Ok, I see your point.
I will do some tests with 400TX and will report when done.
All right Dan, I’ll get a new battery tomorrow and see what kind of reading I get. I’ll shoot with the Sekonic if necessary and then have the film densitometered on Monday.
I would really like to get this resolved, so thanks everybody for your help.
Eric on my Nikkormat EL there is a little chamber and door under the mirror for the battery.
Oh I see. My Nikkormat is a FTN. I also had an F2 for years and had always found the meter on the Nikkormat more accurate than the F2. Go figure.
I re-read all the posts and was pleased to see that I could follow them for the most part. That is I can follow what is being said but I don’t believe I am ready to draw new conclusions from data yet. I will try Davis’ book again and get Ansel Adam’s book from the library. I also have Ctein’s book, Post Exposure. I might be able to understand that a lot better now also. I read or attempted to read a lot of book about a year ago or so. It’s time I tried them all again.
I know Davis has instructions in the back of his book on making a densitometer, maybe I’ll try my hand at that.
I will shoot film Saturday and cut it into three pieces. I’ll also shoot one roll with VIII and from 0 to 10 Zones and plot those.
Eric I would love to have the data on Barnbaum and Kirby. A lady who just came back from one of Barnbaum’s workshops loaned me his book today and it looks good. I really liked his articles in Photography Techniques.
She said he does everything in his power to make sure that everyone gets their money's worth.
You can do as you wish. However you should be aware that the second roll of film that you intend to shoot with each of the zones exposed will serve no purpose insofar as depicting the curve characteristics of the film that you are using unless you develop it the same as the development time and temperature that you decide will give you the Zone VIII densities that you want.
The reason is that development time affects all densities to some degree but the lower densities are least affected and the higher densities are most affected. So unless you happen to develop it for the same length of time as the film strip with the proper Zone VIII density the information will be meaningless.
Since you are shooting roll film, contrast expansion and contraction through film exposure and development don't readily apply unless you shoot short rolls of film and want to go through the hassle of switching rolls. The better system is to develop to a grade three paper and use paper grade four for expansion and paper grades one and two for contraction.
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Just to expand on what Donald said regarding plotting the characteristic curve--there are two different approaches floating around in this discussion. Either one is valid, depending on what you want to find out.
His suggestion, following more closely to what you've outlined as your plan, is that you determine your development time for a normal Zone VIII density and then use that time to develop the roll that you will plot from 0-X. This will give you the characteristic curve of the film at "N" development.
My original suggestion was to shoot, say, four rolls with exposures from 0-X, develop them at four different development times, and plot each one of them on the same graph. This will show you how the curve changes with changes in development time.
Yet another option would be to procede as Donald has suggested, and then do a series of rolls with exposures from 0-X, adjusting the development time by N-40%, N-20%, N+20%, and N+40%, and plot those along with the N curve, and that should get you in the ballpark for finding N-2, N-1, N+1, and N+2 development times, and will also show how the curve changes with development time.
This all can sound like a lot of testing, but you do it once, and you'll really get more out of the film you use. Sometimes when I'm traveling, for instance, and I don't want to carry too much equipment, but I know that I'll be moving between various lighting situations, I'll carry a medium format camera with one moderately wide lens and three backs, rather than carrying three lenses and one back, because it's easier to crop in the darkroom to improve composition than it is to massage a bad negative to get the right tonality.
If one has the option of changing backs, as in the case of some medium format cameras, I can understand the validity of doing what David suggests. I used to do that with my Bronica system (one back for N dev., one back for N minus dev., and one back for N plus dev.) However when one shoots 35 mm no such option exists. Besides I have found that, in my experience, to shoot roll film and to plus develop it (especially in 35 mm) makes the issue of grain a major issue. To work within the parameters of changing paper grades, when using 35 mm, to alter contrast produces better prints, in my experience.
when I shot a lot of 35 mm, it seems to me that I never shot just one or two frames and left the film for another day. On rare occasions, the contrast of the day would change while I was shooting. Most of the time though, I would shoot a whole roll of film and it would only be N or N-. I suggest that Don is on the right track by using VC paper or graded paper to up the contrast or reduce the contrast.
Fair enough. This is part of the reason I don't do much B&W in 35mm anymore.
On the other hand, old Nikkormats not being so costly, it's not unreasonable to have two or three bodies for N+ or N-. And if one is planning to shoot a whole roll under more or less the same light, one can decide at the beginning to make it a + or an N or a - roll.
Peter, your friend that just came back from the Barnbaum course should have the sheet with the new development times. He was giving them out as an addendum to his book The Art of Photography.
If you can't get her copy I could PDF it and send it to you. I know Bruce wouldn't mind.
The sheet with the new times is for the new TX 320. You can use the old times in the book for HP5+. Who is your friend? If she was on the July course we were buddies!