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  1. #1

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    Shooting Medium Format Roll Film...

    As you all know shooting roll film, conditions vary with each scene, lighting, contrast range, and exposure, but development is the same for the whole roll, so I am wondering what would be the best way to expose and develope to obtain a GOOD negative to be printed with a diffusion enlarger.
    A negative, can always be turned into a positive.

  2. #2
    esanford's Avatar
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    Ok.... I will share what I do... First of all, I did a zone system film speed test to determine my film speed... Then, I did a development time test to establish my "normal" development time with my cold light enlarger, normal developer and normal paper (i.e. paper that I use to make proof sheets). This process gives me a complete calibration with my camera, film, film developer, Cold light enlarger (it will work for your diffusion enlarger), paper developer, and paper. After several rolls of film, I was satisfied with my Normal time. Then I did a test to lock in on my N+ time (I use N+ 1.5 the method taught by the late Fred Picker of the Zone VI workshop). This whole process was a lot of work, but it's worth the trouble because you no longer have to worry about exposure and development time except for a few tweaks now and then... There are several books including "The Zone VI workshop" which is always available on EBay that provides these test methods. Also, this methodology will make you focus on one set of film and print materials because if you change anything, you must re-test!!!!

    I shoot the Hassy, and I use 3 backs which in essence gives me 3 cameras... When I am shooting black and white film (99% of the time) I always use 2 backs. I shoot the same film, Tri-X, in each back. One back is labeled "N" and all film in that back is developed at my "normal" development time. The 2nd back is labeled "N+1.5 and all film in that camera is exposed in a manner that dictates N+1.5 development time. When I am shooting I take two exposures of a scene...i.e. one for N and the 2nd for N+1.5 This gives me 2 negatives to work with in the dark room on each scene. For me this is adequate flexibility to meet my needs. I keep the 3rd back ready in case I want to shoot color (very rarely).
    Often wrong, but never in doubt!

  3. #3
    Troy Hamon's Avatar
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    There probably is no 'best' way, but lots of us have our own 'favorite' way. I use divided D-23 for all my film developing, and it works great for me. Many folks on here use other more exotic solutions that produce lovely results as well. The key is really to shoot a lot of rolls and develop them. I don't particularly recommend trying every different method of developing, as you will not really learn anything that way other than how to mix lots of different solutions. Pick one (or maybe two) developing technique, and try different times, different temperatures, and different concentrations based on the parameters recommended by those familiar to that option. In my opinion, you'll be better served by building a firm understanding of the characteristics of one or two systems than a shaky understanding of many. No matter what you do, you can't do zone system developing on roll film, so you are much more limited to the film and developer combination when making an exposure. Interchangeable film backs can help you get around that some, but you still have multiple images on a roll, many of which will often have different characteristics.

    My two cents.

  4. #4
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    The ideal way of course is to use separate backs for N, N- and N+ development but, although I do have three backs, I don't do that... If I take more than one back, it's normally loaded with a different film. I only use N, N+1.5 and N-1.5 (didn't know Picker advocated that idea - I thought I invented it! ) as I use VC paper. Shots with ZIII to ZVII more than 6 stops or less than 3 stops get N+/- and others get N. I have a small pad of printed notes that I note this in (see attachment - 4 of these printed per A4 sheet of paper cut into 4 and stapled together in pads of 20) though I must confess, I rarely fill much of it in (except when I am using 4x5 which is a different kettle of lobster paté...).

    A 12-shot reel of 120 will typically only have 3 or 4 subjects on it as I will move around a subject looking for different angles, or use a different lens - all probably shot in similar light. Thus usually all the shots have a similar brightness range. Worst case, I need to decide which are the ones I want to develop for, knowing that the others will probably still be printable at a higher or lower VC paper grade. So basically, I develop at what I think the most important shots on the film require and the rest will *usually* either fall in to place or close enough to it.

    All that assumes of course that I have metered and exposed correctly in the first place... not by any means a certainty in and of itself....

    Cheers, Bob.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails FilmNotes.jpg  



 

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