Andreas - the point Stephen is making, further to Mark's earlier post, is that we should ask some questions about testing methodologies, sources of error/distortion etc. Otherwise we may not know how to interpret the results, or apply them in a meaningful way to different situations, in which case we can't be sure we're better or worse off than simply using the manufacturer's instructions.
For example, flare is a significant factor which is often overlooked in typical zone system testing methods.
Yes I agree what you are saying. That is why I test. If people want my results I give them them but I always tell them not to believe them.
Because there is so much hearsay and myths and legends I prefer to test my stuff. As far as I am concerned too much is passed on from one generation to the next with out anybody checking.
I really do agree but I want to know for myself, with my equipment etc.
Even Adams, whom I have learned much from and whom I would suggest that people might study, is out of date. Modern VC papers have changed the reality we live in and films have improved. Adams' concepts are right but the world changed.
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
Similarly Dunn & Wakefield Exposure manual. The concepts stand well but modern meters are better at their jobs.
In both cases it is prudent to modify some specifics to adapt to the new world when it makes sense.
For me "finally" finding out what normal was and getting good at normal allowed me to get much better at everything, it gave me a baseline where things worked well and a way to judge what changes improved things and which didn't.
I have tested to find the limits of "normal", the range I can shoot in to get a good print, but my intent isn't to find a personal EI, it is to figure out where to stop when I have to move away from normal/box speed.
Well I have my personal EI, I have them upstairs. And I don't really care about them anymore. I check my materials once and that's it.
What this all brought me was finding the limits of the materials. To get a feeling what should or can be done.
I think at the end of the day we basically do get to do the same thing.
Adams and all the gurus are a help in getting started going down the path if one wants to test.
I agree only in part that VC paper has changed the reality we live in. A badly exposed film can't always be saved with VC paper.
Sure it makes life easier but I have often enough had negatives from people which I could not get a really good print from.
Yes Andreas we are on the same page I think.
The thought of finding the limits of the materials though, the range rather than an absolute EI to peg things to, is a sea change from much of the discussion around testing and the traditional wisdom of the community.
How did you establish your lower limit (ie highest EI)?
I expose a step wedge onto film in the darkroom and develope. According to my results I exposure another in the camera (at least for large format ). Then after real exposures I will see if I need to do any ajustments, they are usually seldom and slight.
OK, I've been reading about all these different testing methods, and I realized I wasn't exactly sure what the purpose was. I was hoping to follow a testing method, and during the process all would become clear. So I thought about it last night. Please let me know if I'm on track, or where I'm going astray. :)
1. Testing for personal film speed is essentially learning how to accurately record dark parts of a scene, on film, with your personal equipment. Usually people pick zone III to calibrate to, but zone II could also be used if a person prefers that.
2. Finding your personal film development time, teaches you how long to develop, in order to print both darks and highlights in the range that you desire. Usually people pick zone VII as the upper highlight range to capture, but you could use zone VIII if you so desired.
3. Paper-black density test. Unexposed, developed film has some density, film base + fog. This test determines how many seconds it takes for a particular aperture/magnification to print near maximum black, or zone 0, on the paper you're using. These exposure settings allow us to standardize our print testing.
4. After discovering your EI for shadows and developing time for highlights, you should be able to efficiently record on film, and print, a normal contrast scene containing zone III through zone VII.
I guess you are asking me.
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
The minimum film exposure level that can get me a decent print of my main subject matter, say a face. It is not based off an exact amount of shadow detail.
Yes I would say you about summed it up. If you want to delve deeper into this subject check out Adams, Phil Davis or Ralph Lambrecht. Ralph post here a lot.
Originally Posted by kbrede
Just don't end up testing too much just remember that.