There are a lot of ways to do it. Your way will work fine, but don't just look at the negatives, print them on your favorite paper and see which looks best.
Another tried-and-true method you may want to try is Fred Picker's, which is based on a Zone VIII printing to 'just off white.'
To do it you expose a uniform target to Zone VIII (using your previously established exposure index). Fill the rest of the roll with pictures and be sure to shoot a blank frame also.
Develop the roll for your 'first guess' time.
In the darkroom with your favorite paper and paper developer (Grade 2 filter if using MG), put the blank frame in the enlarger. Expose a test strip, looking for the first step that is just maximum black (don't look too hard). Now, using the same exposure (or summed multiple exposure sequence) put the Zone VIII negative in the enlarger and don't touch anything. Then make a print with half the paper covered. If you see just 'off-white' in the exposed part your development time for that roll should be fine. If the paper is all white, then decrease development by 20% for the next roll. If your exposed half is too dark, then increase development by 20%.
There are quite a few places for errors; for example the EI you use will change things, or your determination of 'just black' and 'just white' can significantly alter the results and if your initial 'uniform target' is not uniform it will mess things up. So always double check if your development times you are getting seem way out of line with what others are using.
BTW if you need any film speed checks (highly recommended before determining development time) I'll be glad to check any negatives you send to me with a calibrated densitometer...it will cost you ice cream though PM for details.
Last edited by ic-racer; 04-01-2009 at 12:02 PM. Click to view previous post history.
That doesn't seem too hard, and I can certainly afford ice cream! Should I mail the ice cream with the negatives or is a visit to Country Maid in order?
Originally Posted by ic-racer
I use Barry Thornton's method ( see barrythornton.com) and it's worked perfectly for me. My negs have improved a hundredfold since I read the advice offered there.
I hear there is a good ice cream shop in Harbor Springs...
Originally Posted by jbannow
Check your PM.