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  1. #21
    John Austin's Avatar
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    Scanning or enlarging?

    If you take the noble path, try working with a diffusion enlarger and see if that gives you the tonail quality you are striving for

    Another way of lifting shadow contrast is with very careful wiping with dilute Pot' ferricyanide reducer, or the modified version which is the bleach part of sepia toner - This is what gives the highlights to the muddy grass at Severn Beach and Steart Flats in thse late 1970s images

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    In my experience older lenses do have more flare which fills in the shadows a but, but also softens them, so if you modify your processing too much the shadows may become muddy - However only testing in your environment will give you true answers

    John

  2. #22
    mfohl's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the good info, Folks. I have a lot of experimenting to do!

    Cheers,

    -- Mark

  3. #23

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    I've always been curious about the old FSA photos. Was the film different back then? I've heard of old emulsions like Kodak Super XX has thicker emulsions which was better for compensating developers.
    Some developing techniques such as using a water bath to cut contrast would have worked better with older thick emulsions. Also, old optics exhibit flair slightly raising the density of low values. We don't know what developer was normally used. D-23 may be a guess for brightly lit conditions. The lab men may have used development by inspection given the variables of equipment, photographers, and location.

    I normally shoot Tri-X with an EI of 250, and I now develop in D-76 mixed one to one with water (now that my Microdol-X is no longer available). I develop for about 10 minutes at 68-70 degrees. And I'm going to expose at 125, which should give me better shadow density.
    With your normal EI and developing time the look will change if you use a condenser vs diffused light source. An EI of 125 may go too far but it depends on your equipment. For an EI of 125 a 20-30% reduction in development time seems a good start.

    Fiber paper provides better shadow separation. Also, older papers did not have the D-Max current papers have.

    I find it curious many vintage prints are printed down (dark low tones) with pearl highlights vs white. Maybe its the museum lighting.
    Last edited by Richard Jepsen; 03-10-2012 at 06:47 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    RJ

  4. #24
    jp498's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Jepsen View Post
    Fiber paper provides better shadow separation. Also, older papers did not have the D-Max current papers have.

    I find it curious many vintage prints are printed down (dark low tones) with pearl highlights vs white. Maybe its the museum lighting.
    It is often museum lighting that makes things look that way. Once in a while you'll find a museum that doesn't exhibit photography in a dungeon.

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    It is for sure true that lenses were different back then. I often use a 50mm Summitar f/2 lens, and the shadows are a lot more open than with a modern Nokton, for example.

    ...
    Typical lenses were uncoated Tessar or three-element types, although more complex lenses were often used. The uncoated lenses had enough additional flare to reduce the contrast noticeably and to flash the shadow areas a bit.

    Films of the time had thick emulsions, often double coated with more than one emulsion. The films varied quite a lot, from relatively low speed, wide range films like Ansco Supreme and Isopan (ASA 50) and Kodak Panatomic-X (sheet) (ASA 40) through Ansco Superpan Press (ASA 125) and Kodak Super-XX (ASA 100) to high speed press films like Kodak Super Panchro Press Type B (ASA 250). The film speed measurements were different then, as well, so that films generally received fuller exposure than they do now. Development was also a bit different. Many still used D-1 (or its equivalent) pyro developer. D-76 and Ansco 17 were recommended for many films, but Ansco 17M and DK-50 were probably more popular. DK-60a was frequently used in press work.

  6. #26

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    Marco B's example doesn't look at all like the 30's photos, but it is an outstanding example of good technique. (You feel you are there.) Overexposure by one stop is a frequent method to make sure you get adequate shadow detail and sufficiently open shadows with little (but not zero) chance of screwing up the highlights. Bracketing is certainly a well proven technique in uncertain exposure situations. Increasing the exposure while decreasing the development works for certain situations, but it takes some knowledge and experience to make it work consistently. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Sheet film makes experimentation like this more economical and easier.

  7. #27

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    In the 30s the small camera was considered a 4x5. My bet is there is a broader tonal spread from 8x10 negatives than 35mm. Shadows are likely affected
    RJ

  8. #28

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    I think it's all in the format. Back then it was all medium and large format with all the formidable things that come with it.

    Edit: I'm glad that someone picked this up...

  9. #29
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    Has anybody mentioned pre-flashing film to boost shadow detail?

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