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  1. #11
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Sounds to me - definitely - that there is a film/ processing problem. No matter how far out of focus things are - or what the lens characteristics are - for whatever optical reason ... the film grain should NOT be "mushy".
    Film and developer go together. One or the other - or the combination? ... is "out".

    I would suggest a developer known for razor - sharp grain - Try Rodinal - if you have any. If the grain is still "mushy", in my mind - it HAS to be defective film.

    One other thought ... I assume that you are not enlarging the image, so this would not be relevant... Something similar has happened to me ... I occasionally use "softening filters" on my enlarging lens in place of filtering the camera lens. The end result seems to be close to what you are describing... sometimes desirable in portraiture. if I forget and try using the grain focuser with a softening filter on the lens .. focusing will be impossible.

    But -- if no enlarging is involved - try the Rodinal.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  2. #12

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    Umm... Try a piece of film from a reputable manufacturer, i.e., Kodak or Ilford and see if the neg is sharp?

  3. #13

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    Here is another idea. Could it be the film holder is not at the same depth as the GG? Is it happening with all of your film holders?
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  4. #14
    bobfowler's Avatar
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    I second Mark's concern about your film holders. If you don't have access to a fancy depth gauge, you can try this method:

    You'll need a straight edge long enough to fit across the lens side of the camera back, and a shorter straight edge, preferably one that has a square end (also make sure that the end is nice and square to the length)

    1) Load a holder with a piece of dead film (one of your bad negatives will work just fine).

    2) Take the back off the camera and lay the straight edge across the back.

    3) Use your shorter straight edge to measure the distance from the surface of the ground glass to the edge of the straight edge across the back. You're not looking for an exact measurement, but rather you want to find a reference point that you can compare to in the next step.

    4) Insert your film holder under the ground glass and pull the darkslide. Make the same measurement you made in step 3 (do it in the same place), measuring from the surface of the film in the holder to the reference point you identified in the previous step.

    Granted, this is NOT going to be accurate to the nth degree, but it WILL give you a ballpark idea if your ground glass and film holder are in agreement. If they are out of whack, you should be able to see a difference. You might be lucky and only have to shim the ground glass.
    Bob Fowler
    fowler@verizon.net
    Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

  5. #15
    bobfowler's Avatar
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    Oops.. I almost forgot....

    What camera are you using? What brand film holders (and are they new or old)? and what is the lens that has been giving you trouble?

    Remember, some lenses shift focus quite a bit when stopped down and must be refocused at shooting aperture.

    As for lack of density - I know you've a lot of experience in 4X5, but are you taking bellows extension into account when determining exposure? The point is pretty moot if you're problems are at infinity, but extension factors can sneak up on you at much farther distances than you think when shooting in larger formats - especially with longer lenses.

    Have you tried this lens with your 4X5 with good results? If you've only used the lens with the 8X10, is there a possibility that the lens was reshuttered and didn't have the aperture scale properly calibrated?

    I know, I know... Too damn many questions!
    Bob Fowler
    fowler@verizon.net
    Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

  6. #16
    SchwinnParamount's Avatar
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    Bob, I think Tom said that he tried another film from Ilford in the camera and it came out fine. If that is the case then his camera is not the problem

  7. #17
    jimgalli's Avatar
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    Cut some up and put it in the 5X4. Start with at least a few "Knowns" that way.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

    http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com

  8. #18
    SchwinnParamount's Avatar
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    Oh wait, I mis-read his prior post. He was saying he likes the FP4/PMK combination but that he did that in a different camera

  9. #19

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    Cannot cut it up to 5x4, it has all been exposed.

    Hyperfocal technique is not the problem. If doing this I always use a very very conservative CoC. In any case I tend to combine this with mild movements when full movements are not possible (vertical tree preventing full tilt etc) and have no DoF problems in 5x4. I am aware of the DoF difficulties with 10x8, but shot some scenes at distance at F22 with focus at about 200M, so they should be sharp.......Others I was able to use full movements for pin shaopr image from the bottom of GG top the top (and in the middle!). In any case, these images look soft at 10x8....theres just no edge anywhere.


    Dev'd in pyrcat HD or DDX it is the same. Soft.

    I have used many films in 5x4 and never have seen this (including Efke PL100)

    Holders are all barely used second hand fidelity and lisco.

    GG and back all original (tho cannot rule it out as a problem, I am 95% sure is not as nothing anywhere is very sharp even when small apertures used.) I cannot enlarge it and get crisp grain at any size, thru the focus finder, on the print or thru a loupe. Theres no crispness. The difference between looking at these negs and an APX100/FP4/HP5 anything 5x4 is worlds apart. I can see crisp grain, whatever the size of it.

    As I said before there are other problems which lead me to think the film has had it. Terrible Dmax and a speed of about ISO32 at best in pyrocat. I rated it at 64 and had massive shadow drop out. Shadows on Z2.5 were clear base......at 64! (same spot metering technique as using 5x4 on same trip and over a few years. 5x4 (APX100) had tonnes of detail at 64. I could have gone for 80 easily). Muddy marks within the emulsion, sometimes scattered, others in streaks of splodges (look like thinh scattered plane vapour trails, but are not)

    Got the FP4 thru this afternoon, shot a frame and will dev tonight. The answer is near............Please let it be the film, oh please...


    Tom

  10. #20
    bobfowler's Avatar
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    Hmmmm...

    You may well be right, it may be a dead film issue. Keep us posted on what happens with the FP4.

    I would still check the ground glass and film holders though... You never know what you'll find. I have a Toyo 4X5 back that needed some brass shims under the GG to get proper focus on film.
    Bob Fowler
    fowler@verizon.net
    Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

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