Mark: You are definitely getting better shadow detail than I am and though it's hard to tell at the reduced size they look sharper. See below for a link to what I'm seeing.
Randy: I originally tried the agitation method you describe but the guy at the film lab recommended the other method when I had problems: that wasn't my only problem though for that run. I'll go back to the method you (and pretty much everyone but the film lab guy) recommends.
I guess the other question is am I expecting to much from the 35mm? Here's what I am seeing with delta 100 film:
The whole frame reduced in size:
A crop out of the middle:
This is with no special processing on the PC.
Last edited by Doug Morgan; 12-10-2006 at 04:50 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Does your scanner take contrast filters?
It looks like your problem is post processing. You need to give the scanned file more contrast.
The scanner is pretty basic: at the time it was the cheapest flatbed that could do much with film scans.
Playing with the contrast for this particular image helps but at the expense of shadow detail or an increase in graininess in the highlights. I guess I'm expecting more from 100 B&W film to me it's looking more like 800.
This is a picture taken with 35mm Delta 100 and scanned. The grain I think comes from the accidental over development. My scanner is a Canon LiDE 500.
A few points occur.
I assume you are using the D-75 at stock strength? If so, for the Delta films change to 1+1 which is generally considered better for Delta and Tmax emulsions - dilute the stock developer with the same amount of plain water. Use the times given in the Ilford data sheets for 1+1 dilution.
Use Ilford's agitation style (ignore all shop assistants until you know them well enough to know if they know what they are talking about). Ilford times = Ilford agitation: they are directly related. Pour the developer in, immediately agitate for 10 seconds then for ten seconds every minute. Agitate by inverting the tank and then righting it again - do this 4 or 5 times during the ten seconds.
To get more shadow detail, rate the film at a lower ASA. Start by reducing by 1/2 to 2/3rds of a stop (whichever is easier for your camera). Still not enough shadow detail - reduce further. If you end up at much over half the original ASA (Delta 100 below 50ASA or HP5 below 200ASA) you have probably got other problems...
Once you have the shadow detail you want but the negative is too low in contrast, increase development time by 15% (but watch out for Delta - the newer technology emulsions are more responsive to development time change so try 10% there).
The other slight problem is that all the B&W people here (99.9% anyway) use a traditional darkroom and only a few scan for a final print and digital subjects are off topic here, so it's all a bit difficult...
Have a look at APUG's sister site www.HybridPhoto.com which was set up specifically to discuss activity where film is only a part of the process. People will be able to discuss the scanning side more freely there.
Good luck, Bob.
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I think that having a local lab print a few negative is a great idea. A pro lab for sure, and if you have one in your area, a lab that specializes in Black and White. Insist on an traditional-optical print if they give you the option.
Also, this would be a good opportunity to take a few sleeved rolls of film and get feedback from the printer as to how they think they look. If they're not helpful, then your probably at the wrong place.
One very simple idea that might help - shoot a couple of rolls of Ilford XP2 or other chromogenic film (i.e. a b+w film that processes in C-41 color chemicals at your local mini lab). If you see much better highlight detail from these negs compared with your Delta negs, the problem will be that your scanner cannot handle the maximum density of silver-based film. If you see generally a LOT less grain from XP2 than Delta, this probably indicates that you have overexposed the Delta (Delta does not like overexposure, quality takes a nose-dive). Similarly, if you have too much contrast in your Delta scans compared with XP2, this would indicate overdevelopment.
Bear in mind that a very rough indication of correct highlight density with negatives is that you can read a printed book in good light with the negatives lying on the print - this is a crude measurement but saves the price of a densitometer! In the same way, a couple of rolls of XP2 are a much cheaper option than tossing out your cameras or scanner!
If you really are not going to print yourself and are only going to PC, I would strongly advise you to take Davids advise and use XP2 Super, it is used extensively for scanning, and if you are not going ' back in the dark' it is very easy to have processed.
If you would like the 'basics' ILFORD book pm me your address and I will post you one.
Simon: ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
To add a bit to the chromogenic comment, if you use a scanner with an infrared channel, you can use this feature with your software's matching algorithms (usually called "ICE" with manufacturer-supplied software) to have the software digitally remove dust and scratches. This process is imperfect (after all, the software is basically "guessing" at data it doesn't have), but it's usually better than not using it. IR dust/scratch removal doesn't generally work with conventional B&W negatives. My understanding is that the silver in the negatives interferes with the IR frequencies; in chromogenics, the silver in completely removed and dye clouds take their place. Of course, if your scanner lacks an IR channel, this isn't a big concern unless you think you might want to go back and re-scan some of your negatives in the future with a better scanner.
Wow -- thanks for all the input!
Reub2000: I'm thinking it's not a scanner problem and is a development/exposure issue. Your results are much better and just on specs my scanner should be producing better results.
Bob F: I'll try lowering the ISO setting or increasing expsoure for the shadows. I've got to fight the tendency to expose for highlights (from digital). On the next roll I'll stick to the agitation methods you describe and use the dilute developer. Thanks.
MMFoto: I wish I had more choices but there really isn't much selection in my area any more. For B&W the choices are exactly one. For colour there's an additional one hour photo place, using the same machine. I can send it out but then we are talking on the order of a week turn around, which would be ok once I know what I am doing but really puts an onion in the ointment for learning.
David H: I'm not sure they stock the XP2 here, I've seen the similar Kodak product (bcn?) but was pretty much told not to bother with it. I can have it ordered or I can just shoot a roll of colour film as a test. The other idea is to shoot two rolls of the Delta, develop one myself and have the local shop develop and print the other. I need some light though as it is grey, grey, grey here today.
Simon: I pm'd you my address, thanks very much for the offer. I need all the help I can get.
srs5694: I'm not sure if the scanner has the hardware ICE but I've tried it with sharpening/grain reduction/dustremoval collectively and individually on and off without much difference except for the sharpening settings. I'm headed in to town today and am going to see if I can get another photography studio to scan in some samples on their own machine.
Thanks again everyone, very helpfull, and a bunch of things to try.