A beginner's development questions

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Robin H., Aug 19, 2009.

  1. Robin H.

    Robin H. Member

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    Hello all,

    I recently started to develop my own B&W film - only 2 rolls so far - and encountered a little problem: they appeared both to be seriously overdeveloped. The first time was completely my fault because of a too high temperature, but my second roll was still overdeveloped even though temperature and timing were right. Here's my procedure:

    - Ilford FP4+ exposed at ISO 125
    - developed in APH09 diluted 1+40 for 12 min. at 20°C, continuous agitation
    the first 30 seconds and then 10 seconds at the start of every minute
    - stop bath for about 15s.
    - fixed in Adofix diluted 1+9, agitated the same way as during development
    - 2 mins. in Adostab

    I've included a scan - made on a flatbed so with rather poor quality - but it gives you an idea of what my images look like. (the sky was deep blue)

    I used the development time as stated in the Massive Dev. Chart, but I do not like the results at all. Should I change development time, or dilute to a ratio of 1+50, 1+60,... or something else?

    Any help would be really appreciated, because I have no idea what I'm doing wrong.

    Regards,

    Robin
     

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  2. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    Hi, Robin. Perhaps the scan might have something to do with it as you said, but . . .if your neg is overdeveloped, I would expect the lettering on the edge to be a little sharper (contrasty), and there would be much more contrast overall. Particularly between the sky and shadow of your tree. It's even a contrasty scene to begin with. Just looking at the letters, I would say it didn't receive enough development.
     
  3. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Hi Robin. Your scan doesn't give us any indication of exposure or over-development as it is too light. The film base should be just above black to see a good "proof" of your negative. In any case, I've found that Rodinal type developers such as APH09 are very agitation sensitive. I had this problem when I first started using Rodinal, I had very dense negatives. I recommend either reducing your time by atleast 15%, or keep your time and agitate once every second or third minute. If using this technique I'd recommend a 2 min. pre-soak and agitation for the entire first minute. Also, Rodinal type developers don't give great shadow detail either. I'd recommend shooting your next roll at EI 80 or even 64. Hope this helps!
     
  4. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    Robin,

    You can't judge the density or quality of a negative by using a flatbed scanner without a backlight. The negatives could be perfect. Have you tried printing the negatives in the darkroom? If that isn't feasible, you should at least get a decent scanner. I saw an Epson flatbed that has the ability to scan up to medium format for $215. They also had an HP that could scan 35mm for $100. Those scanners probably won't be great quality, but they'll be better than using a normal flatbed with no real negative capability.

    According to the massive dev chart, you should be developing for 13 minutes. Continuous agitation for first minute, then 5 seconds of agitation for each 30 that elapses. You can't agitate for 10 seconds for each minute, you should agitate for 5/30.

    Also, bracket your exposures. While you're testing, I'd do two stops over, one stop over, correct exposure, one under, two under. That way you'll see if you need to adjust the rating of the film.
     
  5. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I got an EPSON 4490 Photo scanner that was reconditioned from the Epson website for $100 including shipping. I can use it for both 35mm and 120 film [MF]. That was over a year ago and what they have now is better.

    Steve
     
  6. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Guys, were trying to help him learn how to develop film, not sell him a scanner :tongue:

    Can you try holding the negatives up to the sky and taking a digi pic? It will give us a better indication of the density.
     
  7. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    When starting out, it's good practice to bracket exposures in half-stop steps, by a couple of stops over and under, and then evaluate your processing by comparing frames with the center (correctly exposed) frame. You might also try a less persnickity developer if you are just starting out, say D76 or ID11 diluted 1:1. These developers are nearly fool-proof.
     
  8. Robin H.

    Robin H. Member

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    I'm very sorry, but I forgot to mention that this is an inversion of the negative... Don't blame me, I'm just a beginner :D

    After a second examination, I'm starting to believe that development is fine but that I just overexposed a lot of my shots, so I'll bracket from now on until I can judge exposure more accurately.

    By the way, what difference does it make if you agitate 5 seconds per 30 seconds, or 10 seconds every minute?

    Thank you all for your input, reading on this forum has been a crash-course in developing so far :smile:
     

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  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi robin

    SNIP, SNIP

    it is a great idea to bracket!
    that way you can see how everything works ..

    and regarding agitation ..
    i learned 10seconds/ min after a full minute of agitating

    i don't really think it matters much, as long as you are consistent
    and do the same thing all the time ... so you can get the kinks out
    of your methodology ...

    btw
    your film looks fine to me :smile:

    john
     
  10. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    It is certainly within the realm of what you would get from an in-camera reflected meter and manufacturer's recommended development. It would look pretty decent if you printed it down to where it "should" be to judge exposure. That is: print until the film edges have just become a rich black instead of a near-black dark grey. If anything, it appears a little flat, though we would have to have seen the light in which you shot to make this judgment for sure.

    IMO, a camera with a reflected meter built in is one of the worst possible things for a beginner. Nothing makes for more less-than-ideal (and often unprintable) exposures and variation in results than giving a beginner a metered camera and telling him or her to go with what the camera says. I think beginners should start using incident light readings or exposure charts. In-camera reflected meters under expose when they read high-toned scenes and over expose when they read low-toned scenes. They are only theoretically correct when reading a grey card, and even then they are still about 1/2 stop under (as I learned on APUG not too long ago). If you must use an in-camera reflected meter, I suggest using a grey card for your exposures. Put the card in the same light as your subject, read it, then open 1/2 stop from what the meter says. Your exposures will be much more consistent (and, dare I say it: "correct"), thus correctly judging development will become possible.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 20, 2009
  11. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Me too.

    A good negative is quite often less dense than expected - especially if you are new to developing.

    I have made some good prints from less dense negatives than these. It is surprising sometimes to see the amount of detail you can get from a light negative.


    Steve.
     
  12. Robin H.

    Robin H. Member

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    I almost always use the spot meter of my camera to determine the contrast range of a particular scene, but as it shows I still have some difficulties interpreting the reflective values of certain colours. This is something that I'll certainly learn along the way...
    I'm looking forward to discover the wonderful world of film developing! :smile:
     
  13. clayne

    clayne Member

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    The difference between 12 and 13 minutes is 8%. That neg is not 8% off. Additionally, one *can* agitate for 10ag/60sec vs 5/30. People do it all the time. The reason I mention it is because it also does not look to be the source of the issue.

    The shots just look overexposed to me. It looks to be printable though.