Rescuing negatives

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by nicholai, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. nicholai

    nicholai Member

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    Hey folks! I hope to get some quick advice.
    I have a lot of pictures, all low key shots, where i either underexposed or underdeveloped, either way, i have a film with a crystal clear background, and the highs/mids aren't dense enough, so what i get is either good high/mids and a background that is not near black enough, or way too dark high/mids and a good black background.
    I tried with ilford mg filters 1, 4 and 5, and ilfospeed filter 7, and i get only slightly closer to what i want.
    Is there a way to make it work? What about toning the negs, will they get denser?

    Cheers
    nic
     
  2. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Have a search for threads on negative intensification. It sounds as if this might be the only way to help solve your problem

    pentaxuser
     
  3. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    The easiest way to increase the density is to use selenium toner. Most intensifiers are not archival but selenium is.
     
  4. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Another way is to bleach and redevelop with a staining developer several times to build density and contrast. A thread search should find you sufficient details to make a decision on it.
     
  5. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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  6. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    If you're not dogmatic about APUG, scanning can do wonderful things with thin negatives.
     
  7. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    So your background is SUPPOSED TO BE totally black? (clear on neg)?? Are you saying there isn't enough separation between your subject and the background?

    Sounds more like you need to print the mid-high correctly and burn in the background....
     
  8. nicholai

    nicholai Member

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    Thanks for the replies!
    The background IS totally clear on neg, the mid/highs are too clear though (not dense enough)

    jp498: Sure, but how will i get that back to my ilford paper?

    I have some TT blue toner and TT sulphide toner, will these do? I'm not worried about prolonged archival ability.
     
  9. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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  10. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    It sounds like your film is under-exposed, and possibly also underdeveloped. Under-exposure is the most likely. It is not uncommon for people with cameras to attempt to make a low key image of a normal subject by reducing exposure, it rarely works.

    Selenium toning is not the only way to increase contrast in a negative. Sepia toning will increase highlight density 2-3 times as much.
     
  11. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    It sounds like your film is under-exposed, and possibly also underdeveloped. Under-exposure is the most likely. It is not uncommon for people with cameras to attempt to make a low key image of a normal subject by reducing exposure, it rarely works.

    Selenium toning is not the only way to increase contrast in a negative. Sepia toning will increase highlight density 2-3 times as much. No intensification will help if the film is under-exposed because there is no reduced silver with which to work.
     
  12. AndreasT

    AndreasT Member

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    You could copy the negative onto lith film develope it relatively hard and copy that again onto another sheet of lith film.
    This sometimes works for me but is rather time consuming. Or if you backlight the negativ with two lamps at a flat angle and photograph it and develope it hard you could get a new negative.
    I do not know what this process is called but this used to be done. Myself I have never done this. But I am planning to in the future.
    Selenium toner does not really help with very thin negatives.
    Does Chromium Intensifier still work with negatives which have been selen toner already.
    Does anybody know?
     
  13. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Be aware that no amount of intensification can create shadow detail where none exists.
     
  14. nicholai

    nicholai Member

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    I have no desire for more shadow detail, i want my background to be tarblack! I only want my highs and mids of the subject to be brighter.
    Bear in mind this is from a low-key shoot. Here is a digital picture from the same shoot. The highlights and mids are good here. I kept the settings, which of course i shouldnt have done. Allthough it works here, the pictures i did on film prints bad.
     
  15. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    One thing you can try is to make a test print which gets your mids/highs to where you want them. Expose for that time, but have hot, undiluted developer available. Pull the print (early in the development process), place it on plexi (or glass) and paint the shadows with the hot developer. You can use a soft sponge, cotton balls, or Q-Tips. It will require some testing, as the highs/mids will continue to emerge while out of the tray. You'll have to figure out when to pull the print, so the highs/mids don't move past where you want them in the final print, but it will get your shadows to go darker quicker. Not an elegant solution, but it may help in this case.
     
  16. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    Your post about a blacked out background is now clearer. You are trying to increase the contrast only, so the selenium (or other) intensification may work. For an extreme possibility try contact printing a paper-print on to another sheet of paper, then contacting that again to get your final result. It is also possible to adjust density on the back of the paper "interneg" with pencil, or paint etc, in order to mask the result when it is contacted again. This sort of approach might achieve what you want.
     
  17. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Give up. You can't bring back what is not there.
     
  18. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    Use a no. 5 filter and print it so the blacks are good, then bleach back the highlights and midtone areas.

    Jon
     
  19. nicholai

    nicholai Member

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    ... thats not what i'm trying to, which you would know if you read my post/comments thoroughly.


    To the others, thanks so far, i'll try and see what i can do.
     
  20. Dennis McNutt

    Dennis McNutt Member

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    Contrast increase mask

    A contrast increase mask is a powerful tool for low contrast negatives. Learn about masks at :

    MaskingKits.com

    Good luck.