Underexposed 160VC by 1 stop

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by mtjade2007, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

    Messages:
    348
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I am sure this has been discussed before. But I have spent 20 minutes in searching the archive without much luck in finding what I am looking for. Hope this is not too bad to ask again.

    I accidentally shot a 220 roll of 160VC with the camera set to 320 ISO. So the entire roll was underexposed by 1 stop. I can push process this roll with my Jobo processor by extending the development time to 3 minutes 45 seconds. My questions is what I should expect the images to come out. Will I get weird color balance? Will the film grain be OK still?

    The roll was shot during my day trip yesterday to the Pinnacles Monument National Park in California. It was a bright sunny day yesterday but the sun wasn't like summer days. It was really perfect for scenery shots. Unfortunately I found out that the ISO setting was at ISO 320 when I finished the roll. I know if I process it as usual the images will be grainy and poor colors as well.

    I hope I can still get reasonable fine shots by pushing it one stop in processing. Your comments will be appreciated.
     
  2. mts

    mts Subscriber

    Messages:
    360
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Location:
    Los Alamos,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In my experience pushing C-41 does not usually work very well, but you should be able to get ~1/2 stop without any difficulty and the film latitude will likely carry you through the other half-stop. You will probably notice the mistake most in shadows that will be lacking detail. Highlights will be somewhat lower on the characteristic curve and mid-tones will probably be ok as well. All you can really do is process the film and see how it comes out. If the pictures are really valuable then expose frames from another roll the same way and with normal settings and process it as a test. The Macbeth chart is a good target for such testing. I have not had cross-over problems when pushing C-41 by 50%, so you should be ok on color balance. I think you might want to process a test roll at 4 min. or even 4-1/2 minutes figuring that processing less time will be somewhere in between normal and a maximum push. Post some results and let us know how things work out.
     
  3. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

    Messages:
    1,787
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    OH
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I've only ever pushed C-41 film once. And I didn't develop it. It was expired Gold 100 which I accidentally shot at 400. Whoops. Sent it off and the negs came back useable (for scanning). I actually kind of liked them.

    If you have a Jobo at home, why not push it? I do know that sometimes with color film, if you actually underexpose a full stop, you might want more than a +1 push (3:45).
     
  4. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

    Messages:
    1,062
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2005
    Location:
    Prospect (Lo
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Push it a stop and see what you get. What other choice do you have, really?
     
  5. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,163
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Kodak actually claims a latitude of -2 to +3 stops with no change to the processing.

    You will have less shadow detail than you would have, but they should probably be just fine otherwise.
     
  6. GinaMaree

    GinaMaree Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    Location:
    NYC Tri-Stat
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Once I accidently ran through a roll of Portra 160NC (35mm) with the meter set at 400. I had it pushed 1.5 stops at the lab and it turned out fine. I even printed a few frames from that roll in the darkroom on 11 x 14 paper.
     
  7. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

    Messages:
    348
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Many thanks to the input to this thread, everyone. I feel very hopeful now. I will push process the roll 1 stop and see how it comes out. I kept on forgetting to check my camera's ISO setting. I believe I had a roll of 160NC shot at ISO 320 before. I did not push it and it came out much too thin in density. The images were grainy. This time it is a 160VC. I am not going to take chances. I will push it 1 stop this time.
     
  8. rphenning

    rphenning Member

    Messages:
    341
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    California
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    I used to underexpose vc by a stop. Looking back at the negatives I am really not into the color casts it produced. Id much rather overexpose by a stop now. Anyways.
     
  9. rphenning

    rphenning Member

    Messages:
    341
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    California
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    that's without pushing it though, I developed it at 160 so you may be fine.
     
  10. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

    Messages:
    348
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks a lot for everyone's input. I finally developed my underexposed 160VC with 1 stop push. I am completely blown off to discover that this film is not suitable for push processing even by only one stop. The most obvious is that the shadow basically has nothing but deep black there. It makes my images way too contrasty. Besides, the colors are off a bit too. This may be the effect of being too contrasty. The images are still usable although they are difficult to scan now. By looking at the histogram the underexposure (by 1 stop) effect is clearly visible. I have to conclude that 160VC better not not be pushed. This may apply to most if not all negative films too. I will probably shoot this film next time with ISO 100 set in my camera.

    I developed this underexposed 160VC 220 with 850 ml Kodak C-41 developer for 3 minutes 45 seconds. Judging from the result I don't believe longer development time would have made it better. I will find out how to post a sample image next.
     
  11. naugastyle

    naugastyle Member

    Messages:
    348
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I know it's too late now, but I've honestly liked the color cast of underexposed 160VC, although more like 2/3 stop than 1 full stop. I guess I would've tried developing this roll normally.
     
  12. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,163
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I wouldn't be too hard on the film.

    Development (mostly) controls where the highlights fall, and it does affect midtones a midlin' amount, but the black point doesn't change much. No amount of push can get back "lost" shadow details.

    Exposure almost exclusively controls the black point's placement on the film's curve. There's probably no shadow detail simply because the shutter closed too soon.
     
  13. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

    Messages:
    348
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    It's a good lesson learned for me. I now don't believe print films can be pushed. Thanks for confirming it. Fortaunately I realized that I underexposed it at the end of the roll. So I loaded another roll, a 400VC, and re-shot whatever was still possible. I will develop that roll next weekend and see what I will get out of it.
     
  14. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,163
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    mtjade2007,

    I learned the under-exposure lesson the hard way too. (Same for B&W BTW.)

    As to the the color shifting, that is to be expected with underexposure.

    With color film you are actually dealing with 3 separate exposures; red, green, and blue. Shadows are typically bluish. Even if you, your meter, gets the reds and greens right, if the blues end up way down on the toe of the curve you have a problem with color balance. The raw, uncorrected scans may even show this in a histogram; blues left, reds right.

    Much of this is correctable in the enlarger or elsewhere but, just like any other deviation we make in photography, it does require work and adjustments.

    Ansel used "Expansion and Contraction", which are the same chemical processes as "push and pull" but his aim was different, he wanted to improve a negative's contrast to make printing easier, he was not trying to push the film so that he could underexpose, i.e. use a faster shutter speed.

    The trick to using a push or pull is knowing what is going to happen before hand, an option you did not have with this roll.
     
  15. hrst

    hrst Member

    Messages:
    1,300
    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    Location:
    Finland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Push processing is not the culprit to blocked shadows. You would have even more blocked shadows if you didn't push process.

    Some people like blocked shadows (heck, that's the standard way with di**tal!), some people don't. Color neg films are designed to give average, usually enough detail in shadows at box speeds. Some people who want more shadow detail, will overexpose. Some people, who don't need shadow detail but want higher midtones (like the sky) to "pop", will underexpose the films.
     
  16. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

    Messages:
    348
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    That's indeed what I see in the histogram in my images. The shadow is way too dark (and bluish). Photoshop shows a lot more blue than R and G there. When I used Photoshop level tool to reduce the blue in the shadow and also increase the blue in the highlight the images looked much more balanced. The images are too contrasty still though.

    Yes, I now realize that push processing is not going to save the shadows. I actually think it only increases contrast as a result. It will also make scanning much more challenging. I don't know why some people want the shadows blocked when shooting Portra films. They could easily achieve that by shooting d***tal indeed.
     
  17. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

    Messages:
    348
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    This will fall into a more innovative or creative photography category to explore. I see what you mean by that. I think I have much to play with my entire roll and see what I can get out of it.
     
  18. naugastyle

    naugastyle Member

    Messages:
    348
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I'm sure it doesn't ALWAYS work but here are a few I liked underexposed:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    But sometimes I think my eye is backwards to other people's because I also tend NOT to agree that overexposure increases saturation, as is conventional wisdom. To me underexposure usually looks nice.

    Oh, unless it's Superia 1600, don't ever underexpose that. Godawful.
     
  19. hrst

    hrst Member

    Messages:
    1,300
    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    Location:
    Finland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I agree with you. Conventional wisdom? I've heard that misconception only twice. Maybe I've been lucky.

    Overexposure makes contrast and saturation softer as the image is nearer to the shoulder area, or in the shoulder. It's lower in contrast. Of course, if this is compensated by using higher-contrast paper or adjusting levels in digital post-process, then the shadows, being in the higher-contrast mid-tones, can become much harder in contrast. So, in some cases, some areas of image may actually get higher in contrast, but in general, overexposing is the contrast and saturation reduction knob in C-41.
     
  20. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,163
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That is exactly the result of pushing.
     
  21. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

    Messages:
    348
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
  22. hrst

    hrst Member

    Messages:
    1,300
    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    Location:
    Finland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The film scan, modified or not, doesn't tell much about color balance or crossover. The only way to really see is to try RA-4 printing. After scanning, there can be almost any problems due to scanner, and I find that most pictures on most scanners need playing with software to balance them. It's not always easy.

    Colors can be quite hard to balance in Photoshop. The levels and curves tools both cause color crossover to begin with because of bug/wrong functionality of most imaging software that is caused by misconception of gamma correction by the software manufacturers, not fixed even today. Especially underexposed negs can be pain to balance, if you want the same results as in optical print.

    Of course, if it doesn't work in your typical workflow, then you can fix either the film process (first and more important: no underexposing, secondly: accurate processing) or the workflow. I would guess that there are problems in both. It's only a guess but normally one stop underexpose & push wouldn't mess up the colors that badly. But it CAN exaggerate your problems in scanning/Photoshop. Have you tried to print it optically?

    And, to me it looks that it's just too green. I see no huge crossover. Rocks in the shadow are too green, and clouds are too green. If the rocks were magenta, then you would have magenta-green crossover.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2009