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  1. #1
    Richard J R Wilson's Avatar
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    Adox CHS 25 ART, 2 bath developer, and a jobo processor...

    Hi all

    To start with, this is my first post here so - Hello!

    I'm just about to start processing my own films at home after a couple of years break, previously I processed everything in my university's darkroom, but as I am no longer there, I'm setting up on my own - can't wait to get started!

    I primarily work in 5x4 B&W, and due to the nature of my work, have found a two-bath developer to be perfect for my FP4 negatives.
    Anyhoo, I've decided to that 125 ISO is too grainy for my style of work, and have been looking at the Adox CHS 25 ART as an alternative - bit of a speed change I know, but had I been aware of the Adox film before I probably would have started with that in the first place.

    The work I do is usually very formal portraits of oak trees in a typological fashion - thus strict uniformity is a must. These images are taken on solid overcast very still days for even lighting and no movement of the branches, usually in mid winter too, as I love the graphical nature of the bare branches.
    I use a two-bath developer as the images are by their nature/content very contrasty - dark trees against pale skies, but I also want mid-tones in the foreground and trunk, and a white sky that will still print (that makes sense doesn't it?)

    What I am wondering is whether a two-bath developer is a good combination with this Adox film? Or is it not really necessary? Does the film have decent tonal range anyway compared with the Ilford FP4? Or as I suspect, does it have less?

    I will also be developing the film with a jobo processor (not expert drums unfortunately ). Will this have any bearing on the situation? Can't think why it would, but you never know...

    Anyway, thanks for reading this rather long winded post, and I hope to hear from you soon...

    Rich

    P.S - I'll try and get some examples of my work up soon...

  2. #2
    MikeSeb's Avatar
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    Rich:

    Low-speed films are inherently more contrasty than higher-speed films. I'd think FP-4 would be a better choice on that point, unless grain is really your primary concern. If so, I'd look at a film like T-max 100 or Delta 100. They are at least a stop faster than the Adox 25, have at least as good grain characteristics as the Adox or the FP-4, and can be contrast-controlled by a variety of means---such as development in dilute developers (I use Xtol 1+2 or 1+3, or HC-110 at 1+50 or greater from syrup.) These two films require careful processing---which is a no-brainer in a Jobo---but reward the careful with beautiful, grainless images.

    A two-bath developer may be a good fit---you'll just have to give it a shot and find out. I've used divided developers in my Jobo with good results, so that can be done from a strictly technical standpoint. I'd rather just find a good single-bath regimen and leave it at that--as I said, for me that's the dilute HC-110 or Xtol as I described above. Xtol will give you finer grain, IME.

    You are going to have a tough time, regardless of film/developer, holding detail in both dark trees and bright featureless skies. Depending on how you compose the images you might consider an orange or red filter, a graduated neutral-density filter, or a polarizer to attempt to darken the skies; but if they are uniformly gray/overcast, or if you have tree branches jutting well up into the sky in your images (vs. shooting from above so that the trees do not project into the sky above the horizon) none of these solutions is likely to help with blown skies. Again, experimentation will tell.

    What about photographing these trees on sunnier days, maybe early or late in the day when the sky is likely to render more printable? Is that a possibility given the demands of your work?

    As a side note, I'm constantly fascinated by the many subject niches found within photography. Who'd have thought there's someone out there doing formal portraits of trees. Rock on man---interesting stuff indeed!
    Michael Sebastian
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  3. #3
    Stoo Batchelor's Avatar
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    Hello Rich, and welcome to APUG.

    I have a very limited knowledge of Adox CHS 25 Art. I have just started using it myself in 120 roll film, and developing in Pyrocat M. The film is beautiful, and jaw-droppingly sharp. I have had no problems with contrast, even when using an orange filter, and the negatives print with almost no manipulation in the darkroom, infact, the last three prints I made were straight prints, which pleases me

    The reason for my post is just to say that if you do a search for Efke 25, which I understand to be the same film, you will find lots of info here on APUG. Staining developers seem to be the favourite, though I see there is a lot of people using Rodinal with this film.

    I hope this helps, a little anyway, and good luck.

    Regards

    Stoo
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  4. #4
    Richard J R Wilson's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies guys =)

    The grain isn't a major factor at the moment, but I would certainly like the idea of large grain-free prints - thus giving me more detail in the fine twigs/branches...

    I've tried uploading some images to an album, but not sure if I've done it correctly - I hate being a newbie! =)

    Is there a guide for uploading images and getting them to still look good? It's a little disheartening to see a 200mb file reduced to 90kb, but I'm sure they don't need to look THAT bad... =/

    If you can see them (don't know how to link to them?) they'll give you an idea of the sort of work I'm doing - Mike, you'll see that the tree has to be entirely against the sky =) and when I mentioned printable skies, I just meant a slight tone of white really - just so there would be borders when printing...

    Cheers

    Rich

  5. #5
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Welcome,

    In general, expect more contrast from lower speed films. Everything is a trade off. They are also not recommended for pull processing, according to Freestyle's Website. I have pulled Efke (the same film) and it looked fine, however.

    Quite honestly, while I love Efke/Adox films, I might explore Delta or T-Max 100 instead if FP4 is really too grainy. Once you nail these films, they will be able to get you what you need, despite the high contrast they inherently have in the highlights. Another benefit is that you can expect more consistency and better quality control from Kodak and Ilford than you can from the Czech films, and the emulsion is not nearly as prone to damage.

    They will also help add a little detail in the dark areas due to how their characteristic curves affect local contrast. In areas where "data" is being compressed with a conventionally-grained film, T-Max and Delta are responding with a straighter line.

    Additionally, the trees on your pix simply look out of focus compared to the foreground details, but even if they were in focus, you would be hard pressed to squeeze a ton of detail given the distance from the trees and the quality of light. A lot of the low detail you are experiencing is due to the very lighting conditions you love so much for this particular project. Making the grain finer will do nothing to change the quality of light.

    Another option is to continue to shoot FP4, but move up to 8x10. This option sounds the most appealing to me, personally, as I would be finishing the project with the same film with which I started it.

    I am really surprised that FP4 in 4x5 is too grainy for you. Even in 35mm it has never seemed grainy to me at all, even in large prints. In fact, I am often cursing it or being too "good" and thinking that I should have shot HP5 instead (while I never curse HP5 for being too "bad" and wished I had shot FP4 instead). Once I go up to medium format with it, the grain goes away entirely. If you do the enlargement math, with your 30x40 prints, you are getting the same amount of grain you get on an 8x print from 35mm. Even at that point, the grain is not obtrusive, but just becoming visible upon close inspection.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 11-21-2008 at 04:50 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  6. #6
    Richard J R Wilson's Avatar
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    Hi there

    Some good points there!

    The prints are about 30x40" and are light-jets, after drum scanning (the 'grain' I'm getting annoyed could well be pixels) When I get my own 5x4 enlarger and can do some 'proper' prints I'll reassess the images and work out what is what - the negs certainly don't show any sign of grain...
    I am also just being uber fussy, part of my 'brief' to myself is to be able to record the trees so accurately that even fine examination of the small twigs will show detail - and honestly they aren't far off - the detail is okay, I just want it to be astounding! =)

    I would LOVE to move up to 8x10, and have been eyeing the Ebony SW810 - I know there are other camera makes out there, but I'm already addicted to Ebony - just need to find the money to afford the bloody things now! "Just one more hit!" :rolleyes:

    Cheers

    Rich

  7. #7

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    I've been using adox films in Diafine with pretty good results - though not CHS25 only 50 and 100 rated either at stated speed or with only a 1/3 stop push - it definitely helps to control the highlights: http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=1265...diafine&m=text

    I've also used CHS50 in Neofin Blau, which gives very crisp results.

    For your style, you might consider PanF too... eg. http://www.flickr.com/photos/d-van/2466623805/
    or you could try something like FP4 in Moersch Tanol - a very slight compensating developer that's also kind on the environment...

  8. #8
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Just as a test, you should have your lab print the same neg optically and digitally. Then you could see what a "hybrid" process is either adding or subtracting.

    Are your Lightjets on black and white paper or RA paper? I assume high-quality drum scans? If you are printing on RA paper from dry flatbed scans, you are not getting the best you can get from digital printing, and this may be leading to your problems, especially at such large print sizes.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  9. #9
    Richard J R Wilson's Avatar
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    To be honest, this is a project from a couple of years ago, and I'm coming back to now, and as such can't properly remember about the paper. I think it probably was RA paper, the drum scans were as high quality as they could do at that lab, but as you say, at such large print sizes there will almost always be pixels or grain.

    When I get to printing them I'll probably drop the print size down to 16x20 anyway, for ease of handling, and ultimate sharpness...

  10. #10
    Jerevan's Avatar
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    Hey, I looked at your uploaded photos, they look great. Just wish I'd come up with the idea first, as I love oaks.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

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