IR film exposure advice needed

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Dan Henderson, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I just exposed infrared film for the first time, as follows:

    EFKE IR 4x5 film through a #87 filter in bright sun

    Using the "sunny 16 rule" advocated by others here and at the LF forum, and manufacturer's recommendation of ISO 1, correct exposure should have been f/16 for 1 second. I wanted to use f/22 so gave 2 seconds + 1 second for reciprocity, total exposure of 3 seconds.

    Developed the film for 12 minutes in Jay DeFehr's "Obsidian Aqua" developer, agitating the first minute, then 10 seconds every 2 minutes thereafter.

    Negative is very thin. Shaded tree trunk has a tiny bit of detail. Green leaves in bright sun show just a little detail. Grass in bright sun in background have some detail but will not print anywhere close to white. Sky will probably print black.

    Properly exposed FP4 negative developed at the same time as IR negative has good detail and contrast.

    I suspect severe underexposure.

    I would appreciate any advice experienced IR users can offer.
    Thanks,
    Dan
     
  2. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Dan - one possible source for the problem is the time of day at which you were shooting. There is less IR at high noon than there is in the morning and evening. Reciprocity compensation is not just one second, but it's a whole stop - you should have used 4 seconds, not 3. At that point, one second is a meaningful deviation (unlike a lot of my nighttime stuff where my exposures are 30 seconds +/-). Also, the 87 is a particularly strong filter - next time try something like a Hoya RM72 that also transmits some visible light. The 87 has a cutoff of 800nm - your Efke loses sensitivity past 820nm - if you want detail in your image, you need either greater IR sensitivity or a filter with a lower cutoff point. Boosting exposure with the 87 will not get you a lot more tonal range - you'll gain density but you'll still have a wickedly contrasty negative. Try an 89b or the aforementioned Hoya RM72, which has a cutoff point of 720nm.
     
  3. Brian C. Miller

    Brian C. Miller Member

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    +1 on exposure and filter. I use a very deep red filter, either the Hoya RM72 or the B+W 092. The opaque filters are only really good with Kodak film.

    If you look at the curve for the Efke IR, that maximum IR response is actually extremely poor. So far nothing has come close to what Kodak gave us. Also, Efke IR isn't good for reciprocity, so for your initial testing, be sure to bracket liberally, like N, N+1, and N+2.

    I really haven't seen a true correlation between available light and IR. Sure, in direct sunlight you can usually know what happens, but sometimes it really gives a suprise. I have a strip of Konica IR, and I used it in some deep woods, where there was no direct sunlight. The IR light made the pine needles look ghostly white, even though I was sure the IR would be negligible.

    You'll have to run some experiments for yourself to see how it behaves. Prepare to use at least ten sheets for that.
     
  4. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    The recommendation of ISO1 applies to use of an R72 filter with 720nm cutoff and only in Sunny-16 lighting (full sun). However you used an 87 which has the cutoff somewhere around 790nm so you're getting a much much narrower spectrum onto the film and will therefore need a lot more exposure. 720-800nm is the range where IR820 has most of its sensitivity and you've lost much of that with your filter choice.

    Get an R72 filter instead, even if it's a cheap chinese clone. Or you could add maybe 4 stops of exposure when using the #87 but you're well into reciprocity failure and it's all a bit annoying.
     
  5. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    Hi Dan, Here's my goofy method. I set my meter for 320 iso, meter the Ev in the green which I want to affect and the range is as follows: at ev8 it's 3 minutes @f 22.5 on one sheet and 4 minutes on a second sheet. At Ev10, it's a minute with a second sheet at a minute 20. at EV15, it's 20sec. and 35 sec. for a second sheet , all at f22.5. It works and I never miss exposure..Bracket it as I describe and get the feel for it. I am using a B+W 092, so ot might be different but over exposing isn't a problem while underexposure is..TTYL, Evan
     
  6. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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  7. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Hmmm - I would say leaves reflect a lot of the IR, thus the cotton candy look for trees, so there might actually be less underneath them. In any event, I remain convinced there is no substitute for bracketing! :D

    Just put two rolls of Rollei 400 IR through my Yashica 124G, using a TLR was much easier than the Bronica used in previous outings. Just slap that filter on and leave it there!
     
  8. Brian C. Miller

    Brian C. Miller Member

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    Well, the thing is that conifer trees, i.e., spruce, pines, etc., don't reflect as much IR as deciduous trees and lawn grass. I have shots on Konica where the conifers are looking like some kind of grey scale, from light grey to black. But in that particular instance, the needles were just bathed in that fabulous look that I usually only got with Kodak HIE.
     
  9. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    Thanks everyone for the great advice. Sounds like the first thing I need to do is go filter shopping!
    Dan
     
  10. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    Infrared film photography is hard. I used to pride myself on being able to expose slide film perfectly every time after years of practice. The normal rules simply don't apply with IR and it was a humbling experience when my first roll of Efke 820 came back completely blank. I agree with DWThomas; bracket the hell out of it until you learn to "see" with IR film (I'm not even close to that point, alas).

    Oh, and here's a link to the Efke 820 datasheet, via Freestyle: http://www.freestylephoto.biz/pdf/MACO_IR820c_AURA.pdf

    There are plenty of disclaimers stating that experimentation is needed for best results :cry:
     
  11. madgardener

    madgardener Member

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    I would strongly advise that you get what film you can now as it looks like its going away soon :sad:
     
  12. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    Few things frustrate me more than learning to use a new material and then have it disappear. So if IR film is, as you say, "going away soon," I'd rather not invest any more time or money in it. I am curious what leads you to say that it will be leaving.
     
  13. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    You know what frustrates me even more than materials disappearing? People promising they'll disappear and discussing it endlessly, pessimistically moaning about it instead of actually using the materials in question.
     
  14. madgardener

    madgardener Member

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    If you have been reading the thread on Efke closing, how could someone not be a little pessimistic?
     
  15. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Even if Efke was being discontinued (in God we trust, but the rest of you should bring evidence!) still got Rollei IR to fall back on. :smile:

    To assimilate yourself with near-IR experience, get some Ilford SFX film in a smaller format e.g. 35mm or 120 so you can bracket up and down. Doing so is wasteful in 4x5. It's not true IR film but it comes very close to the effect (and is easier to work with to boot!) with an R72 filter (el cheapos from Hong Kong do the trick; no need for Hoya's $300-gigadollar dazzler) and that's good enough for experimenting with before investing in the more precious stuff. It's best on sunny days with scattered clouds. Not sure what the #87 filter is for.

    I have three rolls of Efke AURA in deep freeze. But experimentation is taking place with SFX 200.My working formula for that is set ISO to 25; meter scene with IR filter off (either camera meter or handheld); bracket 1 stop up and down. There will be duds, but you should get a couple of good ones on the proviso conditions are suitable for "near-IR" imaging, as noted above, bright sunny sky and some clouds and a strong composition e.g. a barn in a field, windmill, old car, ruins... whatever you can find.

    No doubt others here, when they stop talking about who is discontinuing what and when and start getting out there, will have their own experiences about exposing IR/pseudo-IR films. It's an interesting type of photography. :smile:
     
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