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  1. #21
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jordanstarr View Post
    I can't think of a time I ever disagreed with Matt and this is no exception. Exposure determines your shadow detail moreso than pushing your film. You can't get something from nothing.
    While I agree with you about getting 'something' from 'nothing', the case is usually that a lot of the 'lost' shadow detail ends up on the toe of the film curve, lost in 'film base plus fog' density. By under exposing film on purpose, and over developing, some of that shadow detail on the toe can be 'pushed' back up onto a portion of the curve, where it's no longer obscured by the densities of film base plus fog.
    Some developers are better than others at this, and this is why dilute developers, like Xtol 1+1 is better than stock - longer developing time brings out more shadows. Not a fantastic amount, but it does help, and it is real.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

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  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    While I agree with you about getting 'something' from 'nothing', the case is usually that a lot of the 'lost' shadow detail ends up on the toe of the film curve, lost in 'film base plus fog' density. By under exposing film on purpose, and over developing, some of that shadow detail on the toe can be 'pushed' back up onto a portion of the curve, where it's no longer obscured by the densities of film base plus fog.
    Some developers are better than others at this, and this is why dilute developers, like Xtol 1+1 is better than stock - longer developing time brings out more shadows. Not a fantastic amount, but it does help, and it is real.
    I put in the word "moreso" because I do realize that if it's in there longer, shadows will come out a bit more, but then you'll blow your highlights way out of proportion by overdeveloping. Shadows stop developing first in the developing process and after a point, they are incredibly difficult to budge without blowing out your highlights.

    That being said, I'm not sure how the logic of under exposing and over developing can bring out shadow details can be consistent. There would be less density in the shadows in that case.

  3. #23
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jordanstarr View Post
    I put in the word "moreso" because I do realize that if it's in there longer, shadows will come out a bit more, but then you'll blow your highlights way out of proportion by overdeveloping. Shadows stop developing first in the developing process and after a point, they are incredibly difficult to budge without blowing out your highlights.

    That being said, I'm not sure how the logic of under exposing and over developing can bring out shadow details can be consistent. There would be less density in the shadows in that case.
    Actually, it isn't difficult at all. Just slow down your agitation to something like every three or five minutes, and that takes care of not blocking up your highlights. It isn't perfect, but it sure gives me better negatives then if I just extended the developing time.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

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  4. #24

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    Jordanstarr:

    There are some nuances in the wording. Traditional "pushing", is underexposure/overdevelopment. Thomas is referring to more of a compensating-type development, where using a more diluted developer, with longer development times and reduced agitation, helps maximize (though not necessarily push) shadow detail without blowing highlights. Traditional pushing in full strength developers tends to give you an upswept curve, with contrast increasing more in areas of high exposure. Compensating procedures are an attempt to do the opposite - ie preferentially develop the shadows without increasing the highlight contrast too much.

    Actually this is why if you can tolerate more grain, some of the best developers for maximizing film speed are high acutance formulas, because they are naturally compensating when used normally. Note this is maximizing real film speed, not pushing. With traditional films you can sometimes get up to a full stop more shadow speed with these developers while not blowing the highlights.

  5. #25

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    Any phenidone based developer will do. If cost were no object I would use Tri-X at 800 with undiluted Ilford Microphen. If I had to develop a lot of Tri-X at 800 I would probably choose Clayton F60 and dilute it 1:9. The faster-than-400 films will give better shadow detail but cost more. Fuji Neopan 1600 is out of production. Kodak TMZ may or may not still be made. I prefer TMZ to Ilford Delta 3200 but I hope the Ilford product remains in production if TMZ doesn't. When I pushed film more often my favorite developer was Ethol UFG. I still keep UFG around, just in case. I wish 2475 and 2484 were still made. I had fun with them.

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  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Crabtree View Post
    Haha, love it.
    I usually rate my film lower than box speed not higher although I will admit I am quite pleased with Neopan 400 in D76 1:1 @ 800.
    I think it's because NP400 is pretty close to box speed so one stop under is acceptable.

  8. #28
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Crabtree View Post
    That's a great article. The author managed to articulate what I have felt a long time. I figure as long as the people pushing film keep buying film, they'd contribute to keeping the craft alive a bit longer, so I don't care very much.
    "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

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    Quote Originally Posted by pgomena View Post
    Yes, I agree, we come close to developing all the shadow detail in a normally exposed negative. No argument there. "Pushing" film by underexposing a "normal" negative will give you empty shadows. It's just plain underexposed, and there's no magic potion that will fix that - all you can do is salvage as much information as you can.
    Well, I suppose it depends on what range you consider to be "the shadows", as well as on the film. At the extreme, where the density of the latent image is really low, of course those regions will develop to completion in the blink of an eye, and more time in the soup gets you nothing but some fog. But how far up the exposure curve do those conditions obtain?

    Presumably the answer is different for different films, and when we say that a film pushes well (in terms of recoverable shadow detail), we should be saying that a comparatively short exposure gets you shadow detail in the latent image that isn't activated under normal development; that is, it doesn't take too much exposure to get the film "activated enough" that it doesn't develop to completion under a normal regime. (In other words, if you looked at the "intrinsic" characteristic curve of the film---exposure vs. activated grains, without taking any development into account---the toe would be steep.)

    Futzing around with Tri-X has led me to believe that it has that kind of "pushes well" property, because sufficiently extreme development (e.g., Donald Qualls's "Super Soup" concoction) produces shadow detail that seemingly "shouldn't" be there. See the attachment for an example---that's TX400, metered fairly carefully at EI 3200, and I don't look at it and see "dead vacant shadows". Obviously there's some loss of detail, but, for instance, you can see the contours of the drawers in the cabinet at right, and the grain in the table under the shadows of the subjects' arms. I haven't done spot metering and densitometry to validate this impression, but experientially, I think there's quite a lot more detail being dragged out of the shadows here than in normal development.

    The OP was asking about using a developer that wouldn't help much at all. HC-110 and Rodinal are not the best for retaining shadow detail in a push-process situation. X-tol, T-Max developer, Acufine, Diafine, some of the Ilford developers will do a better job.
    I'd agree certainly with all that. I've seen some pretty impressive results claimed for Rodinal and stand or semi-stand development, but not being a member of the cult myself, I have no real way to judge how typical that is.

    I did once try an experiment in really long semi-stand development in HC-110, with TX400 exposed at 3200, and while the results weren't in any technical sense *good*, they were unquestionably *interesting*. No great increase in shadow detail, but lots of contrast and completely absurd amounts of grain---some people have said they really liked the images, but most just get a funny look on their faces and try to avoid saying anything insulting.

    -NT
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  10. #30
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    I like that mantra from the article: Halve the ISO and develop 20% shorter than recommended time.

    I follow the first half of the mantra, halving the ISO for Rodinal 1+50 but I am not sure about the dev times still.
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