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  1. #1

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    Eastman Kodak Double-X / 5222 and Diafine test

    Hello all. My name is Luiz and Iīm from Brazil. This is my first thread at APUG, so Iīm a bit nervous about my poor English. I wonder if you all will even understand what Iīm writing about. In advance Iīm sorry for my spelling and grammar mistakes.

    Iīm using Eastman Kodak Double-X since 2010 and feels very happy with the results. I used to develop it with D96 but now Iīm trying it with other chemicals, as I had some rolls scratched in my bulk loader (bad technique, I confess).
    First of all I was using D23 plus water bath, with not-so-nice results. Now I got all chemistries and tryed it with Diafine formula provided at Anchellīs Darkroom Cookbook. We donīt have the original Diafine here in Brazil. These are the results I got from my test.
    I think itīs not necessary to write about this developer as you all may know it, but for those who arenīt aware of Diafine, this is a good review: http://www.blackandwhitefineart.net/2011/01/diafine/

    The negative is a well-known movie negative used in movies like Schindlerīs List and 007 Casino Royale, for example. Having a ISO about 250, itīs not a all-around film but Iīm looking for a cheaper substitute for Tri-X (US$ 15,00/36 exp roll in Brazil). As this film is thicker than most of negatives (has 2 extra protective layers) I thought it would be a nice candidate for Diafine, that requires the negative to be soaked in bath A to be developed by the alkali in bath B. So, letīs give it a try!

    The negative was developed for 4 minutes in every solution and the agitation scheme was 30s initially and 2 inversions every 30s for bath A and 2 inversions every minute in bath B. Donīt ask why I made it different, just seemed to be the right thing to do.

    This is the test. I shoot with a Pentax ME Super and a 50 1.4 lens, metered in-camera. The scan is a Plustek Opticfilm 7400 with Vuescan, 2400 DPI, one pass.

    A) MDF board (donīt know if you imagine whatīs this, itīs a wood-like board used in furniture here in Brazil), metered as medium-gray (zone 5) and closed 2 stops (to zone 3), to see if the negative could retain all details. The intention was to verify the developerīs push capacity. All images are straight out the scan (less contrasted and darker than normal) but there is margin for post-processing on all of them, because there arenīt clipped shadows.

    1. ISO 200



    2. ISO 400



    3. ISO "600" (half-stop between 400 and 800, thatīs all my lens could do)




    4. ISO 800




    5. ISO "1200" (half-stop between 800 and 1600)




    6. ISO 1600




    Conclusion: Nice detail retention till "1200" and usable till 1600. Very good for a 250 ISO negative.





    B) Low contrast situation: I would like to see detail retention in bright places, grain size/shape, details in darker places and where I could get the most pleasant contrast curve/ISO. Images edited just to get more pleasant, simulating a real world film situation usage.

    1. ISO 400



    2. ISO 800



    3. ISO 1600



    Conclusion: Low contrast scenes with bright tones predominance could be shooted till ISO 1600. Those situations might not need high ISOS (there is enough light) but we may use ISO 1600 and close the diafragm for depth of field control or high speeds for moving subjects. The best contrast curve was at ISO 800, and the grain was less dominant till 800 also. Again, 1600 might be used.

  2. #2

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    C) Same situation but more contrast scene. Great contrast between dogīs white and dark fur. I wish to evaluate detail retention in dark and bright zones. Pictures edited in Lightroom to get more pleasant.


    1. ISO 400




    2. ISO 800




    3. ISO 1600




    Conclusion: for situations with more contrast the limiting ISO seems to be 800 or 1-2/3 more stops, as a major concern not to lose important detail in shadows. The hightlights are good in every ISO tested. I need to evaluate better this situations with a modern camera that can handle 1/3 stop speed changes (ME Super changes just full stops in speed)


    D) Real (and hard) light conditions, where we donīt have time to think. The goal was to see if the negative could be used in situations with backlight, high contrast and less control over camera. Used Av mode choosing just the ISO and a fixed aperture. The camera would decide the speed by itīs center-weighted meter. I donīt even know whatīs the speed chosen by the camera on each shot. This tends to simulate a street shooting situation.

    1. ISO 400




    2. ISO 800




    3. ISO 1600



    Conclusion: in "emergencies" where we donīt have time to carefully choose settings, like a street or candid shot, we may use ISO 1600 with automatic settings, knowing that we may lose some details but saving the whole picture. Note that the worst picture is ISO 800, where the light doesnīt got the dogīs face (bellow zone 03). In this situations a better light measurement must be made (next test)



    E) Real and hard light conditions, but this time measured for zone 03 (wall bellow the plants) and intented to catch all EV range. Unfortunately, there were no detail at the sky at moment of shooting which was at least 6 EVs apart (zone 9). The buildings was metered ad zona 07. The pictures were edited just to be more pleasant.

    1. ISO 400



    2. ISO 800



    3. ISO 1600



    Conclusion: again, the best contrast curve was at ISO 800. At ISO 400 the contrast was low and should be better ajusted by curves/levels at post-processing. For this film/developer combo the real ISO (best tone curve/scanning) should be 640 ou 800.



    Limitations:
    This test obviously has limitations.
    First of all, there are no images made at night, a typical situation where we should use higher ISOs. I want to test it in future with a good negative (at least a not scratched one) so I can use the images for another purpose than just testing. This would be a real world test.
    Second, the cam doesnīt have 1/3 stops speed control. Soon Iīll get a Canon Rebel (electronic) that can change speed in 1/3 stops (and spot metering) that can do a proper test.
    Third, the in-camera meter couldnīt be calibrated properly and variations may occur. As this camera is my all-around, at least for me, the test is ok.
    Lastly, for enlarging would be necessary to evaluate this data better in contact sheets in future.

    General conclusion: Itīs possible to use this film in more situations than normal use I do now, like low light/high speed subjects/low aperture zoom lenses using this developer. We may know the limitations but there is a real speed gain and I, as a rule of thumbs, would use this film rated as ISO 640-800 in better litted scenes and 1250-1600 in dark scenes. In extreme conditions like this, ISO 1600 may be used, since you know that limitations imposed by inadequade tone curve, larger grain and shadow tones losses could occur.

    Iīm surprised with this developer. After all I read about it I thought it would be just another promise, but it seems to be a good speed-gainer and tone-controller.


    Iīm anxious for your opinion.

    Luiz

  3. #3
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    This is interesting work Luiz. I just purchased a 100 foot roll of Double X and will most likely be shooting with my Pentax LX so this is coming to my attention at the right time.

    I do have one observation. I could be wrong but I suspect that parts of your test, such as the dog and fence image, may be flawed. If I understand you changed the ISO setting on your camera, set the camera to aperture priority, and then allowed the camera to select the shutter speed. In that situation my Pentax LX will adjust the shutter speed to ensure the image is properly exposed (as the meter understands it). So your film actually received the same (close) light value for each picture. If your dog had been turned to face us in each image his portrait would have been just as dark in each image because the camera's meter would be giving the white background more priority.

    I may be wrong but you would likely get more value by setting your camera to manual and then adjusting only one of the variables; ISO, shutter speed, or aperture for each individual image.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
    This is interesting work Luiz. I just purchased a 100 foot roll of Double X and will most likely be shooting with my Pentax LX so this is coming to my attention at the right time.

    I do have one observation. I could be wrong but I suspect that parts of your test, such as the dog and fence image, may be flawed. If I understand you changed the ISO setting on your camera, set the camera to aperture priority, and then allowed the camera to select the shutter speed. In that situation my Pentax LX will adjust the shutter speed to ensure the image is properly exposed (as the meter understands it). So your film actually received the same (close) light value for each picture. If your dog had been turned to face us in each image his portrait would have been just as dark in each image because the camera's meter would be giving the white background more priority.

    I may be wrong but you would likely get more value by setting your camera to manual and then adjusting only one of the variables; ISO, shutter speed, or aperture for each individual image.

    Thank you, Pioneer. I must be mispelled something, as my English is not very good. Thatīs what I was trying to do: simulate a difficult situation, where you couldnīt think, just focus and shoot. Overexposing is an option (and automatic cameras do this all the time) for recording shadow details even if the camera operator arenīt aware of it. Intentionally changing the ISO settings for 1, 2 and 3 stops above the box rate is dangerous if you get a backlit subject. Even in that situation the film rated as 1600 could record information, but in ISO 800 the dog stared at the camera and avoid the light to illuminate itīs face. Comparing this test with the last leaves just one conclusion: you may try a 2 or 3 stop push, but it requires a careful exposure. Leaving the camera in all-auto mode isnīt an option when dealing with difficult lighting and pushed negatives.

  5. #5
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    You are doing very well with your English Luiz. Keep up the good work. As soon as I get around to loading up some of my Double X I'll try to catch up.

    Here is some more information from people working with this film as well. You may have seen this, but maybe not.

    http://www.project-double-x.org/about.html

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
    You are doing very well with your English Luiz. Keep up the good work. As soon as I get around to loading up some of my Double X I'll try to catch up.

    Here is some more information from people working with this film as well. You may have seen this, but maybe not.

    http://www.project-double-x.org/about.html
    Thank you, Pioneer. Already know this website, Iīve taken the developing info (4+4minutes) from there.

    Iīm waiting for your images.

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    So far I have only shot two short rolls in my Contaflex. I used the Contaflex because it is really easy to load the Contax cassettes by hand. I will load a couple more rolls on the Contax cassettes and try it in my Contax 11 as well. So much to do. My notes don't say so but I suspect I shot this using the in-camera meter, which is quite old now and not always accurate.

    This is from the first roll.


    This from the second roll.


    Shot at ISO 250 with yellow filter. Developed in Kodak HC110 Dilution B for 6 minutes.

    I haven't haven't had time to work out loading this onto some of my standard cassettes. When I do get to that I will be shooting some in my LX.

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    Quote Originally Posted by desertratt View Post
    My understanding is that film made for making movies such as you mention are not the same as film made for still photography. Quite often it is not as good as film made for your Pentax or other still cameras.
    It certainly is not as straightforward as loading up a roll of Tri-X or HP5, but I have seen some very good results so I think it certainly should be possible with a bit of work.
    Last edited by Pioneer; 12-18-2012 at 09:00 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: typo

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    Eastman Kodak Double-X / 5222 and Diafine test

    Quote Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
    So far I have only shot two short rolls in my Contaflex. I used the Contaflex because it is really easy to load the Contax cassettes by hand. I will load a couple more rolls on the Contax cassettes and try it in my Contax 11 as ....

    ... I haven't haven't had time to work out loading this onto some of my standard cassettes. When I do get to that I will be shooting some in my LX.
    The first one seems underexposed/overdeveloped. Dark areas with too much contrast. I'm at iPad now, and the screen isn't calibrated. Second one is nice. I'll see the pictures tomorrow at my calibrated Dell IPS.

    LX is a nice camera. It is K bayonet, isn't? I have 1 K1000 and 2 ME Super. Love those cameras.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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    Eastman Kodak Double-X / 5222 and Diafine test

    Quote Originally Posted by desertratt View Post
    My understanding is that film made for making movies such as you mention are not the same as film made for still photography. Quite often it is not as good as film made for your Pentax or other still cameras.
    I agree. But I made my reasons clear in the beggining of the thread. Tri-x costs 15 dollars per roll here in Brazil. 5222 costs 3 to 5 dollars here. It's an alternative to continue using film...


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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