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  1. #1

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    Question about develoment time check

    Hello,
    I'm trying to find a way to check my developing time, APX100 in Rodinal 1+25. I'm currently at 8 min / 20°C. The thing is, I regulary print on grade 5 to get optimal contrast and I've been wondering if the problem is the development or other (enlarger, etc.). So I read about the method of Bruce Barnbaum in his book. He recommends to expose a zone V on paper (comparing it to a 18% card) and then to expose a zone IX catured on the negative with the same time and see if it is blank or very light grey. Anyway, I want to find a way of exposing zone V without a grey card, and I'd like to ask you if the method I found is correct : it is to find the reference time of the negative and then expose the zone IX capture with that reference time, without using zone V as a reference. Will the reference time give me the correct equivalent of zone IX ? Supposing that the exposure is correct.
    I hope you get what I mean.

    Thank you in advance,

    Krystof.

  2. #2
    paul_c5x4's Avatar
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    Have a read of Barry Thornton's articles on personal development times and film speeds. He gives advice on how to calibrate your workflow without having to use grey cards or step wedges.

  3. #3

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    That's excellent advice, those articles really helped me - very practical and straightforward.

    You can find them here:

    http://www.barrythornton.com/ under the "Technique Guide" section

  4. #4
    Chris Lange's Avatar
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    I find that I print most of my work at higher grades...4 or 5...
    See my work at my website CHRISTOPHER LANGE PHOTOGRAPHY

    or my snaps at my blog MINIMUM DENSITY
    --
    If you don't have it, then you don't have it.

  5. #5
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    There is nothing wrong with printing at Grade 5.

    But if you are like me, and like your negatives to print well at Grade 2 or 3, then you have to make your negatives higher in contrast, meaning you need to develop them longer. I suggest starting with adding about 12% and go to 9 minutes, print a couple of frames and see what happens.

    I like to be able to have wiggle room when I print. Most of my negatives print well at around Grade 2 to 3, but sometimes I want a bit of extra punch to the print, and I use the Grade 4 or 5 filters to either burn in certain areas, or give the whole print the high contrast treatment.
    If my negatives were such that my 'normal' print would be at Grade 5, and I needed more contrast, it would be very difficult to do.

    Just something to think about. Increasing or decreasing negative contrast is a basic control point of your process, so look at your negatives critically, and adjust developing time as necessary so that you can print at your preferred contrast grades. It's entirely in your hands.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tofek View Post
    Hello,
    I'm trying to find a way to check my developing time, APX100 in Rodinal 1+25. I'm currently at 8 min / 20°C. The thing is, I regulary print on grade 5 to get optimal contrast and I've been wondering if the problem is the development or other (enlarger, etc.). So I read about the method of Bruce Barnbaum in his book. He recommends to expose a zone V on paper (comparing it to a 18% card) and then to expose a zone IX catured on the negative with the same time and see if it is blank or very light grey. Anyway, I want to find a way of exposing zone V without a grey card, and I'd like to ask you if the method I found is correct : it is to find the reference time of the negative and then expose the zone IX capture with that reference time, without using zone V as a reference. Will the reference time give me the correct equivalent of zone IX ? Supposing that the exposure is correct.
    I hope you get what I mean.

    Thank you in advance,

    Krystof.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  6. #6
    Chris Lange's Avatar
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    The problem for me isn't so much my negatives, but that commercially available negative films are designed from the get go to display a full range of smooth tonality...I like things rough and coarse. Rodinal 1:25 and Delta 3200 with a red 25 starts to get me where I like to be.

    Edit: I should clarify this is for certain pictures only...often I am perfectly content printing grade 3 with fp4+ or APX100 shot at 80 or 100.
    See my work at my website CHRISTOPHER LANGE PHOTOGRAPHY

    or my snaps at my blog MINIMUM DENSITY
    --
    If you don't have it, then you don't have it.

  7. #7

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    Thank you for yur answers.

    Paul and pdeeh thanks for the link, I read it and it actually confirms what I wanted to do.

    Thomas, I see what you mean. I know that I will have to increase the dev time whatever happens because I don't like printing at the limit grade 5, and having no room for increasing contrast if I want to. But I wanted to do this test, to check if my developing is too short or if the cause of the low contrast is eslewhere. Anyway I'm having fun with these tests for now, and will have even more fun printing from the negatives developed to my taste.

  8. #8
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tofek View Post
    Thank you for yur answers.

    Paul and pdeeh thanks for the link, I read it and it actually confirms what I wanted to do.

    Thomas, I see what you mean. I know that I will have to increase the dev time whatever happens because I don't like printing at the limit grade 5, and having no room for increasing contrast if I want to. But I wanted to do this test, to check if my developing is too short or if the cause of the low contrast is eslewhere. Anyway I'm having fun with these tests for now, and will have even more fun printing from the negatives developed to my taste.
    Understood. If your Rodinal is contaminated, or beginning to exhaust (unlikely, but I've seen reports of R09 with sudden loss of activity lately), then your negatives could be under-developed, even though your developing time is correct. That is definitely true.

    If your low contrast negatives is a sudden change from what they used to be, then it is wise to suspect the developer, and my advice would be to purchase some fresh developer.
    If your negatives have always been low contrast, the same as you get now, at 8 minutes developing time, then it's more likely to do with your technique and you simply need to develop the film for a longer amount of time.

    Good luck!
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  9. #9

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    Yes, my prints have always been muddy and I'm beginning to realize it. So it's likely my fault. And my agitation is very soft too, I agitate two times, gently, every minute. So it may also come from here. Anyway I prefer increasing the dev time rather than changing agitation, it became such a habit that would be harder to change.
    Btw, I also tested the exposure, and I'm seeing a fog on the supposd zone 0, at 100ASA. By how much would you increase the ASA rating ? I must admit that I don't want to bother with thirds of stops and skip directly at 200ASA...

  10. #10

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    Have you ruled out safelight fog and/or enlarger/darkroom light leaks? These are notorious for muddying prints/reducing contrast, particularly safelights.

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