Looking at a negative.
I am so new to film, I'm not even sure how to look at a negative properly, meaning to I just hold it up to a window, or against a piece of white paper?? Transitioning to film is a bit of a challenge in 2013. You can't call up a friend and ask ''how do I read a negative?" because your friend will be like, ''what is a negative?"
nope, that's what search engine's and books like Ansel Adams The Negative are for.
Good Morning, mporte012,
"Any way that works for you." is the simplest answer. A brighty-lit white wall or piece of white paper as background works well for me. Lightboxes with translucent plastic lit from within are available, but not really necessary. Judging the negative quality is mostly just a matter of experience. It won't take long, assuming that you regularly print some of your negatives, to be able to tell whether a negative is worth printing and approximately how easy or difficult it will be to get a good print from it.
Ok, excellent (I do have The Negative, by the way) Thanks!
If the negative is a loss, totally thin, then you can hold it up emulsion facing you to bright light at an angle so the emulsion is lit, use a black background and see a positive image.
A good thing about computers, you can open a blank document and have a white "light table". Then you can just hold the negative up and look at it that way.
A good negative will have details in the "shadows." You will know if you can see some things in the clear areas.
There's more advice to follow I'm sure, but that can get you started.
Although you didn't mention the size of the negatives a magnifying loupe helps regardless of the size.
I'll second the idea of a loupe. In 35mm it is a near essential in my opinion
Now I need a magnifying loupe! (film is expensive).
Any old magnifying glass will work or a jewelers loupe will do if you are holding up the negative. Loupes made specifically for negatives usually require a light box to rest on. A flipped prime lens also works like a 50mm.
Also if you sit at a table with a desk lamp, point the lamp downward at a piece of white paper. You can then hold the negatives up and look through it with the bright white paper as the background. It's a little easier than holding sheet and sheets up with you neck back.
I have used my iPhone with a blank white screen, from a new tab within the web browser with max screen brightness, to quickly scan negatives that are drying.
For my students I have a setup that I use to invert the negatives on the large screen iMacs we have. I lay the negatives on our large light box connect a web cam that has a long USB cord, and place webcam lens right against the loupe. I then invert screen colors on the Mac and use QuickTime and start a new movie recording. I don't hit the record button but use the video feed from the webcam. It gives a nice large screen size image that is a positive. Helps the students learn how to read negatives quickly and for others in the class to see the negative as well to discuss.
And while you are looking at the negative, this site may help you assess it: http://www.ephotozine.com/article/as...negatives-4682