OK, I was out of T-Max, so I did some testing on Delta 400. On the North side of the house I photographed my wife wearing a white shirt with texture, a dark blue sweater and holding a gray card. I took an incident reading from her position, pointed at the camera. I shot one frame with what the meter gave me, at box speed, and then opened up the aperture 1/2 stops, 4 times. So a total of 5 shots. I used up the rest of the roll, doing some spot metering. The last exposure I took the camera into the darkroom, with the lens cap on, and took the last frame.
I processed the film in DD-X using 15% less time than published, 8.5 minutes. I used the same developing regime as I outlined a few posts back. I made a few test strips and found max black to be 8 seconds at f/32, with #2 filter. The enlarger was set up to print an 8x10 print.
I used the max black settings to expose frame 1 and frame 2, with a #2 filter. The detail was fine in the sweater, on frame one but the sweater was too gray. Frame two, which was exposed 1/2 stop more, was trending in the wrong direction. So contrary to the directions I was following in, "Way Beyond Monochrome," I should have stopped down, instead of opening up.
For kicks I took the same negative and made a print, so the sweater looked naturally dark. That was 10 seconds at f/22, #2 filter. The shirt was blown out and the gray card wasn't quite dark enough.
So, extrapolating from that, I'd have to shoot at ISO 800 to get a decent black, printing with the max black exposure settings. The problem is, I'm at f/32.
As I mentioned before, my meter is calibrated and I checked it against another meter I just bought new. Both meters matched. The Mamiya that shot the neg in question is from KEH and rated excellent. I also shot a Rolleiflex at the same time, which was just CLAed by Krimer Photo. The Rollei neg printed a little lighter than the Mamiya neg at max black, maybe 1/2 stop. So I think the meter and the camera isn't the issue.
My enlarger uses a 75 watt bulb. I bought a new bulb for my enlarger. I tried the new bulb and the bulb it came with, both printed the same. I pulled the condenser. It just looked like two big magnifying glasses on either end. Nothing looked skewed or out of place. The head was set for 6x7 or 6x6, depending on which neg I was printing.
I made a print at max black, totally in the dark, and it matched the one done with the safe light. I bought some ilford paper. I gained a stop using the ilford paper over the Ultrafine I'd been using. I also checked and made sure the aperture blades were moving on the 80mm El-Nikor. Pan developer was at 20c. Neg was placed emulsion side down in the carrier. Mirrors in the bathroom were all covered. The enlarging filters are brand new.
I'm stumped. I'm attaching a photo of the neg I printed. The density looks pretty close on my computer screen.
Last edited by kbrede; 01-21-2013 at 08:35 PM. Click to view previous post history.