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  1. #11
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch View Post
    The goal for 35mm film to minimize grain is the thinnest possible negative that still has good shadow detail. Such a negative would be slightly underdeveloped and printed on grade 3 paper.
    But this type of negative would probably suit a condenser rather than a diffuser.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  2. #12
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    I would have to agree with Ralph at least pertaining to myself up until several years ago when I finally learned how to put it all together. But with regard to printing and becoming satisfied with my filtration I was using, It wasn't until I learned to determine the relative ISO range number with a given filtration setting on my LPL with my paper developer and toner that I really could appreciate the actual filtration setting being used and how it related to my negatives. I learned how to determine it here, it's a visual method, but a very good one IMO, would love to do it with a reflection densitometer and the paper curve, but it certainly is not necessary. Bottom line is that a #2 filter, for example, may not at all provide a grade 2 contrast, my attachment shows the contrast grades I can reasonably expect with my LPL settings after a single darkroom session of 30 minutes or less. I only mention this because understanding the actual contrast grade one is getting given paper, paper developer, enlarger light source, and toner is hugely beneficial to understanding your own negative development, IMO.
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  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    But this type of negative would probably suit a condenser rather than a diffuser.
    If you have a diffusion enlarger then you would still print on grade 3 but develop to a higher CI than those who use a condensor enlarger. But everyone still uses grade 3 to minimize grain for their negatives.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  4. #14
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    If I am using a #2 or 2.5 I am happy.
    You are really screwed up (or a photojournalist) if you have to reach for the 3,4,or 5. (and if it makes you happy I am happy)... I spent the first 3 year of my career reaching for 3 and beyond.//

    The underexposure is usually because people don't understand how your in-camera meter sees, or consider what part of the photo they want in mid tones. You really learn how to see when you start successfully using a hand-held meter, and understand what values in a photo various intensities of light fall in a sceen outdoors, or a portrait in the studio.

    Bad exposures cannot be "fixed" in the develop-tank. They can be remedied to an extent.....thick is better than thin when it comes to a printable negative.

    I coaxed a decent print out of a 5 stop overexposed portrait when the aperture broke in a 35mm f1.4 Nikkor that I thought was stopping down to f8.
    Last edited by vpwphoto; 02-04-2013 at 08:22 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #15

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    Here in the African summer, I have to watch out for over-developed negs! My developer can easily pick up 2 degC during a 5 min developing time. Our ambient temperatures in the late afternoon / early evening can be around 30-32 degC, and the cold tap water is around 28. To make a cold water bath is schlep, but it is the only way to stay around 20 or 24.

    It is possible that your observation of thin negatives has more to do with under-exposing the film than with under-development. But it could also be that novices don't get the subtle parts of development quite right, e.g. agitation technique, ensuring freshness of the developer (easy to accidentally oxidise a batch of developer), temperature control etc. How far the negatives are off should be an indication of what went wrong. If it is a stop or so, then probably blame the camera light meter. But if it is way off, two or more stops, and inconsistent, then it is probably the result of development difficulty. I learned developing films by watching an experienced guy doing it. It would be great if you could offer those novices a demonstration. It will definitely help them. One thing you could try (at their expense) is to expose two rolls of film identically, then develop one yourself and let them develop the other. I always keep one or two rolls of bulk film in a loader for such exercises, and load 10-12 frames at a time.

  6. #16
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    Gerald makes a good point above, but I also want to add that sometimes processing films to achieve successful printing with grades 2 or less is an advantage. I'm thinking specifically of large format photography and various large format enlarger light sources I have encountered that are uneven. The higher grade you print with, the more you see the unevenness in the prints and the harder it is to dodge and burn it correct.
    Last edited by ic-racer; 02-05-2013 at 06:57 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #17
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    It's also easy to underexpose when you learned on an old mechanical camera that had slower than the number shutter speeds. It all worked perfectly without you realizing you were exposing more than you dialed in, so when you go to a newer, right on speed electronic camera, you underexposed without realizing it for awhile. Though I did learn to print those underexposed negs before moving on to exposing better.

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