I think it might be useful to consider how a scene translates to paper - and - which paper. Even with just a step wedge you can find the paper contrast ranges and find a film that will work with that paper for a specific scene. I am in Portland this week and I just came off a hill. My first set of shots were trees and fog - I used FP4 because I want a little punch in a low contrast scene - I will develop it in Pyrocat 1.5 1.5 100 knowing that I will gain a few stops of expansion and that will give me the densities I will need to print on the grade 2 FB paper I use with PC-TEA developer. I then went a way further and shot a sunset - The brightness range was large - I used Tri-x and will develop it in Pyrocat 1:1:100 knowing that I will be able to keep the whole image on the paper. Tri-x is typically low contrast with a huge range. So I get the right film for the scene and then the right developer to match it to the paper. My x-rite 361t should be coming soon and I will be able to get more refined but the step wedge has taught me a lot.
My photos are always without all that distracting color ...
Originally Posted by jdef
Jay, I think you've found what I was missing. I think the reason why film experimentation seems so complex to me is that I wasn't even aware of WHY people would experiment at all. I'm going to find a copy of the Devil's Cookbook to get an idea of what happens at a more objective level, because I'm always wary of film reviews: everyone must develop their film in some soup, and that's their basis for judging a combination. At this point, I'd like to know a little more about the basic properties of films and developer, before combining them. I find the film manufacturer's documentation sometimes a bit vague or arcane (Ilford is not bad, but when I read the Kodak official documentation, it doesn't help me much into differentiating Plus-X from Tri-X from T-MAX)
I guess there's also a question of concepts: knowing what a characteristic response is, how contrast works, grain, sharpness, etc. It's the stuff that I have a hard time finding out: What are the features of B&W film and paper. Anybody has a good manual in mind?
Muchibus Thankibus to everybody here, I think Neil was right in saying that reading the APUG forums would be an invaluable source of information: you guys ARE invaluable!!
My good friend and main supplier at fotoimport.no has done a lot of work on film/developer curves and paper curves.
See http://fotoimport.no/pg02/PG02-1-1.htm#tab - Fremkallertabell = developer table, he then comments on the degree of highlight (høylys) and shadow (skygge) separation, with extra comments where relevant. He hasn't made curves for all combinations yet, but he seems to like this sort of thing
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
I disagree, the Zone System was a great starting point. I tried the BTZS thing found it to cumbersome. If you want a good start "The Negative" by Ansel Adams is good. So much goes into exposing that it is hard to tell you what is best. If you look at all the variables, such as meter calibration, shutter calibration, agitation method, and on and on, it is remarkable that any 2 formulas are the same.
Originally Posted by Donald Miller
I develope Plus-x 120/D23, Bergger 120/Crawley f37 "I think" Ilford 3200 120 in ID11 now testing with the Crawley formula. 8x10 and 5x7 Bergger and Plus-x in PMK. each with a different ASA setting.
Why do I use so many different films? Well for me I have found they have different looks. Plus-x is great for portraits, bergger is great for landscapes, Ilford for PJ shots.
Of course I like experimenting and reading chemistry books, so I think I might be a little off plumb. thats what my wife will tell me.
Have a good time figuring it out for yourself.
Sorry to muddy the waters for you but you really need to think of film/developer/paper combinations. The paper, I believe, is more influential than the developer used in the photos appearance. The manner that you expose and develop it is also important. For myself, I work in 35mm and bulk load 6 eposure loads that are each individually developed for a particular scene. I make 4 identical exposures and 2 varients using filters..one filter that seems to offer possibilities and one that seems unsuitable. If the original 4 exposures were with a filter than 1 exposure is done w/o a filter. Of course I am talking about taking this scene with a tripod. This provide me with back up negatives in case of damage to a negative and gives a photographer much insight into filter usage.
If one finds say to similar films say APX 100 and Delta 100 and developing time for 2 different developers for each film and three quite different papers
ypu have a dozen different ways to express that particular scene.
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