The Perfectly Exposed Negative
ok Jason, accepted
Originally Posted by JBrunner
in the interests of being open to learning something new, how's about somebody post a "perfectly" exposed image and explain, without using high tech babble, why it is "perfect" and how that shows on the final image
you could be right jd, but i feel my posts extend the OP,
Originally Posted by jd callow
feel free to do as you think appropriate
so, no one wnats to post an image
ok i’ll dive in
the attached image is a contact print from a 4x5 negative
a friend gave me an old box of 5x7 FP4 (not plus) to use in my homemade simple lens box camera
along with 10 or so sheets of 5x7 there was a separately wrapped package of 12 5x4 sheets, the 5x4 had the same notches as the 5x7 so I assumed both sizes were FP4
i had virtually no experience of using or processing sheet film
i guessed the film must be at least 10 years old, my friend wasn’t sure
i figured the film had probably lost at least a stop of sensitivity
i exposed the film at 50 ISO (less than half if it really was FP4) in my homemade camera for 2 seconds at f64
this camera has a magnifying glass for a lens which I think is 90mm focal length
the aperture is a hole cut in a piece of black sheet which I tried to measure accurately enough to give me an effective f64
the exposure was timed by chanting 1 one thousand, 2 one thousand while I had the lens cap removed
I processed the sheet using Ilford LC-29 for the time that I process modern FP4 (the plus version)
did I get the exposure wrong?
was the processing ok?
is the exposure accurate to a third of a stop?
does the final image convey enough visual data to be interesting?
should I now shoot 25 sheets (a full box) of film to get my exposures closer to “perfect”?
Last edited by Ray Heath; 05-21-2008 at 10:38 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Originally Posted by Ray Heath
In an effort to keep the other thread on the topic of film testing as well as to give this topic its due i feel it is appropriate to start a new thread.
I think the exposure looks good. I also think with film that old and a system that is that custom you are lucky to have gotten such a good combination right off the bat.
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I would not find that image of acceptable technical quality based on what I see on my monitor. It looks like sooty in the dark areas. You have no black areas and the sky and other highlights are blown out. That may be the fault of the scan or my monitor, and your print may look fine in hand.
Whether the exposure is correct or close is subjective unless you share your visual intent with us. That scan is not reproducing my "reality" (i.e., it doesn't look like what I think I would see if I had been there) and it doesn't appear expressively printed (to my tastes at least). What are you trying to show with this example? That you can use expired and possibly fogged materials with crappy optics and get a recognizable image?
I've looked at enough photographs and talked to enough people about their prints to realize that some people just do not discriminate the finer aspects of print quality. They just plain don't see it. What passes for a quality print varies greatly between observers. If you like the print, fine. If it were mine, it would be hitting the circular file.
As far as whether being 1/3 stop off matters, sometimes it does. I specifically tested and bracketed an image about 20 years ago to see just how good of a print I could get from the variations. The one with normal exposure produced a print that the other negatives couldn't match. The scene was shot in hazy sunlight in the winter in a snow-covered urban scene. Only the one exposure captured the quality of the snow correctly.
The crux of the Zone System is the visualization. The film and paper testing is incidental. But those are the parts that get written about and people get lost in ad infinitum.
As far as testing films and the other thread, the OP wanted to know if there was a way to figure out the Zone System tests using less sheets. Whether you think the Zone System is a valid approach or if testing is needed was not to the point of the original post. I described a way to get the maximum amount of info using a few sheets of film which was to the point of the original question. Others had different answers - some good, some less good, some terribly muddling .
In all honesty, I don't test and work this way any longer. I really do just look at the light and shadows now and make a judgement on how to expose and develop. (Actually it has been over two years since I did any work on film.) But, the film testing I did informed the later simplification of technique and I would recommend doing it at least once to get to know the materials.
Some things are "good enough" and some things are sublime.
so now post an image to show me your "reality"
my image may well have muddy shadows, the shadows are not an important aspect in this image, i wanted to show the range of tones in the other areas
sure zone testing and all the other high tech stuff may lead to a supposed finer print quality, most can't see it, most don't need it and those aspects are not the only measure of a strong/interesting/successful image
as to the OP you interpret and answer one way, i responded differently
come on post an image
OK, I'll bite. Of anything I have scanned, this one is probably one where I actually paid some attention to the principles I've gone through. The lighting was pretty flat, the film pushed a little as a result, and her left shoulder area needs a little burning, but this is from a pretty decent negative.
In my Mac Firefox browser it appears hot and redder compared to how it displays side-by-side in Photoshop. In the smaller comparison pair, I've darkened them equally to try to compensate for the difference (so that the small Firefox image looks like the original Photoshop one). The darkened Photoshop half is at left with Firefox at right.
TMY 120 pushed a little, printed on Ilford Multigrade FB Warmtone w/ #2 1/2 filter, and selectively toned in 1+6 KRST toner. I mention the technical aspects only because I did plan the effect of the toner when I printed.
TXP rated at 320 and souped in xtol semi stand for 25 min 1:3 stock to water
TXP rated at 200 roller developed (constant agitation) in D76 1:3 for 11min (if I remember correctly)
Both negs might not be perfect , but they are all that I have handy in b&W and neither are the results of heavy testing by me.
thank you Joe