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  1. #1

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    Getting good negatives for van dyke

    I'm relatively new to film, having been shooting 4x5 B&W for only about a year now. I've really not been very systematic about exposure or development; I try to put the important shadows in zone III and highlights in zone VII or VIII during exposure, do some standard development, and fix the rest in printing. I have a couple of fantastic prints and a good number of not so hot ones.

    I've dabbled with van dyke but it's been very hit or miss for me. I want to start getting really serious about it (and perhaps move to other, more contrast-controlled processes like kallitype), but I need to get a handle on getting the right negatives first. I'm thinking of now making two exposures if I think I'll want both photo-paper and van dyke prints out of a shot, then using different developments for each.

    What kind of development should I go for? Any particular developer that's especially good for high contrast negatives with lots of nice subtle intermediate tonalities? Any development regime I should be following? Thus far I've been using ID-11 and more recently tried some Ilfosol S, with FP4+ and a bit of kodak HIE, rotary processing in a unicolour drum at about 10% less than the recommended times on the Massive Development Chart at digitaltruth, but like I said it's been very hit or miss.

    What do you do when you want a nice van dyke negative under sort of typical outdoor late afternoon / evening lighting?

    Is there a good comprehensive bible for alt processes? I'm sure I heard of one some time ago but can't remember the author / title.
    Last edited by walter23; 10-06-2007 at 11:45 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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  2. #2
    ann
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    i can only share what works for me.

    We ran several test and determine that a +1N development for HP5 in Pryocat HD semi-stand works very well and quite easy to print.

    The EI rating for this film is 200
    Last edited by ann; 10-07-2007 at 12:08 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: addition infor
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  3. #3
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    You need to start with a film in the 100-125 or lower ASA range. This alone will increase contrast. Then begin by increasing the development time by 40-50%. This will get you into the ballpark. When you really get serious about this you need to determine the EI (exposure index) for your particular film>developer>paper or process.
    I also like Pyrocat HD+ for my alt process negatives, but I don't use stand or semi-stand development.
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  4. #4

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    Can you use rotary processing with pyrocat? It's my preferred method due to the lower chemistry volumes. If not, what do you use? Inversion / manual agitation?
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Noel View Post
    You need to start with a film in the 100-125 or lower ASA range. This alone will increase contrast. Then begin by increasing the development time by 40-50%. This will get you into the ballpark. When you really get serious about this you need to determine the EI (exposure index) for your particular film>developer>paper or process.
    I also like Pyrocat HD+ for my alt process negatives, but I don't use stand or semi-stand development.

    TMAX-400 is also a great film for VDB negatives. It will actually develop more CI than most all other films, including films in the 100-125 ASA range.

    For really optimum results VDB needs a much higher contrast negative than anything that most people understand. For in-camera negatives I would personally try for a negative DR of at least log 2.2 - 2.5.

    Sandy King

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by walter23 View Post
    Can you use rotary processing with pyrocat? It's my preferred method due to the lower chemistry volumes. If not, what do you use? Inversion / manual agitation?

    I use rotary processing for most of my ULF film. I process 7X17, 12X20 and 20X24 film in print drums that were originally sold for making color prints. For agitation I use old Besesler and Unicolor motor bases.


    Some people complain of banding issues with this type of development but I have personally never seen this except with some of the films produced at the old Forte plant (BPf 200 most notably). The key is to use a fairly weak dilution (1:1:100 works fine for me), pre-soak, and do some fairly vigorous side to side agitation during the first couple of minutes of development (and every couple of minutes thereafter).

    Sandy King

  7. #7
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    I also use rotary development most of the time. I use a Jobo CPP2 set at the slowest speed possible and pre-soak for 5 minutes before the Pyrocat.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

  8. #8

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    Ahh, well, I'll be ordering some pyro then if I can rotary process with it. I hate wasting chemistry by filling a tank or tray developing.

    BTW, how do you guys quantify these negative contrast indices? Densitometry?
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by walter23 View Post
    ...
    BTW, how do you guys quantify these negative contrast indices? Densitometry?
    ...
    A densitometer would be fine but if you don't own/have access to one then you can use a 31-step transmission step wedge: Just expose until two or more steps merge in the dry print ("virtually merge" would be more correct, since with some processes - especially those with a strong printout - you may not achieve this) and count the steps starting from the first step that you consider/accept being Dmax until paper white (included). Step count * 0.1 is your process/paper combo's negative DR requirement in the logarithmic scale...

    Regards,
    Loris.

  10. #10

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    Ahh, great. Thanks Loris.
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