lower contrast

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by veke, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. veke

    veke Member

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    I have 2 large posters with landscapes, they look pretty contrasty but on the wall perhaps that is the meaning. I would like to shoot those on film material and make a small copy into frames on the table. The original on the wall has a side 115 cm`s and I aim at a nice copy of 15 cm´s . (as feet perhaps 3 feet on the wall and half a foot is the goal).

    I am thinking that I need negatives that have less contrast cause when shooting on film and enlarging on a paper the contrast may still increase, some tones disappear. Perhaps I am wrong but less contrast is the goal.

    Should I just expose normally and under-develop? Or should I over-expose and underdevelop? There is , of course, the option to under-expose and develop normally...or over-develop?

    Any suggestions, there are so experienced photographers here that have knowledge and experience. I use for this purpose Ilford FP4 plus and Ilfosol 3 developer. I will try the 1:9 mixture with development time 4:00 in 24 degrees. In what direction should I change something (exposure, development) when wanting a little less contrast?

    And if someone knows a site where there are examples of negatives and explanations with those so that I could compare my negs to those and know if mine is good, or not good and why it is not good and what should I do next time otherwise. Hopefully you understand. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Ghostman

    Ghostman Subscriber

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    There is also the option of exposing normally, developing normally and printing to your desired contrast.
     
  3. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I agree with Ghostman on normal exposure and develpment. What has me baffled, is how do you expect to get more midtones(lower contrast) from a subject that is already high contrast? What is there is there, and you wont be adding anything to it, you will only be able to render (accuratly) what is there. IMO, you probably will end up with a dull lifeless and muddy looking print that you are dissattisfied with.
     
  4. veke

    veke Member

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    thank you, dear sirs. I am notexpecting to get visible something that ain´t there in the poster. But I do not want to lose the details that are there now. So, I thought that a negative with less contrast than normal might be a solution. I guess I was wrong, there is no sense in my thought.

    But the other point is that I would prefer my small paper copies to be of less contrast. Softer, if that is the expression in negatives ( more flat, less contrasty, lighter). How do I get that? I can use more contrasty paper if I want that result but now I want to have all the details visible but the whole image looks less contrasty. How do I get such a negative, in the first place?

    Thank You for commenting.
     
  5. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear veke,

    You're pretty safe no matter what you choose to do. If it were my project I would be concentrating on proper lighting. The tones on any print should fit easily on the curve of any good film and then as Ghostman suggested you can print as you like. Bracket your exposures and you will have at least one where everything fits. Besides, you can always go back and try again. :>)

    Neal Wydra
     
  6. Ghostman

    Ghostman Subscriber

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    You should not be looking to control these things on the negative. You want the negative to pick up all the detail and you want to control the look of the print, in print.

    Some films have stronger contrast characteristics than others, for example if you were to use Ilford Delta 100 or PanF instead of HP5. Panf or Delta 100 have a much higher acutance and contrast than HP5. The best thing you can do is select the right film that works for you, expose it correctly and develop it in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

    Once you have a film that under controlled and recommended exposure and development conditions gives you the characteristics you are looking for, the rest follows in the darkroom and is easily achieved using variable contrast papers.

    I would recommend trying Ilford HP5. It is a versatile and forgiving film that may suit the look you are after. Out of interest, which film are you currently using?
     
  7. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    If the images are yours, then you already have the negatives or other originals. If they are not yours, then purchase the smaller images from the copyright holder in the usual way.
     
  8. veke

    veke Member

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    okay, sounds very reasonable. I will control the contrast when choosing the paper or the grade in multigrades when enlarging.

    Ilford FP4 Plus, ISO 125. I mentioned this in the beginning. The other alternative that I will try is Kodak TMax, ISO 100 also if I recall correctly.

    Te posters are old, perhaps from the 70´s. No mentioning of the copyright holder and I would only make these small copies so that I can carry them with me when moving from one place to another. The posters have already suffered and look bad on the wall and I will put those in the waste after I have a good quality photo of those. For my personal use only.

    The other part of my original question was and is that how do I judge my negatives? If it looks too dense, what to do? If it looks too dense does it also mean that it is too dense when other persons look at it, how do WE know it is too dense :smile:. "Perhaps too dense" is an opinion but "too dense" is a fact. Shadows have no details=too dense? Highlights totally black on the neg, ?. The neg looks a little gray with not much tonality, what? I would love to get these things correctly already in the negative so that it is easier for someone else to make a good paper copy from it without being an expert with filters and how they work.
     
  9. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I agree with the proper exposure, normal development, obviously use a tripod, easy to bracket and adjust contrast during the printing phase. You mentioned that the posters are old and while they appear contrasty the paper may have yellowed so I would consider making an additional set of negatives using a yellow filter - that may seem like it will increase the contrast and it probably will but it may also give a reproduction that is the closest to the original as it was some 40 years ago and you can still adjust the contrast when printing.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  10. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Note that the brightness range of a 2-dimensional copy photograph is NORMAL. Negatives will not be high contrast if you develop them as you normally do.

    You don't have part of the subject in shade and part in full sun like you would when you take 3-dimensional photographs outdoors.

    I would include a reflection grayscale in the photograph of the posters to control your processes.
     
  11. veke

    veke Member

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    Great comments, thank you!

    There was a test negative with the enlarger. Ain´t anymore. The grayscale card is a great thing, I didn´t think of it. Cause I haven´t any.

    A 2-dimensional object it is, does this mean that value 5.6 is enough or should it be say 11 or even 16? As I sharpen with the lens it is the same where I point the focusing area on the poster, everything will look as sharp as it is in the poster? In the nature I choose what area is important to look sharp and what areas I on purpose try to blur out of focus . But shooting a poster is a little different, it is flat. Or is it? :smile:

    Great that there are active professionals here and you try to help. I think I will stay on this site for a long time. Nnd one day I may give advice to others. That day is not close, I know.....I have so much to learn even in the basic matters.
     
  12. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Since the poster is flat you may not need f/16... Each lens has an optimum f/stop, usually a couple stops down from wide open - maybe 5.6 is the best for your lens, maybe 8...

    Do your best to make sure the plane of the film is parallel to the plane of the poster, the depth of field you need is what would take to deal with alignment errors.

    And while the lens may not be designed to focus on flat subjects, some lenses have a curved field of focus. Most lenses are not deliberately curved, sometimes it is just a little. If so, you could see it while focusing. That would be a reason to stop down a little more to f/16.

    That new Petzval is deliberately designed with a curved field of focus. Don't use a lens like that for this job.

    Grayscale can be made of anything. You could draw a charcoal scale if you are an artist. Just find some patches of paper or print that go from black to white with a little bit of everything in-between. Won't be as accurate, but would work the same.
     
  13. veke

    veke Member

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    Thank you, Bill. I will make a test card from the leaflet of a paint shop. THey have these small examples of paper where the client can see the color of the paint. I will cut white, gray and black off those, perhaps some colors also to give intermediate tones, red, yellow, blue, green. Then put these on line and shoot my test negative. And this test card is free of charge.

    f 5.6 seems to be adequate, sharp from corner to corner at least on my small print size. A bigger enlargement may need 11.



    Now back to the darkroom...