Do you make a spare negative?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Ian Leake, Oct 27, 2007.

Do you make a spare negative?

  1. Yes

    40.6%
  2. No

    21.7%
  3. Sometimes

    37.7%
  1. Ian Leake

    Ian Leake Subscriber

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    When I started with LF many people told me to always make a spare negative to allow for dust, darkroom errors, etc. And this is what I've done ever since. But lately I've been wondering whether this makes sense for me. I rarely need to use a "B" negative, and as a result have boxes and boxes of them undeveloped. So I'm almost doubling my film costs to manage the risk of an occasional error. This doesn't make sense to me, hence my question here: do you make a spare negative?
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Extremely rarely. As I mainly shoot LF landscapes and usually have to do a lot of walking with a backpack it's just not feasible. On the very odd occasion where lighting is extreme and I know I have sufficient film then I might shoot a second for processing separately.

    Ian
     
  3. Deane Johnson

    Deane Johnson Member

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    I always shot both sides of the film holder with the same scene. I then developed and contact printed side A, and if it looked like a keeper, but the negative needed developing adjustment, I could do so with side B. I always kept both sides permanently in case of damage to one of them.

    An interesting side note, you may recall reading Ansel Adam's commentary on the shooting of Moonrise, where he stated that he quickly made the first exposure without a meter, just guessing at the exposure, then turned the holder over intending to get a backup negative, but just then the light disappeared from the gravestones.
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    sometimes i make a second exposure,
    "cause you never know what might happen ..."
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I used to do it, but don't anymore. Reason: cost. I am on a VERY small budget with photography. When I started using sheet film, I found a bunch of cheap expired film online, and did the double exposure. Now that I'm buying fresh film, I simply can't afford to shoot the second one. Every dollar counts.
    With that said, if I was ever commissioned to shoot something, I would do back-ups without a doubt.
    - Thomas
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Usually not, because it would mean having to carry twice as much film or to make half as many photographs, and it's rarely necessary. If I do it's usually because I'm thinking of printing it two different ways, and might need a denser neg for one process, or if there are some random factors that I can't control like wind, or occasionally if it's a shot that I'm fairly sure will be an interesting image, and I want to be really sure I've got it.
     
  7. Deane Johnson

    Deane Johnson Member

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    This thread certainly brings back memories. Since most of my shooting was on a 2 week vacation trip by van, I ended up building a case that held 100 film holders in groups of 5. All were numbered. I loaded all of them for a trip. Rarely got past using about 60 or 70 even on the longest trip, but that meant 60 or 70 individual shots with both sides exposed the same.

    When leaving the van, it was easy to grab a bundle of 5 or 10 to take with me.

    I never wanted to be bothered loading on the road, and it seemed a sure way to get dust on the film.

    I suspect today, I'd be using ReadyPacs, though I have never seen one.
     
  8. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Nope.

    For a very short time when I first started using 4x5 I would bracket my exposures. As I only have six film holders that meant using up my negatives too fast, then having my arms buried in a changing bag while being eaten alive by mosquitoes, which sucked!

    At the bottom end of the learning curve I had quite a few failures due to not metering properly, or not choosing the right exposure/development combination, or dust, or lint, or.....but those became less frequent as the years rolled by.

    Now it's zzzzzzzzzzzchick and move on :smile:

    Murray
     
  9. photobackpacker

    photobackpacker Advertiser Advertiser

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    Almost always.

    John Sexton shoots 2 and processes them separately - adjusting the second processing as needed for optimum quality. Since adopting this technique, I find that the fine-tuned second negative is often the "keeper".


    Bruce
    www.photobackpacker.com
     
  10. Neanderman

    Neanderman Member

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    Only if I have a suspicion that I may have screwed up the first exposure! :D

    Occasionally, I will do a second if the light changes drastically or if something or someone wanders into the frame during the first.
     
  11. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    I also usually shoot one, unless I need a second becuase I'm not sure how I want to develop it, or I want to do a normal development plus an extended development for alternative printing.

    I'll also expose a second one if I think something went wrong, whatever that might be. For example I've been using a salvaged lens without a shutter recently and sometimes I shake the camera when I make use of my piece-of-black-paper lens.

    The film expense isn't really the reason (I shoot pretty low volume anyway) - I carry 9 holders and I don't like running out of film before an outing is done.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 27, 2007
  12. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    Technically it is impossible to shoot the same scene twice. You can never capture that past moment in time again. : )
     
  13. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    After a couple of heartbreaks I started to shoot two. And just recently I let the $$$-signs into my head and only shot one on something really meaningful... and guess what, it was a fogged sheet. So I will continue to shoot two and not allow myself to make the same mistake again!

    Robert, you're right of course, when it comes to handheld rangefindery shots, and in that case, I do with that I had duped a few of my negs before allowing them to collect dust and scratches in the printing phase.
     
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  15. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Sometimes - under one of these conditions:

    1. The scene is something that is so absolutely, mind-blowingly fabulous that I feel compelled to make a spare. I should note, however, that since I've started using a slosher for developing film, I so seldom damage a sheet during processing that I wonder if this is necessary. But I also have to admit that one of the corollaries of Murhpy's Law is that it is the negatives of those truly amazing scenes that I opt to not duplicate that I do screw up. Damn!

    2. The lighting is on the borderline of requiring some kind of compensating development, and I choose to expose two negatives so that I can work it both ways.
     
  16. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    If film costs are the deciding factor when you're out there shooting then I would suggest not getting into ULF. Worrying about money involved with what you're doing will rob from your artistic vision. Many times I've shot multiple sheets of ULF film of slight variations of a scene because it moved me emotionally. I want to feel out there and I don't mean feel for my wallet. But hey....everyone is different...thank God
     
  17. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    I seem to have a sixth sense about making a second exposure. I do it only on a kind of hunch, I guess that applies to why I make most of my photographs as well. When I do make a backup neg it seems as though it's almost always needed do to some technical problem... a scratch, fingerprint etc. As long as it's working I'll keep following those hunches. I'm in a similar boat as Thomas though. I could never afford to make a backup of EACH exposure. That would add up fast!
     
  18. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    When being paid I make 2 of all shots and proces them seperatly. When shooting for my self I shot multiple shots, but generally change position and or exposure.
     
  19. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    When it is possible, always.

    1. Covers my butt for dust, or other unforseen problems with a negative.

    2. Allows me to adjust processing on the second negative if I am not happy with the development of the first.

    I rarely need to use the second negative, but when I have what I consider to be a great shot, and it saves the day, it is well worth it to me. As I went through all the trouble to be there, set up, compose, meter, and expose, the additional minute and minor expense of exposing the other side of the holder are justified for me.

    Of course, during changing conditions, or with certain subjects, it's not always possible to make a second exposure. I'm not out there machine gunning with my view camera, so the difference in film cost is really minor in the grand scheme. I'm definitley not rich, either.
     
  20. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    :D we've seen your other unforseen problems on video !!!!!

    Hows the cold ?

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 27, 2007
  21. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That cold got better, but I'm just getting over the new one. Seems like I get a cold every fall. The afore mentioned video (the real one) is nearing release. I had some pressing personal issues that forced a delay, and I'm re shooting a few parts I was not happy with.
     
  22. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    I almost always shoot a backup negative. I like to be kind to the guy in the darkroom -- me. It's nice to be able to adjust development if needed, so it's good to have a spare.

    Peter Gomena
     
  23. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    Well, thinking in terms of experience and cost, I always expose two exactly the same regardless of the format. More times than I can remember, the #2 neg was the "user". Because the adjustments made in the second development improved something. Much less expensive than having to make a return trip to the location and hoping for a good exposure.

    Charlie...............................
     
  24. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't... I kinda play it by ear. When I am being stubborn and say I can't afford to waste film and shoot only one shot per scene, something always goes wrong.
    Depending on the scene, I will make an additional exposure knowing that there is a lot of sky or water (both seem to attract dust like crazy :sad: ) just to be safe. There are times when I just feel right about making only one exposure.
    With the 4x5, because I have plenty of holders, I am more likely to make the additional exposure. With 5x7 and a few less holders... well I wish I had more holders.

    gene
     
  25. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I voted 'SOMETIMES'. It is very conditional. If I'm unsure of the developer/development I'll make an identical back up. If I'm unsure of the exposure I will make one at each consideration. If I plan to use a filter I will usually make an extra exposure without the filter.

    Seldom do I have the confidence to let everything hang on one exposure.

    I couldn't vote 'ALWAYS' and there isn't a "MOST OF THE TIME".
     
  26. edebill

    edebill Member

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    I almost always shoot more than one. The bad part is when I start shooting two... and then 4 more with different f-stops and filters, so I can pick the best negative later (at which point I've lost track of what filter, etc went with each neg).

    I've managed to cut out the filter experimenting by shooting color (and scanning and converting to b&w). I still shoot extras when I'm not sure of depth of field and motion blur issues.