Faulty film issues? Poor resolution too?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Tom Stanworth, Feb 1, 2005.

  1. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    A while back I posted about problems getting density from some Maco UP100 in10x8. I am able to get OK density in DDX, just about, but only with extremely bright scenes. With the lower contrast scenes I am unable to get beyond a flat neg no matter how long I dev.

    The question is.....I have also noticed that with this (faulty?) film, resolution is also very, very poor. I am new to 10x8, but the resolution is miles worse than I am used to in 5x4. Even with 5x4 HP5 and sloppy technique, the images display FAR greater acutance and resolution. At first I thought...crap, I have either a duff lens or the camera GG is out. I tried shots from another lens and they are just as fluffy, so I suepct it is either the GG or again the film. I then thought as I have to dev the film to death to get contrast perhaps this had an effect. No. I looked at teh undeveloped negs (in pyrocat HD) and they too were as fluffy as hell. Thus far I have dev'd terrible negs (out of curiousity) from 2 lenses, at apertures from F22-F45 from infinity based to using hyperfocal distance for DOF with 300mm and 210 lenses. In all cases the Maco negs lack resolution and acutance. I guess acutance would not be possible as there are no defined edges to anything. Grain is very high for a 10x8 100 speed (about the same print for print as HP5 in 5x4, carefully processed). Under teh magnifier the grain also has a mushy toothless look to it. Theres no crispness whatsoever. This made it tough to focus the negs as they never really looked in focus. Not the enlarger lens (They appear as toothless under a top end loupe on the lightbox).

    I am about to get some FP4 plus, so I guess that will answer the question of GG or the film, but would it be possible for the duff film to exhibit poor resolution? I dearly hope so, otherwise the GG is the problem (unlikely as this is a recent Zone VI and the wood appears to be machined to very tight tolerances, no slack/gaps anywhere at all. The GG is also original, so I assume that it would be made the same as all the others.....ie accurately?


    I am praying it is duff film.....
     
  2. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    I hesitate to ask, but I will anyway. Are you sure you loaded the film correctly? Your description sounds almost like you were shooting through the base and the anti-halation backing.
     
  3. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    No problem asking!

    100% sure. I've been loading 5x4 for years and definitely had the emulsion side facing the lens. I even checked the notches were cut in the right place and they are, so it is not a case of notch cut wrong so I placed it back to front. Hmmm:sad:

    I could not have produced worse negs if I'd tried:sad:



    Tom
     
  4. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Phew. I guess my only thought then would be to talk to the dealer you got the film from, or Maco directly if that's possible, to see if they've had reports of a bad batch.
     
  5. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I already spoke to the dealer, who scoffed at the idea thaqt it could be faulty. Just dev'd another sheet and yet again have irregular grubby dark splodges of about 0.5 to 1mm in the emulsion. Not dust, this is within the emulsion and soft edged splodges, rather than sharp dust. Hes getting this film back. I had some faulty paper from him once too and did not bother to return it. Again I phoned him and his manner was the same...an outright assumption that I had ballsed up. I also had a ridiculously dodgy dry mounting press from him too (supposedly just serviced) but with so many glaring problems (like the vacuum pump did not vacuum) and the lid was miles out of alignment) that is was highly doubtful it had been serviced (no documentary evidence provided of the service either). I shall see what he says.........

    Tom
     
  6. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Subscriber

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    If it is the GG then the problem is lack of proper focus as the GG would mislead you into thinking you were focusing on object A. That should mean that Object B (farther away) or Object C (closer) IS in focus. If you see that then the GG is the problem. If EVERYTHING is soft then your film is crap
     
  7. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Perhaps if you got a friend to shoot a sheet or two of your Maco film thru their camera it might tell you what you need to find out???
     
  8. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Thanks, that makes sense and I guess it could not be so far out that nothing is in focus (I hope). Judging by the amount of variation of how far racked out the camera was depending upon which focus point I chose or how much tilt was employed (and apertures), I am fairly confident I s'pose that and GG error would have shown as you mention, in differential focus not no focus!

    But, no, nothing is sharp at all. There is an equal mushiness everywhere. All 10 sheets are gone and in any case, I know nobody who shoots 10x8, but in future a quick post on APUG would remind me of who in the UK who does in the UK. I bought a 10 pack as I believed the film to be the same as Efke pl100 and at the time had no cash for bigger boxes! Boy am I glad I bought no more....

    It also looks like there is some sort of halation problem as well. On the line where mountain meets bright sky, I would have expected a fairly etched line. Not so. Again it looks like there is halation around this border, but this may be relaqted to por resolution again rather than halation itself. Those mucky spots inside the emulsion of the film tell me that something must be very wrong.....I've never seen it before.

    I dev'd a mates FP4 plus 120 in pyrocat the other day and was very pleased with the results, so I am looking forwards to FP4 in 10x8 very much. I think Ilford can count on my business for film now.
     
  9. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Can you try placing a sheet of known good 4x5 (er, sorry, make that 5x4) on an 8x10 holder with tape and then take a shot? This should be enough to find out. If good film is not firm, then it sounds like a GG problem. tim
     
  10. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I seem to remember that you focused on the hyperfocal distance?

    Don't.

    That could be why your horizon is mushy. If you use the hyperfocal technique, the horizon will always be just at the edge of unacceptably unsharp - that's what it means.

    I have had very good results with the same film (in 18x24cm size) in my antique plate camera, so it is not a general problem with Maco UP100!
     
  11. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Sounds to me - definitely - that there is a film/ processing problem. No matter how far out of focus things are - or what the lens characteristics are - for whatever optical reason ... the film grain should NOT be "mushy".
    Film and developer go together. One or the other - or the combination? ... is "out".

    I would suggest a developer known for razor - sharp grain - Try Rodinal - if you have any. If the grain is still "mushy", in my mind - it HAS to be defective film.

    One other thought ... I assume that you are not enlarging the image, so this would not be relevant... Something similar has happened to me ... I occasionally use "softening filters" on my enlarging lens in place of filtering the camera lens. The end result seems to be close to what you are describing... sometimes desirable in portraiture. if I forget and try using the grain focuser with a softening filter on the lens .. focusing will be impossible.

    But -- if no enlarging is involved - try the Rodinal.
     
  12. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    Umm... Try a piece of film from a reputable manufacturer, i.e., Kodak or Ilford and see if the neg is sharp?
     
  13. mark

    mark Member

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    Here is another idea. Could it be the film holder is not at the same depth as the GG? Is it happening with all of your film holders?
     
  14. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    I second Mark's concern about your film holders. If you don't have access to a fancy depth gauge, you can try this method:

    You'll need a straight edge long enough to fit across the lens side of the camera back, and a shorter straight edge, preferably one that has a square end (also make sure that the end is nice and square to the length)

    1) Load a holder with a piece of dead film (one of your bad negatives will work just fine).

    2) Take the back off the camera and lay the straight edge across the back.

    3) Use your shorter straight edge to measure the distance from the surface of the ground glass to the edge of the straight edge across the back. You're not looking for an exact measurement, but rather you want to find a reference point that you can compare to in the next step.

    4) Insert your film holder under the ground glass and pull the darkslide. Make the same measurement you made in step 3 (do it in the same place), measuring from the surface of the film in the holder to the reference point you identified in the previous step.

    Granted, this is NOT going to be accurate to the nth degree, but it WILL give you a ballpark idea if your ground glass and film holder are in agreement. If they are out of whack, you should be able to see a difference. You might be lucky and only have to shim the ground glass.
     
  15. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    Oops.. I almost forgot....

    What camera are you using? What brand film holders (and are they new or old)? and what is the lens that has been giving you trouble?

    Remember, some lenses shift focus quite a bit when stopped down and must be refocused at shooting aperture.

    As for lack of density - I know you've a lot of experience in 4X5, but are you taking bellows extension into account when determining exposure? The point is pretty moot if you're problems are at infinity, but extension factors can sneak up on you at much farther distances than you think when shooting in larger formats - especially with longer lenses.

    Have you tried this lens with your 4X5 with good results? If you've only used the lens with the 8X10, is there a possibility that the lens was reshuttered and didn't have the aperture scale properly calibrated?

    I know, I know... Too damn many questions! :smile:
     
  16. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Subscriber

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    Bob, I think Tom said that he tried another film from Ilford in the camera and it came out fine. If that is the case then his camera is not the problem
     
  17. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Cut some up and put it in the 5X4. Start with at least a few "Knowns" that way.
     
  18. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Subscriber

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    Oh wait, I mis-read his prior post. He was saying he likes the FP4/PMK combination but that he did that in a different camera
     
  19. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Cannot cut it up to 5x4, it has all been exposed.

    Hyperfocal technique is not the problem. If doing this I always use a very very conservative CoC. In any case I tend to combine this with mild movements when full movements are not possible (vertical tree preventing full tilt etc) and have no DoF problems in 5x4. I am aware of the DoF difficulties with 10x8, but shot some scenes at distance at F22 with focus at about 200M, so they should be sharp.......Others I was able to use full movements for pin shaopr image from the bottom of GG top the top (and in the middle!). In any case, these images look soft at 10x8....theres just no edge anywhere.


    Dev'd in pyrcat HD or DDX it is the same. Soft.

    I have used many films in 5x4 and never have seen this (including Efke PL100)

    Holders are all barely used second hand fidelity and lisco.

    GG and back all original (tho cannot rule it out as a problem, I am 95% sure is not as nothing anywhere is very sharp even when small apertures used.) I cannot enlarge it and get crisp grain at any size, thru the focus finder, on the print or thru a loupe. Theres no crispness. The difference between looking at these negs and an APX100/FP4/HP5 anything 5x4 is worlds apart. I can see crisp grain, whatever the size of it.

    As I said before there are other problems which lead me to think the film has had it. Terrible Dmax and a speed of about ISO32 at best in pyrocat. I rated it at 64 and had massive shadow drop out. Shadows on Z2.5 were clear base......at 64! (same spot metering technique as using 5x4 on same trip and over a few years. 5x4 (APX100) had tonnes of detail at 64. I could have gone for 80 easily). Muddy marks within the emulsion, sometimes scattered, others in streaks of splodges (look like thinh scattered plane vapour trails, but are not)

    Got the FP4 thru this afternoon, shot a frame and will dev tonight. The answer is near............Please let it be the film, oh please...


    Tom
     
  20. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    Hmmmm...

    You may well be right, it may be a dead film issue. Keep us posted on what happens with the FP4.

    I would still check the ground glass and film holders though... You never know what you'll find. I have a Toyo 4X5 back that needed some brass shims under the GG to get proper focus on film.
     
  21. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    It was the film, phew. The single FP4 neg is worlds apart. Absolutely tack sharp, superb contrast, tight crisp grain...as it should be.

    That Maco was an ugly experience, one that I do not care to repeat. I lost a great image to that film and am thoroughly annoyed! I spent so long doubting myself too!

    Tho I have not printed yet, the 300 F9 geronar appears plenty sharp enough too with very good contrast indeed. Once I have more user info on this lens I will post it. As I have a 305 G claron, it will be interesting to compare them in terms of resolution, tho I know the claron will trounce it for IC. At 290 g tho the geronar is tiny and still corner sharp with 1 inch rise at F32. If it can handle 2 inches of rise, its a keeper!
     
  22. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Tom, good news! Glad it was just the film. Hope the Geronar works out for you and has enough coverage. tim