Bob, agreed each person really needs to try it for him/herself. I strongly believe in individual testing since I don't believe most of what I read either.
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
For what it's worth, I did alot of testing similar to what you describe before I embarked upon serious work with night scenes, indoor etc under extreme contrast conditions. I used VC paper only though. I was curious to see if I could make things work without staining developers because I was going to be using mostly 35mm for this stuff and needed finer grain. Sexton's work with extreme contrast lighting was my inspiration, since I had honestly never (and still haven't) seen anything better, and he was using plain old TMAX RS, diluted, with reduced agitation.
After alot of experiments I found that although it was sometimes a bit easier to bring in subtle high value detail with the stained negatives (depending on the scene), with some extra work I was able to get results as good with non-stained negatives, with careful exposure and development (I currently use diluted Perceptol). I agree though D76 in particular would not be my first choice for this work - although it can produce very sharp, low contrast results with some compensating effects at 1+3. Now I'm not going to delude myself into thinking diluted Perceptol is as sharp as Pyro. It is not, but it is reasonably sharp, and much finer grained than the staining alternatives.
Here is an example print. Note this is a crap quality scan as I have no idea what I'm doing. But there is alot of depth to the low values, including fine mesh in the transom above the door, while at the same time there is detail, and value differences even within the lightbulb itself, although it may not show well here. The starring around the lightbulb was unavoidable due to the small aperture. This is by no means an easy print to make, but I was able to get as good a result as with Pyro (I made PMK and Windisch Comp. negatives of the same scene), exactly as envisioned. I've done the same tests with other negatives that were made under even more extreme contrast and got the same results.
Anyhow, interesting discussion. I enjoy taking about this stuff even though we all know in the end technique and skill make the print, as Thomas rightly points out.
PS if you click on this thumbnail it enlarges a little distorted and screwed up so it seems you have to then click again to view it properly - ie open it in a new window.
Last edited by Michael R 1974; 08-02-2011 at 12:56 PM. Click to view previous post history.