Advice on what went wrong here/how I can improve

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by MatthewDunn, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. MatthewDunn

    MatthewDunn Member

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    This was off my first roll with my Mamiya RZ67. What follows is as much detail as I can recall...

    Mamiya RZ67 with 110mm, using Ilford Delta 400. Using a Sekonic 758, I spot-metered various points of the scene and then came up with a mental "rough" average. Tested those settings in my Canon 5dii before taking the image. Settings were (as best I recall, I wasn't taking notes), f22 at 1/250th. Shot on a tripod, but hand-triggered (i.e. no cable release). Developed shortly thereafter in (I believe) HC-110 B (1+7 for 7.5 mins).

    After doing the development at the local community center (my first roll - again, just getting back into film), I had the roll scanned at a local camera store. The attached was pretty disappointing.

    First off, this is a LOT grainier than I would have expected. I'm told that Ilford Delta 400 is just a grainy film and that I should adjust my expectations, but this seems really over-the-top grainy.

    Second, looking at the negative on a light-table with a loupe, there appeared to be a TON more tonal information than what appears here in what seems to me to be an overly contrasty scan.

    Last, and this is a bit more amorphous (I get that), this just doesn't look like MF quality.

    Is it possible that this is just a bum scan?

    After talking to older and wiser heads, I've have already been told that lots of folks will actually shoot 400 film at 200 and that film is all about exposing for the shadows (which is, of course, the opposite of digital in my experience). They have also mentioned that using Ilford chemistry is going to give you a better result and that it's just better to stay away from HC-110 as a general matter.

    Those were the focus of my thoughts, but obviously glad to hear other suggestions, thoughts and criticisms (i.e. about composition, etc.)
     

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  2. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    As you suspect, I'm sure the scan quality is poor. Cheap scans are incapable of capturing the dmax (maximum density) of the film and will be poorly corrected. Exposed and developed correctly, Delta 400 is not a grainy film, but if overdeveloped, it gets grainy fast. I'd shoot it at EI 200-320 and make sure you're not over developing. You should be able to tell if the negs look grainy/sooty with a good loupe. The development should be tailored for your printing workflow. In terms of density, the scale of increasing density is scanning<condenser enlarger<cold light/dichroic enlarger<alt process.
     
  3. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I agree completely with Barry. When it was scanned, they just used the auto exposure of the machine as well. Hence the grain and high contrast. For 400, I usually use 320 and the "normal" development time. HC-110 isn't necessarily bad - you'll get different results with different developers, but it depends on personal taste. If you look around here a little, you'll see people using just about every possible combination of film/developer.
    Yes, negative film is exposed sorta opposite digital (think of digital as being more like slides).
     
  4. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I don't see grain but I so see pixilization, I think it's a bad scan, also, I've found with many scans that with the sky being in over 50% of the frame, the "auto" exposure is really off and I manually select the area I actually exposed for with the scanning software, notate the numbers, then re-select the entire frame, then enter the notated numbers and seem to get a scan closer to what I was shooting for.

    I know that you may not have control over the scanning yet, but I would go back to the lab if it looks grainy because Delta 400 is NOT a grainy film.


    ~Stone | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  5. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    It is my experience that there is a glitch in the scanner software in the transparency or film setting. Besides, scanners and film are like whipped cream and pickles. Make a normal print and then find a complaint.
     
  6. jcc

    jcc Member

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    I think it's the scan as well. Someone who doesn't know or just uses the auto setting will probably clip some tonal values that hold still hold information. Delta 400 can be grainy, but it's usually seen when scanning a negative beyond it's optimal print resolution.
     
  7. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    A 400 speed film that big should only be grainy if you use Rodinal Weed Killer. If you used D-76, there shouldn't be grain of any consequence on an 8x10.
     
  8. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Bum scan.

    I'm in Daly City if you'd like a reference check on an Nikon LS-9000 scanner. Delta 400 in medium format should not have noticeable grain. HC-110 is a known "upsweeping" developer, but not really a grain maker in itself. RZ (and really any Mamiya) lenses are high quality as well.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2013
  9. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    Ditto.
    When I first got back into film, I got the shop to process and scan all together (cheaper that way). 1 roll later and I never got them to scan again, for exactly the problem that you've got.
    It's actually not that it's pixelised, grainy, too constrasty, whatever, it's that it's way way over-sharpened. Every scan needs a bit of sharpening, that's a given, but you gotta be a lot more subtle than that.
    Thing was, the shop had a very nice $few-thousand drum scanner, capable of better things than I could dream of, but when they load it and just hit 'auto', the results are just as dismal as if you do the same thing on the latest entry-level dslr.
    A thousand dollars later, and I've got myself an epson v750, silverfast, a betterscanning holder, and enough lumina-fluid to last a decade. You could do the same, or get yourself a darkroom setup, or post it to a shop that knows how to scan and pay a lot for the privelige...
     
  10. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Second the Epson V750... (though I can't for the life of me figure out silverfast, so I just use the epson scan software).