Share your Tips, Tricks, Precautions, etc.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by djklmnop, Nov 6, 2004.

  1. djklmnop

    djklmnop Member

    Messages:
    230
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I figure everyone has their own shortcut or ways of doing certain things. Share some of your ideas here. I'm sure as simple as it may seem to one, it can help greatly to others. Also share your DO-NOT-DO as well. I'm sure some people are doing things without realizing the damage it could cause.

    Here are a few of mines:

    Tip #1
    When doing film testing for 35mm, I usually shoot 10 frames of Zone I (1/3 stops) of 2 stops under and 1 stop over box's speed. Shoot 1 blank frame. Then do the same 10 frames at Zone VIII.

    Why??? Because once developed, I will have both Zone I and VIII without having to do separate steps for highlight testing. Say if my Zone I landed on the third frame. That means on the Zone VIII frame, I measure the third frame of that as well. If the density is too high, redevelop another roll with less time. If it finally lands perfectly, you've saved yourself a step from having to do highlight testing. This is also very effective because you can guage how Zone I changes slightly with development modification.

    On 120 film, I usually do 1/2 stop steps at 2 stops under box speed. Since EI is usually half indicated speed.

    ========

    Tip #2
    When you're in the dark moving your rollfilm to your developing tank, be sure NOT to rip the sticky tape at the end off of the emulsion. When doing so, it unleashes static and will create a small spark that can potentially fog your film. It has happened to me once, so from now on, I simply cut it with a scissor.

    ========

    Tip #3
    Bulk Loading: With bulk loading, you could be loading up to 20 rolls, and after a while, as more film is purchased, you end up with a mix of 100/400 film, etc. Instead of labeling my canisters - which could take a long time to do, I usually cut the leader to identify the speed. So for ISO 100, I usually cut a diagonal peice taking off only one sprocket. For ISO 400, I cut a diagonal taking up 4 sprockets. This saves me a lot of time when putting everything together in a hurry. This also helps if you're not sure what film you have once you're in the changing bag and already opened up the canister.. just feel the cut, if the angle is further, you know its 400. If its narrower, its 100. For unusual numbers like Plus-X, i usually cut a notch like whats done on large format sheets.


    Umm... That's all I have for now... Hope that helps. Lets hear yours..
     
  2. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

    Messages:
    1,325
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Location:
    Louisiana, U
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    1--I don't do zones.

    2--I fold the tape over and stick it on the leader of the film to make it easier to load on the reel.

    I know. I'm a heathen.
     
  3. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

    Messages:
    3,221
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    S.E. New Yor
    When I mention that lifting a piece of tape actually produces light to my "light dwelling" friends, they don't believe me. :smile:
     
  4. lee

    lee Member

    Messages:
    2,913
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Worth T
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I have seen this but am one of the ones that believes it will do no harm. In the several thounds rolls of 35mm I have processed at my darkroom one would think there would be proof but there is none at my darkroom.

    lee\c
     
  5. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

    Messages:
    3,042
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My only real tip for now is never be afraid to experiment with developing and printing. It's amazing the things I found that I like the look of after avoiding them for years because "everyone says it looks yuk". Using Rodinal for fast films is a prime example, not everyone may like the look but I do and I have to thank some of the people here for suggesting that I did give it a try.
     
  6. djklmnop

    djklmnop Member

    Messages:
    230
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format

    It's interesting you bring that up.. I've been attempting to develop DEKTOL with Delta 3200. Still working on the calibration, but the dilution is amazingly difficult to tame. I'm still overdeveloping even at dulition 1:100 or more. My friend has made some successful prints from them and even though it is extremely grainy, the printout is extremely sharp and has a great feeling once sepia tone.. A seriously vintage look!
     
  7. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

    Messages:
    3,049
    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Location:
    Wisconsin, U
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, here are my tips...I know they are pretty basic, but they've made my life easier!

    I made a sheet with several commonly used ratios on it (1:9, 1:4, 1:50, etc) and defined the quanities for these ratios for several measures I normally use. For example, in the "1:9 section" I have 35ml + 315ml = 350ml and a few others. Likewise for the other ratios. I printed out two copies and slipped each one in a clear plastic sheet protector. I hung one in the darkroom and the other over the sink where I develop my film.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I also made a sheet that shows the films I use, the speeds I shoot them at and the ratio & time for each of the two developers I use. I update this sheet when I find I have to make adjustments to time or developer ratios. I slid this sheet into the other side of the ratio sheet over the sink.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I keep a spiral log book in the darkroom and I write down my development times, dodging & burning, filters and other notes about each print. Also, before each printing session, I go through my negative book and determine what I want to print.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ok, so this all sounds a little anal, but the more organized I am, the less I have to burden my poor brain with trivial things! :tongue:
     
  8. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

    Messages:
    3,042
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Jeanette I wish I could bring myself to be that efficient. All I do is write the film, rating for shoot, soup, dilution and time on the sleeves I keep my negs in. Can be a pain in the proverbial searching back if I haven't used a certain film for a while.

    Ooooops there's another tip :wink:
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,311
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    you beat me to it!

    don't worry about what other people think, just do what you want ...
    ( i've been processing film in ansco 130 paper developer for 4 years :smile: )
     
  10. Chaska

    Chaska Subscriber

    Messages:
    93
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2003
    Location:
    Charlotte, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    jnanian, What dilution/times are you using with Ansco 130 for film? I just started using it for paper and love it. Would love to cut down on the number of soups I have hanging around.
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,311
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    hi chaska

    i have been using it @ 70ยบ 1:5 ( sometimes a little more sometimes a little less depending on age ) for about 8 minutes or so. i usually develop by inspection ( dark green safelight to peek at how the film looks ) so my times may not be totally exact. you might experiment a little bit and see what works for you ( if it works at all ... )

    tom hoskinson has used it 1:20 with good results too.
    http://www.apug.org/forums/showthread.php?t=5999&page=6&pp=10
     
  12. BBarlow690

    BBarlow690 Member

    Messages:
    193
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I have standardized my proof exposures for different formats and film types (I use the minimum exposure necessary to get maximum black through clear film). I made a sheet of all the details: enlarger height, lens, f-stop, film type, and exposure time. That sheet is posted on the wall so anyone (I have students) can get a good proof sheet first time, and I don't have to mess around or try to remember each time I need to proof.

    I have another sheet that lists the steps, dilutions, and times for developing negatives in the different developers I have (PMK, HC-110, Clayton F76-Plus) so I can always have that information available.

    I have another sheet that lists dry-down percentages for paper, coming out of my tests published in the current View Camera magazine. Now that I'm using the "leftovers" from all my paper/developer tests, that table comes in really handy.

    I put them all on my computer so that when I print them they're nice looking, and if anything changes, I don't have to start completely from scratch.
     
  13. FrankB

    FrankB Member

    Messages:
    2,147
    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2003
    Location:
    Northwest UK
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have a similar approach to contact proof prints as BBarlow. I find my F80's matrix meter is capable of producing very consistent negs so the same settings work for each. Also I use clear plastic neg sleeves (Calumet) to store my negs. When I need a proof I put the negs in the sleeve on top of the paper, wipe it down with my hand and then expose. The results aren't perfect but they're good enough for me and much, much quicker than using a proofing frame.

    I use a sports stopwatch in place of a process timer. All the functionality of a process timer (and more) for half the price, and a neck cord so you don't drop it in the soup.

    I use Foto Timer for the Palm OS for film process timing and it has made life an awful lot easier. Freeware program, highly recommended.

    Invest in one or more darkroom safes, or build a darkdrawer (plans courtesy Tim Rudman's Master Printer book); much quicker than getting each sheet out of the box.

    More coming as and when I remember them...
     
  14. mark

    mark Member

    Messages:
    5,261
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    Invest in one of those darkroom flashlights, or a gel to cover a flashlight, their really damned handy. I dropped a neg once and was able to find it quickly because I had my handy dandy flashlight.
     
  15. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

    Messages:
    3,042
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Mark my version of this is I stretched a red balloon (after I cut-off the blow end) over the front of a torch / flashlight for those just incase moments on the floor. I've found it works a treat.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2004
  16. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

    Messages:
    1,325
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2004
    Location:
    New Jersey,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Tip #1:

    Don't put all of your money in stocks.



    I'm to green to be handing out sage advise on photography to the likes of everyone here...please, just keep posting and talking about what you do and how you do it (photographs, that is). I've learned more here in a few months, than I have in 20 years of trial and error...Thanks all.
     
  17. rexp

    rexp Member

    Messages:
    168
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2004
    Location:
    Lincoln, Neb
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    #1. I have a bunch of small bottles that hold a little over 200mL (although I use the brown glass chem bottles 'cause I get them free from work, the SunnyDelight bottles from the grocery store are perfect). When I mix up a liter of film developer I divvy it evenly into 5 bottles. I top them off COMPLETELY full with water & cap them. When I want to develop film, I pour 1 bottle in the graduated cylinder & add water to make 400 mL > perfect 1:1 without thinking. For 120 film, I use one little bottle per roll of film. This way I don't worry about keeping track of how old the developer is (unless I forget about the darkroom for 6 or 12 months).

    #B. I bought a roll of Ilford MGIV RC paper, 5" wide by nearly 500 feet long for $22 on that auction site. I cut 50 or so 4x5's at a time and put them in a paper safe labelled "4x5" (creative label huh?). I print EVERY negative to a 4x5, using a standard enlarger height / f stop / exposure time. This gives me a pretty good idea of what the negative is capable of without having to squint. Takes a little more time, but I expose a bunch at once and batch develop them. Each set of negatives is put in a sleeve (I cut my 6x7 negatives into "twos") and I write a date/sequence code on the edge. Each proof is labelled the same plus the exposure #.

    This roll of CHEAP paper also makes test prints very easy. I don't even think about the cost of the paper. I have also made a couple of 5x about 12" that look rather nice. I am pretty sure the paper is several years old, but it works perfectly for proofs.

    #3. Music in the darkroom.
     
  18. rexp

    rexp Member

    Messages:
    168
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2004
    Location:
    Lincoln, Neb
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    Boy that sure reads stupid, as if 1:1 takes much thought...... sorry
     
  19. rbarker

    rbarker Member

    Messages:
    2,222
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2004
    Location:
    Rio Rancho,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    1. Don't leave your 4x5 Fuji color QuickLoads in the fridge when you leave on a long trip. Finding the stuff on the road is a bear.

    2. Don't forget to check your checklist.

    3. After focusing your view camera, close the lens while you're still looking at the ground glass.

    and finally,

    4. Don't drink the Rodinal!
     
  20. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

    Messages:
    3,049
    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Location:
    Wisconsin, U
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Dang, Ralph....you're no fun! :D