Ah haa! Film testing is so cool!

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by markbarendt, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Okay,

    I've been struggling trying to figure out why some B&W shots look so deep and rich and some just look gray. I just wasn't getting why my "pushed" stuff looked better. It was because I was matching the processing to the scene, it was NOT about the EI, it's about the right contrast for the scene.

    In my head I had coupled contrast control, expansion and contraction, absolutely with pushing and pulling.

    Yeah I'm slow sometimes, but I do eventually catch on. :smile:
     
  2. Kino

    Kino Subscriber

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    Sounds like you are consistently over rating the ASA on the film. No matter if you are using manufacturer's rated speed, they are usually a bit "optimistic".

    Try cutting the film speed by a third to half and see what you get.

    "In my head I had coupled contrast control, expansion and contraction, absolutely with pushing and pulling."

    Your head is right. Pushing and Pulling is simply over and under development, which changes the gamma curve of the film. If you are consistently seeing better results with over development, then you are consistently under exposing.
     
  3. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    So Mark, will be seeing an article detailing this epiphany? :wink: It'd be useful to many.
     
  4. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I'll give that a thought Kieth.
     
  5. clayne

    clayne Member

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    At the same time, wouldn't this mean you prefer a generally higher contrast than most, and hence pushing is less of an issue to you than it is to others? Of course, a more balanced negative tends to be easier in the long-run, but I can see how your thought process came together.
     
  6. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Kino,

    The magic here is not mine, it's Ansel Adam's.

    My film speed test showed that my personal speed for HP5 in Xtol is actually close to box speed. I'll be testing again in another 8-10 rolls after my replenished Xtol has a chance to stabilize a bit more.

    The wild card is in the processing.

    Scene contrast is not fixed and adjusting the curve to match the the scene is fair game.
     
  7. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    clayne,

    My preferences are irrelevant.

    Controlling the process on the other hand is relevant.

    This is not about pushing, it is about control of contrast.
     
  8. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Mark,

    That is indeed what it's all about, controlling the exposure and processing of your film to suit your paper and remaining process.

    However you do it, whatever materials you use, and whatever your preferences of look and feel of the print, that is what truly matters. That's how you move from random good shots with a lucky winner here and there to consistent and predictable results - getting to the idea and intent of the image is much easier this way.

    - Thomas
     
  9. Kino

    Kino Subscriber

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    Well, I had no context from which to judge your initial post, so I generalized.

    In any event, pushing or pulling, or whatever you wish to term it, will determine your overall gamma, hence your apparent contrast for the scene photographed.

    Anyway, everyone arrives at their own interpretation and means of implementing it.

    Have fun!