Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
It seems as if many of you have a lot of time on your hands (maybe too much...) when in the darkroom. Who really needs to worry about avoiding particular exposure times, or spend time multiplying and dividing by fractions of an f-stop?

For me it's whole stops on the lens, exposure times that allow me adequate accuracy (how the heck do you expect fractions of a second to be accurate with any timer?), and time for dodging. I prefer times in the 20-40 second range.

And, I alter exposure by percentages (and I make my test strips in percentages as well, rounded to the nearest full second), not fractions of f-stops, which seem overly unwieldy in the darkroom to me.

That and a metronome and I'm in business. I like simple and low-tech.


Hi Doremus,

I like simple and functional too, so we definitely have that in common.

f/stop printing was pioneered by Gene Nocon, and is not difficult at all to do; no more difficult than counting any other sequence of seconds.
When I use f/stop printing I use full stops, but stopped down to f/5.6 or f/8 on the enlarger lens. If you wanted to do half stops, for example, just close the enlarging lens down one stop and boom you'll get the same results as half stops with the lens aperture one stop wider.

When I make my test strip I start at 90 seconds, and go backwards to 45s, 32s, 22s, 16s, 11s, 8s. Just like the f/stops on the lens. What's nice about that is that I see what extreme under/over-exposure of the paper does to shadows and highlights, and that always teaches me something about how I want to print the negative.
If I went about it by adding smaller increments, the spread from lightest to darkest would be smaller, and while it's not a method I recommend against, to me I wouldn't be exploring the negative enough.

Once I've nailed down a good base exposure, I start fine tuning it, and now I just add/subtract seconds with no concern for f/stops. After the base exposure is perfect I start working on details in the print, whether I want to add high contrast blasts or not, dodging, burning, diffusing, etc.