Help for bullet-proof negs

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Pandora, Oct 22, 2003.

  1. Pandora

    Pandora Member

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    I have a batch of bullet-proof negs - I think I mistakenly over-developed them. Am having a tough time even making contact sheets w/ no. 0 filter. I know there is a way to chemically try to remedy this on the negatives. How do I do it? And how much better will they look - in other words, is it worth it? Will I be able to get decent prints? I sure would appreciate any help/anecdotes anyone can provide.
     
  2. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    Farmer's reducer will work. Use the proportional recipe, which involves soaking the negs in bleach, and then transferring to the hypo. That way your contrast won't go out of sight. Try a throw-away negative first, then do the real thing. Also remember that you can always bleach a little more, but you can never bleach a little less after the deed is done. Go slowly and carefully. Here is a good formulary page :
    http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Developers/Formulas/formulas.html

    Use the second recipe (proportional)

    Naturally, I have NEVER overexposed a neg or processed it incorrectly, but I AM TOLD that this works very well. And I have the negs to prove it.
     
  3. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    You need a reducer. There are three types.

    1. Subtractive, which remove image silver in equal density increments from from the highlights and shadows. Good for negatives that are overexposed and does not cause a change in contrast.

    2. Proportional, which removes image silver so that the density is decreased prportionally to original density. Good for correcting for over-development.

    3. Super Proportional, which remvoes image silver so tht the denser parts of the image lose more silver than the areas of lesser density. Also good for correcting for over-development, but causes a shouldering of highlight values.

    Reducers are a bit tricky but if used with care can give excellent results. Basically you need to decide which of the three typs of correction is needed for your negatives, and then chose the proper reducer.
     
  4. Pandora

    Pandora Member

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    Thanks very much to you both. Sanking, can you tell me where I can find more info about the three types and where I get them?
     
  5. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    If you are in this for the long haul, invest in a copy of the Darkroom Cookbook by Steve Anchell et al. It has recipes for virtually everything, along with explanations. If you are not interested in mixing things yourself, Photographers Formulary sells kits of the various reducers (and intensifiers) pre-packaged.
    (www.photoformulary.com )

    The basic Farmer's reducer is SO easy to mix, though, that if I were you, would just buy a little sodium thiosulfate (hypo) and some potassium ferricyanide (bleach) and mix it yourself. You can always use both of those chemicals for all sorts of handy things in the darkroom. www.artcraftchemicals.com will have all of these for pretty cheap.
     
  6. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    At the risk of sounding like an old Fuddy Duddy, perhaps the next shots should be a film speed and development test. You don't have to go in the direction you are heading. In the time you will spend trying to restore a marginal negative, you will be able to get what you want in the next batch and have easy prints.
     
  7. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    No question there. But sometimes you have a shot that can't be repeated because of the sky conditions or whatever, and a screwup has occurred. I had a shutter malfunction recently and got an unrepeatable shot that was 2 stops overexposed. The reduction saved my bacon, and it looks like this one may be a good seller. I agree it is a method of last resort, but it sure doesn't hurt to know the technique to use when it is necessary. I also know of some people who routinely overexpose and bleach back intentionally because it delivers some unusual tonalities that are impossible to achieve even with the most anal-compulsive zonie technique.
     
  8. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    At the risk of raising APUG ire, *scan them first* before using farmer's reducer. Always good to have a backup.
     
  9. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    You won't get anything approaching a "rant" from me. I have a few rolls of Agfapan 400 overexposed by two stops (... So I forgot I wasn't using APX100) and I'm printing them with *long* enlarger exposure times ... both for the fact that I like them like that (see Ansel Adam's "Fortunate Accidents" theory) and that reducing them is invariably a risky business ... I look at reducing a negative as a "last resort".
     
  10. Pandora

    Pandora Member

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    Does anyone know of any good labs that can do negative reduction for me? I'd rather someone with some experience do this as I'm afraid I'm going to ruin the negs...Sanking, can you give me more info about the formulas for the three types if I have to do this myself? Are they in the Cookbook?
     
  11. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    Yes, there are formula for all three kinds of reducers in The Darkroom Cookbook.

    Sandy