If you are not using test strips, then you are basically making test prints. It is much cheaper to cut a sheet up and use the strips to set up. Once you are confident in your machine, paper, shooting and developing combination you will be able to dial in the settings much faster and save on paper. You will still need to make test exposures, just fewer of them.
Thank you for all the feedback! Test strips a must! Darko I really like the idea of playing with the selenium (sp?) toner on the ones that I wasn't happy with. I have to try the dodging and burning...one of the images that I was not thrilled with would be ideal for that.
I went back and tried one of the images that was too underexposed the other day and did a few test strips and got a much better exposure (initial attempt is the first image, last night's work is on the bottom
There are much spots on them. If that is not from the scanner you should clean the negatives more accurately. It makes no sense to enlarge photographs by your own and to reach only a mediocre quality.
Yes Uwe, I see what you mean. I also realized I the lenses in my enlarger need to be cleaned so that didn't help either.
If you look at the Characteristic Curve you will see that the relation between density and exposure is a logarithmic one. The problem with test strips is that people are using an arithmetic series of exposures to determine proper exposure. This means that if your initial choice for the first step is far off the mark you are propably not going to get any valuable information from the first strip. For example if you do a strip of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 seconds and the correct exposure is 20 seconds you are going to get a blank sheet. There are better methods than the usual test strip.
OK...I see that...if you're way off in your initial guesstimate on what the proper time is the test strip will yield little useful information. So then what are the suggested methods other than test strips? I'm going through Ansel Adam's "The Negative" and he goes into the log relationship between density and exposure but I'll admit it's something I'll have to review to fully understand it.
My test strips follow this progression: 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, 32, 45.
This gives a nice even progression of 1/2 stop at a time.
You may recognize the numbers from the aperture control on your lenses.
Ah yes! I see what you're doing Matt. That makes a lot of sense as it's based on "stop" which is what we base everything else in exposure on
Essentially, what I do is what Gerald suggested to you, because that progression is actually logarithmic in nature.
Originally Posted by cepwin
Here is another suggestion - do your test strips by progressively covering more of the print.
For example, you expose the whole print for 4 seconds, then cover over a portion for 2 seconds, then cover a bit more for 2 more seconds, than a bit more for 3 more seconds, etc.
Here is the table, which gives results out to a total of 64 seconds for the part of the test print with the most exposure: