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Thread: TMAX400 and DBI

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    Will S's Avatar
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    TMAX400 and DBI

    Am I right that DBI with TMAX just doesn't work? I'm looking at a black piece of film no matter what I try.

    Or is it just my eyes?

    Thanks,

    Will
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    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Black film as in it fogs, or black film as in you can't see the image? Are you looking at the emulsion or base side? What are you using for an inspection safelight? I find I can almost inspect my film by the light of my Gralab timer's luminous hands and numbers, if it's been in a bright light just before I shut off the lights to start unloading holders. Can't say for certain if it's fogging, but if so, it's not much...
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Will S
    Am I right that DBI with TMAX just doesn't work? I'm looking at a black piece of film no matter what I try.

    Or is it just my eyes?

    Thanks,

    Will
    Will, DBI works with Kodak TMAX.

    Paula Chamlee is a Master of Development By Inspection. I had the good fortune to watch her in action at the 2006 Sedona Workshop. Here is a quote on DBI from Paula:

    “In looking at the base side, the highlights will emerge as dark areas through the milky, opalescent-like base side. If they are just beginning to show through, the film probably needs further development. In general, one must see them rather well, not "just barely." However, with varying degrees of visual perception and evaluation, seeing "rather well" is a very broad definition. So--it ends up being subjective and mostly intuitive.

    But, in general: If your negative is very contrasty, it might be advisable to pull the negative sooner rather than later, but with an average negative, you should be able to see the highlight patches quite well before taking it out. And yes, it is a good idea to check the shadow areas, too. I always do this by holding the negative up and looking through it to see how the overall densities and mid-tone areas are coming along (after checking the base side first). I keep the neg. at least 3 feet away from the green light and make the evaluation in less than a second. Even if it takes you 4 seconds, you're unlikely to fog your neg. (I never take my first look by either method--reflected or transmitted light--until it is about 80% developed.) But if you don't know what proper development is for an average scene on your film, you can be assured that it will probably not fog even if you take a look at what you might estimate as about 60% development. And you can take quick looks at it several times before finally pulling it.

    In the end, all you need to do is a couple of test runs, and you'll know if you need more development or more exposure, or both. Don't worry too much about it. Negatives don't like anxiety or stress.”

    See this thread:

    http://www.michaelandpaula.com/mp/Az...GID=8737&CID=2
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    Will,

    In my experience TMY is very difficult to judge under a green safelight. I had a much easier time seeing it with a red safelight. I believe that the film's magenta dye has something to do with this. In fact, I found the combination of TMY and a red safelight easier to judge than any film I've tried with a green safelight. I now use night vision for DBI though.

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    I will tend to disagree with my friend Tom Hoskinson on this. The people that use that film have all, to my knowledge, reported that the film is almost impossible to develop by inspection. The one way around this is to use the night vision goggles.

    Now Paula may have some visual abilities that other photographers don't have...and maybe she hasn't used Tmax 400.
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    If I remember the color wheel correctly, green and magenta make black (almost). Pat
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    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    The magenta hue of the sensitization dye in 400TMax is directly complementary to the green of the safelight. It therefore acts as a tricolor minus green filter. Whenever I've tried DBI with TMax I've seen nothing but black.

    While I've never tried it, Joe Freeman reports that his attempts at DBI with night vision goggles were disastrous because you see too much. DBI yields a good negative when you just begin to see the highlights emerging from the milky opalescence of the film's base side. When you see everything as you do with night vision goggles, it's much more difficult to judge when the negative is about to be overcooked. At least this is what Joe tells me.

    I'd try Matt's suggestion of using a red safelight. As for me, I've given up. I just use time and temperature with TMax. For any other film I always take a look under the green safelight.

  8. #8

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    I agree that the Night Vision Goggles are a bit intense with TMY. My suggestions it to turn off the on goggle infrared light source and leave on the light gathering device (my individual testing showed that it can add negative density particularly to 400 speed film anyway albeit a small amount) and use an independent infrared light source bounced off of a wall to soften the intensity or use a wall mounted IR source behind a diffused globe on a foot switch behind the film (or both at the same time as I do). Remember that these IR devices were designed for field applications at night and not for film and darkroom applications. Seeing the red light means that a portion of the energy emitted is non-IR and is in fact harmful to film. You must test these parameters as you would a safe light to ascertain the specifics for your particular NVG. No sense wasting FB+F unnecessarily if you know what I mean.....

    Cheers!

  9. #9
    juan's Avatar
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    What developer are you using? I had the same problem with developing TMX by inspection in Pyrocat HD and Rodinal. When I tried divided D-23, however, I could see the image. I'm pretty sure the sulfite was washing out the magenta dye allowing the image to be seen. I ran out of TMX before really perfecting the technique, so YMMReallyV.
    juan

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    [QUOTE=Michael Kadillak]use an independent infrared light source bounced off of a wall to soften the intensity or use a wall mounted IR source behind a diffused globe on a foot switch behind the film (or both at the same time as I do).

    Michael, what do you use for a diffused globe? I'm getting ready to set up something simular in conjuction with my current NVG system.

    I just ran my first batch of TMY through using an my set of NVG's and this film is noticeably more intense than other films I've processed, as someone said in an earlier post the whole image appears and it is harder to judge when its ready to come out.

    Mike

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