Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
Good thoughts Doremus. One thought/question though here;

Isn't compensation more about fitting the scene to the paper by encouraging the film curve to shoulder off by discouraging highlight development?
Seems to me that compensation is actually "designed" to get to more print detail by actually reducing the negative's highlight detail.
Put another way, isn't compensation simply trying to create more of an S-curve than a linear curve?
Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
Correct, Mark. The total "information" that can be in the negative is limited by the film's inherent exposure scale, and exposure. Development can either maintain that information, or reduce it. It can not increase it. Compensating development preferentially reduces highlight contrast. Highlight information is "expensed" for easier printing.
Although I'm no sensitometrist, I believe that, yes indeed, the effect of compensating development is to shoulder the film curve a bit. Since the amount of actual compensation, i.e., the comparative reduction in density, is greater where the developer exhausts sooner, which is in the areas of highest exposure. The change is progressively less in lower-density areas until the point is reached below which no developer exhaustion at all occurs. This reduces highlight contrast, but allows a very bright area to still be printed which, without compensation, would be "blown out" or off the paper's scale or need burning.

Still, in my book this means being able to get (squeeze) more usable information into the printable density range of the negative. It's really a question of semantics.