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  1. #21
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    ... Life is too short to try to do everything with little negatives ...


    So... Digital AND 35 are unacceptable here ?

    Perhaps it would be a gesture of good sportsmanship to pretend we each shoot 35, or 120, or 11x17, because we have determined it is the best thing for our own work.
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  2. #22

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    Increase their ease of printing

    Do some testing as you suggested that way you almost know exactly how a scene will be rendered contrast-wise. This with N+ or N- development will achieve this.

    Improve the levels of highlight and shadow detail I can record.

    Easy answer is to use pyro devs. Iím still staggered at how much highlight detail pyrocat can capture. Other ideas may be semi-stand development or cutting you dev time.

    I'd also like to see a slight decrease in apparent grain

    Donít use rodinal Rate the film at half the box speed. Then knock 20% off the manufacturers dev time for this speed. If you have done testing you can be more exact with this!

  3. #23
    FrankB's Avatar
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    Please don't let's turn this thread into a debate about the merits (or otherwise) of various formats. I'm constrained to 35mm and 6x6 and won't be moving anytime soon. For my purposes such debates are meaningless.

    I'm interested in ways of improving what I can get out of what I'm working with as detailed in my initial post. Thank you for the suggestions so far. Any further suggestions along those lines are most welcome.
    The destination is important, but so is the journey

  4. #24

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    I don't work much with Tubular type films, but when I last tested both Delta and TMAX I found that I got real improvement when I used a developer designed for Tubular type grain or HC110. You might try Rodinal Special as well.

  5. #25

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    I just check my notes, I good good results with Delta and Spur HRX, I have on my test list to try HRX with Delta or TMAX 3200.

  6. #26
    Dave Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankB
    Please don't let's turn this thread into a debate about the merits (or otherwise) of various formats. I'm constrained to 35mm and 6x6 and won't be moving anytime soon. For my purposes such debates are meaningless.
    Very well put!
    Regards Dave.

    An English Eye


  7. #27
    gnashings's Avatar
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    Some of us shoot what we can - and believe it or not, for some things the smaller formats not only do just fine, but are the onlypractical alternative.

    Now, as far as the film goes - have you tried more traditional emulsions? I find they give me less trouble (I am less experienced than most of the folks here) - and one of my favorite films is FP4+. But I have shot a lot of Delta (both speeds), and I wonder why they (at least to me) look so much different than Tmax? I am not nearly technically knowledgeable to tackle that - but owld love to know.

  8. #28
    FrankB's Avatar
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    I started out on FP4+ in Ilfosol S, gave DD-X a go when I had some in for some Delta 3200 I used and loved the... ...erm, feel of the negatives it gave (sorry I can't be vaguer on this point! :rolleyes: ). I'd previously tried Delta 100 in Ilfosol and just didn't like it. I had to use some one time when I could get hold of any FP4+, souped it in the DD-X and loved it.

    Last year (I think) I tried a comparative test of Delta 100 in DD-X vs. Delta 100 in Rodinal in various ways. I preferred the Rodinal 1:25 for acutance and, um (here we go again!) almost metallic feel I get from it, but am finding the grain a bit intrusive and would prefer better tonal separation.

    The above list has taken about five years, I'm not just bouncing from one to the next!
    The destination is important, but so is the journey

  9. #29
    fhovie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell
    ... Life is too short to try to do everything with little negatives ...


    So... Digital AND 35 are unacceptable here ?

    Perhaps it would be a gesture of good sportsmanship to pretend we each shoot 35, or 120, or 11x17, because we have determined it is the best thing for our own work.
    I believe I saw my word "everything" here.
    On my wall I have many photos done with all formats - 16mm, digital (those are the ones that have faded), 35mm, 6x6, 6x9 4x5 and 8x10 contact. If I could only have one camera, it would be 6x6 because of speed and weight. I use 35mm when 6x6 is too slow and heavy to be practical. A perfectly developed B&W exposure on slow 35mm film on a tripod can print a decent 11x14. Those are not the norm. Usually 35mm is handheld - If I am going to use a tripod - maybe I'll go 4x5 or at least MF (If I want to enlarge.) The point is that you can make a great image with any kind of camera - but the topic here is "improve"

    How do I improve the performance of my Geo Metro? ... Gee I want it to work like a Porsche. Well - first crush it - then melt it down - add more metal and some good electronics ....

    If you want better tonal separation and smaller grain and better accutance, you can work for 5 years trying to do it with cute little film or you can get a larger format with good glass and it all happens today. Gee - is that a horrible thing? - no - it is an honest thing. Glass is the key though. I have a 6x9 folding camera from the 50s that, with its larger negative is no better than a really good 6x4.5 done with modern glass. Everyone is a cheerleader for the camera in their bag but if it is not an emotional attachment and instead a tool to refine vision and create art that is technically superior; consider that sometimes ... "bigger is better" My $75 Yashicamat will always outperform a $1000 Nikon 35mm in image quality all things being equal. The Nikon is easier to use, will go more places, is faster and will make wonderful images. But put them both on a tripod with the same film and the same processing - ... you get the idea.

    As with most of us, I started with 35mm. It is a great place to start. If you want to do better than 35mm, all the magic soup in the world will not get you where MF or LF will. EVER. That is a fact. I have tried it with Tech Pan, Ilford Pan (50), I have tried over a dozen different developers. All to make the convenience of 35mm perform like MF. You can get modest improvements but never catch up to MF. So for the same effort, I will use the largest camera that will work for a given situation. If that is 35mm - I'll be happy to shoot 35 and make the best negs I can. But I won't ask it to give me what the larger format can.
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

  10. #30

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    Frank:

    I want to preface my comments by saying that the more I learn about B&W photography and printing, the more I find I need to learn. But, from where I stand today...

    I believe you cannot have negatives that are both tonaly interesting and easy to print UNLESS you have a lighting situation that supports your goals. As David Kachel illustrates here, when the lighting alone does not make your subject interesting by giving it sufficient local contrast, you have to work to do so in the developing/printing process. And the easiest way to make an interesting print is to have a negative with sufficient local contrast in the visual core of the picture. This often means having a negative that does not automatically print within the scale of a G2 or G3 paper, and you have to accept the burning in or usage of multiple filter grades in a single print that is required to bring the tones into balance.

    So I suppose I am saying this is the preferred path to interesting prints:
    1) Lighting which renders the subject of the photograph with sufficient local contrast.
    2) In the presence of an interesting subject lacking interesting lighting, you have to resort to film development or print manipulation to render the subject with sufficient local contrast to produce an interesting print.
    3) In the presence of a boring subject with or without interesting lighting, think twice before making an exposure.

    Frank, your first two criteria in your original question were:
    Quote Originally Posted by FrankB
    [*]Improve the tonal separation of my negs
    [*]Increase their ease of printing
    For most outdoor subjects, I'm not sure you can do both of these at the same time, unless you have one of those special lighting situations that renders the photo's subject with sufficient local contrast while balancing the rest of the photo out with more muted local contrast. This challenge is particularly acute with rollfilm cameras that do not have interchangeable backs.

    Regards,
    --Philip.

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