What be a Step Tablet?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by lilmsmaggie, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. lilmsmaggie

    lilmsmaggie Member

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    Hi,

    Anyone care to educate a newb on this topic?

    In about a week, I will be embarking on my first exposure to Alternative Processing. Being the inquisitive type, I've been reading various topics, e.g. contact prints, platinum/palladium, etc. and especially John Barnier's book "Coming into Focus."

    Somewhere in my reading (not sure exactly), I came across mention of "Step Tablet." I've see references to Kodak and Stouffer Step Tablets but I'm not clear on what they are or how they are being used.

    I have a feeling that as I become more involved with Alternatives Processing or anything having to do with photographic printing, Step Tablets are gonna become a necessity at some point.
     
  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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  3. DarkroomDan

    DarkroomDan Subscriber

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    Probably the most commonly used ones are the Stouffer T2115 and the T3110. The 2115 has 21 steps that vary by I/2 stop per step. The other has 31 steps that vary by 1/3 stop. For most purposes it doesn't matter which one you use. Stouffer also sells calibrated versions. The steps are read with a densitometer and the readings recorded on the envelope the tablet comes in. These are more expensive and are overkill for alt printing.

    The tablet is included in the printing frame and exposed with your print. It gives data regarding exposure and the number of stops density range your process is getting.

    Dan
     
  4. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Dwain,

    A step tablet is one of the most essential tools you will ever purchase and hopefully learn to use for alternative processes. I would recommend a 31 step step tablet. It doesn't need to be calibrated. The Barnier book is a good reference.

    You should develop (no pun intended) the habit of printing a step tablet each time you start learning an alt process and afterward anytime you make a major change to your workflow or when things go south and you need to verify the validity of a process your are using.

    The 3110 is handy because it will show you to within a 1/3 of a stop the density range of the materials and process you are using.

    The step tablet is a very simple tool that many alternative process beginners ignore, dismiss or forget.

    I'd purchase at least two to start with in case one gets wasted at a critical time.

    Don Bryant
     
  5. Loris Medici

    Loris Medici Member

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    Ditto, s* happens! :wink:
     
  6. lilmsmaggie

    lilmsmaggie Member

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    Excellent! - just the response I was looking for.

    Thanks Don :D