Print range versus negative.

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by markbarendt, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    image.jpg

    The graphic above is a very rough illustration of an idea.

    SBR is scene brightness range, PBR is the paper.

    The problem I see is that many people expect what is caught on the negative to translate directly to paper.

    Part of what I wanted to illustrate was how the subject matter can carry through and how the paper rather than the negative defines the photo.

    Another was to show why/how film under or overexposure loses info. In a related way why there is latitude when negatives are in use.
     
  2. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    And when I said the latitude is the difference between negative dynamic range and paper dynamic range people asked said who?. Since you can render a small part of the dynamic range captured on the negative onto paper (without dodging or burning in) the extra allows you to error in the exposure and thus the latitude. If you can render all the dynamic range on the negative then there is no latitude.
     
  3. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Isn't this what the Dorst and Jones/"Windmill" diagrams show?

    The real problem is people think they can simply apply N-X development to a negative to "fit" the paper, and maintain N local contrast. This is a real problem with how people think about compensating development for example. There's this notion out there you can somehow compress total contrast in the negative without compressing local contrast. Lucky for them they don't get as much compensation as they think they do.
     
  4. AndreasT

    AndreasT Member

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    There is always the question, how much to compensate or expand.
     
  5. AndreasT

    AndreasT Member

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    I am coming more and more to the point of maybe just exposing normal and developing normal and doing the rest in the darkroom.
     
  6. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Yes, it really does get down to that! Those of us that use roll film have never had much other choice. Now, defining "normal" is a whole other discussion ... :wink:
     
  7. Jed Freudenthal

    Jed Freudenthal Member

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    You are referring to the tone reproduction. This subject has been described in the Kodak Publication 'Kodak Professional Black and White Films, Negative Quality p. 2-7. second edition November 1976'. Later editions are available as well. The Kodak approach has a scientific base and is valid for modern high definition optics as well as older optics. This in contrast to the zone system approach which is valid for older low definition optics. [Modern lenses are often so detailed, that a zone does not exist anymore and another approach is required].

    Jed
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    A print con only encompass a range of density from 0.1 to 2.2 on average. A negative can run from 0.05 to 3.0 or greater. A print should have a contrast of about 1.5 - 1.7 to look good to the eye. Can you work from there without a graph? Or, try the diagrams in Haist. Volume 2.

    PE
     
  9. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    This is interesting.

    My thinking the last few years (simply stated), has been to make generously exposed negatives and then develop them (in Rodinal) to the point where they print well between grades 3 to 4, a high grade but with room on each end in case of an error. The reasoning behind this is that exposure pushes the shadows up onto the straight line part of the curve, the development tames the hightlights (or sometimes expands them) so they are reasonable to print or burn in (with various filter grades) and that the high paper grade of the base exposure helps to give a bit of punch to the local contrast as well.

    This practice has done well for me, and by that I mean that I'm happy with the resulting prints. I'm wondering however, if what is actually happening is that which I've listed above or something else and it's just been working for me... Curiosity and a better understanding of my materials being the driver for my question.
     
  10. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    It's difficult to know what is actually happening without objective testing - which is not necessarily easy to do. But if it is working, I'd say keep doing whatever you're doing. We all learn to print with the negatives we make, regardless of whether or not they are exactly the way we think they are. There's enough room in the materials. In any case I was referring to more extreme contractions and dilute solvent developers.

    Apologies to Mark if I derailed the thread. Back to his diagram now.
     
  11. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    That's true. I do not have a densitometer so it's not something I could do at this point anyway. You addressed much of what I was wondering about in the boomerang thread, anyway. Again, thanks for your thoughts. They are always appreciated.
     
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Actual film and print ranges

    Here are the ranges for film, paper and print. They are superimposed so the meaning of the horizontal (X) axis is lost. However, for the film curve, each 2 digits on the horizontal axis is one about one zone.

    PE
     

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  13. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    IMO, getting what is on the negative directly onto paper is not expecting too much at all. The limitation of the paper dictates the density range of the negative. The range of brightnesses that one can encounter in the field and put on the negative, on the order of------"1:several thousand" or so-----has an available range of paper reflection densities of about "1:100 or so" to successfully print it. If that doesn't throw the weight of the process squarely on control of the negative, I don't know what does. Of course it's opinion, but the photo is defined by the quality of the negative. It's the well controlled negative that permits the translation of----and forgive me----the "visualization" onto the paper. How many of us have had printing sessions that frustrate to no end? How many can truthfully say the paper was the problem?

    As far as latitude goes, narrow SBR, increased film latitude----high SBR, reduced film latitude, regardless of the film being used.
     
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  15. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    It is what the windmills show but not how they show it, the windmills IMO are many times tough to follow and compare. They also tend to lead to a single best exposure wins conclusion rather than showing where latitude exists.

    Compensation brings up lots of questions like; if you're looking to use compensation wouldn't you want to peg exposure to make use of that? I.e. pegging to place those highlights for the print.

    No apology required either.
     
  16. Stephen Benskin

    Stephen Benskin Member

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    The tone reproduction diagram shows the original subject, camera image, negative characteristic curve, paper characteristic curve, and the reproduction curve. There's no place for latitude to hide.

    From your original post, it sounds like you are basically talking about the tone reproduction curve.
     
  17. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    That is an idea I settled on and began applying, along with incident metering, a while back. I am still refining the practice but "normal and incident" has made a marked improvement in my negatives and prints.
     
  18. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I wonder about my work too.
     
  19. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    AA promoted that idea. It is an interesting concept, but the concept presents a major impediment to photography education.
     
  20. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I fully agree that good negative control, in both exposure and processing, is very helpful in getting good prints and that visualization is a personal opinion thing, something each of us need to define.

    For me that definition is typically and primarily founded on mid-tone contrast and pegged to print faces/portrait material properly, past that I don't necessarily care exactly where background subject matter lands. Instead I care about the background more in a general sense, as in creating a high key or low key setting.

    Others, such as those who enjoy the West Coast style, may have very different priorities.
     
  21. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Basically you broke the code. That have worked for me for decades.
     
  22. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I'm not saying its hiding. I believe part of what I'm saying is that alternate subject matter placement on the negative isn't normally shown, nor would it be easy to do multiple film curves clearly, on a single windmill illustration.

    Also windmills seem to show only how "good" or "normal" or "tested EI" exposures fall. One may be out there somewhere but I can't remember seeing any windmill diagram where a negative's shoulder is shown having an effect on the print, instead the white point on the print normally seems to correspond to a point on the straight line of the negative.
     
  23. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    But if you have a known film curve and a known paper curve, can't you follow your subject through the tone reproduction diagrams with alternate placements? Or if you prefer the Dorst diagrams (the type Kodak used), same thing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2013
  24. Stephen Benskin

    Stephen Benskin Member

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    You mean like this?

    4 quad - over exposure.jpg
     
  25. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Sure, I'm not saying it can't be done.

    I'm not trying to replace those objective tools with my subjective diagram. One thing I'm trying to illustrate is the concept of how various subject placement choices (or errors) on the negative might relate to the print.
     
  26. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I'm still not quite following. You can use the tone reproduction diagrams as a model - play with subject placement choices and see what the outcome is. The Dorst plots seems similar to what you're trying to do visually (I think). Can you post an "end to end" example of what your illustration would look like? Maybe I'm just having trouble understanding what is going on in the original sketch.