Just get a gray scale, like the Kodak targets, and photograph those. That will immediately tell you what you should do with your development and printing. Anything else is guess work.
When I try to figure out what a film is doing when I push it, I first run a roll on the Kodak targets. When Tmax 400 is pushed to 1600, what is lost? What is lost at 3200? What should be placed where, and when? The targets immediately give you the correct answer. What grade of paper? Use a target, and then you'll always know the correct answer.
Originally Posted by Sirius Glass
......and the posts that are knocking the OPs efforts are helping him how? It bothers me not on negative opinions of finding the effective film speed, but diverting the thread away from OPs request for assistance annoys the piss out of me. Start another thread ......there's sure to be plenty of participants.
Even I know better than that. With HIE, you gotta just shoot.
Originally Posted by Sirius Glass
But I just did a film family test on one roll of Tri-X and left myself 12 shots on the roll to shoot with.
Only problem is I developed those 12 shots in water. Not a very good developer choice.
The most significant learning experiences I've had in photography and life have come where my basic assumptions for something were challenged. It has been rare in my life that these challenges come in a linear manner in the context of my choice. The world seems to throw them at me in a very random manner and they barge in where they please.
Originally Posted by CPorter
You, the OP, and any other reader are welcome to use or disregard anyone else's input to any thread as you please, beyond that this is essentially a public space.
That three of us "saw" the same concern is telling. Maybe there is something to learn there.
But Mark, you have already indicated in other threads you're not overly concerned about how much shadow detail you have. That is an important point.
While I'd agree (as would anyone, presumably) spending all your time and money on testing is useless, a relatively simple personal speed/development test is no big deal to do, and can be very useful. It depends on what kinds of subject matter one plans on shooting as well as what kind of print tonality one aspires to. There are no rules, of course. Just preferences. For example, what if someone prefers giving softer development than ISO standard? With straight line films you lose film speed pretty fast.
I prefer giving more exposure so that everything important has full separations. That's what I want, and it helps me get the print. For others, box speed, or even higher than box speed works fine.
What I would say to OP though, is don't spend too much time initially testing and re-testing and trying to dial everything in to the nearest density unit. Do a few tests and then make pictures and print. You can then fine tune things based on whether you're getting negatives that allow you to make good prints or not. This comes only with some experience. I think that's where many people go wrong. They might read whatever book they've chosen and spend a lot of time getting their test negatives to match the recommended density ranges etc only to find out when they finally start printing pictures, that they're not getting what they thought they were getting. I'm stealing some wording there from Stephen Benskin.
As long as you don't go off the rails, some good initial testing never hurts. You can also learn a lot. But yes, 72 exposures to find some kind of constant EI for IR film - probably not the best use of time.
HIE: Use meter set at 400, do not meter through lens, use 25A or 29, and enjoy. A lot.
Thanks all for your responses. I've been in the darkroom (bathroom) most of the day trying to make prints, not testing, so I missed a lot of this. :)
I'm 48 years old and I'm trying to learn film for the first time. Well it's been about 6 months so far. I'm on the down hill side of life, so I don't want to spend a bunch of time testing, but I do want to start being more systematic about the process. Up until now I've mostly flown by the seat of my pants, and I don't feel that's been working real well.
I'm going to use one camera for my serious work, a Mamiya RZ67. I also have a Rolleiflex arriving next week that I'll use for a fun, walkabout/travel camera. I use a hand held meter. I want to shoot one, maybe two films. It will be either Delta 100/400 or T-Max 100/400. I've settled on DD-X for film developing and Ilford Mulitgrade developer for paper. Paper is Ultrafine Elite VC RC.
I could forgo the testing and shoot box speed, but I think going through the exercise of finding my personal film speed and development time, will help teach me how all the pieces of creating an image fit together. I very well may end up where I am now, shooting box speed, but hopefully by testing I'll be a little more knowledgeable about what I'm doing.
A couple people mentioned using a gray card for testing, which led me to an article by Steve Simmons that I think I'm going to try and follow.