How long does it take you?
I'm wondering how long it takes you to feel as if you've completely dialed in a new film/developer combination? For rolls, is it 10 rolls? 20? 50? For sheets? The same number? 100? I mean when the tools you use become secondary, you meter/expose/develop your shot, and know what you plan is what you'll get.
I ask because I see a lot of posts where people assign attributes to certain films/developers which don't match my experience with the same combinations. It seems as if they're repeating things they've heard, or basing their assessment on very limited use.
For me, I start getting comfortable after about 20-25 rolls of 120, but I often bracket early rolls, and use that information on later rolls. (I also need about 25 -30 prints, on my paper of choice, to feel comfortable). Still, it's about 40-50 rolls before I no longer have to think about it.
For sheets, it's about the same. About 50 before I feel completely confident in my control of the whole process (ISO/exposure/time/agitation/expansions/contractions/etc.) This is without doing more serious testing, since I stopped working with a densitometer a few decades ago. (I got bored with shooting gray sandpaper, although I did have a nifty film holder which allowed 8 exposures on one sheet of film.)
So, when do you feel your materials are mastered?
Not very long, certainly not as long as many people say it takes. As for people assigning attributes to films/developers, most of what I've read is wrong.
That's why I made the post. I don't think anyone's deliberately trying to post misinformation but, I think they're basing their conclusions on very limited experience with the materials. Which, of course, makes their conclusions useless.
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
I feel confident after about a brick of rolls, be it 35 or 120.
But, it takes many many rolls to get to a point where I don't have to think about what I do, where the whole work flow of exposing, processing, printing, etc just sort of rushes through my nervous system and I react instinctively. That takes a while, particularly with more difficult lighting such as moonlit scenes, or street lights. To build up that confidence of just knowing what to do takes a while.
I don't think I can quantify it, though. I just practice until I feel it, but it does take significant amount of time. To be in that situation where everything is natural is so liberating, though, to be able to focus only on the subject matter, and the rest is in your subconscious.
For example, if you drop me in a moonlit scene with a camera and a roll of TMax, I know that if I meter a 20 second exposure I will need to give it about 25, and I might do one at 30 just in case.
"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
I hope to let you know some day.
Originally Posted by eddie
I shoot digital when I have to (most of those shots end up here
) and film (occasionally one of those shots ends up here
) when I want to.
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Usually just a few rolls of a new film, depends on how different the film is. In the case of Fomapan 100 & 200 I exposed and processed some test rolls to gauge the optimum EI and development times need to meet my requirements.I already new that it would be quite different to my normal processing times.
I need to get through at least 50 sheets of 4x5 before I'm "comfortable". A couple hundred before I feel I "know" it. That being said I always expose two identical sheets... 120, I feel I need to use 10 rolls to reach "comfortable." It takes a little longer for me to feel like I "know" 120 film because I am usually trying to squeeze slightly different contrast negatives onto the same roll. And I always bracket one way, an exposure I think is correct and one more a stop in the direction I feel "might" be better.
Sure, there is an incredible amount of BS on the boards... It's fairly easy to pic through it and find the gems if you pay attention. People giving advice to beginners that haven't gotten things even close to figured out for themselves is what bothers me.
It took me about 3 rolls of 135-24 to dial in FP4 for all formats. Took me another 2 rolls when I switched from an Omega condensor enlarger to a Dichroic enlarger. So far one roll with Acros and I'm fine.
I start at rating my meter at box ISO, and develpoing at manufacturers times. I'll bracket test shots, and look carefully at negatives. Detail at zone III, mostly black with a hint of texture at zone II. I'll look at my exposure for that frame, and how it was metered, and correct my cameras ISO to give that (the correct) reading. With my old Pentaxes, this ended up being 80, though using a modern Pentax AF SLR as a spot meter, It is dead on at box speed. Looking at overall density, as long as you're not over or under exposing, manufacturer's recommended time is very close to spot on. I then shoot a full roll with that metering/exposure, and will make sure my negatives are coming out like they should. With FP4+ D76 1:1 shot with meter at 80 on my old cameras, 125 on the new, 11 minutes @68, I get negatives that were perfect for my condensor enlarger. It took another couple rolls to figure out the increase in development needed to get my negatives to print at 0C0M0Y on my color enlarger. For this, I took the same shot, and cut the rolls up, pulling out strips at 30 second intervals past the manufacturer's time. Then, it was easy to figure out the time needed to get the same contrast range out of a neutral setting on my color head-- currently 13.5 minutes, D76 1:1, 68 degrees.
Anyways, unless your process is very well controlled, variations in temp and agitation will change things a bit, and it's more effective to just pick a time, temp, developer, dilution, and work on making it identical.
I also have found that once I figured out my meter and processing variables, they transfer well to other films. For example, Fomapan in my old Pentaxes gets rated at 64, but using my new AF SLR, the meter is set at 100. The manufacturer's time + 23% gave me negatives almost identical in density to my FP4+, and in the real world, the small difference makes almost no difference when printing.
I don't believe it when people tell me "Fomapan 400 is actually 200" or "rate you Acros at 50". Film speed is standardized, and not just an arbitrary title. Calibrate your meter to give correct exposure, and calibrate your development to you output.
New-ish convert to film.
Pentax MX for 35mm
Bronica ETRS for 645
I take this as an attempt at sarcasm?
Originally Posted by ROL