Diagnosing problems?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by JohnRichard, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. JohnRichard

    JohnRichard Member

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    Yes, anything can happen when shooting... Please look at the attached images and tell me what you think happened. These 6 images are from last nights wedding shoot. They are taken with a Speed Graphic, set with the bed at infinity - 15'. 1/25 @ f16. Developed in a tank I am just about to pitch in the garbage. 20c, 1+14 Ilfosol-3, HP5+, EI800, 19:30 as per the instructions.

    What it looks like to me is that I was shooting wide open. But, I stopped the lens down. I believe I stopped the lens down because you can make out the pattern of the iris in the candle light. Who knows... There is also uneven development due to that damned tank that everyone said I would get uneven development from. #25 bulb set on 20m/s delay.

    Thoughts?

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  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Well, you've got uneven development as predicted.
    It's hard to judge exposure from a scan of a neg. It looks like you have fairly high base fog and low contrast, comparing the rebate of the film to the black border, but again, this is hard to judge from a scan of a neg. Try making some contact prints exposed for the minimum time to get the maximum black in the unexposed rebated of the film, and that will give a better idea of what you really have.

    The focus doesn't seem to be where you intended it. Are the focus scale and infinity stops calibrated for the lens that's actually on the camera? Have you tested it by comparing the infinity focus and measured nearer distances on the focus scale to the image on the groundglass with a loupe?

    If you're photographing people indoors, why would you set the focus from 15 ft to infinity? You're not shooting landscapes, and none of these photos look like they should have been made from fifteen feet away. Yet the focus--and it's hard to tell from these scans--seems to be far in front of the subject, suggesting that the focus scale and/or infinity stops don't correspond to the lens in use.

    I think what you need is to find someone who has some experience shooting large format and go out for a day of shooting, starting from loading the filmholders to processing the film, and make sure you've covered all the basics.
     
  3. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    This is the best advice you can get for your problem. Having another set of eys checking your equipment setup and then taking you out for a shoot is the best therapy. Don't bother to read any further.

    Steve
     
  4. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    It sure looks like your films became stuck together during processing. They were touching when you removed them?

    Not to criticise in any way but... I would never shoot a wedding on sheet film unless they wanted (and paid in advance for) REALLY large prints... and certainly not at 800 ISO. What's wrong with a good old RB67 and a flash?
     
  5. JohnRichard

    JohnRichard Member

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    Oh, I wasn't the principal. I was just adding "flavor". This was my cousins wedding and she had another guy covering everything with a digicam/flash. I did shoot a lot with my Bronica.
    I will have someone check the camera. When I tested the camera, when it first arrived, I used the Gg, loupe, and the negs came out great. All in focus; used a lightmeter.

    I forgot to mention that I pre-measured with a tape, and taped off on the floor where I should stand, but I did not have the camera with me to test focus... my bad.

    The film did not get stuck together during processing.

    The little mark on the bed has an infinity, and a 100 (on my Speed Graphic anyhow), and I set the 100 at 10' and the infinity at 15'. It worked when I tested it a few days ago.
     
  6. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    Well... something sure happened during processing. Those air bubbles say something... and that funky pattern on the last image... "something" was contacting the film during processing. If the sheets weren't touching each other or in contact with anything when you removed them from the tank then the wash separated them. Are you SURE you're using enough chemistry?

    Afterthought... are you processing your films doubled back-to-back? If so then I strongly suspect you loaded them face-to-face.
     
  7. calceman

    calceman Member

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    Wash your hands. There should be no finger mark in the middle of any negative, ever.
     
  8. Denis K

    Denis K Member

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    Whatever, it's all up hill from here!

    Denis K
     
  9. JohnRichard

    JohnRichard Member

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    The air bubbles you see could be the "not quite dry" negative I scanned.
    I may not be using enough chemistry.

    I am really interested more in what happened with the camera. I have an extra holder loaded from last night that I didn't shoot. Maybe I will test one correctly focused on the glass, and one shot with flash set at f16 1/25 from a measured 10 feet or so.
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    it looks like the camera was not focused on the subject.
    i know you zone focused/ guesstimated but maybe either the people weren't
    where you had hoped they would be or your lens standard wasn't locked down ..
    as for the splotchy film and lines and marks
    bad tanks and bad developing technique can do that ..
    when i have film that is going to be important
    i usually shoot a few holders to test things out ...
    i will process a few sheets at a time to make sure
    things are just right ...
    i when you underexpose film by 5stops sometimes you learn lessons the hard way ...
     
  11. JohnRichard

    JohnRichard Member

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    Update: I discovered a little mark up above the infinity mark on the rails. I didn't even know it was there until I put some tape down, then took it up again.
    Now if that little mark is on 10 feet, every thing at 10 feet is in focus.

    Problem solved.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 27, 2009
  12. archer

    archer Member

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    I have to agree with David, Steve and Mike;
    I have shot over 100 weddings with a handheld Speed Graphic and 12lb Graflex strobe/battery, hanging off my shoulder and I was only 120lbs. Our usual wedding was 200 shots which means 50 holders and an assistant to reload during the wedding. At the studio I worked for, the price for the standard package was a whopping $750.00 for 150 proofs and 20 8X10 and 50 4x5 plus an album. We always shot from a script and did most of the formal stuff in studio after the couple returned from the honeymoon. The day we got the Koni-Omegas was like escaping from prison. Why anyone would shoot a wedding in 4X5 with bulbs, which is the way I shot the first 20 weddings, is beyond my comprehension but if that is your choice, please take the advice of those I mentioned and prepare to work harder than you ever thought you could. Try to keep everything simple as possible, have fun and tell us where we may send flowers and view the body.
    Denise Libby
     
  13. JohnRichard

    JohnRichard Member

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    Sorry, I have to say this again. I was not the principal photographer at the wedding. This was a favor done for my cousin. She knows that I like shooting interesting cameras, and she knows that I (usually) do good work. She hired a fellow out of another town to shoot her wedding, and he used a Canon EOS something something digital, and a speedlight. I'm sure he and his wife did lovely digital work.

    If I shoot a wedding by my self, I use Medium format, and 160 or 400VC. I also shoot HP5 if they request black and white.

    The use of 4x5 was just for flavor. Again, these 6 sheets of 4x5 were not the only photographs at her wedding. They were the only 6 sheets that I shot of 4x5, and have since discovered why they came out like they did. I will most likely continue shooting my Speed Graphic with bulbs because I like it. Now that I have discovered how to focus it without looking at the Gg, I think everything will work out.

    I hope that clears up some things.