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  1. #21
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickrapak View Post
    Be aware that the grain in TMAX films turns to mush in Microdol-X, at least in my experience.
    I develop TMX in Kodak Microdol-X 1:3 with no 'oatmeal grain'. Grain is as fine as post-1989 TechPan with a nice salt & pepper sharpness.

    Recently I had a large number of engineering-type-stuff-pictures to process, and because I am cheap I have been using generic microdol (and using it full-strength (my balance isn't that accurate at very low weights (and I have this 5 lb jar of Metol I need to use before it turns to tar))). The resulting negatives have suprised me with as fine a defined grain as 1:3 produces and no speed loss. It has been a song to my Scottish genome.

    This same generic microdol formula works really badly with Ilford HP-5/120: lots of both dichroic and regular fogging, fair warning.

    Generic microdol:

    • pinch EDTA
    • 1.25 g Metol
    • 25 g S. Sulfite
    • 7.5 g S. Chloride
    • 8 oz distilled water


    The EDTA is there on historical grounds - originally to combat Cleveland, Ohio tapwater, I kept it in even though am now using distilled water. I don't know if it serves any purpose. When the developer is made with tap water the EDTA keeps the developer from depositing calcium salts. I use "Morton Canning and Pickling salt" for the S. Chloride. It seems to be the only salt that is salt and nothing but salt. Stay away from "Kosher Salt", it contains P. Ferricyanide, and minute quantaties of P. Ferri in the developer will wreck havoc. Ditto "Iodized Salt".
    DARKROOM AUTOMATION
    f-Stop Timers - Enlarging Meters
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  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Fisher View Post
    I'd suggest you try two films and see which you prefer. Try a C41 BW film (Ilford or Kodak) and expose frames at the box speed, one stop over (EI200) and 2 stops over (100). C41 films look really nasty in the shadows when underexposed and it really doesn't seem too bothered by over exposure. When I used it, I exposed at 200. I'd also try a roll of Fuji Acros or Ilford Delta 100 exposed at the box speed or maybe a little lower and develop it in your favorite developer. I suspect you will prefer the C41 film if you are scanning.
    I wouldn't waste your money on a cheap flatbed......better to get some wet darkroom equipment or get a used Minolta/Canon/Nikon film scanner.....an enlarger is a whole lot more fun though (:
    I appreciate the advice, but if you're suggesting that I shoot C-41 and have it developed, I'd just as soon give up on analog altogether (sorry guys, just the way it is). The reason I'm doing this is for the experimentation inherent in the developing process, I just can't take it all the way to prints. I only have the capacity (literally the space) to develop negatives. If I'm having the film developed and scanned by someone else and the only steps I control are the original exposure and the digital editing, it's like shooting digital but with lower output quality and about $14 per roll ($6 film, $6 developing, $2 CD). I'll get the digital SLR back out from its corner if it ever gets that bad.

    Like I've said, I've tried C-41, and I know it scans better. It just isn't any fun. And it's really expensive- right now ripping through a roll in an hour costs me, including film, developing, and scanning, around $3. If that jumped to $16, i would have to shoot less. I don't want that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    What I'm trying to say is that grain is your friend. Embrace it, don't fight it. It will always be there.
    Oh I know, and I do embrace it. It's an integral part of this whole analog thing for me. But when Barry White said (sang):

    It doesn't seem to me like it's enough
    There's just not enough of it
    There's just not enough
    Oh oh, babe


    he was not singing about my relationship with grain. The grain in my negatives gets exponentially multiplied by bad scans until I end up with frames that are either insanely grainy in an interesting way or just unusable. Every once in a while something comes out right, but the forgiveness just isn't there. It's not the inherent grain that bothers me, it's the exponential amplification along every step of my processing process. To try to isolate this and get to a point where I can make analog photography feasible given my limitations (as in no analog printing and no decent scanning), I need to minimize my grain and see if I can get results that are consistent enough to be okay with me. If this doesn't work, I have some things to think about.
    Photoblog, though I'll warn you it's only mostly analog.

  3. #23
    mhanc's Avatar
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    take your negs to a camera store that does scanning on site. preferably negs that you have also had scanned by the drugstore. describe what you are trying to accomplish and ask for high resolution scans -- higher resolution scans do not cost them anything other than a little extra time. most consumer film scanners now scan at 4800 dpi, so if you can get that resolution you will see what you could do yourself if you were to buy one. this should cost about $8 for a roll of film.

    now you can compare the two types of scans and see if this is indeed the problem, which i think it is. after that you can then get back to experimenting with different film types and having fun.

    cheers

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhanc View Post
    take your negs to a camera store that does scanning on site. preferably negs that you have also had scanned by the drugstore. describe what you are trying to accomplish and ask for high resolution scans -- higher resolution scans do not cost them anything other than a little extra time. most consumer film scanners now scan at 4800 dpi, so if you can get that resolution you will see what you could do yourself if you were to buy one. this should cost about $8 for a roll of film.

    now you can compare the two types of scans and see if this is indeed the problem, which i think it is. after that you can then get back to experimenting with different film types and having fun.

    cheers
    Interestingly enough, I once had a Target and "professional" shop (not Ritz) scan back-to-back and while the Target scan needed a little bit more correction (spots and black point), after fifteen seconds it looked better than the "pro" scan ever would. I wish I could get into Lightroom so I could show you what I mean. I liked the 200 for $2 scan better than one $4 scan.
    Photoblog, though I'll warn you it's only mostly analog.

  5. #25
    mhanc's Avatar
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    it would be interesting to know what the file size or pixel dimensions of the Target and the pro shop scans are so as to see if there is any resolution difference between the two?

  6. #26
    mhanc's Avatar
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    also -- if you are experimenting with different films/developers and looking for low grain. i would be interested in hearing about the adox cms 20 in their adotech developer -- they make some pretty remarkable claims on grain and resolution on their website: grain free enlargements up to 2.5 meters diagonally. over 5 feet from a 35mm negative? freestyle has it for $3.99 i think -- i plan to get some with my next order and give it a try.

  7. #27
    kodachrome64's Avatar
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    If the grain you are getting from Tri-X makes it "unusable" at times, I think something is wrong. I am in the same boat you are...I love developing my negatives and controlling the output but I do not have the ability to print for now. I use 400TX a lot and I buy it from the 100 ft roll; grain has never been a problem for me. Only in Rodinal would I call it "grainy" but even then it looks quite nice. I even shoot it all the way up to 3200 and fine the grain very nice. Even at 1600 it is noticeably less grainy than the so-called high speed films like T-Max 3200 and Neopan 1600.

    I've read all this stuff about the quality of scanner and I think to a degree it is true, but also to a degree the results will not be visible to the eye without extreme enlargement. I use an OLD Epson 2450 that we had laying around when I got into analog photography, and I get very usable results from that for both 120 film and 35mm. Sure, it's not the best, but it's just as good as any lab that I've had do it (without paying several dollars per scan). If you ever need a negative scanned to enlarge it beyond what is normal, you can go pay for a scan. Otherwise a flatbed will probably do just fine. I scan my TX with this old scanner and the results are fantastic! That's why I think something else is wrong. What developers have you tried? You can't go wrong with D-76 and 400TX.

    Using a 100 ASA film for grain purposes does limit you, and that's one reason Kodak revamped T-MAX 400 (TMY). It is a 400 speed film that literally has the grain and sharpness of most 100 speed films, and it is extremely versatile. I just bought a 100' roll of it to do a bunch of testing. Even developed in Rodinal it looks more like a 100 speed film than a 400. I suggest you may want to give TMY-2 a try. It sounds like a T-Grain film will fit your bill better than a traditional film, and TMY-2 is a brand-new emulsion. Right now I even prefer it over T-Max 100, even if I have the light. If you need a lower speed you can rate it at 200 and pull it, or if you need higher you can rate it at 1600 and push it, all with exceptional results, IMO of course.
    Kodachrome
    They give us those nice bright colors
    They give us the greens of summers
    Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah.
    -Paul Simon

  8. #28

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    Objective grain, RMS granularity. Obviously not the whole story (exposure, developer, etc.) , but it's a "best case" starting point of comparison.

    TMX 8
    Plus-X 10
    TMY 10 and two stops speed gain over Plus-X!
    Foma 100 13.5
    Foma 200 14....is this a no brainer over the 100?
    Tri-X 17

    It takes about a 15% difference in RSMG for the human eye to notice a "just barely" difference. So the difference between PX and Foma 100 is quite noticeable.

    Hope this takes some subjectivity out of the equation.

  9. #29
    vic vic's Avatar
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    the trouble with cheap scacnning is that they are not ccapable to handle the b/w film... not enough dynamic range, the software is adjusted to color negatives films, and the sharpening is brutal (which means - lots of grain when it scans b/w film, much more than u would imagine in good scanner or darkroom even with condenser lamp)... try to avoid it as much as possible anyway ... even if u put tmax100 or even finer grain film, still, the scanner will do a brutal work even if it appears less grainy.

    optimal solutions ... get a better service with scanning, or simply buy a nice scanner and sofware with it (silverfast for example) and do it yourself. then plus-x-125 will look amazing even if not darkroom-printed :-)

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by luckycharms View Post
    On a side note, how bad of an investment is a $75 Epson film-enabled scanner? I mean, I know it won't be perfect, but at least I'd be able to turn off image correction and get scans without blobs and blotches right? Or am I better off taking my $75, collecting it in a pile, and burning it?
    You will be much better off looking for a good used 35mm film scanner. They come up on Ebay all the time for $75 or less. Be prepared to learn how to use VueScan and set up SCSI devices. If you want more advice PM me and I can give you a few models to look for (this isn't really the forum for this).

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