Enlarging thin negatives
I've processed some 35mm Delta 3200@6400 with Microphen stock solution (for 12 minutes - reference was Ilford chart) and the negatives came out incredibly thin.To be honest, temperature was 21 deg instead of 20. I'm about to start enlarging them but I can see from here that it will be pretty serious business. Any starter points I should have in mind before experimenting? Just so I could save some time, papers and nerves...
I have always been surprised at how much detail I can get from a thin negative. Try it, you might be pleasantly surprised too.
Ilford MGFB is my go to paper for the highest contrast to be able to print anorexic negatives. Like Steve said above, give it a go. You might be surprised what you will get.
Ferricyanide is your friend. If you want black blacks, print it dark and bleach back highlights. That's how I do it.
As long as you have good shadow detail the battle is half-won. I'm sure you'll have to print with a higher grade paper or filter. Good luck!
I would suggest the real solution to this problem is to stick to one film/developer/dilution you are happy with. Treat dev charts only as a guide and after a few years you will be producing consistently good negs again and again.
If you find you need more contrast beyond a #5 grade, use colder developer. I found I could push another 1/2 grade out of it for a 15 degree drop down to 55 degrees. I work in a basement, so my chemicals are that temp naturally in the winter/spring down there. Also, as Katie suggested, learn how to bleach to increase local contrast. At this point, don't worry about shadow detail as with thin negs, you can't be focusing on them. Just focus on the mids and highlights. FYI, developing at 21 should have given you more detail, not less so you might want to explore how you exposed your images as you likely didn't give them enough exposure.
Originally Posted by Steve Smith
But here's something else. You should try to print them, in order to decide for yourself. PRACTICE makes perfect – even, or especially, if imperfect to begin with.
Your stated (probably) insignificant increase of development temperature at recommended time and developer should have resulted in a denser negative. Your impression of their thinness may:
1) be incorrect – that's why you should print them yourself.
2) indicate incorrect timing, thermometer readings, expired chemicals – in short anything in the process not operating incorrectly.
3) be the result of underexposure of the film itself, either by you or the taking device or light meter.
You can get maximum contrast out of VC papers by printing thru a hard blue filter like a 47 or 47B.
I have exactly the same experience with Delta 3200. In my case, I exposed it at 3200 and processed it using figure between 3200 and 6400. It came out very thin.
That said.... the negative printed incredibly well. No special treatment was necessary. I used normal contrast filter and did my normal stuff. The exposure time was short, of course, but nothing special. Why don't you just try printing the way you normally do? If that doesn't work for some reason, then go to plan-B.... You might be pleasantly surprised.... I was!