FWIW...that is the first paper negative I've ever scanned. Most of the time I'm printing them on the same paper I shot them on.
Here is a post on my blog that shows a bunch of work my junior students did last term. You'll be able to tell the 4x5 and 8x10 paper negs from the 6x6cm film shots one student did.
Student's Paper Negatives
The question is, as PE suggests...does anyone want to develop a Zone System for paper negatives?
You are to be congratulated on the excellent work you are doing teaching these students. Nothing I have said (as a purist) should detract from what is beautiful work. Thanks.
And yes, there could be two "zones" usable for paper just as there is really only one for film. Well, film has 3 but two are nearly impossible to use.
A large amount of this discussion is unintelligible to me, but I'm glad people are sorting all this.
With all that knowledge, any guesses as to a reasonable sunny exposure time for Illford multigrade IV in a 8x10 camera with 6 inch focal length and .5mm pinhole (f/300ish)?
What I really want is just an ISO number. Since I know my aperture (or can find it), if I knew the speed of my paper I could just meter a scene with another camera and add stops for film slowness and aperture smallness, with maybe a fudge for reciprocity. Possibly it's not that simple, but if it's so complicated I can see just going for $3 a pop for sheet film, then at least I can get an ISO rating and reciprocity data that I can understand.
Ah, I'd say give it about a minute.
Of course, you can shoot test strips on one sheet by withdrawing the darkslide in increments. Then develop the whole sheet, dry it, contact print it, and once you see your final print, you'll know straight away how you want to rate and expose the paper next time.
Last edited by keithwms; 01-12-2009 at 10:51 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: added para 2
Speaking of paper negatives...is anyone using the 'positive' paper that is sold at Freestyle? I ordered a box way back in September and it's still not here yet. Was hoping to create some 'photographic monotypes' with the larger cameras.
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What's a darkslide?
Of course, you can shoot test strips on one sheet by withdrawing the darkslide in increments.
I never got anything but unmanageable contrast with that stuff, I am sorry to say. Somebody here did report acceptable results but I'm afraid that I don't recall who it was.
Are you loading the paper in a film holder? If so then the thing you pull out is the darkslide.
Originally Posted by BetterSense
Quick question. congrats on your 8x10 foam camera. I have never used a 4x5 film holder, so picked up an older Fidelity holder and want to make a foam 4x5 pinhole camera.
Can I use the film Holder for only 4x5 film or can I load RC paper into it ?
Congrats, Michael, to both yourself and your students; those images are wonderful.
Regarding Efke's Direct Positive paper, I worked with it last summer. I was able to get some good images, some of which I posted here several months ago (they're on another computer else I'd repost them again now); suffice it to say that I had to preflash the bejeezus out of the paper to get a reasonably normal image in bright daylight with some semblance of midtones.
IIRC, whereas my "normal" preflashing time for grade 2 paper negatives is 10 seconds using my lighting setup, with the Efke paper I used a preflash time around 30 seconds. And near this 30 second time small adjustments in preflash time had large effects on the overall exposure and contrast of the image.
Also, I rated the Efke paper at a personal exposure index of 1, rather than the 3 I apply to my grade 2 paper negatives.
Earlier, PE said: "You brought up an important point. You have overexposed to fight contrast. Well, if you overexpose and either under develop to get lower contrast or develop normally, you will be talking about at least 2 stops which is about ISO 6 or thereabouts. This will reduce the contrast nicely, but it will not center a tonal scale at normal development.
All of my photos include the MacBeth Checker and have the neutral scale centered with Dmin on one side and Dmax on the other, and they were given normal development, no under or over, and no flash.
I think that all of this is important. I am trying to get at the full tonal range. To actually do this with a paper, I suggest a grade 0 or grade 1 graded paper."
Perhaps all I'm doing is over-exposing and under-developing the paper to get a good tonal range from daylit scenes. That makes the meaning of film speed less useful, of course.
And I use graded paper rather than multigrade; I think the use of multigrade while trying to determine a useful personal exposure index just confuses the issue.
My experience with using paper as an in-camera negative is that I don't treat the exposure and development the same as when using paper as a print media. For instance, I do not desire a negative where the scene's highlights appear almost paper black on the negative; this would be the equivalent of blowing out the highlights on film. Neither do I desire to develop the paper fully to "completion"; that would be the equivalent of over developing the bejeezus out of film. A good paper negative has highlight details that are dark gray at most, nowhere near approaching maximum paper black; and shadow detail just below paper white, like feathery traces of tone. The overall appearance of such a negative is a very low contrast, nothing like the dramatic contrast one can achieve with the print.
The approach to using paper as a sort of film is very film-like. And the approach to using paper as a print media is, well, much different from film. So I suppose the debate over what's the optimal exposure index for paper is really about finding a way to systematize the exposure of paper negatives using light meters whose spectral sensitivity doesn't match the paper at all. It's cobbling together a method of working with a material in ways it was not designed to work, using tools that aren't intended for that application.
I still don't understand the divergence of experience we seem to have regarding reciprocity of paper, however:
"No, I suspect reciprocity perhaps in these experiments. IDK. Paper is generally not intended for being used at much below 1/2" or much about about 90" or thereabouts. I would think that we are all outside of this range in one way or another. IDK."
I've found consistent results while using grade 2 Arista paper in pinhole cameras where the exposure times range from 30 seconds to 5 minutes; and equally consistent exposures in glass lens cameras using shutter speed of fractions of seconds. In all cases my personal exposure index of 3 seems to work well.
I find paper to be a wonderful medium to work with, especially in large format, glass lens cameras. The resulting contact prints are easy and fun to work with.
Last edited by Joe VanCleave; 01-13-2009 at 02:59 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: I have yet to focus at infinity