The perfect neg

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Ian, Jun 4, 2006.

  1. Ian

    Ian Member

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    Or to be more precise how to atain such a neg.

    Assuming that you are having your LF negs processed by a good pro lab exactly what would the

    1. Subject matter be, color card or grey card?

    2. Would it help to use a color meter and wratten filters?

    3. Could the lab analyse the neg so you would be able to compensate for meter readings and processing?
     
  2. André E.C.

    André E.C. Member

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    Such thing as "the perfect negative", doesn`t exist!

    Cheers

    André
     
  3. Ed_Davor

    Ed_Davor Member

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    There are two steps to getting a perfect negative:

    1. Imagine how you want it to be
    2. Make it look like that
     
  4. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    A perfect neg ? Easy.

    It records enough data to record my emotion of the moment,
    in a form that lets me express the subject's details in a way
    that creates a similar response in the viewer of the print.

    It acknowledges that small errors are inevitable,
    and that time is fleeting. Most importantly, it allows me to grow in wisdom
    of the subject as I print the image.

    Rather than aiming for a precise and specific redition of the subject,
    a perfect negative creates a range of possible expression.

    This usually translates to a negative of generous exposure,
    and gentle development.

    A perfect negative encourages clear vision and a simple technique,
    it will make a fine and succesful print without agony darkroom drama,
    and is not dependent on rare, unusual, or exotic materials.

    A perfect negative can be made by any sized camera,
    using common film, and will make a wonderful print on any paper.

    With a Lab, you must be assured they have a default technique that never varies. Then, you need to learn how to use the product they will deliver to serve your ends. You will need to choose a film that is not skittish or difficult to work with, and capapble of a long straight line, for special development methods will be unreliable in all but a handful of labs.

    You will need to adapt your shooting style to accomodate the gifts and strengths of the lab. Finally, you will need to compensate for the lab's nominal negative with your printing methods.



    .
     
  5. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    AHA!! I think he's GOT IT!!!

    Now ... xx years and $xx,xxx (excluding equivalent wages) - I might actually succeed in DOING that some day.
     
  6. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Ian

    You must be the first 8x10 shooter, I have heard of, who doen't develop his own film. To me the perfect neg has plenty of shadow detail and easily printable highlights. The former is mainly achieved with exposure, but the latter is controlled by development. To have a consistent handle on development, you have to do it yourself. I don't trust labs anymore.
     
  7. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I think you are asking about color but I do not know. So what are you asking about? Color or b&W? I can image very easily a LF photographer who does not do his own e6 or c41 work. I do think it would be less common to have an LF photographer who does not develop his own b&W.

    Tell us what you wish to accomplish, please.
     
  8. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Maybe an assistant does the development.

    The perfect negative is on Panatomic X. It was taken in the 1950's and is filed away in perfect storage conditions. Or was it burned or soaked in a big barrel of water by Brett Weston?

    Another def.: The perfect negative is the negative that produces the perfect print. I think I read that a thousand time in books written by people who should have been in the darkroom instead of writing books on subjects they know nothing about.
     
  9. Ed_Davor

    Ed_Davor Member

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    Well, then I consider myself lucky again, because what I want is often possible to achieve with my limited budget.
    Even though my favorite images were always something unexpected, some kind of "accident look" on film.
    that's what I like about film, you get it back from processing and you get suprized every time.
     
  10. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    The perfect negative is the negative that produces the print that conveys what the photographer wishes, and that can be printed by the photographer with the darkroom skills available to him/her.
     
  11. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Good points here - although the subject was "The Perfect Negative". I very rarely - if ever ..? ... I don't think I've ever done that - even "very rarely" ...been able to envision something and capture it *perfectly* on the negative.
    That is, an image perfect (read: exactly) the same as I had "pre-seen" it to be. I too, am surprised to a degree by the results as I open the tank from my own processing. There would not be that reaction if I was accustomed to making "perfect" negatives.... which I can guarantee I am not.

    The merit of the work itself? At times less than I hoped - at times greater ... but no, not "perfect".