The Gospel According to St Ansel ?????

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by John Bragg, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    Just out of pure curiosity,how many of you test your films to find out YOUR individual effective speed in everyday use, and how many are content to trust the manufacturer in this respect ????????? J.B.
     
  2. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    Wrong forum! Wrong spelling also...
     
  3. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    I have neither the time / money / patience / nor inclination to do a lot of testing. I like my Tri-X at iso 320 following the massive development chart data guide, souped in HC-110. My Neopan 400 & 1600 , also souped in HC-110 , but using dilution H.
    It works for me, and after all, thats what counts.

    Cheers,
    Mike
     
  4. Leon

    Leon Member

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    I always take the time to test a new film/ developer combination - just one roll with some zone 1 and zone VIII exposures for film speed/ dev time. I get the results I want that way. Only takes a very short amount of time and I find it is worth it, especially if I am trying a developer that I know can significantly reduce / increase film speeds. I only test once though - then adjust if things alter over time.
     
  5. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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    I shoot several test rolls whenever I try a new film or developer combination. It's pretty easy to do. And I tend to stay with one developer - D76.
    Robert
     
  6. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Most serious photogs will adjust film speed to suit their working methods and conditions. Whether they do it with scientific rigour and the use of a densitometer or by trial and error, or something in between, most realise that manufacturer's ISO defined speed ratings are not the end of the matter.

    To answer the question: I always adjust both film speed and development time to suit. I would do the full BTZS dance for sheet film but do not have a densitometer and the cost of even a used one is prohibitive for the limited use it would get...

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  7. Phong

    Phong Member

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    I suspect that you would get more answers from those who do test their (B&W) film speed rigorously if you chose a different wording for the title of your post.

    As for myself, I didn't formally test the film speed for many years, though over time I tend to adjust the film speed downward; this is in a very ad hoc manner, not unlike the way I cook, and depends a lot on my mood when I make an exposure; a little more salt here, a little less pepper there. As I thought more about it, I realized that trusting film manufacturers' speed ratings is like trusting car manufacturers' miles-per-gallon rating of gas consumpstion: there has been speed wars in the past and it is in their interest to use the loosest possible definition to publish a high number, which might or might not correspond to how I use the film.

    When I started doing B&W large format sheet film photography with its ability to 1. develop sheets individually, and 2. change development time to control highlights, I find that testing film (and development times) makes my work more predictable, and productive and enjoyable.

    Ansel Adams' trilogy is my basic reference for B&W large format photography, but I certainly do not think it is perfect. (An example I came across the other day, amusingly enough in the film testing section: Adams suggested that by cutting 0, 1, 2, 3 or all 4 corners of film sheet film, one can identify up to 5 different sheets. In fact, one can identify up to 16 different sheets by such procedure - I hope my arithmetic is right: 1 + 4 + 6 + 4 +1, the Pascal triangle of binomial coefficients).

    I am not a fan of Andams' photography, but highly recommend his technical trilogy for its thoroughness, if not completeness; they also help learn and establish a common language among practitioners. It sure beats relying on information found on the internet. :smile:

    Cheers,

    - Phong
     
  8. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Some type of film testing is always going on for me. Since I am constantly refining things to suite my needs, I am using each shot as a test and looking at different things in the print. There isn't much to it all, but to trust some one else's chemistry, technique, times and numbers seems rather pointless. Sooner or later, a shot will come up where knowing film speed and development are the only way to get a print, not the norm, but in pushing the envelope.

    I just use BTZS numbers and tweak according to my tastes. Since this is all very subjective, getting close enough is usually easy and that last bit of detail is worth having in the finished print. tim
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i do my own tests to determine how i want to expose my film, and then i develop by inspection ... i usually run one sheet of film through the developer to see what i need to do next and then i process a few sheets at a time. i check each batch of film that goes through the developer .
    i don't use a lot of different films and developers. pretty much the same thing for the past 10 years ( film ) developer ( 4 ) ... i don't shoot "box speed" and if i do, i adjust my processing accordingly ... hmmm, i guess i should have said i do tests, but just not with a densitometer &C ...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2006
  10. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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    The title of this thread is better suited to photo.net where there is an active community of zone system bashers. Folks there seem to think that having technical control over your medium somehow limits creativity. Seems silly to me since understanding the medium makes it easier for me to get desired effects.

    Robert
     
  11. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    Currently, I use three films and three developers; one developer I only use occasionally, one is used for 400 speed film, and the other is for my slower films. I base the film speed on light conditions at the time of exposure, not a personal EI, and I am completely happy with my results. I get negatives that I can print easily and I get the details that I want in shadows and highlights. No testing for me, thanks. I don't criticize those that do testing, but I personally get results that I am happy with without testing.

    - Randy
     
  12. photobum

    photobum Member

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    I have found happiness in using two films and one developer. Tri-X at 200 and T-Max 100 at 50 both in D-76 1+1. And yes, tested for speed, time and temp. While I know and use the Zone system and BTZS I don't take it to seriously. If photographing a woods along the river on a foggy winter day, I think it should look like a foggy day. I would tend to adjust contrast in the darkroom as I felt it might be needed. In a high contrast scene I would be more inclined to use the BTZS if I had the time to make the notes. Otherwise I would just mark it N- on the holder.

    Knowing your true film speed is very important. I think the N+ and N- is less so. Modern paper is very easy to work with. As long as it's made, that is.
     
  13. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Does Clapton tune his guitar ? That is what film testing is to a photographer.

    And NOT to some arbitrary standards, but to specific needs. That is what Ansel preached.

    I test regularly, and faithfully. It doesn't take long, and since I have less time than money, it is the most important thing I do. Losing a shot because I was lazy and muddleheaded is unforgivable. Even if I just shoot with 35mm.

    The FACT of the matter is that box speed only has relevance in a lab setting. What do you want the picture to look like ? What are your standards ?

    Now you tell us: do you feel the need to test ?
     
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  15. Rlibersky

    Rlibersky Subscriber

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    I have a chart with all the different test hanging on my darkroom wall. When I have some film to process it is easy to look up and decide on time. I don't do it with every batch of film I buy. The consistency seem to be pretty good. I have not done any paper tests. I think what I see visually is what is important, rather then how deep my blacks are, on a densitometer.

    Also the title is confrontational and useless to this discussion. I agree with others that you would get more visits if you changed it.
     
  16. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't "test" - I try.

    First I try a roll/sheet at box speed, and develop in a "normal" developer at recommended time (for diffusion enlarger). That tells me what the speed is like, what the contrast is like, and whether I like it.

    The next sheet or roll will be developed according to my experiences the first time - speed enhancing developer if it's already exposed before I developed the first one (very common with sheet film), or a little more exposure, or longer or shorter development.

    To pull the guitar analogy to the ridiculous: I have perfect pitch, so I don't need an electronic tuning gizmo. Not even a tuning fork.
     
  17. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Yes.

    But it's funny to me how many folks today will "buy the best guitar"
    and not know what those little peg things are for....

    Wasn't it in tune last year ?
     
  18. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I haven't tested with a densitomiter since my densitometer blew up a few years ago, and I haven't replaced it, but having used one for a while, I've got a much better handle on what a good neg looks like and how it should print than I used to. So if I try a new film/developer combination, I can look at the negs and see if I'm getting enough shadow detail, and adjust EI accordingly, and I can look at my proofs and see if my contrast is reasonable, and adjust development time accordingly.

    Just one "l" in "Ansel," by the way, and more question marks don't make for a more important question.
     
  19. John Bartley

    John Bartley Member

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    This is how I would describe what I do. I enjoy the "adventure" of experimentation as much or maybe more than I enjoy the act of photography and/or the developing. I "play" with my gear and while I have far more negatives that I like less than ones that I like more, I learn from every one. It's the learning and experimentation that I enjoy.

    to each their own ...

    cheers
     
  20. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    Give J. B a break. We all have titled threads in off handed ways. It was a valid question he was curious about. Why not post the question here as opposed to sending him to PN? Who among us has not made a spelling error?

    I've tested my film a few times. I find myself doing things more like Ole.
     
  21. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I've taken the liberty of removing the offending superfluous "l". :smile:
     
  22. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    I test every batch of film and developer. I do zone I, V and VIII and read the result on a densitometer. I buy my film in large batches of the same emulsion, anywhere from 300-500 rolls at a time, I buy my developer, same batch only, in a batch of about 20 at a time.

    Testing is important to me, it further adds to my own consistency of processing, eventhough I use a JOBO, and it makes certain that I don't spend 6 weeks on the road and come back with defective film.

    In spite of all of my testing I have had a problem, as I discovered that the paper backing on Kodak T-max100, the new stuff, had left the frame number and words "kodak..." on the live area of my film. That is the ink that is used to print the frame numbers on the 120 film backing paper must have not fully dried when Kodak rolled it onto the film, making the wet ink mark the film emulsion with "kodak" and "1","2" "3" etc. Fortunately it did not happen on all rolls, unfortunately it ruined several rolls and some important images.
     
  23. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Like Aggie I was a little surprised by how little slack some subscribers were willing to give J.B. I know we have had to put up with one or two posts recently from "newcomers" which were examples of "grinding their own axes" but I suspect some of us have become a little too wary and /or sensitive.

    Have a look at J.B.'s other threads. I did out of curiosity and could find no real edge to them. I feel his post was essentially a straight question. If his real hidden agenda is " death to the zonies or those who hold different opinions" like a certain Michael who was rightly chased away then we'll know about it soon enough.

    J.B. APUG is usually very laid back and that's our strength. Long may we keep it that way and I am sure we will.

    For what it is worth I have kept to manufacturers speed until very recently when I was particulary impressed with some prints in a Roger Hicks book and decided to try his speeds and developer(HP5+ and FP4 at 320 and 80 in Perceptol) - just for fun. This wasn't scientific. The prints from the negs were better than previously(in ID11) but not appreciably so. However I did learn things.

    Pentaxuser
     
  24. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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    I don't mind the question, which is fine. It's the title that needs work! I didn't mean to offend when I said the title seemed more like a pnet thread title. The question, and the many thoughtful responses, do belong here.

    There is a cult of anti zone system folks on pnet - very hostile to those who use the zone system. I wouldn't want to send anyone here away to that place!

    You don't have to follow the zone system to get nice results. However, many folks here seem to test in an informal way (shoot and adjust = test). Whatever works for each person is fine.

    Robert
     
  25. lee

    lee Member

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    remember the anti zoner here on apug...Scarpetti?

    lee\c
     
  26. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    Thanks for taking the trouble to post your replies everyone. For what its worth,I am not a Zonie. Since having little time to do the full testing required to qualify as such. I do however take the time to adjust my ASA rating when using a film that is NEW to me, and then adjust development til my negs print good whites with texture on grade 2.5 Multigrade......Works for me,and thats what counts!! (Currently using Tri-x at 200ASA in Ilfosol 1:9 6 mins) J.B.