A rookie question about film speed

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by mrdarklight, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. mrdarklight

    mrdarklight Member

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    Hi folks,

    I have some experience with photography but a lot of what I know I learned a while back, and some of it I don't remember so well. Here's one thing I keep coming across that I don't quite understand.

    I know about film speed, and grain, that kind of thing, but I'm not sure what someone means when they say they "push" film to a higher speed. For example, one guy talking about Ilford 3200 speed film says:

    "The true speed of this film is around 1000-1600. I get much better results at these speeds but sometimes I have no choice but to shoot at 3200."

    I don't understand that. How do you shoot a film at another speed? Is he saying he sets his light meter to 1600?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Leighgion

    Leighgion Member

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    In practical terms, "pushing" film is where you shoot it at a higher ISO than its box speed, effectively underexposing it, but then compensating for the underexposure by changing your development time. This comes at a price of more pronounced grain and higher contrast, but you can get images in darker conditions with faster shutter speeds than you otherwise could. Classic photojournalist's example is taking Tri-X, a 400 speed film, and shooting it at 1600.

    Now, a film's "true" speed is getting deeper into things. ISO ratings are determined based on certain standards how the film behaves. From what I understand, films like Delta 3200 and Tmax 3200 aren't "true" 3200 speed films according to these standards, but rather slower ones that have been tailored in order to push well to 3200. So while the "true" speed of Delta 3200 is probably somewhere down around 1250, the box instructions assume you're going to push it to 3200 and the official development times are printed to match that.

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. mrdarklight

    mrdarklight Member

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    Hmm, so if I shoot this Ilford 3200 film at 1600, I should develop for a normal time?
     
  4. Leighgion

    Leighgion Member

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    Try not to think of it in terms of normal or not normal.

    If you want to shoot Delta 3200 at 1600, look for development times for it at 1600 with the developer you plan to use. That's really the important thing: match film, ISO, developer and the right development time. Whether or not the ISO you're working with is normal, push or pull is really secondary if your first goal is just to get negatives with good images on them.

    You can get really detailed about what different films' "true" speeds are and this can shift depending on the developer and developing methods used as well, but if you're just starting into it I wouldn't worry about all of that. Just focus on what film you're using, what ISO you're shooting it at, and then get yourself some developer data that'll make it work.
     
  5. mrdarklight

    mrdarklight Member

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  6. Leighgion

    Leighgion Member

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    The Massive Dev Chart's word isn't law, but yes, that's what you're talking about, yes.

    As you get further into this, then you might pay more mind to true speed, speed loss and speed gain in films and different dev combos. For my part, I've been doing my own B&W for about a year and I'm only just now starting to pay any mind to how different developers can offer speed gain.
     
  7. mrdarklight

    mrdarklight Member

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    I'm going to end up developing this in Ilford ID-11, just because I have like a half a gallon of it left and I don't feel like buying a different developer to do this film.
     
  8. Allen Friday

    Allen Friday Member

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    There was a thread about Delta 3200 a while ago. I think the general consensus (as much as you can ever get on Apug when it comes to certain films) was to shoot it at 1600 and use the development time, temperature and dilution specified for 3200 on the charts. That's what I do with D-76 and it should give you a starting point for your own experimentation.
     
  9. marcmarc

    marcmarc Member

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    All other things being equal, it's better to overexpose somewhat then to underexpose. If it isn't on the negative, nothing in the darkroom can make it so. This is why as a general rule I expose all my films + 1 stop if I can. Therefore, I set my hand held meter (incident reading) at half the box speed and cut back a little on development. This generally lowers contrast which is useful in the bright LA sun I shoot in.
     
  10. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    I am going to develop mine in tap water because I have a whole sink of it.

    Why bother?

    Send your film away (use Kodak 100 color) and be done with it.

    If ID 11 does what you want (It's not a pushing developer, it's a compensating one) fine, If it's what's under the sink, then you get what you get. Not how I develop my art. I suspect your chances for success are limited.

    I don't mean to insult you, I just don't understand how you expect to learn anything from this.

    tim in san jose
     
  11. mrdarklight

    mrdarklight Member

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    Part of the reason I posted this is to get feedback. So it apparently worked. I'm not married to ID-11, it's just what I have, but if there is some good reason to use something else, I will. From what I've been able to ascertain, ID-11 isn't the preferred developer for this, but I haven't seen anything to indicate that it is a terrible one. Maybe you could just fill me in on why it would be the wrong choice, rather than going where you decided to go.

    No, I'm not a professional at this, I thought I was pretty upfront about that.
     
  12. Leighgion

    Leighgion Member

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    I have purposely not offered developer suggestions since I never touched any Delta 3200.
     
  13. Nikanon

    Nikanon Member

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    No one has yet mentioned its more than just deciding to shoot at an iso, its the particular effect gained from doing so, this is chosen by looking at a films CURVE, look up the hurter and driffield curve of film and learn about curves, when you understand curves of film youll understand how to choose an exposure, the basic way to put it is film is a light sensitive material that has a point in which light will give it a maximum density of film and a minimum density, any exposure between those two points will render an image that can be developed, curves teach you how to control them, learn curves and youll better control your work.
     
  14. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Ilford ID-11 is practically the same as Kodak D-76. Both of these are standard developers and have been for many years.

    I don't see a problem with using this for developing Delta 3200 or any other black and white film.

    http://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php?Film=Delta+3200&Developer=ID-11&mdc=Search


    Steve.
     
  15. naugastyle

    naugastyle Member

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    If ID-11 is the same as D76, no, there's absolutely nothing wrong with using it. I am not familiar with ID-11 myself. For Delta 3200 I usually use DD-X 1:4 or XTOL 1:1. And yes, if you shoot at 1600, develop @ the time listed for 3200.
     
  16. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    ID-11 is essentially the same as D76. It will never give you box speed, nothing will with 3200 film, but it also will not give you the speed something like Diafine will give you.

    My point wasn't that he shouldn't use ID-11, just that you don't make decisions based upon what's under the kitchen sink if you want to learn anything about photographic development. And no, I am not a professional (photographer). I did go to school at NESOP many years ago but I am, for all intense purposes, a robotics engineer.

    Look at the Massive Development chart and see what the possibilities are.

    tim in san jose
     
  17. mrdarklight

    mrdarklight Member

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    I guess I feel kind of silly explaining this to you, but here goes: Everything is a compromise. There is a "best" developer to use for Delta 3200. If I want to get the best results, I can go buy $20 worth of this best developer for the two rolls of 3200 that I'm going to shoot and use the ID-11 for my Delta 400. Then, when I try some Kodak and Fuji and Agfa, I can go spend money on the best developers for those films. In the process, I'll end up with ten kinds of developer that mostly go to waste because I used only a little of them because they were the best.

    Or I can do what most people do, which is try to use things efficiently. Now, if ID-11 was going to turn my prints into monotones, obviously I would not use it. But barring some good reason, which you have not bothered to supply, I will do what is most efficient for me and use the ID-11.

    Sometimes you don't develop a roll of film to learn something. Sometimes you just develop it so you can get the negatives.
     
  18. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Not a problem. Just two different reasons to photograph.

    It's that "image vs. process" question again.

    Good luck.

    tim in san jose