Properly developed negatives

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by momo, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. momo

    momo Member

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    Can anyone point me to a web site that has pics of properly developed B&W negs, against over and underdeveloped ones please. Funny I cant find one, either the google imps are at it again or the brain has got fogged over.

    Thanks
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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  3. momo

    momo Member

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    Thanks Matt, but i'm still none the wiser !, having only ever developed 2 films and one turning out with a purple tint, im not very good at judging, this one is now kind of all the same shade of grey throughout, allthough I can see a picture on each frame, and the words in clear black ilford delta 400 pro on them. I used the correct dev etc, all fresh, and stuck to the times religiously.temp was ok too, so I dont know what I have done I was kind of hoping to see pics of the negs as you would hold them up but these too me look like their lit up. probably wrong again arent I. Oh well back to the grindstone.

    Thanks again Matt.
     
  4. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    I thought those were great illustrations, but I know what you mean. There are too many variables here, from film loading to washing, and you will save time if you avoid speculation and just get another roll out and keep notes on what you do.

    The answer is somewhere in your process, and I know the feeling: gimme printable negs now! But I never find anything on a goose-chase. There is a flaw in your process somewhere (or more than one, usually with me) and the only way to find it is to start at the start. Sorry if this is not definitive. If Matt's link is of no help, shoot another roll, see what happens.
     
  5. waileong

    waileong Member

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    That page was good. Pity the pictures are a little small. But to help you understand a bit further:

    1. Exposure controls shadow detail.
    2. Development controls highlight detail.

    Hence proper exposure means you should be able to see shadow details (ie black hair, dark clothes, etc) CLEARLY on a negative, regardless of development.

    Proper development means you should be able to see highlight details (ie white clothes, whitwashed walls, etc) CLEARLY on a negative, without having them blown out (ie completely black on a negative with no discernible texture)

    Hence, when you have proper exposure and overdevelopment, your shadow detail will be ok (ie you can see the strands of hair clearly in the negs, assuming the person had black hair) but your negs will be very "thick" because the highlights are overblown and thus there may be large of thick black where you would have expected some detail.

    For proper exposure but underdeveloped, your hair detail will still be there, you will see some highlight detail, but your negs will be thin, ie the white shirt will not be dark enough on the neg.

    Insufficient exposure and overdevelopment will give loss of shadow detail (ie you will see a smudge in the hair instead of the individual strands) and thick dark patches (for the white shirt). This is also referred to as "push processing".

    Insufficient exposure and underdevelopment is the worst crime. You have no shadow detail (hair is is a patch on the neg) and weak highlights.

    Of course, proper exposure + proper development is the best-- shadow detail is good, highlights are not blown out.

    Hope this helps you understand the pictures and illustrations in the link.
     
  6. juanito

    juanito Member

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    Hi,

    I have this from Kodak F5 publication. Hope it will help.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. momo

    momo Member

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    Thanks guys, I don't know why but I always expected the sprocket holes as I call them to be absolutely clear, with perfect little pictures inside clearly defined and see through borders on negatives, well why not!!, my hameg test neg is like that!!. Maybe I am expecting too much. Its very annoying when I put that in the enlarger, expose and print, and it comes out A1. I have never held or seen a properly exposed and developed B&W neg in my hands so I can't judge in real time and real life, if that makes sense.
     
  8. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    This is a good article. An old rule of thumb was that if you put the negative flat on a newspaper, you should barely be able to read the print through the densest areas. That doesn't address things like contrast, which the article does, but it still is a reasonable quick test.
     
  9. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    For me, a properly exposed and developed neg is one that prints properly on a #2 paper for the minimum exposure in the enlarger which, through clear film,produces the maximum black thepaper and film developer can produce--not necessarilly one that looks a certain way on the light box.
    As for the purple tint, try refixing and rewashing the negs. Oh, and in lieu of a fancy light box, just go to your word processing program, open a blank page, and use that as a standard for viewing your negs. Keep at it. You' soon get the hang of it.
     
  10. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    If you don't know what a properly exposed neg looks like, the page linked to above does show you!

    The film base should be clear, but may have a slight color tint. This is normal and should not worry you.

    If the film rebate is anything but clear with crisp black lettering, it has been inadvertently exposed to light somewhere in your process or your chemistry is suspect to be bad, really bad (but you said it was all fresh so let's eliminate that).

    The part of your negative that holds the shadow details should have vaguely identifiable tones and details, with emulsion density slightly thicker than film base clear.

    The part of your negative that holds the highlight details should look pretty dense, almost opaque, but you should still be able to see through it.

    It's that simple, and the 'correctly exposed, correctly developed' frame in the article linked to above clearly shows this. That is how your negative should look. Like I said, don't worry if you have a slight purple tint to your negative. It's OK. It will still print or scan just fine.

    What you should worry about is if the color of the film base is so thick that it obscures the shadow details and lends any actual film density to the rebate of the film. The film base should definitely be clear.

    If you have a milky looking residue on the emulsion, the negative hasn't been fixed long enough. Usually that can be helped by soaking the film in water and re-fixing. Then go through the washing regimen again to wash out the fixer.

    Hold up your negative towards (not directly against) a sun-lit window and compare it with the correctly exposed/developed negative in the article.

    - Thomas
     
  11. Thanasis

    Thanasis Member

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    I always use a printed proof sheet as the final step in assessing negatives. If it looks good on a proof sheet that has been exposed with a minimum time for maximum black, i.e. highlights hold some detail and are not blown and the desired detail in your shadows , then you've got a properly exposed, properly developed negative.
     
  12. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Gray/grey through out ... clear black Ilford delta 400 ...
    So the rebate is clear with black identification but the
    picture area is some what a uniform gray/grey.
    I think other than a processing goof. Dan
     
  13. David William White

    David William White Member

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    (Thanasis beat me to the contact sheet thingy..)

    In addition to the fine advice and great examples, my suggestion is to pick a medium contrast scene -- side of a house with sun over your shoulder -- that has say, a three or four stop range (zooming in and panning the scene with your in-camera meter), and shoot half the roll bracketing in half stops from -2 to +2, skip half a dozen frames, then do it again exactly the same. Tripod, keeping aperture sufficiently small to keep everything in focus for each frame.

    Snip the roll in half and develop half at recommended development time and the other half at 20% less time.

    The important part is to contact print each set, for identical times, and sufficiently such that you can't distinguish the film base from the bare paper. Contact prints are your most valuable weapon in the quest for both proper exposure and development.

    You will be able to spot which frames have the best exposure for both normal and -20% development time. On one contact sheet you should have enough direct comparisons to see if you are close to optimum or if you need to run another roll and tweak further.

    Then...and this is the hard part...stick with that film...stick with that developer...and try to contact print every roll from then on, even if there are no 'keepers'.

    You will make exceptions in overly contrasty scenes and extremely low contrast scenes, in time, but with this regimen, you will acheive uniformity in exposure, confidence in your development, confidence in your meter, and a lot less hassle at the enlarger when you need to make a print.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2008
  14. Philippe-Georges

    Philippe-Georges Member

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    Dear John,

    Just a little question about your "grade # 2 paper", is this normal or special grade?
    If I am not mistaking, Kodak had no "special" grade but Agfa did and Ilford and Foma does, and call it grade # 2 (normal is then grade # 3).
    As in the U.S.A., the local industry standard is more of common use, so, may I assume that 'your' grade # 2 is normal?

    Just to avoid further confusion..

    Thanks,
    Philippe
     
  15. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    No.

    Nobody can do this, simply because a properly developed negative is the one that most easily produces the prints you want to make. That will be different for every single photographer on earth.

    My advice: take your negatives back to the darkroom and print them. Do not even attempt to judge a negative in any way until you print it. If you cannot achieve the print quality you're after from a negative, change your exposure or development until you can. Then you will often come close to a perfect negative, although I doubt any photographer has ever actually made a "perfect negative" (whatever that is). I have seen some prints which to me are perfect but I have no idea what the negatives look like that made them.

    Focus on the prints and the negatives will take care of themselves.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2008
  16. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Guys, lets keep this stuff simple

    Firstly check the Film Markings - if the film markings are dark grey or very dark grey - then the film has been correctly developed.

    If it isn't - then at least one of the problems is poorly developed film

    If the film markings are not very dense – then you are inadequately developed your film – re-check your process

    If the markers are very very dense – then you have over developed your film – again re-check your process.


    If the film markings are OK - and - you are not getting the sort of look you are expecting then there are 2 alternatives -

    1) You are incorrectly exposing the film - under exposed give fairly transparent negatives and over exposed gives very black/thick negs

    2) You have unrealistic expectations of what Negs should look like.


    You can check (1) by buying a standard colour film, shooting it at similar subjects to your problem Negs then having it developed commercially.
    If it’s OK then the camera and the way you are using it are fine.
    Then the problem becomes one of reality v personal expectation.

    A few years ago I would have suggested you contact a local Camera Club for a bit of friendly advice – but these days you are more likely to be mocked for using such “old and outdated stuff as film” – well more fool them but it isn’t likely to help you.

    The other thing you could do is try and find a local APUG buddy.
    There is a UK Regional Focus Group – put a Post in there asking for help from anyone local to you.
    We are an amazingly friendly lot – who are more than glad to help someone learning

    Good luck

    Martin
     
  17. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    The only possibility I've been able to think of is
    exposure fog while the film was in the camera.
    Does that seem at all possible? What camera
    was used?

    A clear rebate with black indentification but
    frames gray through out. Dan
     
  18. hughitb

    hughitb Member

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    You know more or less every time I look at this site I learn something really really useful. That tip about holding your neg in front of a blank document in your work processor in lieu of a light box ... genius!

    I think I am going to go a step further than that and chop out the grid of negatives from the article, bung it into a word document leaving a large white space on the right of it and then use this to evaluate negs. Then, not only can I see the negative properly, I also have a whole grid of negs right beside it to compare it to ...

    Thank you Apug!
     
  19. momo

    momo Member

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    Thanks again guys, well so much info and the brain is fried, but to try and answer a few questions.

    The camera is a new old canon 300V that I purchased some time ago before I got my EOS 5 and has only ever had one film run through before. It was used on full auto, So I think the odds of it being that are a bit long.

    The "If the film rebate is anything but clear with crisp black lettering" comment to me is a bit unclear, when you say clear do you mean as in white no tint or grey at all or light grey with clear black lettering/wording on it as I have. Clear to me means like looking through glass.

    The first few frames are very light and are indistinguishable between the rebates/ frame spacings, subsequent ones are a little darker with clearly defined spaces between them.

    I am beggining to think I overdeveloped them, but I used ilfosol s in a paterson tank for 9 mins as it said too and so I am unsure where i fubared or if its even that. Maybe I will use the jobo cpa next time ( i just loaded another 400 into the camera and am snapping away).

    I wish I could take photography lessons but I can't for personal reasons, so I am glad you are all here and so patient, you must all get kind of fed up of the same old questions and I am sure that if you were all standing in my darkroom I would be getting clipped around the ear a few times when I did something wrong or at least a few "tut-tut's". So I am just going to have to carry on reading my books and hoping your all very very very patient.

    Thanks again guys. It is appreciated.
    Garry
     
  20. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Mono, can you clearly see the text “Ilford ……..” on the side of the film and the frame numbers?

    Are you saying the Negs are so pale that they are almost the same shade of grey as the spacing bars?

    Can you run another film through another camera to help eliminate a few of the variables?

    Thanks

    Martin
     
  21. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    That's nothing. I've a not very high overhead light which strikes
    a reading level white papered surface. Wearing a visor will
    reduce glare. No word processor needed. Dan
     
  22. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    I agree, it`s not how a negative looks, but how well it prints that matters.
     
  23. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Gary:

    I've started to wonder whether we all might be misunderstanding what you are asking.

    I think most of the answers in this thread are directed to evaluating how well exposed and developed your fim is, with a view to how well your shots can be printed.

    I'm wondering whether your question is more to do with the overall appearance of the developed film - not how printable the negatives are, but instead whether they just look generally like properly developed negatives.

    I have a feeling that you are expecting to see something like the results you would get with high contrast lithographers' film - stark, clearly visible images, rather than the subtle range of tones one sees in a normal continuous tone negative.

    I don't know whether you have visited Jason Brunner's website (he is both a moderator and an advertiser here) but he has links there to a number of how to videos posted on YouTube. Here is a link to his site:

    http://www.jasonbrunner.com/videos.html

    I'd suggest watching all the videos there. In particular, I'd suggest viewing "Developing Roll Film Pt4". At about 6 minutes and again at about 7 1/2 minutes into that video, you will see Jason holding up some freshly developed 120 B & W film. Those negatives look well exposed and well developed to me. They are of course larger than 35mm film, and they have no sprocket holes, but I think that what you see there may help answer your concerns.

    Hope this helps.

    Matt