. mikefiction

    mikefiction Member

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    Tom,
    I am using a handheld lightmeter for both the 4x5 and 35mm exposures. It's across 2 35mm cameras and 3 LF lens/shutters and I get consistant results so I assume it isn't an exposure issue. Yes I do get good shadow detail and I can get prints (I have them printed) from the 4x5 negs ok, but they are just pretty thin. The 35mm look dense, scan and print great.
     
  5. mikefiction

    mikefiction Member

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    Also for more info, I'm using the HP combiplan tank for 4x5. I develop between 4 and 6 at a time.I use an old paterson tank for 35mm. My agitation is the same for both. 4 flips every 1 minute.
     
  6. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    Try increasing your development times in one minute increments until you achieve the desired level of contrast required for your own working methods and preferences, if you go too far, a half minute change in the opposite direction should put you close to the optimum development time and you should be able to fine-tune it to the nearest half or even quarter of a minute. It seems that the sheet film sizes require more development than usual for the 35mm films your using.
     
  7. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I've developed quite a bit of FP4+ in both 4x5 and 35mm formats using the same times for each in D-76 1+1. Like you, I'm using an HP CombiPlan tank for the 4x5 and a "no name" plastic tank, similar to the old Paterson model, for roll film development.

    My first thought was that you were not using enough stock solution for the 4x5. When I re-read your post, I realized that with D-76 at 1+1, you are comfortably well past the required minimums. So we can rule out early developer exhaustion as a cause. I'm assuming that you have adequate temperature contol for both systems. There is no reason to believe otherwise since you can partially submerge either tank in a tempering bath. That leaves us with only one other possibility, namely insufficient agitation.

    My agitation scheme is a bit different from yours. I use the twirling stick with my plastic tank and go through 6 complete back and forth twists in 5 seconds every 30 seconds. Granted, that's a fairly vigorous agitation scheme and a lot of people are not comfortable with that. I don't agree. Vigorous agitation never hurt anything. The rest time between cycles is the variable that controls the rate at which development proceeds. It doesn't seem to matter if the rollfilm tank is overly full with this technique either; development proceeds evenly. Agitation with the CombiPlan tank follows the same timing cycle, though with five or six alternating rapid inversions in 5 seconds each thirty seconds. The tank is flipped once to the front and back, then to the side and back. Each flip and back is counted as one inversion. It is important to not fill the CombiPlan tank to the brim. You need some head space above the developer to insure a complete exchange of old developer for fresh when using an inversion agitation technique in any type of tank.

    My suggestion to you is to give your CombiPlan tank more vigorous agitation and stay with the same times you've been using. See if that doesn't clear up the problem. If not, simply extend your development time in small increments until you get to your desired contrast. Change only one variable at a time or else you won't be able to account for any changes, desireable or otherwise.
     
  8. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    Is there any chance the shutter speed on the 4X5 could be off?
     
  9. mikefiction

    mikefiction Member

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    I'm using 3 seperate shutters. So if they are, they are consistantly off, which isn't likely. Plus some of them are timed bulb exposures. I have compensated for reciprocity failure. Again, in the instances I used bulb, I did so also on the 35mm, same scene and it was thick and contrasty enough. Pretty thorough testing to rule out exposure as the issue. I thought it was exposure at first.
     
  10. mikefiction

    mikefiction Member

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    fschifano,
    I'll try more vigerous agitation. I only fill the compiplan to exactly 36oz, exaclty as directed per the instructions so I have plenty of room for the liquid to move about. I'll do some test shots and try both more vigirous agitation and also extending by 1 minute, to see what happens. I actually thought it could be too little developer, so I tried D76 stock solution once, and it was no different. I'll have to experiment more.
     
  11. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Personally, I'd do proper testing to find your EI and N development time and cut out the guesswork. It will save you film in the long run, taking about 4 or 5 sheets to get the EI and perhaps the same again to tune the development time.

    Both these can be done without recourse to a densitometer using the paper max-black method. I see AWH Imaging has put Barry Thornton's site back online as a tribute - there are excellent articles on how to tune your personal film speed and development time on there (which unfortunately, seem to have lost all their formatting, so a bit dense to read).

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  12. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    Rather than try a bunch of different suggestions to use this or that time or adjust that or reduce the other thing, why dont you just do a simple and standardized series of tests each time you change something in your procedure? This will give you exactly what you want with no guessing, and no time wasted fixing things that arent broken. It takes a few hours, and you will learn a huge amount in that short time. If you are not sensitometry-inclined (like me) check out the Steve Simmons how-to article in the last issue of View Camera.


    Wayne (a recent dropout of the shotgun approach)
     
  13. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    Well Bob typed quicker than me I guess. :smile: But the message is the same.

    Wayne
     
  14. Earl Dunbar

    Earl Dunbar Member

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    I agree with Bob and Wayne. Do testing to determine EI. Just because you are using the "same" film in different formats with the same developers, do not assume the true speed of the 4x5 is identical.

    From your description, I'd be willing to bet you are simply underexposing.

    The other possibility is that the results on 4X5 are correct, and that the 35mm camera is actually overexposing relative to the three shutters you're using for the 4x5.
     
  15. Photographica

    Photographica Member

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    I agree. You really need to do some testing for your EI and N development time The fact that you get similar results with 1:1 solution and stock is really troublesome. Also, I read through the thread a couple of times and couldn't find how long you've been developing your film.

    I have found quite a difference between 1:1 and stock D76.

    For FP4+ 4x5 and D76, I hit almost a 1.0 gamma at 10 minutes (D76 stock) in a Jobo processor. That means for every stop of exposure I give the film, I get a stops worth of density on the negative.

    There are lots of ways to do your calibrations without a desitometer. A step wedge is an economical way to get there.

    Bill
     
  16. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    Mike describes that he is getting good detail in the shadows so under exposure seems unlikely although another exposure of about a stop extra should help to confirm this. It seems to be a case of under development, perhaps another developer which is a bit more energetic would help.
     
  17. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I think you are under developing. If you are rating it the same as your 35mm (of course the speeds might be different but prob within 1/2 stop) they are IMO unlikely to be so different that you are now getting VERY thin negs, You say yourself that you are getting good shadow ( like with the 35mm) detail just not enough overall density therefore it IS under development, no question. If the shadows are a tiny bit less but the highlights a lot less (than the 35mm), the required increase in development (which sounds like it could be a quite a bit more required) will result in a touch of extra body to the shadows too.

    Personally, as a quick test to see where you are, add 25% to your dev time, using the same exposure and see what happens, assuming you are not keen to do the usual EI testing. I have done ei testing along the Barry Thornton lines and several others and have found it no more useful than using your eye and a bit of experience...and seeing which negs produce which prints.

    It is not unusual for 5x4 to require longer as the agitation in a conbitank is so much more gentle than that possible with a small tank and this DOES make a difference......just as people who use one reel tanks and shake away find they get under development when using an 8 reel paterson for the first time...as the agitation is more glugh glug than martini shaker!

    Tom

    If
     
  18. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Just as an addition, be careful to keep that agitation smooth with the combitank as you dont want to pop those bendy sheets from their grooves and find them stuck together and ruined. Keep it smooth and increase time. I learned the hard way and subsequently took to the carrier with glue to make it more rigid.
     
  19. Earl Dunbar

    Earl Dunbar Member

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    For some reason I missed the bit about shadow detail being OK. Still, it's obviously hard to make a judgment without seeing the negs.