Thinking out loud here:
Perhaps using a film such as TMax 400 (TMY-2) presents an advantage with extreme contrast scenes. It records a very large brightness range in linear fashion, (I think 14 stops), which is more than most, if not all, other films. Would that make a difference in the necessity of using a developer to help contracting such extreme contrast, while getting less of the blooming effect? Or is this purely a developer related phenomenon?
Bob, agreed each person really needs to try it for him/herself. I strongly believe in individual testing since I don't believe most of what I read either.
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
For what it's worth, I did alot of testing similar to what you describe before I embarked upon serious work with night scenes, indoor etc under extreme contrast conditions. I used VC paper only though. I was curious to see if I could make things work without staining developers because I was going to be using mostly 35mm for this stuff and needed finer grain. Sexton's work with extreme contrast lighting was my inspiration, since I had honestly never (and still haven't) seen anything better, and he was using plain old TMAX RS, diluted, with reduced agitation.
After alot of experiments I found that although it was sometimes a bit easier to bring in subtle high value detail with the stained negatives (depending on the scene), with some extra work I was able to get results as good with non-stained negatives, with careful exposure and development (I currently use diluted Perceptol). I agree though D76 in particular would not be my first choice for this work - although it can produce very sharp, low contrast results with some compensating effects at 1+3. Now I'm not going to delude myself into thinking diluted Perceptol is as sharp as Pyro. It is not, but it is reasonably sharp, and much finer grained than the staining alternatives.
Here is an example print. Note this is a crap quality scan as I have no idea what I'm doing. But there is alot of depth to the low values, including fine mesh in the transom above the door, while at the same time there is detail, and value differences even within the lightbulb itself, although it may not show well here. The starring around the lightbulb was unavoidable due to the small aperture. This is by no means an easy print to make, but I was able to get as good a result as with Pyro (I made PMK and Windisch Comp. negatives of the same scene), exactly as envisioned. I've done the same tests with other negatives that were made under even more extreme contrast and got the same results.
Anyhow, interesting discussion. I enjoy taking about this stuff even though we all know in the end technique and skill make the print, as Thomas rightly points out.
PS if you click on this thumbnail it enlarges a little distorted and screwed up so it seems you have to then click again to view it properly - ie open it in a new window.
Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson
I don't use TMax films any longer, but I've found that the highlights withDelat 100 & 400, and also HP5, in Pyrocat HD in cases of extreme highlight contrast have been easier to print with better detail and less prone to what I guess you calling blooming - light scatter/halation.
That room situation is exactly the range I am talking about and encourage a lot of workers to get detail in the bulb and shadows.
If you have both with technique then all you have to do is work on your vision.
BTW most of my work is with print solarization so the original neg is not as critical as would with night scenes or extreme lighting.
I am now thinking to fog the neg(solarize) then fog the print (solarize) at 30 x40 size to see what effect I can get.
Hey wait a minute are you saying my vision needs work? :)
By the way my experience is similar to Ian's above. There's a proposed explanation for this in Anchell/Troop regarding the size of the grain surface and relative to its depth. Apparently Kodak's T-grains are flatter and larger relative to Ilford's Delta grains, which are a little smaller in surface area and thicker. This apparently explains why retention of fine highlight detail and tonality is slightly easier with Delta. In my experience it is splitting hairs though and I use mostly TMAX. Who knows if the explanation is correct, to what degree it makes a difference. After all Anchell also feels the flat grain films are materially inferior in tonality to "traditional" emulsions, and I don't buy this based on the print evidence I've seen.
So Ian, is this because of the curve shouldering, allowing the image to fit the paper curve better?
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
I don't do curves Mark, only in the past with ex-girl friends and now the wife, and it tends to mean a clip around the earss, and they get touchy if we spot differences :)
More seriously I think it's something at the top of the curve that gets missed with conventional densitometry. It might surprise you that we rely on a more visual tesing approach here inEurope with almost no densitometty. JohnBlakemore, perhaps the finest everv exponent of the Zone System does everything with visual comparisons.
My own view is those using densitometers have no confidence in their own abilities they never leave the nest and fly . . . . . . .
The reason I asked is that I don't make curves either and the look is how I've ended up with Delta.
The thing that curves have done for me is provide a language to talk about exposure, placement, printing...
That's very true, but with staining developers curves don't tell us eveything, the colour of the stain has an effect at the printing stage and that varies between graded and variable contrast papers and also brand.
Originally Posted by markbarendt
great thread ! :)
Originally Posted by Mainecoonmaniac
i have never heard of this ...
how long do you put it back in the developer for ?
i've never used pyro developers but use coffee developers
which some people suggest is like its the 3rd cousin 4 times removed ..
i might try this sometime ...