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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by DCV View Post
    You've done something incredibly dangerous. You've asked a bunch of photographers for an opinion. One thousand photogs....one thousand opinions. Use the manufacturer's instructions as a starting point and then do things to your own taste. That will make it one thousand and one.
    I beg to differ. That would be one thousand photographers and two thousand opinions.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithy17 View Post
    I have sent Mr. Spears a private message as suggested. For some reason, it is not showing in the 'sent folder'. Has this function been disabled?
    I received a private message today, so obviously not. Not from Mr. Spears though.

  3. #23
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Hi. Welcome to the REAL fun with photography.

    IMO, step one is to get a good hand held light meter. After a light-tight box with film (or WHATEVER media that respond to light) in it, it is the most important piece of photographic equipment you can have. Unfortunately, it seems that very few people actually purchase them early on and learn them well, favoring lenses and accessories, and a million cameras. It makes no sense, if you are actually after ideal results! A good light meter will last you your whole life (if you take care of it), and will do more than any other piece of equipment to allow you to idealize, perfect, and predict your results.

    I am partial to the Sekonic incident light meter models, the Sekonic L-398A Studio Deluxe III, and the Sekonic L-208 Twinmaster.

    The former is a light meter that is time proven, the first ones having been introduced over half a century ago, with very few (i.e. no, in all practicality) changes having been made since. The one I use was made in the mid '50s, and is at most only 1/6 stop off from a brand new one, and the light meter guy in Hollywood sez this is only because the dome has yellowed a bit (an easy and cheap fix, but why bother if results are good, he sez). I got three of the meters for about $20 off of E-Bay. One to use, two with very darkly yellowed domes to use for parts (cases, high slides, etc.).

    The L-208 is a lower-end model, but works great. It doesn't have all the nifty accessories like high slides, lumidisks, etc., but if all you ever want to do is to take a simple ambient incident light reading, it is a great meter. Simple, cheap, small, well built. It also allows reflected readings, if you should want such a thing.

    There are also plenty of other great old, classic, time-tested meters. Gossen Luna Pros, for example. I am most familiar with Sekonics, however, so someone else can give you all the grisly details about these.

    There are also new electronic multi-fuction ones. These are good if you use flash and ambient light. They are a bit more bulky, however (and IMO poorly made and overly complicated to use). They are also a bit pricier, in general, being multi-functional meters.

    Then, you get into actually testing the film to find out how to expose it and develop it to get what you want in your prints.

    There are two points to think about initially, before doing anything: One is that Pan F is a contrasty film, and therefore it does not hold shadow detail well in anything but a relatively low-contrast composition. The other is that Perceptol will only exacerbate this by lowering density across the board, compared to a more "standard" developer like ID-11 or Ilfotec HC.

    So, in practice, Pan F with any developer, but especially with Perceptol, is going to need to be given additional exposure to give you a "normal" amount of exposure in the dark areas, if exposed in a "normal-contrast composition." I am not saying that the film is not ISO 50, because it is. (ISO is ISO is ISO.) I am just saying that it is a contrasty emulsion, so if you expect it to behave like the 100 and 400 films to which you are probably used, it will need some tweaking.

    Next, I would go ahead and make the investment in a photographic test target. It is hard to understand why you would spend so much on a stupid flat object with some colored squares on it, but it should last forever, and it is a tiny investment in the grand scheme of things. It is another one of the most helpful devices out there, and another one that hardly anybody uses, especially when first learning. This doodad combined with a good light meter will tell you so much about any film and developer combination, and will do it quickly and easily. Look for MacBeth Color Checker charts or other similar charts at photo stores. They give you a quick look at exposure, contrast, spectral sensitivity, and development. With color film, they tell you even more.

    I prefer a single exposure of a test chart to all other methods, as it shows you in one simple shot how your film naturally behaves when exposed and developed a certain way. Bracket exposure and development pix of the chart, choose the one that you like best, and you have your exposure compensation (which can be applied via EI changes if you choose) and development just like that. However, without the chart, you can just use your camera controls to expose a neutrally-hued piece of card or paper to different tones of grey, and then print them at a "normal" time to see how they are rendered in prints. It's more complicated and labor intensive to figure everything out, and you don't get to see everything all at once, but it works. (It is how Zone System tests are done, in fact.) This method is quickly and easily explained in Ansel Adams' book, "The Negative", in the Zone System chapter and the technical appendices.

    I personally prefer to always rate a film at box speed, learn how it behaves with different exposure and development (i.e. what kid of contrast it has when treated a certain way), meter for a midtone (incident metering), and manually apply exposure and development alteration in each scenario based on what I want, the lighting and composition, and on my testing of how the film behaves. Others prefer to use a "permanent", across-the-board EI tweak as a way to fit any film into a certain mold based on what they have decided that they generally want shadows and highlights to look like on a print. Either method works fine. You just need to find what works for you, and then be consistent in using this method.

    So, in short, IMHO, get a good light meter, get a good test chart, bracket exposure and development of the pix you shoot of the test chart, print the pix of the test charts, pick the test chart print that you like best, and use the parameters (exposure compensation and development time) you used for that shot in the future. (Take good notes throughout, otherwise you don't know what the heck is what.)
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 05-15-2010 at 01:40 PM. 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)

  4. #24
    aste's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip on the color chart.

  5. #25
    bill spears's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithy17 View Post
    I have sent Mr. Spears a private message as suggested. For some reason, it is not showing in the 'sent folder'. Has this function been disabled?
    Just got the PM - haven't been logging on much here lately.

    I think like the others say..... trial and error is the best way to go. We all have different visions and variations in technique.
    I was led to perceptol after reading Barry Thornton who raved about it with HP5. I was looking for maximum sharpness and fine grain so was curious to see what it was like with Pan F. I must confess though that I'm not big on film testing or zone system practice. I emphasize that this is not because of disregard for it or those photographers that practice it, it's purely down to my own laziness !!

    I also use an RB67 and my usual combination is Pan F @ iso 16-20 and Perceptol 1:2 22 degs for around 11 mins. I stress again though, I've not arrived at these figures from exhaustive testing, It's just what works for me and my particular style.
    Pan F can often be quite a contrasty film, especially in bright light and I've found dilute perceptol tends to tame it somewhat by not letting the highlights block up (so long as development is not too long).
    The low ISO rating is because I like plenty of shadow detail and I always tend to err on the side of overexposure. This can be a problem though with often very slow shutter speeds so you might find this a handicap in certain situations.

    As is often said there are many other 'links in the chain' when pursuing high definition and just because you use Pan F/Perceptol doesn't guarrantee the results you might be after. I have found though that it does give me quality on a par with large format, at least up to an image size of 16x12.

    Let us know your results
    Bill
    Digital photography is like virtual sex........ you never actually touch the real thing..... or get your hands dirty

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by bill spears View Post
    I also use an RB67 and my usual combination is Pan F @ iso 16-20 and Perceptol 1:2 22 degs for around 11 mins.
    Thanks for the reply, Bill. And to be sure, you're using it at 1+1?

    Thanks.

  7. #27
    bill spears's Avatar
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    I also use an RB67 and my usual combination is Pan F @ iso 16-20 and Perceptol 1:2 22 degs for around 11 mins.
    The thinking behind the 1:2 dilution is that at 1:1 it (in theory) dissolves more grain which is not always ideal if you want high definition. A small showing of grain can enhance sharpness and acutance. 1:3 dilution would (in theory) show more grain but to be honest the differences are probably negligible when looking at the print with an average eye. I just found that 1:2 seemed to be the 'sweet spot' for me.
    Digital photography is like virtual sex........ you never actually touch the real thing..... or get your hands dirty

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by bill spears View Post
    Just got the PM - haven't been logging on much here lately.

    I think like the others say..... trial and error is the best way to go. We all have different visions and variations in technique.
    I was led to perceptol after reading Barry Thornton who raved about it with HP5. I was looking for maximum sharpness and fine grain so was curious to see what it was like with Pan F. I must confess though that I'm not big on film testing or zone system practice. I emphasize that this is not because of disregard for it or those photographers that practice it, it's purely down to my own laziness !!

    I also use an RB67 and my usual combination is Pan F @ iso 16-20 and Perceptol 1:2 22 degs for around 11 mins.

    I stress again though, I've not arrived at these figures from exhaustive testing, It's just what works for me and my particular style.

    Pan F can often be quite a contrasty film, especially in bright light and I've found dilute perceptol tends to tame it somewhat by not letting the highlights block up (so long as development is not too long).

    The low ISO rating is because I like plenty of shadow detail and I always tend to err on the side of overexposure.

    This can be a problem though with often very slow shutter speeds so you might find this a handicap in certain situations.

    As is often said there are many other 'links in the chain' when pursuing high definition and just because you use Pan F/Perceptol doesn't guarrantee the results you might be after.

    I have found though that it does give me quality on a par with large format, at least up to an image size of 16x12.

    Let us know your results

    Bill
    Hi Bill and thank you for contributing to this discussion and for your clear explanation for film exposure and developing time.

    Q1; Is 1:2 the same as 1+2?

    Q2; Are you using a hand meter for incident or reflective light measurement?

    Q3; Do you use any coloured filters and use the recommended filter factors, or meter through them?

    Sorry if too many questions.

    I remember seeing some of your still life photos in B&W Photography magazine of fish.

  9. #29
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Like Bill I've used a few developers like ID-11, Perceptol etc at 1+2, (Bill means the same with 1:2). While this dilution isn't listed it gives benefits over 1+1 without the bad side effects of 1+3 where the dilution can cause compression/compensation due to developer exhaustion.

    As dilution is increased the sharpness & definition improves but the grain increases and 1+2 is a good balance. An alternative is to use a replenished developer as that gives similar results but there's no replenisher for Perceptol.

    Bill uses a Spotmeter, and what might surprise you was when we compared meters last month our readings were the same, as were our relative exposures, we were using different films. In my case my Lunapro SBC with an incident reading matched what I'd chosen using the Minolta Spotmeter F I'd bought S/H a few days before.

    So an incident or reflected meter reading should make no difference, it's knowing how to interpret your meter that matters. Personally I always use the filter factor when using a filter.

    Ian

  10. #30
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    Yes 1:2 is same as 1+2.

    When I do still life work I generally take incident readings with a hand held meter. For landscape I mostly take reflected readings. I've only been using a spotmeter for a short while and before this I used a regular meter, just taking an average reflected reading with the meter dipped down to avoid any influence from a bright sky.
    Like Ian says it's how you interpret your readings that matter. the basic guideline when using a spotmeter and black and white film is to take a reading from the darkest area of the scene where you want to retain detail then stop down about 2 stops. This is venturing into zone system territory though and to fully exploit the zone system you need to be doing some sort of film speed and development testing, which in my opinion, for a beginner is a bit like trying to run before walking etc.

    I usually apply the filter factor when using coloured filters, normally slowing the shutter speed to get the extra light through.

    Modern B+W materials are very flexible and up to a point quite forgiving. While this is not an excuse for sloppy technique don't get hung up on the laws of sensitometry, just get out there and burn some film !
    Digital photography is like virtual sex........ you never actually touch the real thing..... or get your hands dirty

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