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  1. #21

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    There is the kind of thing people need to do themselves. If you want compressed shadows and high contrast thereafter you simply underexpose the film, and then develop to a higher contrast in such a way that you don't build as much shadow contrast - ie use the developer more concentrated (ie stock strength) and agitate frequently.

  2. #22
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Disclaimer: I have never used TXP (320.) By the time I got into large format TMY was available and I started with that (and a big box of Delta 400, still frozen) and just used it in 4x5, and have always used TXT 400 in 35mm and now 120.

    I DO like HP5+. As someone said, it behaves differently than Tri-X 400 but once you have your process down can give very similar and certainly equally good results. It also pushes nicely without as much contrast gain in conventional developers, but I also happen to really like the combination of Tri-X (TXT, aka 400) in Diafine when EI 1250 will do, and for this I find it a good 2/3s stop faster effective speed than HP5. I could quite happily use either at 400-800, but I stock Tri-X because it gives me that extra option.

    The only reasons I can think of for wanting a long toe are 1) to rescue bad exposures by preserving some, albeit muddy, detail where it would otherwise fall completely below threshold, and 2) to match certain papers that may have less shoulder. For the former reason, just expose a bit more. I find in medium and, especially, large format exposing ANY B&W film, even the t-grain ones (that need this less) at about 1/2 box speed will give better results. I don't do this in 35mm even when light allows because it also results in a bit more grain. For the second problem, well, try switching papers.

    For the shoulder I can see the same thing, to preserve some highlight detail in overexposed areas, except that it's been decades since this was much of a problem with most films and any reasonable exposure. Now easily printing that detail, that's different - a gentle shoulder can certainly still have enough slope to separate tones while making them somewhat easier to print. There are two approaches here too: 1) a long toed paper. Ilford MGIV RC was specifically matched to t-grain films that have essentially no shoulder (and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth when MGIII went away in favor of it, coming from the Tri-X crowd.) If your otherwise favorite paper just isn't a highlight match, the other alternative is more work and practice printing. Using multigrade paper, which most of us do anyway, and burning down the highlights with a softer filter can help a lot.

    Finally, for the steep mid tones, that's somewhat variable with development. Someone mentioned T-Max developer but also said "replenished" so I wonder if they meant T-Max RS? I love T-Max RS for my Kodak films though lacking even starting points I haven't put in the time and effort to work it out with Ilford, and I do shoot a fair amount of FP4+ in 120 so that's on my to-do list. Many of us use both T-Max and RS more dilute than Kodak calls for, usually 1+7 or 1+9. I rather like 1+6 myself. One thing that is noticeable is that 1+9 in particular can cause midtones to sag a bit, which does suggest that the full strength 1+4 might give you robust midtone separation. I just prefer the more dilute solutions because 1+4 is pretty "hot" in terms of giving rather short times, the more dilute solutions work great, and they're cheaper too.

    You might also try DD-X. I have heard nothing but good things about it (and may have to go to it if Kodak stops selling T-Max RS )

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjbecker View Post
    I do know that hp5 comes in all sizes but the film is low contrast and not the same as a film like tri-x 320.
    Film can be developed to any contrast desired.
    Jim

  4. #24
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Cole View Post
    The only reasons I can think of for wanting a long toe are 1) to rescue bad exposures by preserving some, albeit muddy, detail where it would otherwise fall completely below threshold, and 2) to match certain papers that may have less shoulder. For the former reason, just expose a bit more. I find in medium and, especially, large format exposing ANY B&W film, even the t-grain ones (that need this less) at about 1/2 box speed will give better results. I don't do this in 35mm even when light allows because it also results in a bit more grain. For the second problem, well, try switching papers.
    Or, 3) you just don't care that much about shadow detail. Like me. I think shadow detail is highly overrated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Cole View Post
    For the shoulder I can see the same thing, to preserve some highlight detail in overexposed areas, except that it's been decades since this was much of a problem with most films and any reasonable exposure. Now easily printing that detail, that's different - a gentle shoulder can certainly still have enough slope to separate tones while making them somewhat easier to print. There are two approaches here too: 1) a long toed paper. Ilford MGIV RC was specifically matched to t-grain films that have essentially no shoulder (and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth when MGIII went away in favor of it, coming from the Tri-X crowd.) If your otherwise favorite paper just isn't a highlight match, the other alternative is more work and practice printing. Using multigrade paper, which most of us do anyway, and burning down the highlights with a softer filter can help a lot.
    Unless, you, once again, don't mind featureless highlights. It can be used quite effectively, and a negative that looks like $hit under a densitometer can make wonderful prints.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Cole View Post
    Finally, for the steep mid tones, that's somewhat variable with development. Someone mentioned T-Max developer but also said "replenished" so I wonder if they meant T-Max RS? I love T-Max RS for my Kodak films though lacking even starting points I haven't put in the time and effort to work it out with Ilford, and I do shoot a fair amount of FP4+ in 120 so that's on my to-do list. Many of us use both T-Max and RS more dilute than Kodak calls for, usually 1+7 or 1+9. I rather like 1+6 myself. One thing that is noticeable is that 1+9 in particular can cause midtones to sag a bit, which does suggest that the full strength 1+4 might give you robust midtone separation. I just prefer the more dilute solutions because 1+4 is pretty "hot" in terms of giving rather short times, the more dilute solutions work great, and they're cheaper too.
    The slope of the curve IS the contrast, which is wholly controlled by development. Longer development time = steeper curve. It describes how with prolonged development you gain more contrast with the same exposure.
    To me, this is why agitation is so important in film development. You basically determine the toe with exposure, mid-tones with development time, and shoulder with agitation. If you compare two films developed to identical contrast index, but one you agitate every minute, and the other every five minutes, you will see a difference in the resulting tonality. This is how we can make TMax 400 look like Tri-X 320, or even TMax 100, tonality wise.

    Replenished TMax developer means just what it says - replenished. A small amount of concentrate is added to the developer at each developing cycle, to replace some of the old. The benefits are the it cools the highlights down a bit, gives a bit finer grain, and becomes a more economical way of processing film. Works with lots of developers.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  5. #25
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Well I'm sure you could replenish T-Max but the RS version is intended for it so you at least have manufacturer starting points. Of course you could work it out yourself just as many of us use RS on shot.

    No argument that a print can look good without shadow detail and/or without highlight detail but that doesn't argue for a long toe - just because it's there doesn't mean you have to print it or, if you know you don't want it, you have the option of exposing at higher effective speeds and just letting the shadows fall off. In fact a short toe film will have less shadow detail where a longer toe might have held some, albeit muddy. Similarly with highlights.

    Not sure I totally buy the idea that agitation controls the midtones somehow differently than other areas. MAYBE but I find as long as I tweak my times for similar overall contrast my Jobo negatives look very similar to inversion processing with agitation one per minute.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    Or, 3) you just don't care that much about shadow detail. Like me. I think shadow detail is highly overrated.

    Unless, you, once again, don't mind featureless highlights. It can be used quite effectively, and a negative that looks like $hit under a densitometer can make wonderful prints.
    I truly agree.

    One of the true failings IMO in many photographs is that everything in the photo is the subject. I have seen many technically stunning photos where I simply don't know where to look because everything is perfect. These photos look to me like technical exercises rather than art.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  7. #27

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    It really depends on the type of photography and subject matter. I have never bought the "I don't know where to look" argument when it comes to composition and printing. It really depends. Some photos benefit from a clear center of interest on no detail elsewhere, and some photos benefit from clear detail everywhere.

  8. #28
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Cole View Post
    Not sure I totally buy the idea that agitation controls the midtones somehow differently than other areas. MAYBE but I find as long as I tweak my times for similar overall contrast my Jobo negatives look very similar to inversion processing with agitation one per minute.
    Try it.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  9. #29
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    It really depends on the type of photography and subject matter. I have never bought the "I don't know where to look" argument when it comes to composition and printing. It really depends. Some photos benefit from a clear center of interest on no detail elsewhere, and some photos benefit from clear detail everywhere.
    I think you are correct, Michael. And I also think that I am correct, and nobody is ever wrong about what they perceive to be good photographs.

    We've been down this road before, and to me what I find important is to be educated enough about our materials that we can get what we want from them. You want lots of clear detail, and you've found a way of doing it. I know how to do that too, but choose to reveal less detail, because that's how I like my pictures. The distinction is, I think, that we have worked out how to get to where we want to be, and that's all that really matters.

    To get somewhat back on track with the discussion, if I was an avid Tri-X 320 user, I would use TMax 100, expose it at 400, and push process in Xtol 1+1 to get a highly similar tone reproduction of Tri-X 320. It's not identical, especially not in the grain department, but I would have a solution that I was happy with. And it's all by just tweaking the process a little bit. That type of knowledge is, in my opinion, real power in photography, and especially printing. I'm not saying that my solution is the be all for everybody, but it works for me. And finding a solution is often very much around the corner, if we're willing to put up a little bit of hard work, and some critical thinking to get there.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  10. #30
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    I truly agree.

    One of the true failings IMO in many photographs is that everything in the photo is the subject. I have seen many technically stunning photos where I simply don't know where to look because everything is perfect. These photos look to me like technical exercises rather than art.
    That has been my focus lately, Mark. I try to focus everything I have on what's important about the picture, and I find it very refreshing to be able to bury some of the clutter in lost shadow detail, or strong highlights. It has helped me to achieve what I think are better prints, and reveals them better to people that view them (I hope).
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh



 

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