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  1. #1
    mrtoml's Avatar
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    Sharpness and grain in 6x7 - developers?

    I have just started using a Mamiya 7ii and some of the negatives (although with great detail) appear to be slightly lacking in something. I think it is either one of two things.

    First off my enlarger lens has some fungus growing in it. I have ordered a new lens today. I don't think this is the explanation though. I think it is perhaps a problem of the developer I am using.

    I have been using Aculux (a fine grain + slight speed enhancing developer). I have been using this with good results in 35mm (generally with TriX and HP5). Now I have moved seriously up the film format stakes I find that this developer produces fine looking negs, but the prints don't look quite sharp enough. The results look OK with Delta 3200 even though I can hardly see any grain at 11x14, but the HP5 I took (and some Acros especially) seem to be a bit soulless. It is difficult to describe in words, but I think it is the edge definition that is not hard enough. It might simply be because I am more used to 35mm with a bit of grain.

    I understand that aculux would suffer in the sharpness stakes because of its speed enhancing and fine grain. I want to try dilute Perceptol as recommended by Barry Thornton in Edge of Darkness. Ie a developer that still reduces grain, but enhances acutance with a slight loss of speed. Does anyone else have an opinion on this or am I just going mad? Any experiences with other developers also welcome. I fear I may be suffering from the 'search for the elusive magic bullet' syndrome.
    Mark Tomlinson
    Currently using Bronica RF645+65mm, Leica M6, Bessa R2a, Nokton LTM 50/1.5, Zeiss Biogon ZM 35/2.8, Nikon 35mm SLRs.
    Join the lith printing forum at http://www.lithprinting.net/

  2. #2

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    The only way to be sure is to change only one variable at a time. I would fist check out the new lens your've ordered, that could be the difference. I hope you ordered a good lens!

    Souless? If I read you right, you may need to bump up the contrast a bit; either thru longer dev time, or thru printing. I've never used Aculux, but it's probably a fine dev and all you need to do it to tweek something with it. Don't do wholesale changes. It can take awhile to find what clicks for you.

  3. #3
    mrtoml's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim appleyard View Post
    The only way to be sure is to change only one variable at a time. I would fist check out the new lens your've ordered, that could be the difference. I hope you ordered a good lens!

    Souless? If I read you right, you may need to bump up the contrast a bit; either thru longer dev time, or thru printing. I've never used Aculux, but it's probably a fine dev and all you need to do it to tweek something with it. Don't do wholesale changes. It can take awhile to find what clicks for you.
    Thanks. I have ordered a Rodagon which I assume will be OK. I am then going to reprint some of the shots. I don't think it is a contrast issue because I printed negs from delta 3200 and hp5 on the same paper at the same time of similar subjects taken on the same day.

    This morning I put the prints out in order of what I thought were the best looking ones. I had forgotten which prints were from which films. The best batch were all delta 3200. Middle were all HP5 and worst were Acros.

    The delta 3200 look OK to me. It's not that the HP5 prints are bad. I just think they could be better so I think a tweak is all that is required. I also have been reading Thornton's book which has probably got me thinking too much about sharpness :rolleyes: I will also try bumping up the contrast just to make sure.
    Last edited by mrtoml; 06-30-2008 at 05:49 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Mark Tomlinson
    Currently using Bronica RF645+65mm, Leica M6, Bessa R2a, Nokton LTM 50/1.5, Zeiss Biogon ZM 35/2.8, Nikon 35mm SLRs.
    Join the lith printing forum at http://www.lithprinting.net/

  4. #4

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    Hand held?

    From your choice of film do I divine that you're shooting hand held? If you are then you're going to notice the softening effect of relative movement much more readily with medium format. The fact that the Delta 3200 gave the best results could be because the shutter speed was faster and so you've got less relative movement.

    I use a Mamiya 7II and find that PanF+ in Tetenal Neofin Blue produces images with real bite and excellent tonality but being a slow film you'll need to use a tripod.

    Barry
    My website: Light Work

  5. #5
    mrtoml's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwakel View Post
    From your choice of film do I divine that you're shooting hand held? If you are then you're going to notice the softening effect of relative movement much more readily with medium format. The fact that the Delta 3200 gave the best results could be because the shutter speed was faster and so you've got less relative movement.

    I use a Mamiya 7II and find that PanF+ in Tetenal Neofin Blue produces images with real bite and excellent tonality but being a slow film you'll need to use a tripod.

    Barry
    That's a good point I hadn't considered. I was shooting handheld with 80mm lens in bright conditions. I recall that I mostly used 1/60 or 1/125 and was probably stopping down the delta 3200 (which was rated at 1600) but I cannot recall exactly. This was my first outing with the camera and I was just getting a feel for it and the metering system. You are right I should do some tests with a tripod.
    Mark Tomlinson
    Currently using Bronica RF645+65mm, Leica M6, Bessa R2a, Nokton LTM 50/1.5, Zeiss Biogon ZM 35/2.8, Nikon 35mm SLRs.
    Join the lith printing forum at http://www.lithprinting.net/

  6. #6

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    I shoot Fuji Acros and TMax 100 in my Mamiya 7II (always on a tripod). I develop Semi-Stand in Pyrocat-MC (excellent tonality and acutance). I usually contact print the negs.
    Tom Hoskinson
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  7. #7

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    I find that with the mamiya, I can shoot really slow films, like pan f and efke 25 without a tripod as long as im in direct sunlight. Since there is no mirror to move, the shutter is exceptionally vibration-free. I doubt that lack of sharpness due to vibration would be your problem. Try slower film with different developers.

  8. #8
    mrtoml's Avatar
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    I'm glad you said that. I bought the M7 because it was a rangefinder with no mirror slap partly so that I could use it hand held. I don't mind using a tripod, but sometimes it's nice just to take the camera for a stroll.
    Mark Tomlinson
    Currently using Bronica RF645+65mm, Leica M6, Bessa R2a, Nokton LTM 50/1.5, Zeiss Biogon ZM 35/2.8, Nikon 35mm SLRs.
    Join the lith printing forum at http://www.lithprinting.net/

  9. #9

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    I want to try dilute Perceptol as recommended by Barry Thornton in Edge of Darkness. Ie a developer that still reduces grain, but enhances acutance with a slight loss of speed. Does anyone else have an opinion on this or am I just going mad? Any experiences with other developers also welcome. I fear I may be suffering from the 'search for the elusive magic bullet' syndrome.[/QUOTE]

    Perceptol and Microdol X can be diluted 1:2 or 1:3, it is a good blance of sharpness and fine gain but due to longish development times can produce increased base fog. For a 6X7 negative you may also want to try DK50 or Rodinal.

  10. #10

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    Re-align your rangefinder? I remember coming across quite a lot of information of aligning rangefinders in Mamiya 7's when I was reseraching them a while back. Here's an example. Maybe they go out of alignment easily?

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