Diana issue - cannot get enough density on cloudy days

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jon koss, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. jon koss

    jon koss Subscriber

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    Hello all - I finally buckled down and went completely through my Diana. Got rid of all light leaks, taped all questionable seams, cleaned the inside surface of the lens, calibrated the focus. This baby is ready to do battle with a Hasselblad.

    One problem though. Using Tri-X and Rodinal, I cannot get enough light onto the film on cloudy days. Everything is almost a couple of stops under. Is there some other developer that will magically increase the shadow density of Tri-X? Or what would be a good 800-1000 ISO back-and-white film? I like the look of things on cloudy days but right now I cannot shoot candids.

    j
     
  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Jon,

    A camera with a real lens might make a difference...

    LOL

    :smile:

    Dave
     
  3. PhotoPete

    PhotoPete Member

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    Diafine gives me great results with Tri-X shot in my Holga.
     
  4. eric

    eric Member

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    How did you do that? :smile:
    All my shots with the Diana are very soft (I don't mean soft focus but soft as in contrast). Even in bright sun. I think that's the way the lens is. Everything in my Holga, is sharp, too sharp. Its two different extremes.
    Perhaps, your shutter spring is too strong. The shutter design similar to the Holga, you might be able to use one of the tension springs in the Holga and try it on the Diana.
    I'm assuming that you moved the pseudo aperture level to the <cloudy> setting? I don't think the Diana is a good camera for those even lighting days. Even with my Holga, I prefer to carry a small flash for it and use it most times as fill-in. Can you provide a scan of the negs? A neg that was shot in the sun and a neg that was shot in cloudy day? (post a negative, not the positive).
     
  5. jon koss

    jon koss Subscriber

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    Quote:
    ...I calibrated the focus.

     
  6. smieglitz

    smieglitz Subscriber

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    You might try TMAX 400 to gain some speed and then push it a bit in development to gain some contrast. I think Ilford made Delta 3200 and Fuji had Neopan 1600 in 120 as well.

    Diafine developer would probably maximize speed.

    Personally I'd try slowing the shutter down by adding a shim or as someone else suggested, changing the spring.

    You could also add a flash synch and get more exposure that way. Thanks to The Internet Wayback Machine you can still see my flash modification from my old "Dianarama" website:

    http://web.archive.org/web/19990220055422/members.aol.com/Smieglitz/camera.html

    I also wonder if you could drill one of the apertures to a larger diameter.

    Joe
     
  7. smieglitz

    smieglitz Subscriber

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    :surprised: Blasphemer! :mad:
     
  8. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Since it would have to defy the laws of physics it would have to be truly magical. Density is determined by exposure not development. Some developers like Microphen and Acufine appear to provide a nominal speed increase but they are merely better at exhibiting a film's true speed.

    BUT, for your problem I would try one of the two mentioned developers or Diafine to obtain another 1/2 to 1 stop additional speed.
     
  9. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Xtol 'boosts' shadow speed about a full stop over Rodinal with 'normal' agitation given to both developers, and does not 'push' the film.

    But you should adjust the mechanics and make the camera behave you, so you can use the film and developer you want.
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If you don't mind mixing your own, you can get even more speed (EI 1600-3200) on TX 400 with RAF Pyro-Metol. I've posted the formula in the "Chemical Recipes" section. Results will be considerably grainier, though, than Acufine.
     
  11. jon koss

    jon koss Subscriber

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    That was my understanding of Xtol as well, that it gave an increase in "real" speed, rather than just pushing. Perhaps the laws of physics don't apply to the Great Yellow Being? We will know for sure if they eclipse lightspeed as they plunge into the Age of Entropy.

    As far as mastering the camera, I drilled out the "main stop" of the camera. Not the little swinging aperture arm, mind you, but the actual pupil that governs the maximum light admittance to the film plane. I then ran a roll of HP5 Plus through with normal development. In cloudy bright conditions, the density is good. In deeper overcast I still needed another stop or very near. This is OK with me. I am OK with being able to shoot in conditions ranging from cloudy bright to full sun. Long live Diana.

    j

    PS - I had so much fun with this one that I may attack my other Diana, which has terminal light leaks!
     
  12. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    I would like to second the Diafine recommendation. I use it with my Holga in overcast situations or if I am using a red filter with it.
     
  13. Jersey Vic

    Jersey Vic Member

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    As of late, I've been getting results I like a great more using Ilford 3200 developed in HC-110 dilution H than I ever got pushing TX 400 in similar conditions. If the light was flat, I develop normally for 3200, more contrasty, I develop for 1600, etc. Excellent shadow detail.
     
  14. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    the attached image was taken a winter day, using Ilford 3200 rated as about 12500iso..
    I had an orange filter in front of the lens..

    developed in Rodinal 1:25 for about 18min..

    DIANA RULES!
     

    Attached Files:

  15. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    My "normal" approach for low light situations has been TriX rated at 1000, souped in Acufine (5min I believe). Works great for my humble needs, and is very simple. My results tend to come out with a little more contrast than I usually get - but nothing to be concerned with. Admittedly, I have not tried it in a Holga/Diana type camera, but I actually have a roll of APX400 from the Holga that I know I will push up a stop given my prrior experiences, which seem to mirror yours with the Diana - ie: not enough exposure on darker days.
     
  16. Leon

    Leon Member

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    the problem with all of this is that each and every diana/ diana clone/ holga is going to give different results. It all depends on the age of the camera, how much it has been used in it's life etc. the very poor quality spring that powers the shutter gives over time so the shutter speed may slow down the more it is used/ the older the camera, and dont forget, the Great Wall Plastics company didnt pay too close an attention to quality control and calibration!

    The best thing to do is experiment with your camera untill you settle on what you find works - try a faster film on lower light days, or try a speed enhancing developer to boost the shadows (I like to use a compensating developer for my toy negs, get the best of both worlds then) - keep trying until it works. then if you get a new diana - do it all again!
     
  17. timeUnit

    timeUnit Member

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    Man, that's gorgeous shot... I got butterflies in my stomach! :surprised:
     
  18. timeUnit

    timeUnit Member

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    BTW, pushing the film a stop or two doesn't have to be bad on cloudy dreary days. OK, no increased shadow detail, but more punch in midtones.

    Do try the Delta 3200. It's very flat for it's speed, but you could use an orange filter or something and end up at around 1600 ISO?
     
  19. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

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    If the Diana shutter is anything like the Holga you could try the reverse of a Mod i successfully attempted with my Holga -

    the shutter is a rotating disk with a hole in it like a wedge shape, I simply covered up half of the hole in the 'tangential direction' (most people will figure it out) with some cinefoil (black metal foil) to get a Holga with a shutter speed half of what had previously,

    I wanted this so i could push film a few stops to get more contrast and maybe some grain in the 120...

    In your case you could try this - or also the opposite if its just light level that is the issue by filing out a larger hole (keeping that wedge shape) - if it turns to pies and you want to go back you can use cinefoil again or perhaps fashion few disks so you can keen the original unscathed