engineer's POV on film development

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by pierods, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. pierods

    pierods Member

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    Hi,

    I am an engineer by day, a wannabe film developer by night.

    I bought "The film developing cookbook" and looked up dev times for delta 400 in ID-11.

    From the book:

    delta 400@400ISO, 20c, small tank:

    id-11 stock 7 mins
    id-11 1+1 10.5 mins

    From Ilford's data sheet (same conditions):

    id-11 stock 9.5 mins
    id-11 1+1 14 mins

    ????????????????

    Also, still from Ilford's delta 400 sheet:

    CHOOSING THE BEST ILFORD
    DEVELOPER FOR THE JOB

    Maximum sharpness (powder) ID-11 (1+3)


    When you go and look for dev times, IN THE SAME SHEET, for delta 400 with ID-11 at 1+3...UNLISTED!

    Either I'm missing the obvious, or this is a very large WTF situation...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2008
  2. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    Yep, you need to test all this stuff yourself, water is a variable, temperature is a variable, exposure is a variable, development method is a variable, agitation is a variable...on and on.....EC
     
  3. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony Member

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    The times are an estimate (suggestions) you can't take them and make an absolute. There are many variables even the same film and dev combo in two different cameras will give slightly different results.
    Try to do a test, it could be that to get the required result you need to rate the film lower or move dev times up/down slightly from the suggested.
    The suggested info will give ballpark Ok results.
    Mark
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Enlarging method is another factor. Your ideal development time will vary with the light source of your enlarger and the kind of paper you use. That doesn't mean that a negative developed for a point source enlarger will be unprintable with a diffusion enlarger, but if you do it right, it will print easiest and best with the system it's targeted for.

    You might look at Ansel Adams' book, _The Negative_ for more details.
     
  5. pierods

    pierods Member

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    What is a film scanner considered to be, as far as development goes? Diffusion/point?
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yet another thing, and it might require a different development time from either of them.

    Contact printing and alternative processes present yet further possibilities.

    For a given film/developer combination I may have one time for enlargement on enlarging paper, another time for contact printing on Azo, and another time for albumen printing.
     
  7. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    Neither. It is considered to be a film scanner.
     
  8. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    My condolences. I, too, suffer from this affliction.

    My advice is to try not to measure everything all that precisely and to realize that the choice of developer really doesn't make all that much difference in the end.

    It is sometimes unfortunate that so much applied science is necessary in the production of a piece of art. Sometimes we forget about the art part.
     
  9. Don Wallace

    Don Wallace Member

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    I have to disagree, respectfully.

    First, in developing film, you should measure things precisely because variations in film, developer, dilution, time, temperature, and method of development will definitely make a difference in the negative, and thus in the final print. The reason that there are differences in the times for this film and developer combination is that different photographers look for slightly different things. That is part of the art. Knowing how you got a specific result and thus being able to repeat it is part of the science. Photography, like painting and many others, is an art that involves a high degree of craft and experience with physical materials.

    In my opinion, for someone in the early stages of learning, the best advice is to go with what the manufacturer says. Gain some experience and you will know better what you want to see in a negative and what you don't want to see. When I first started in large format, I was obsessed with testing and it really was a waste of a time because I did not have the experience to assess the results. However, after shooting for a while and not getting what I wanted in shadows and highlights, I went back to some simple tests and got much better results because I knew what to look for.
     
  10. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony Member

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    I have found that you need lower contrast fro scanning than I would with a diffuser, probably similar to condenser.
    Trial and error I'm afraid.
    Mark
     
  11. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Being consistent in dilutions, temperatures, times, and agitation is really important for repeatable results. Another tip is when changing your methods, to change only one thing at a time and judge its effects compared to past results.

    Until you purchase an enlarger, you might want to get a local photo lab to contact print your negatives. There's no place for a poorly exposed and/or developed negative to hide on a contact print. Welcome to the dark side :smile:

    Murray
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2008
  12. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Ignore what "The Film Developing Cookbook" says about development times. The author wrote what worked for him. That is not necessarily what will work for you. Your best bet is to use the manufacturer's recommendations as a starting point. They know what they're doing, they engineered the film, and they have a vested interest in their customer having a positive result. They would,after all, like to keep you as a customer.

    Why no published development time from Ilford for Delta 400 in ID-11 1+3? There are a couple of possibilities here. Development times can run too long to be practical. There needs to be a minimum amount of stock developer, and development in a small tank might not be able to accommodate that amount. Remember too, that the manufacturers figure in a pretty large "fudge factor" to account for individual variances.
     
  13. pierods

    pierods Member

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    Got ya!
     
  14. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    I see no choice but to do a sensitivity analysis to find the effect of development time of ID-11 on the film of your choice. Average all the development times from other sources. Take the shortest, the average, and the longest times to develop each of 3 identically exposed pieces of film. The best scene to photograph for these tests will include a reflective gray scale. Whether you have a densitometer or not, you can tell by the image of the grey scale in a contact print or enlargement approximately (close enough for engineering work) how many steps you see between black and white. If you do both contact and enlarged prints, you will see the difference in development or paper grade that might be required.

    I do mostly roll film, so it is a simple matter to expose a whole roll identically. With 35 mm I brackett the exposure + & - 1/2 stop and cut off a strip at least 4 frames long to be sure of getting the bracketted series each time.
     
  15. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Absolutely. And the film I use is very unforgiving so I'm pretty exacting. I only mean to say that engineers tend to get so wrapped up in the precision that they lose sight of the photograph.

    All you really need to do with film is get close. I've made great prints from absurdly thin negatives (as long as they were exposed enough) and from some that were so dense they took a 3 minute exposure.

    But, you need to find what works and then do it exactly the same way every time.
     
  16. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    The times given in the Film Developing Cookbook are for the previous version of Delta 400 and the latter times are for the current version which is now in it`s 3rd generation.
     
  17. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Aren't the times copied wholesale from the Massive Development Chart? So you have no clue as to the conditions or results of those times as they are put up by numerous volunteers. Kind of like trusting something like Wikipedia to completely right on everything...

    Use them as a guideline and develop a test roll first.
     
  18. pierods

    pierods Member

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    Allrigthy, thanks to everybody.

    At this point I must draw the conclusion that between the massive dev chart and the amount of different opinions, my second hypothesis was true, i.e., this is a typical WTF situation.

    References:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=zrtIfdoJbrU
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=kbNkuK6X1i4

    :smile:
     
  19. eddym

    eddym Member

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    True, which is why I once had a hard time convincing another engineer-turned-photographer that photography, and especially film developing, is SUBJECTIVE, not OBJECTIVE. There is no "right" development. There is just the one that works for you, and makes the prints the way you want them to look.