when is there too little development?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ymc226, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    I need a film for indoors without the use of flash. I just started experimenting with Fuji Neopan 1600 indoors with incandescent lighting as well as natural light during bright daylight. I used the MDC and developed in Xtol 1:1. 7.5 minutes when exposed at 1600, 6.75 minutes when exposed at 800 and extrapolated to 6.5 minutes when exposed at 640.

    I found that at 1600 and 800, there was underexposure of the shadows. At 640, the shadows are about where I want them but there were overblown highlights; just too much contrast.

    I want to cut my development time down to 5.5 minutes, just under 20% less development. How do I know when I've gone too far? Would the prints just be more muddy or would there be some more catastrophic change?
     
  2. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    In general terms, pushed/high speed film loses shadow detail. Tastes vary, and I can only speak generally without seeing the negs, but @ 1600 the results sound more or less on target, assuming a contrasty situation/ When you get close to correct development with the 640 speed you should have better results, although it could be both an exposure and developing issue. Also, I'm not familiar with the response curve, but many panchromatic films are less sensitive to incandescent light, and can lose up to a stop or so of effective speed. It varies considerably from film to film. I'll leave it to someone who is versed with this particular film and developer to make any specific recommendation, as I use neither.
     
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  3. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    I've used this film a little bit over the last few years, so I looked up some of my processing notes.

    Firstly, this film will give you reasonably high contrast in normal daylight conditions, basically that is how this film generally works.

    More or less, this film is an 800 ASA film. Over the years I have found the best way to use it is to expose it at 800 ASA and develop it for 1600 ASA.

    In 2007 I attended the funeral of a good friend, the widower, an even closer friend, specifically asked me when I rocked up to the funeral, to take some nice B&W shots. Luckily I had a fast lens and some good film.

    My notes on my processing sheet of the rolls taken inside the funeral parlour, which was lit with tungsten downlights and a small amount of failing daylight down one side from a row of windows near ceiling height. The lights were the ones set into the ceiling, they project arcs of uneven light.

    Rating the film at 800 ASA, I used my 85 f1.4 at f4 at 1/60 for the entire inside stuff.

    I developed the film in D76 1+1 at 20ºC for 10'45" rotary processing, no pre-wet.

    Within reason, I had very workable negatives, to very good negatives, mainly dependent upon the position and the dress colour of the subject. Skin tones were good for Caucasian.

    Outside when the cortege was leaving light rain was falling, so it was extremely drab and grey, but the light was better than inside with a bit more contrast.

    I developed that roll as above, except only for 10'00".

    The exterior shots were quite good, my friend was very emotional upon receiving his prints, but was able to say that, "jeez, these are far better than I thought, what with the rain and such!" I concurred silently with his statement.

    They were extremely grainy, both indoor and outdoor, but reasonable shadow detail was retained, not much, but enough.

    Under Tungsten, I usually find that 640 ASA is about correct, but I still develop as though it was 1600 ASA. This usually gives me enough to work with under the enlarger.

    Mick.
     
  4. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    That is because the actual ISO of the film is probably 640, give or take a speed. Fuji does not tell us what the ISO is, as far as I have seen, anyhow. They only list EIs.

    So, when you rate it higher than 640, you are underexposing it. Anything that would have been shadow detail on the print goes away into blackness (or very dark greyness) on the print.

    Overdeveloping helps to increase the density. However, development can only work on silver that has received exposure, and the more exposed an area has become, the more sensitive it is to development. Thus, you cannot add shadow detail by overdevelopment.

    The best you can hope do with any film rated above its ISO is to get good mid tone and highlight densities, since the underexposure you give to the shadows by rating it that way makes them irrecoverable.

    IMO, no big deal. I almost always don't want a lot of shadow detail in low light situations.
     
  5. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    Thanks Mick and 2F/2F. My problem is that if I rate it at 640, the shadows are OK but the highlights are overblown. I need to control the highlights.

    Mick, if I expose at 640 and develop at 1600, wouldn't that exacerbate the contrast and make the highlights even more bright since the developing time goes up? I want to develop even less (underdevelop) to see if I can get less contrasty negatives. If I use Xtol 1:1 at 5:30, that would be the recommended time for Neopan 1600 exposed at 200. How will that affect development of the shadow areas?
     
  6. Larry.Manuel

    Larry.Manuel Member

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    I emphasize Mick's point that indoor lighting is usually weak in the blue end of the spectrum and therefore films will require more exposure.
     
  7. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    This is impossible to work on specifically until you have an idea of what the luminance range in the composition was. In a composition in which there is a high luminance range, highlights can be blown even in a shot that is exposed well for the shadows, simply because they really are that much brighter! If the shadows are fine, but the highlights are blowing in a normal or low luminance range composition, then overdevelopment is the culprit.

    Since you did reduce developing time to suit the EI 640 rating, my best guesses are: 1) overagitation, and 2) you shot very contrasty scenes, or 3) both!

    I don't know what your experience is, so please don't be offended by this statement, made assuming you are a beginner: It could also be that you are poorly judging the quality of your shadow exposures, and they are actually overexposed, along with the rest of the neg. This could be due to taking your meter reading from a dark area in the composition, or it could be a problem with the meter.
     
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  8. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    You probably want to test the film.

    Facts:
    - If you like the shadow detail you're getting at EI 640, continue to use that.
    - If the highlights are too dense and you can't print through them (or even if they don't print easily) you need to adjust the duration or the agitation method of your processing. You can slow down agitation to reduce the activity of the developer reaching the film, or shorten the time. I like to alter agitation to every third minute or even longer intervals to control highlights. And that's the key - to control the highlights with development.

    The Neopan 1600 is fabulous film. I really really wish they made it in 120. It works like a champ in Ilford Ilfotec DD-X developer and Kodak Xtol in my opinion. I get what I would describe as tight, sharp, and surprisingly small grain from that combination. I rate the film at EI 800 for sunlight and EI 640 for artificial light.

    - Thomas

     
  9. Paul Cocklin

    Paul Cocklin Member

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    I'm probably the last person who should give exposure and development advice since I'm always asking for it, but if you know a whole roll will be exposed under similar conditions and you know the dev. times that were good for 800 and 1600 except for shadow detail, can't you just pre-expose the whole roll to a zone I level, rewind and shoot your scenes normallY?
     
  10. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Yes. You can do it if you invent (or find) a device that pre exposes the entire roll without leaving frame lines.

    It is a method for lowering contrast, but not the fix for this situation, IMO. It does narrow the gap between low end and high end, simply by forcing you to print through more fog density to achieve maximum black, which darkens the high end in the print as well, but there are more effective (and much easier) ways to handle the problem.
     
  11. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Additionally, pre-flashing can help bring detail in the shadow areas by giving the film enough of a start to reduce or eliminate the effects of contrast reciprocity failure. Basically, in some low light situations even with proper exposure for the highlights there simply isn't enough energy in the shadow areas to provide exposure. Those shadow areas experience reciprocity failure while the mid-tones and highlights expose normally. The result is similar to expanding a film in development. It is an interesting effect.

    However, as 2F/2F stated, pre-flashing isn't very convenient or practical for roll film because of the logistics of flashing it and varied conditions a roll of film will be exposed to combined with the inability to develop for individual exposures.
     
  12. trexx

    trexx Member

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    The Pentax LX is one such device. The frame registration always spot on whether winding forward or backward. I would think other cameras of the era did the same. I have used this to shoot background scenes then apply the subject later.

    TR
     
  13. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    20% is about right, you should loose a stop or so of contrast. If you cut the development more than 20% you may need to increase the exposure as shadow detail won't be as fully developed.

    The problem with indoor shooting in existing illumination isn't contrast range but illumination range. If you cut the contrast to accommodate the wide variation in illumination you will indeed end up with rather muddy looking subject matter.

    Burning in the overexposed parts of the image when printing may be a better solution.

    The best solution is to even out the lighting. A small amount of bounce and fill-in flash can work wonders - you don't need much. There are flashes available that have two flash tubes just for this purpose. Bounce flash is much easier on the subject's eyes than normal straight-ahead-damn-the-red-eye-blind'em flash, you will find people have much less objection to it. If flash is a no-no then see if you can add a floor or table lamp here and there. A floodlight aimed straight up at the ceiling can add enough shadow fill to keep the illumination range under control. If you have a real offender in a lamp that overpowers part of the scene then try putting a lower wattage bulb in the lamp to even things out.