Overdevelopment or Metering Issue?
I just developed some TXP 120 in Rodinal 1:50 for 15 minutes at 20 C, inversions for 10 secs at the start of every minute. I got the development time off of Massive Development and the negatives are horribly dense, with little detail in highlights (the shadows should be easy to print). The scan is just an inverted negative, no adjustments on automatic exposure. I suspect that I have overdeveloped the film and that the chart is wrong; the insert with the Rodinal says 13 minutes but that is for Tri-X, not TXP.
1) Do you agree with my assessment that it is over-developed? If so, what is the "correct" development time for TXP in Rodinal (otherwise I will go back to my ID-11)? I know I can fine-tune developing by extensive testing but since I had to wait 4-6 weeks to get the last 10 rolls, I would prefer less testing, not more.
2) Given that the film is now dry, is there a method of reduction? Can I use Farmer's Reducer(?) or another solution to reduce the development, probably evenly across all zones or am I needing to write off these reels as less-than-ideal? I was under the (mistaken?) impression that reducing should be done as soon as possible after development and is near impossible once the film completely dried (48 hours).
The other idea I toyed with is my Minolta Spotmeter is off but all of the negatives are off by the same approximate amount, leading me to discount the idea. I am taking the meter to work (the local camera shop) tomorrow and testing against the 3 meters I have in store but it is a possibility. I have 2 shots that I bracketed and all three exposures have similar problems, where as if it was metering problem you would assume one exposure would be much better than the other 2.
Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are "camera lies," inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in a distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a "naturalistic" medium of rendition and that striving for "naturalism" in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.
Check the frame numbers and film info placed on the film edge at manufacturing. Check them against a roll you know was exposed and developed properly.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
The contrast is a little high so a little over developed
for the chosen paper grade. Likely the high density is
due to over exposure. Dan
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Is every neg on the roll dense? If you only spotmetered for one or two shots (if I read you right) then its overdeveloped.
Farmers reducer is for paper and might weaken the negatives. But since they're shot anyway this might be a good time to experiment.
Last edited by Christopher Walrath; 05-25-2009 at 07:54 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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No one here can tell you exactly what EI and development time to use. We don't know you meter, shutter, mix of your developer, how accurate your thermometer, and how you process film. Then add what type of enlarger you have, lens, paper and developer you use.
We could give you a ballpark guess to get you started, but it wouldn't be anymore precise than the information you've already found on the web.
Buy one of fred pickers little books for 4 or 5 dollars off ebay. There is a very simple test for film speed and then a test for proper development time based on YOUR process and equipment.
Once you complete these two tests, you won't have to guess if someone's development time or EI will work for you.
Taking this guesswork out of your process will improve your final prints.
Last edited by mikebarger; 05-25-2009 at 01:51 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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I actually think the negative looks pretty good given that the scene seems to be very, very bright and "hot". I would have used a sunny f16 exposure in that scene as a possible control. That said, a bit less development would have favored more detail in the highlights to be sure. I've found the massive development chart times a good deal too long for my work (Delta 100 in D76 1:1 exposed at ISO 100 works well for me when developed for 8.5 to 9 minutes whereas the MDC suggests 11 to 12 minutes.) The good thing is that you now may know the likely outcome of the long end of the film's development lattitude.
I have used the Massive Dev Chart times before and they were OK for TXP. However, as other have said, it is impossible to advise, since we don't know what you metered for (and the accuracy of the meter etc). I think the negative looks perfectly printable, and the contrast is fine. I would take a film, shoot white wall, and do a test, and that should put your mind at rest. Remember that TXP is a difficult film in bright conditions due to the short toe it has (at both ends)...I know that does not explain the over exposure necessarily...but if you metered for the shadows (Zone III) it might. The fact that your bracketed shots show no difference tells me the metering or the camera setting is the contributor...since even over development would show the bracketing effect. Rgds, Kal
If "the shadows are easy to print", as in looking like a correct ZV exposure, then the negatives were overexposed. The negative shown has no shadowed areas that would have an detail, so you would have to look at another frame.
If the shadows are normal(ish), the highlights are dense and the frame numbers are extra dense, then the negatives were overdeveloped. A problem with super-concentrates like Rodinal is that there is a good chance for making a dilution error - diluting 1:25 instead of 1:50.
If all the shots were metered with the same meter then a metering error is a definite possibility. Lots of room for error - leaving the ASA at 100 for instance. If you took notes (or have a good memory) and the exposure you used wasn't close to sunny-16/sunny-11, as jovo mentions, then metering is the culprit.
If they were all made at the same shutter speed then a shutter problem is a possibility. Or a sticky aperture.
If the black windows were chosen for shadows that would explain a massive overexposure. This scene would do best with averaging metering - I would even say no metering, just expose at 1/500 at f11+.
Originally Posted by Shangheye
I have found the zone system and spot metering can often lead me far astray and out of the realm of common sense.
2 more cents:
I agree with Nicholas in that using Zone System methods for film testing can be misleading, especially if you are not so good at judging zones (I have had this problem). A possible option would be to use Jovo's suggestion of the Sunny 16 rule; use f/16 under bright sunny, midday conditions with the shutter set at film speed. If testing, you would bracket this around box speed, then see which one yields shadows of good detail. Then test developer times once the film speed is established. As Mike says, Fred Picker's book is a good, straight forward conversationally written text (his editorializing can be entertaining too).
About the scan - a straight scan never represents anything in the darkroom for me, even if I adjust the scanning control to fill the range from the neg, even from a perfect negative, at least for me. This could be a perfect negative underprinted. You said it is horribly dense, but that is a judgement we all can make differently. I think it is Bruce Birnbaum who recommends the heaviest possible negatives, to capture as much information as possible, to give the most options in printing, long enlarging exposures accepted in the deal.