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  1. #1

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    How to get more contrast?

    My negs seem to be too gray. I like dark blacks and white whites. Using Tmax 100 film, dev in
    Tmax 1:1 with times on sheet. Dektol dev for 1 min with the paper. ideas?

  2. #2

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    over-development, or under-expose and push development.

  3. #3
    heterolysis's Avatar
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    A stronger filter?

  4. #4
    Slixtiesix's Avatar
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    An orange or red filter will ad more contrast.

  5. #5
    andrew.roos's Avatar
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    You could try a harder grade of paper (or suitable filtration if using MG paper) with the negs you already have.

    I shoot Delta 100 which I expect is similar to TMax 100 and it has a very straight characteristic curve, which gives good tonal separation in the highlights and shadows but not the high contrast look you are after. If I wanted very high contrast negs, I would probably go to a conventional emulsion with a more S-shaped curve, such as FP4+. Not sure that Kodak has an equivalent though, since Plus-X has been discontinued.
    Last edited by andrew.roos; 10-07-2012 at 02:25 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6
    Dan Henderson's Avatar
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    If your negatives are too "gray" as you say, I guess that you mean you think there is not enough contrast between shadow and highlight areas of the negative. I suggest doing a minimum time for maximum black test of a negative that was exposed on a subject with normal contrast range, using your usual paper, developer, development time. The MTMB print will tell you whether you are giving the right negative exposure and development, and any changes to either or both needed to produce a print with a good range of tones.

    You said you develop paper for 1 minute. I assume that is RC paper? If it is FB paper then 1 minute sounds too short and will result in weak blacks.


    web site: Dan Henderson, Photographer.com

    blog: https://danhendersonphotographer.wordpress.com/

    I am not anti-digital. I am pro-film.

  7. #7

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    Is it the negatives or the printing? Have you tried Dektol al 2mins?

  8. #8
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Before you dismiss the grey negatives....

    If you can just read a newspaper through the dark areas.. thats good
    If you can see detail in the clear areas... thats good

    If your black areas are completely black ... thats bad
    If your clear areas contain no detail.. thats bad.


    If you cannot get decent contrast in your print with 1 , 2 , or 3 filter ... thats bad


    don't mix up the two issues,, neg quality vs print quality

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
    Before you dismiss the grey negatives....

    If you can just read a newspaper through the dark areas.. thats good
    If you can see detail in the clear areas... thats good

    If your black areas are completely black ... thats bad
    If your clear areas contain no detail.. thats bad.

    If you cannot get decent contrast in your print with 1 , 2 , or 3 filter ... thats bad

    don't mix up the two issues,, neg quality vs print quality
    Absolutely!

    I wrote the following for a different thread a few weeks ago.

    Before anyone chases changes in contrast at the negative it is important to remember/understand that negatives are normally just an intermediate medium. Proper contrast should normally be judged by the output/print.

    Increasing time, agitation, or temperature for film development will increase the steepness of the film curve. When that steeper curve is printed the mid tones are going to be snappier but some highlight and shadow detail will not print unless you dodge or burn. The inverse is true also.

    Experience has taught me that most of what I thought were contrast problems, are actually exposure problems. The problem for me is not normally the steepness of the film curve, but where the subjects I want to print land on the film curve too far apart.

    To get the subjects closer to each other on paper, I can dodge and burn in the enlarger or light the scene in front of the camera differently.

    The classic example of this is a backlit portrait; sunset behind your subject, very little light on your subjects face. In this situation the contrast in the scene is huge. The steepness of a normally developed film curve may be right for both subjects they are just too far apart on the film curve. Adding artificial light on the person or doing dodge and burn at the print can be used to place both subjects on the paper.

    Adjusting the film's contrast allows you to print more or less of the whole scene but it does not help place a dark face and the sunset where you want them on paper.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  10. #10
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Most common cause is under exposure of the film. What do your negatives look like?

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