starting point for increasing contrast

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by hoffy, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Howdy,

    I am still relatively new to this home processing game, having been processing for only 6 months or so. Everything I have done has pretty much been by the book. I have been using Ilford products, both with film and with developers.

    If I wanted to introduce a bit more contrast with my negs, what would be the best approach? Should I be trying to do it in camera with different filters (I have been using a red quite a bit, but need to get some others)?

    If I wanted to do it at the developing stage, what would be the best approach? If I were to increase development times, should I increase by 10% or 50% (to use some broad figures). At the moment, I am using ID-11 and Delta400

    Cheers
     
  2. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    The best route is change overall contrast is through devlopment. On-camera filters will change the contrast based on the colors in in the image (e.g. red makes red things lighter and red's compliment (blue) darker). A good starting point it about 15-20% more development.
     
  3. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Perfect, that is exactly the information I need. I am getting a good range of tones on most of my chosen images(I have been bracketing my shots. Its all about learning what works and what doesn't for me), but I personally like to see a bit more contrast.
     
  4. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I'd just experiment and see what happens. IMO, the best thing to do is to shoot a whole roll (or two) of the same exact thing, on a tripod. Try a shot as the meter tells you, followed by a shot half a stop under. Then another half stop under. Then a half stop over the first shot, then another half stop over the first shot. Then do it over and over. Keep notes as to what each exposure was. Then cut the roll into three pieces, and develop each one for a different time. Then proof the entire roll and examine the contacts to see what the changes in exposure and development did. You will get to see what an underexposure, normal exposure, and overexposure look like with normal, +10%, and +20% development.
     
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  5. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Exposure determines negative density; film development determines contrast.
     
  6. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Increasing the development to increase contrast works - if you are taking pictures of a low contrast subject.

    If you have a normal contrast subject then increasing development time may lead to a hard-to-print or unprintable negative.

    The normal way to increase the contrast of the final photograph is to print it on a higher contrast paper and dodge/burn as needed to get the highlights and shadows back into the printable range.

    OTOH, if you want to do it just for the fun of doing it and seeing what happens - charge right ahead.

    You can get some quite lovely effects by taking pictures of a very low contrast subject and then expanding the contrast range by over developing. A. Adams took this picture at twilight - there was no sun shining - and increased the development time to get the contrast you see:

    [​IMG]


    How much to increase the development time depends on the developer and the film. TMAX and Delta films only need a 10 - 15% increase in development time to add a stop of contrast (i.e., the luminance range the film will capture (assuming normal printing) is reduced by one stop). For Tri-X/Plus-X and HP/FP films a 20-25% increase may be needed. D-76 (ID-11) and Xtol are the best developer choices if you are going to bump development.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2009
  7. RJS

    RJS Member

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    Try to get a bok on basic photography. There are many on the market, used and new, and do some reading. You will find answers to most of your questions and be way ahead.
     
  8. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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  9. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Although film development controls contrast, there will be occasions that a portion of the print requires more or less contrast. In that case variable contrast paper and filters for the enlarger or a variable contrast light source such as one from Aristo Grid Lamp Products give you such control. You can also reduce or increase overall contrast for a negative that is too little or too much in the contrast department.
    Jeffreyg
     
  10. DannL

    DannL Member

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    Dektol for 1.5 minutes. If you don't care for the results, at least you'll know you can use Dektol for your negatives. And if you ever find yourself stranded on an island and that's the only developer available . . .