How to develop Delta 3200 at EI 12800?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Emil, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. Emil

    Emil Member

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    Last night I was at a jam at a bar, photographing my brothers band. I had a roll of Ilford Delta 3200 in the camera. Wanting to get some face shots, I put on my 135mm lens, but to get a decent shutter speed, I had to underexpose 3 stops with my meter at 1600 (which is the maximum of my meter).

    So it seems I have shot the film at an EI of 12800 (+/- a stop here and there)

    I will be developing this film in HC-110. Does anyone have an idea for a developement time and an agitation regimen? Massive dev chart has nothing, and neither does the inside of the film packet...

    Is there any advantage to using Dilution A instead of B, other than a shorter dev time?

    Many thanks to all who answer

    Emil
     
  2. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    I myself would use Dilute A in this mess. One trick you can use, if you care to do so, is to use HC110 Replenisher as a developer. No matter what you do, you are going to be lucky to get a useable neagative. Eastman publishes a formula for a home brew developer for maximum emulsion speed. That would be my first choice; plus incantations to Odin.
     
  3. Emil

    Emil Member

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    Thanks John

    I would really hate to have to buy or mix a new developer, since I really like HC-110, and hopefully this will be the only time a mess like this happens. If I do dev it in Dil A, how long would you think it should take? 30 mins?

    To me, a useable negative in this situation would be anything that shows an image. Grain and contrast be darned.

    And yes, incantations sounds reasonable, and perhaps a small sacrifice of livestock ;-)
     
  4. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Everything depends on how accurate your metering was.

    Your film is ISO 1000. That means if you exposed it at 12,800, you are automatically 3-2/3 stops underexposed across the board; every tone, every picture. You can go ahead and assume that this is four stops for sake of simplicity. Look at that this way: assuming ideal metering methods (spot meter and tonal placement), everything that should have been a skin tone at zone V or VI is now totally without detail at zones I or II. Things that fall at these densities cannot be pushed any notable amount, and certainly cannot regain detail.

    However, there is hope, because you never know what happened when using an in-camera meter in such a situation. Your camera was likely overexposing and underexposing all over the place, so you may be able to get something out of the roll.

    In other words, you are hoping that your metering was "bad", and you overexposed some shots.

    It is a tricky situation. It's hard to figure out what to do. You know you won't be able to push extremely underexposed tones, and pushing will just add contrast and grain and mush things up. Yet if anything came out well exposed enough to push, the push *would* help.

    Therefore, I think what you need to to is decide what to do based on the contrast at the show. If it was the kind of low light that was very flat, push away and see what you get. The contrast won't hurt you. If it was the kind of low light that is very contrasty, I would take care not to push too much, as it will just add unneeded and unprintable contrast, which could ruin a shot that *did* happen to be a usable exposure.

    I expose Delta 1000 when I want a very flat image or when I want to place tones. I expose it at 2000 when I want to up the contrast one grade across the board, and 4000 when I want to up the contrast two grades across the board. I never really meter in situations in which I would need to use 8000 or 16000. I just shoot at whatever I can get away with, develop more than I do for 4000 and see what I get, then plan on using intensification and/or "extreme" printing to salvage what I can.

    The key is knowing the film, and not expecting something from it that it cannot do. When I know I am going to extremely underexpose like you did, I shoot things that would be better suited to a graphic, grainy image with abnormal contrast.
     
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  5. Todd Niccole

    Todd Niccole Member

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    I remember seeing referrences into producing really high ISO with Tmax 3200, even up to ISO 64,000 iirc. Reference Kodak's Tmax film techpub. They list for a development of ISO 12,500 and up to ISO 25,000 with Tmax developer and XTOL at a higher developing temperature. This gives you a place to guestimate a comparable development with HC-110 dil. B by comparing the more nominal published ISO vlaues and development times of these developers. I personally didn't see a noticeable difference in the final results between my tests of Xtol vs. HC-110 dil. B other than HC is a more of an energetic developer(slightly shorter dev time) producing a similiar amount of grain so, I don't think changing to another developer is required for this.


    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/products/blackWhiteIndex.jhtml?pq-path=13319/1231
     
  6. Emil

    Emil Member

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    Hi 2F/2F

    Truth be told I didn't meter very much. I used the maximum aperture of the lens, and the minimum shutter speed I can get away with handheld, which is 1/125th of a second. A few test measurements along the way showed me that with my meter at ISO 1600, I was three stops under. But I never changed any settings on the entire roll.
    Aperture of f/3.5 and shutter speed of 1/125th of a second under a few dark red stage spot lights on the entire roll. I would say the lighting had a very pronounced contrast, the stage was barely lit except for the red spotlights on the performers faces.

    So... ???

    I was planning to scan the negs and email them to the performers, I do not "need" to make prints of them, unless of course there's a spectacular shot in there somewhere. (not likely) Will that make a difference in what's good developing?
     
  7. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Emil,

    it would be interesting to tell us what metering mode your camera has. Let's say, for the sake of the argument, that you have center weighted metering. The meter sees the performers (bright, lit by spotlights) and the background (very dark), then makes a guestimate that the scene is very dark and suggests longish exposures. The truth is that you might be able to process it as if it was shot at 6400 ISO, in other words one stop less than your estimated 12800. Now, honestly, I don't know if matrix metering would be more effective in a situation like that, but I assume that it might be fooled as well. Spot metering is the way to go for such cases...
     
  8. Emil

    Emil Member

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    Hi. The camera is an Olympus OM-1n, I believe it has average metering?
     
  9. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Center weighted metering then, easily fooled by the lighting conditions. I'd say develop as if it was shot at 6400 ISO.
     
  10. Emil

    Emil Member

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    hi Anon

    That sounds reasonable.

    I have developed another film from that night, metered and dev'ed at 3200, same model of camera but with a faster lens. It came out pretty balanced regarding darkness/lightness. It was also shot at 1/125th speed but with an aperture of f/1.4 instead of f/3.5.

    I'll go for 6400 and see what happens. I really hope that all the frames aren't blank. Should I post a link here to the scans, when I'm done?

    Oh, and do I still go for 10 seconds of agitation every minute?

    Thank you everyone
     
  11. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Hi,

    It's nice to have some more info on the situation.

    In an *average* small bar or club that I shoot, I can get EV 4 or thereabouts on a performer's face. Remember the word *average*! heh heh. I am only speaking from my experience, which is quite a lot with live music in small local venues...but every place is different. Nicely lit places are several stops brighter, and crummily lit places are several stops slower, such as EV 1 or 2, or EV nothing if it is truly dark (what I like to call "no light shooting" instead of "low light shooting"). The average of EV 4 means to make that face middle grey (a perfectly workable value for a face given that you can push that up a bit in development, and also print it up and/or intensify), you must expose 11 stops from sunny 16, which would be '1000 at f/16 with Delta 1000. Go from '1000 to '125 and you add three stops. Go from f/16 to f/3.5 and you knock off 4-1/2 more stops, for 7-1/2 total. Still 3-1/2 stops underexposed from middle grey, meaning that the face is exposed below the threshold of detail, and no amount of pushing or special printing will ever add detail there. Once something falls at a low tone, it cannot significantly be pushed, as pushing really only works on the midtones and high tones. In my experience, you can get a decent print (albeit rather gnarly to get it) if a face has to be underexposed by two stops. Any more than that, and you have to just find a way to work with it as a block of dark tone in the print, perhaps with a touch of texture there if you are between 2 and 3 stops under.

    If you really want to get slick, you can take your brother back to the bar, put him in the same lighting situations, and take some meter readings off of his face with your meter set at EI 1000. Compare the exposures it gives you to the one you actually used the night of the jam session, and you know how underexposed he was in each position onstage.

    You were at a disadvantage with a long and slow lens. I find f/2.8 unusable to capture detail in faces in an *average* situation (unless the lens has Image Stabilzation and the person is holding still enough to get a shot with a slow shutter speed, like is this example shot with a borrowed Canon 70-200 2.8 IS at 200mm, f/2.8 at '50, uncropped (love the LONG lens from the front row!):
    [​IMG]

    or this one at '100 at 70mm:
    [​IMG])
    (Adjusted on a mac with 2.2 gamma setting, so will look washed out on a standard mac screen. Both shots are of members of the band Savage Republic.)
    My lenses for this stuff are my 50mm 1.4s, my 55mm 1.2, my 28mm f/2.0, 35mm f/2.0, 85mm f/1.8 and 100mm f/2.0. I *hate* to say things like this, but a lot of your problem in this case was simply being at a disadvantage equipment wise. Your lens would work fine in a very well-lit venue, but not your average bar.
     
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  12. Emil

    Emil Member

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    I know... it was the wrong lens for that situation. But I had already gotten many good shots on the 50mm f/1.4, so I wanted to do something different for the other roll of film.

    If i understand you correctly, this being a poorly lit venue, there will not be much detail no matter how much I push process.

    Unfortunately, it is not possible to go back there and meter, since it is not a permanent stage.

    I'll dev it tonight, in a few hours, it will be as 6400, and I will post the result.

    btw. gorgeus performance shots there 2F
     
  13. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    "I know... it was the wrong lens for that situation. But I had already gotten many good shots on the 50mm f/1.4, so I wanted to do something different for the other roll of film."

    Oohhh.....one question: did you use both lenses on the same roll of film? If so, I would favor the 1.4 shots in development. They stand a much better working chance.

    "If i understand you correctly, this being a poorly lit venue, there will not be much detail no matter how much I push process."

    EXACTLY. You have to understand that idea when shooting, so you know what to shoot for.

    "Unfortunately, it is not possible to go back there and meter, since it is not a permanent stage."

    That is too bad. It would give you the most definitive answer, for sure.

    "I'll dev it tonight, in a few hours, it will be as 6400, and I will post the result."

    I am interested in seeing them, and in knowing the negative densities that your scanner reads.

    "btw. gorgeus performance shots there 2F"

    Thanks for the compliment. I love that band, and it was a very luxurious experience getting to borrow that lens to shoot them! I can't justify owning one, but I sure did enjoy it while I had it! Those were both at effective ISO 2000, btw.
     
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  14. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony Member

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    Nice shots 2F and good advice, if you're going to do any amount of low light work investing in a 85mm F2 will pay off depending on the size of the venue even a 50mm prime will be OK.
    That said I have had some OK results in relative darkness with 120 cameras with leaf shutters, though subject movement can be a spoiler...
     
  15. Mike Té

    Mike Té Subscriber

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    Delta 3200, rated at 1600, dev'd at 12.8K in Microphen.

    I know, I know; it's really Delta 1000 :smile:.

    I'm just trying to get this film to work for me. With this shot, I managed to get more contrast and finer grain than I had in the past. I'm pleased b/c I'd always had flat, grainy negatives, not bad but not good, either. The Massive Dev gives 16.5 min at 20C for 12.8K in Microphen.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Emil

    Emil Member

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    So, I got around to it now, and I developed the roll for 13 minutes in a dilution A, as an EI 6400 per instructions on the box.

    Here are a few links to some of them:

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3365/3418739261_76056f6a28_b.jpg
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3556/3419549310_01dc0878b5_b.jpg

    and for comparison, a few links to some taken that night, with the 50mm f/1.4 lens, also on Delta 3200, and also at 1/125th second shutter speed. These were developed at EI 3200:

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3586/3419547200_bd038e5180_b.jpg
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3594/3418737297_58f67b179e_b.jpg

    I should say that my scanner, an Epson Perfection V300, does not give much insight into grain quality, on account of the noise. Also, these photos have been scanned with a fairly flat contrast setting, to not lose too much detail.

    I am glad I took your advice, and did not push this film beyond EI 6400.
    Thanks for the help to all of you.

    Emil
     
  17. Emil

    Emil Member

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    I am so sorry, I seem to have saved these as colour images. Please ignore the bad greenish tint, until I get it fixed.

    Emil
     
  18. djkloss

    djkloss Subscriber

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    What developer are you using?
     
  19. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    HC-110 (from the OP) dilution A (from the latest post with the pix).

    Glad the pix came out well. I like the 2nd shot with the 135mm the best.

    Lesson learned: In these situations, in-camera meters can be worth less than an educated guess (if the guess is based on experience, of course). In actuality, your film got a lot more exposure than your meter had you believe. Meters are easy to fool in high-contrast compositions. Any composition with a large amount of darkness or lightness as a background should send up a warning flag to meter extra carefully, or just apply manual compensation (less exposure if a darker background than the subject and more exposure if a lighter background than the subject). If using an in-camera meter in your situation, I probably would have assumed that it was telling me to give one to two stops more exposure than I actually needed (unless I was framed extremely tightly on someone's face).
     
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  20. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    those aren't too bad, if it were I'd be using Xtol for a variety of reasons :smile: