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02-26-2011, 14:25
Roger,

I come across this phrase quite often, and I would like your opinion of what it means.

My understanding is that exposure controls shadow details, and development controls contrasts.

So for example, if i were to shoot with Tri-x 400, and expose at 320iso, then there are more details being captured at this 320 iso, within the constraints of the film. Conversely, if I were to "push" the film, ie. underexpose it by say 2 stops at 1600, then shadow details tend to be lost.

In the development area, an increase in development time will increase contrast.

thanks!
raytoei

Roger Hicks
02-26-2011, 15:01
You are right.

First, you need to give enough exposure to ensure detail in the darkest area in which you want detail. This does not need to be the darkest area in the picture: you can let that go black if you want. This is 'exposing for the shadows'.

The only sure way to give the required exposure, no more (which will reduce sharpness and increase grain) and no less (which will lose detail) is to meter the shadows directly. This means going up close with an ordinary meter, but with a spot meter, the narrower the angle, the further away you can be when you read.

You do NOT use the main index on the meter -- in fact, there is little or no reason for a 'mid-tone' index on a true spot meter -- but the 'shadow' index, I.R.E. 1 or similar, typically 2-1/2 to 3 stops down from the 'mid-tone'. If there is only a mid-tone index, go 3 stops down.

Next, you consider the subject brightness range (SBR). Read the brightest highlight in which you want detail. If it's 5-7 stops brighter than the darkest shadow, it's an 'average' subject and requires 'average' development. If it's under 4 stops (highlights dim compared with shadows) give 50% extra development time to increase contrast. If it's over 7 stops (highlights much brighter than shadows), give 15% less to reduce contrast. This is 'developing for the highlights'.

All of these figures are approximations. You may find that you're happier with 2-2/3. 2-1/2, 2-2/3 or even just 2 stops down, instead if 3, if there isn't enough shadow detail. You may be happier with treating 4-6 stops as 'normal' instead of 5-7. You may be happier with 30 or 40 or 60% more dev time instead of 50, or with 10 or 20% instead of 15. You may even decide to do the whole Zone bit, with more than just 'standard', +50% and -15%, though that starts getting interesting with roll film, let alone 35mm, where you have different SBRs on one film.

Alternatively, of course, you can rely on the inherent latitude of pos/neg photography, and on the fact that latitude for overexposure is a stop or two before sharpness falls too far and grain gets too big, especially with larger formats than 35mm. This is what saves a lot of people who think they are being scientific, but (for example) start off with highlight readings.

There's a lot more about this on my site.

Cheers,

R.

Chriscrawfordphoto
02-26-2011, 15:44
In itself, the phrase doesn't really tell you anything. I suspect that many of the people who say it have no clue what it really means themselves, because you'll see many of them show disdain for exposure and development methods (like the Zone system or Phil Davis's BTZS system) that bring the idea into actual practice.

I expose using a spot meter. If there's something black or heavily shaded that i want to retain detail in, I meter it and give 2 stops less exposure than the meter says. Then I point the meter at a white or highlight araa, if there is one in the scene and it should meter about 4-5 stops brighter than the exposure you set on the dark area if you want full detail retained in that white area. If it meters higher than that, you reduce developing by 25% and give one stop more exposure. The reduced developing time lowers contrast and because the reduced dev. time lowers the film's effective speed one stop, we give the extra stop exposure too. I virtually never see a time when one must increase contrast, not in the lighting conditions where I live. Much more common to need to reduce it.

charjohncarter
02-26-2011, 16:36
I don't know anything about 'push' but develop time also is very important in controlling highlights from blowing. In my case (roll film), like above, I set the shadows (or expose for the shadows)(there are a few ways to do this) and then develop my roll of film, as I have determined from previous developments; so, on average, highlight will not be blown.

ChrisN
02-26-2011, 17:08
One of the most useful articles I've read on the subject and its application to roll-film cameras: Mike Johnston's Not Much of a System System. (http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/a_simple_system.html)

erik
02-26-2011, 17:29
The phrase has been around a long time. I found a reference to it in a manual from 1908, before meters were in wide use. The way they described it: look at your scene and describe the quality of the shadows, such as hard edged or diffuse, then choose an appropriate exposure time based on that. They offer some advice based on the sensitivity of the plate one is using. Then, develop the plate (this is back when develop by inspection was commonly done) until the highlights look right. How does one know what is "right"? Experience mainly.
100+ year old advice, probably not too useful today.

charjohncarter
02-26-2011, 17:46
The phrase has been around a long time. I found a reference to it in a manual from 1908, before meters were in wide use. The way they described it: look at your scene and describe the quality of the shadows, such as hard edged or diffuse, then choose an appropriate exposure time based on that. They offer some advice based on the sensitivity of the plate one is using. Then, develop the plate (this is back when develop by inspection was commonly done) until the highlights look right. How does one know what is "right"? Experience mainly.
100+ year old advice, probably not too useful today.

Well, at least they were developing in real time for the highlights. I still do the same with roll film but I have to shoot a whole roll and develop. Then I wait for it to dry and process one way or the other. And finally I see if I did it right. By that time, I have forgotten what I exposed for and what ISO (EI) I used, or was my metering right, and if I developed exactly the same as the last try. Notes are great but somehow I have to guess at them too. Thank goodness, film is forgiving, and we still have experts to guide us.

gns
02-26-2011, 17:47
I think it is easier to get if you first understand what a characteristic (D log E) curve shows. Compare curves of the same film/developer, but with the exposure and development time altered and you get a good visual that makes this very clear.

Cheers,
Gary

charjohncarter
02-26-2011, 17:57
Some say: put your Zone III on the curve so it is on the upslope of the curve, but that is at box speed; generally. Others reduce their box speed which puts Zone III on the upslope of the curve: which is Zone IV for the first group. But what, I think it boils down to is pick which way you want to meter and do it. And then develop to your highlight taste. Roll film (multiple scene variance) will always be difficult but we have to live with it.

DNG
02-26-2011, 18:16
I don't know all the science stuff, as some of you do. And it is interesting to read.

I use 1/3 stop overexposure on my meter, and I use a semi-spot meter, and meter for the shadow/mid area... I find an area that contains these values and just use it. Then I develop for the box speed. I use Xtol, I find if I use "Stock" (full strength), I get more contrast, if I want a little less contrast, I use Xtol 1:1. I use the Masters Developers table as my base. I get my temp to 20c/21c and just use the time listed. I agitate every 60c for 15s. And the highlights are always great, and I get great shadow detail also.

Sample from my last roll of Acros 100 @ 64 Xtol 1:1
http://files.myopera.com/arbib/albums/814357/1124LS-Pioneer%20Pk-Mooresville-PtxSP28-Acros100--01_2_tn.jpg

http://files.myopera.com/arbib/albums/814357/800LS-CR--Avon%20IN-DJonesRd-2-23-11-Abandoned-M5-ZM50%20--%20PP%20%20PSPX3-01.jpg

charjohncarter
02-26-2011, 18:24
I don't know all the science stuff, as some of you do. And it is interesting to read.

I use 1/3 stop overexposure on my meter, and I use a semi-spot meter, and meter for the shadow/mid area... I find an area that contains these values and just use it. Then I develop for the box speed. I use Xtol, I find if use "Stock" (full strength)

With roll film that is as good as anything. Weston just used to guess. And that was with LF.

gns
02-26-2011, 18:29
The concept is based on the fact that changing development time has a greater effect on the highlight than it does on the shadows. Longer dev. pushes the highlights up but has little to no effect on the shadows. Likewise, shorter dev. pulls down the highlights without altering the shadows much. Exposure will change the shadows. This what comparing the D log E curves will show you.

So, you set exposure correctly for the shadow areas and then determine dev. time depending on the contrast of the scene.

The zone system is just a sophisticated system for applying this. Many people (like me) use some much simpler approach. If the scene is very contrasty (say, fifth avenue in a strong afternoon sunlight), you want to make sure you give plenty of exposure to get detail in those dark shadows, then cut down the development time to prevent the highlights from getting out of control. Hence a well known street photographers formula is to rate their tr-x at 200 (or even 100) and cut back 30% or more on the development.

Cheers,
Gary

af_
02-26-2011, 18:45
One of the most useful articles I've read on the subject and its application to roll-film cameras: Mike Johnston's Not Much of a System System. (http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/a_simple_system.html)

Thanks for that link, Chris, I have enjoyed reading that.

The main message is:
"Johnston's Not Much of a System System, depends from the following principle: Firstly, get the picture. That is, it's worth it to pay attention mainly to what you're shooting and end up with a decent print of a great shot, as opposed to paying attention to your meters and measurements and end up with a perfect print of a dreadfully boring shot of nothing."

Vics
02-26-2011, 19:23
Roger, thanks for that very concise and clear explanation! I'm bookmarking this one for future reference. I'll be sure to check your site, too. Thanks also, to the OP for asking this important question.

Juan Valdenebro
02-26-2011, 19:57
You're right. The phrase is a bit zone system related (all previous to Adams B&W too) and basically talks about giving film enough light for placing the darkest detailed values you need, on zones II-III and and then placing -based upon appropriate development time- your desired detailed highlights on zones VII-VIII (depending on your preferences and how much detail you need), but you need to know well your different development times for the same film to really work the way the phrase describes... For example, you can't do different contrast scenes on the same roll unless you cut it...

I don't like the phrase, by the way, but lots of photographers and teachers do... It can be confusing IMO... Not all scenes have shadows and highlights, to begin with... And shadows and highlights can also be pure black and pure white on print on some photographs and it's not a problem, except for theory fanatics... I prefer to say "expose film for the light it really needs, and develop depending on the scene's contrast." It's not too simple either, because the real (not box) ISO can be great for some scenes, but on a real dark gray, flat day, exposing ISO400 film at 800 instead of 250, for a longer development, produces better tonal separation for dull scenes... And on direct harsh sunlight, metering at 125 for a short development is the way to get rich and clean shadows if the case is we need them... The subject plays a decisive role too, because different subjects are emphasized or thank different final levels of contrast or shadows/highlights detail... All this, related to the quality of light and not to its quantity, is a lot more important than simply metering to "expose for the shadows".

Cheers,

Juan

dyao
02-26-2011, 20:44
But what happens when you have a bunch of differently lit scenes on the same roll?

Juan Valdenebro
02-26-2011, 21:17
Some of them will receive better (more appropriate) development than others... Some will be fine and some a bit/too soft or contrasty...

Cheers,

Juan

Chriscrawfordphoto
02-26-2011, 21:41
But what happens when you have a bunch of differently lit scenes on the same roll?

That's why you own more than one camera body if you shoot 35mm. Some medium format SLRs have a really neat system of interchangeable film backs that can be changed in mid-roll. So, you carry two backs, one for normal developing and one for N-1 (lower contrast developing).

Seriously, when I shoot 35, I shoot the whole roll in the same light and I have extra bodies. For my Olympus SLR system, I have 3 identical OM-4T bodies. One is loaded with my low-light film, Tmax 3200, and the others are loaded with Tri-X (one for normal, one for N-1 developing). For my Leicas I keep normal Tri-X in one bod and the other body I load with either 3200 or N-1 Tri-X as needed. I need a third body...but Leicas cost too much!

gns
02-26-2011, 21:43
But what happens when you have a bunch of differently lit scenes on the same roll?

Well, obviously you can't get optimal results for all frames.
There will always be some compromise. But knowledge of this stuff will only help you make the best choice.

I think most people shooting 35mm or roll film will shoot enough film (whole rolls) in a given situation that it isn't normally a problem.

Cheers,
Gary

Roger Hicks
02-27-2011, 02:55
It's not so much advice as a statement of the obvious, once you understand what it means, so it's as valid now as it was when in was first formulated in the 19th century (it goes back well before 1908).

Bear in mind that in those days, most people developed glass plates by inspection. There were however meters in surprisingly widespread use as early as the 1890s: there's a review, and a copy of the instruction book, of a Watkins Bee meter here: http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/w%20bee.html

Yes, the terms 'shadows' and 'highlights' are confusing until you realize that they are shorthand for 'the darkest area in which you want texture and detail' and 'the lightest area in which you want texture and detail'.

Small decreases in development time (10-20%) have surprisingly little effect on toe speed, because of the way it is defined. For much more on density and the D/lof E curve, see http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/ps%20neg%20density.html, which includes the following:

Armed with all this information, it is therefore possible to match just about any subject to just about any paper grade, provided you know the following:

1 Subject brightness range (easily determined with a spot meter)

2 Flare factor for camera and lens

3 Development time for a standard gamma in a given developer

4 Time-gamma curve for the film and developer in use, obtainable by experiment or from the manufacturers

5 ISO(R) of the paper, obtainable from the manufacturer

6 Flare factor for the enlarger and its lens

7 Any personal adjustments you need to make to compensate for your own equipment or working techniques.

In practice, headings 2, 6 and 7 mean that rather than wasting hours on formal experiments it is generally better to rely on trial and error, which eventually becomes consolidated under the heading 'experience', rather than trying to quantify everything.

This is yet another reason why we do not use the Zone System (a free module gives the rest of the reasons). With one camera, one lens and one enlarger it is tedious enough. Add further equipment, and to do it properly, you need to carry out separate tests for each enlarger, camera or lens. In practice, hardly anyone ever does, and they still get good results even when using wildly disparate equipment. This strongly suggests to us that they are deluding themselves about the degree of precision that is either attainable or necessary.

Even so, knowing what happens at each stage and what it means is extremely useful, especially if you want to avoid simplistic or reductionist theories.

Ignore any references to paid or free modules: it's all free now.

Cheers,

R.

Ade-oh
02-27-2011, 04:11
I suspect that many of the people who say it have no clue what it really means themselves, because you'll see many of them show disdain for exposure and development methods (like the Zone system or Phil Davis's BTZS system) that bring the idea into actual practice.


That'll be me then :-)

I made a serious attempt to use the zone system - or at least a version of it - some years ago when I began to take photography seriously as a hobby. In practice it didn't actually seem to make any real difference to the results I had been achieving hitherto, with my previous system of using the built-in meter in my camera, applying my judgement to the scene I was photographing to adjust the exposure, and then using such printing skills as I had in the darkroom.

Enlarging or scanning 35mm or 120 film is not the same as contact printing 8x10, and you certainly don't have the same cost imperative preventing one from bracketing and experimenting with different exposures. Whatever one takes the phrase to mean, my personal view is that it is a needless distraction from more important elements in photography, like composition, which have a much more decisive impact over whether the final image is of any merit or not.

johannielscom
02-27-2011, 05:37
A 'hybrid' modus operandi IMHO consists of several simple steps:


Meter my hand in the same light as the subject
Bracket if I can
Develop whole rolls in appropriate developing process (standard, stand, push)
Scan, standard settings on lighting, contrast etc.
Correct in Photoshop using Levels, Contrast, Unsharp Mask, Dodge & Burn only
I'm always in awe for people who can work like Roger and Chris, I'm just too impatient and sloppy to get it right like that:o
Still, I like my results and see room for improvement

Roger Hicks
02-27-2011, 07:59
I'm always in awe for people who can work like Roger and Chris, I'm just too impatient and sloppy to get it right like that.

Dear Johan,

So am I. I do only the easy bits, and if something takes too long, I don't do it. Photographically, I've always believed in 'shoot first and ask questions afterwards'.

It's almost certainly useful to know the theory behind what you're doing, but it's far from essential, so unless you're interested, or unless you're being paid to do it, it's not worth much investigation.

As Ade-oh points out, and as your own experience shows, a lot of people get altogether too excited about this sort of thing, and lose sight of making good pictures becase they're trapped in a morass of minutiae that often, they don't fully understand.

I'd lay odds that 99% of the time, I could use any of four different metering techniques (incident, spot, broad-area reflected, in-camera), and then arrive at much the same conclusion about the optimum exposure. About 80-90% of the time, if I guessed the exposure, it would be within 1/2 stop of the optimum exposure as metered, often spot on for the optimum.

In fact, I've noticed something REALLY weird lately with my Ms. Quite a few times, I've turned the shutter speed dial and aperture ring to roughly the rght position, without reading the values I've set; put the camera to my eye; and found that the meter agrees. This is what comes from using basically the same equipment (M-series Leicas) since the mid-70s. I don't need to read the details: I'm doing it by a combination of touch, and an internalized view of what's where on the dials/rings.

Cheers,

R.

Turtle
02-27-2011, 08:14
The more you shoot and print the more you will learn when to make adjustments; however, the more time you spend printing, thee more you will learn about everything. And it will save your bacon when you make mistakes in exposure and development...

For the sort of work I do I rely on in the internal meters in my cameras and have therefore to be able to adjust to the different camera metering. I therefore rate film differently in different cameras, because this way I end up with uniform exposures! I change the EI depending on the light, or make an adjustment after the reading and still make mistakes. Sometimes big ones, but rarely so. Oh, and I find clever zone TTL metering in SLRs the worst by far when it comes to reliable predictable exposures for B&W. I prefer center weighted on the canons and have no choice on the Leicas.

If shooting street or documentary, you just cant be messing about with diffferent bodies (no time) so you get used to making the best possible compromise and fixing as best you can any deficiencies in the darkroom.

PS you can deal with a much broader SBR when wet printing compared to scanning. Chris Crawford is using a 4-5 stop range as normal. I believe Chris scans and digitally prints, so undoubtedly has to aim for a slightly lower contrast neg than I would aim for in the darkroom.

PPS if you are serious about darkroom work I strongly recommend becoming competent then getting a RH designs paper flasher for about $100. This has changed 'nightmare' into 'mildly annoying' when I have very dense areas on the neg. Loooovely accessory.

DNG
02-27-2011, 08:25
A 'hybrid' modus operandi IMHO consists of several simple steps:

Meter my hand in the same light as the subject
Bracket if I can
Develop whole rolls in appropriate developing process (standard, stand, push)
Scan, standard settings on lighting, contrast etc.
Correct in Photoshop using Levels, Contrast, Unsharp Mask, Dodge & Burn onlyI'm always in awe for people who can work like Roger and Chris, I'm just too impatient and sloppy to get it right like that:o
Still, I like my results and see room for improvement

I think many of us use the above method. I know I do. AFA the Zone System with 35mm roll film... As Chris mentioned, you need separate bodies to get closer Zone Developing results for each roll.

The way I see it, if you can get good shadow & highlight details for scanning, you can tweak the tonal range in Post.

I typicaly have my roll of 25x frames at one or two locations on the same day, with the same lighting, 80% of the time, If the light changes, from Sunny to cloudy &/or Cloudy bright, I will adjust my exposure to -1 in stead of my norm of -1/3. But develop normal (for me, that is shoot @ 64, use 100 dev. times for 100 speed film), So the -1 frames will get a little more time then developimg the whole roll at -1. (Example: Delta 400 at 200 = 6m in Xtol Stock, Delta 400 at 400 = 7.5m in Xtol stock). So the 200 frames get 1.5m more time, {the less contrasty frames} where my 400/320 frames get standard developing on the same roll.

With wet printing, you have to have a negative that you know you can work with, applying paper grades, condenser or diffuser enlarger, dodge and burn techniques to tweak the tonal range.

So, I believe the negatives need to very close to optimum exposure for wet printing... (I still remember my late teens and wet printing in my Dads Darkroom).

charjohncarter
02-27-2011, 09:13
But what happens when you have a bunch of differently lit scenes on the same roll?

Chris Crawford has one solution. Another possiblity is to print with different grades of paper, or fiddle with levels and curves. I was always not finishing an overcast or indoor roll using Chris' method (which is a good one), so I gave up and either avoid low contrast shots or fiddle.

Juan Valdenebro
02-27-2011, 09:39
If shooting street or documentary, you just cant be messing about with different bodies (no time) so you get used to making the best possible compromise and fixing as best you can any deficiencies in the darkroom.

Hi Turtle,

I find it means no messing at all... If I have sun, I point and shoot, and if I have shadows, I point and shoot with the other camera... I don't like changing lenses either... Very fast and easy, (I don't even meter or focus) and as Chris says, you develop your rolls a) normally or b) for less contrast, and everything's fine on negatives, and all's easier and faster both while shooting and while printing...

Cheers,

Juan

Trooper
02-27-2011, 09:55
I like the science but I struggle to understand it. I tried to learn the Zone system, but is seemed to be far more complicated than what was already working for me. I read the "not much of a system system", and I was almost with him until he started talking about scenes with more range than the camera can handle. I hope I don't get off topic, but if I do it is because of ignorance rather than intent...I know my system makes me happy, but am I doing the opposite of expose for the shadows?

I used to shoot some B&W, but my true love was Kodachrome and Velvia. Now I'm almost completely digital, and I'm constantly trying to replicate the look of those 'chromes. I learned photography with a Nikon FE, usually set to aperture priority and used the center-weighted meter and a Sekonic L-28 (old version of the L-398). My first roll of Kodachrome was almost entirely silhouettes, but they had great colorful sunsets. It didn't take long to determine that my composition and style required a modification to how the camera's meter interpreted what I was seeing. When I used an incident meter, my exposures were almost always what I wanted, but I knew when to adjust a stop or two based on what I wanted to emphasize in the photo.

My system has evolved to the concept that only one tone can be properly exposed on the film or sensor, and I have to determine the exposure for that. Some shadows and highlights will certainly fall beyond the range of the film or sensor, but that is a limitation of the medium, and I don't worry about it. For example, in the photo of my dining room, the candle is what I wanted to emphasize so I spot metered it with the camera. I knew I might not capture the details outside, so I bracketed. The -1/3 was my favorite because the darkness seemed to convey more of a mood when the room was dark. The candle was the one thing I wanted the correct exposure on.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/_kd63oxUO_Og/TWGmYrGtp6I/AAAAAAAAAF0/W8JyrWgGZAg/s800/Coldday.jpg

Kind of the same theory on the fountain at the Detroit airport. I knew I wanted the Delta 747 to be exposed properly, and the fountain wasn't beyond the range of the camera so that was a tremendous bonus. I suspected the windows and the man would be silhouettes, and so be it. Knowing the scene had some contrast, I underexposed a little, which gave me the bright light I remember on the 747. The sensor exposed as I suspected and I am personally very pleased with this image:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/_kd63oxUO_Og/TU7Rw29mdjI/AAAAAAAAADY/MCACR6DpdFc/s512/DTWFountain.jpg

The focal point on this is obvious, and I spot metered on her left cheek. I again underexposed to compensate for the overexposure on her--from the window:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/_kd63oxUO_Og/TU8B8qLF6rI/AAAAAAAAAEI/72ukTEXc-Ks/s512/Jacki-in-Pink.jpg

I can't remember exactly how I metered this, but I suspect it was Nikon's matrix meter with the bottom of the frame just above the horizon. I then locked the exposure and composed to get yet another damned silhouette. But, the picture is of that cloud, and the horse just happened to make the composition.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/_kd63oxUO_Og/TU7RwZaJzQI/AAAAAAAAADU/3PXUoKBy9Zg/s800/DawsonCreekHorse.jpg

Apparently I am descendent from moths, because I seem to be drawn to the light--so I underexpose to compensate. Because I seem to photograph some scenes with a wide range of luminance or high contrast (I hope I used the right terms), histograms don't seem to be of much value to me. I know everyone else loves them, but I usually get some spikes on the sides and a deep valley. This is partly why I meter for one thing in the photo, or I just trust what my assistant tells me:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/_kd63oxUO_Og/TWqEXzLAlOI/AAAAAAAAAHk/aT0WaCEGxlE/s512/Sekonic.jpg
Exposed on manual, f/4 1/60th just as the incident meter said. The histogram was a perfect--one that I rarely see

Roger Hicks
02-27-2011, 10:01
Slides are supposed to be exposed for the highlights, or the highlights will 'blow'. ISO speeds for neg films are 'keyed' to the shadows, and for slides, they're 'keyed' to the highlights.

Cheers,

R.

Trooper
02-27-2011, 10:03
Slides are supposed to be exposed for the highlights, or the highlights will 'blow'. ISO speeds for neg films are 'keyed' to the shadows, and for slides, they're 'keyed' to the highlights.

Cheers,

R.

So, I was doing it correctly--but by accident?

Roger Hicks
02-27-2011, 10:04
So, I was doing it correctly--but by accident?

No, no no. Not accident -- native intelligence!

Cheers,

R.

gns
02-27-2011, 10:19
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/_kd63oxUO_Og/TWqEXzLAlOI/AAAAAAAAAHk/aT0WaCEGxlE/s512/Sekonic.jpg
Exposed on manual, f/4 1/160th just as the incident meter said. The histogram was a perfect--one that I rarely see

Either she's thinking...
"another breathalizer test? I wasn't crawling THAT fast!" or,
"Luke. I am your father".

dyao
02-27-2011, 16:49
Keeping multiple cameras in the bag sounds too heavy...I think I'll just stick with my sub-optimal negatives, thanks!

DNG
02-27-2011, 17:02
Keeping multiple cameras in the bag sounds too heavy...I think I'll just stick with my sub-optimal negatives, thanks!

If you scan, you have a little better leeway., but meter for the mid-tones and develop normally. It works for me... it should work for anyone.

Chriscrawfordphoto
02-27-2011, 17:04
Keeping multiple cameras in the bag sounds too heavy...I think I'll just stick with my sub-optimal negatives, thanks!

Reminds me of when I was in art school. Students would ask me how I got such good quality in my images, and when I told them how to do it, they either declared that it was too much work or they'd try to claim that working precisely 'destroys creativity'. Funny thing, none of them are doing any creating anymore. They've all lost interest and gone on to other things. Only three of my classmates from my photo classes still take pictures. One is a woman who does portraits of children professionally, one is a nature photographer and does glass blowing too, and the other does the kind of work I do (he moved to Portland, Oregon to do that). All three of those still photographing were hard workers.

Basically, you want quality, it takes work. No getting around it. :p


Depending on the weather where you live, you may not need two bodies anyway. John Carter mentioned earlier that he uses one body because his body with film to be developed for overcast light never got used enough. He's in southern California, where the sun shines constantly. Where I live, the light changes rapidly. It can go from sunny to cloudy and back several times in ONE DAY, so you need to be prepared when you go out to photograph. When I lived in Santa Fe, I usually carried just one body because the weather didn't change fast and I could shoot a whole roll of the same light easily.

Roger Hicks
02-27-2011, 17:10
Reminds me of when I was in art school. Students would ask me how I got such good quality in my images, and when I told them how to do it, they either declared that it was too much work or they'd try to claim that working precisely 'destroys creativity'. Funny thing, none of them are doing any creating anymore. They've all lost interest and gone on to other things. Only three of my classmates from my photo classes still take pictures. One is a woman who does portraits of children professionally, one is a nature photographer and does glass blowing too, and the other does the kind of work I do (he moved to Portland, Oregon to do that). All three of those still photographing were hard workers.

Basically, you want quality, it takes work. No getting around it. :p


Depending on the weather where you live, you may not need two bodies anyway. John Carter mentioned earlier that he uses one body because his body with film to be developed for overcast light never got used enough. He's in southern California, where the sun shines constantly. Where I live, the light changes rapidly. It can go from sunny to cloudy and back several times in ONE DAY, so you need to be prepared when you go out to photograph. When I lived in Santa Fe, I usually carried just one body because the weather didn't change fast and I could shoot a whole roll of the same light easily.

Dear Chris,

Spot on. But you know how some people hate to hear the truth...

Cheers,

R.

dyao
02-27-2011, 17:20
Reminds me of when I was in art school. Students would ask me how I got such good quality in my images, and when I told them how to do it, they either declared that it was too much work or they'd try to claim that working precisely 'destroys creativity'. Funny thing, none of them are doing any creating anymore. They've all lost interest and gone on to other things. Only three of my classmates from my photo classes still take pictures. One is a woman who does portraits of children professionally, one is a nature photographer and does glass blowing too, and the other does the kind of work I do (he moved to Portland, Oregon to do that). All three of those still photographing were hard workers.

Basically, you want quality, it takes work. No getting around it. :p


Depending on the weather where you live, you may not need two bodies anyway. John Carter mentioned earlier that he uses one body because his body with film to be developed for overcast light never got used enough. He's in southern California, where the sun shines constantly. Where I live, the light changes rapidly. It can go from sunny to cloudy and back several times in ONE DAY, so you need to be prepared when you go out to photograph. When I lived in Santa Fe, I usually carried just one body because the weather didn't change fast and I could shoot a whole roll of the same light easily.

Good point, but having a look at your site it seems we do different types of photography. When I shoot I'm on my feet about 8-9 hours a day, so keeping a light kit is pretty important to me.

Juan Valdenebro
02-27-2011, 17:22
Very well said, Chris.

Cheers,

Juan

Juan Valdenebro
02-27-2011, 17:26
Good point, but having a look at your site it seems we do different types of photography. When I shoot I'm on my feet about 8-9 hours a day, so keeping a light kit is pretty important to me.

If you feel two small cameras are a burden for beasts, maybe you're in need of a non-photographic solution: have you tried a bigger breakfast?

Sorry, just kidding!

Cheers,

Juan

dyao
02-27-2011, 17:29
Leicas and chrome Canon lenses are pretty heavy! Chris's suggestions are impractical for me for other reasons as well; where I live I can go (and my subjects as well) from direct sunlight to open shade to closed shade to mixed interior lighting within 5 minutes of walking.

DNG
02-27-2011, 18:15
Chris makes a good point.
you don't get consistency great results by not being consistent in how you approach your subject, And since light is the most important part of photo, (without it, you can't take a photograph), Exposure for different types and quality of light are just as important. I carry one camera, but, I pay attention to the light, in overcast sky's I have to allow for more exposure, or I get a thin negative... (not good).

I have been lucky so far, I also live in Central Indiana, where the light can change a few times a day this time of year. And I am finding that having a 2nd body for overcast times, would be a good idea. But, each one must make up their mind. You can certainly get usable results with one camera, and adj exposure when needed, but, that can only take you so far...And for me, I may at the point I need a 2nd body for -1 or so exposure adj. And have the 1st body as 0 to -.3 body..

SciAggie
02-27-2011, 18:42
I'm so confused. :confused:

I have recently ordered a new scanner and chemicals to begin developing my own film so I am following this thread closely. I understand the concept of metering a scene for the darkest area that one wishes to find detail. My confusion is with regard to the relationship between the highlights and development times. Can anyone recommend articles for further study? Is the relationship between ISO and development time part of this also?

Now that I have revealed my true ignorance, I will sit back and follow some more with great interest. Thanks to everyone here who offers so much of their experience so freely.

Juan Valdenebro
02-27-2011, 18:49
"The Negative" by Ansel Adams, chapters 3 & 4.

Cheers,

Juan

charjohncarter
02-27-2011, 20:04
This thread has drifted way off the original subject, but I'm sure the OP wouldn't mind. So here is a idea I've been toying with and have tried, but with no conclusive results yet.

With roll film shoot at your determined EI and use that for your full sun or cloudy bright shots. Then when you have open shade or overcast or heavy overcast change the EI so that your standard roll development will compensate for the more narrow EVs of these scenes: e.i. raise the EI.

It has worked for me, but I'm not sure I'm 100% for it yet.

Juan Valdenebro
02-27-2011, 20:40
As John said, it can be done. It gives nice negatives for direct sun, and better negatives for soft light than just exposing flat scenes at the same ISO... What you get then is flat scenes' negatives that reach whites, but yet they're compressed. How much? It depends on how flat the scene was.

The best the OP can look for is a development time for overcast/shadows scenes, and a development time for sunny scenes. If working with one body is the idea, I'd go for soft light at box speed first, and after being able to get normal contrast negatives there, I'd experiment with half box speed with shorter than normal development for direct sun, and then twice box speed for pushing in low/very soft light with longer than normal development. But I'd spend some days at box speed without direct sun first, to get a good development for that common situation on normal bright overcast or under the shadows on a sunny day.

Cheers,

Juan

gns
02-27-2011, 20:41
If I had to shoot varying contrast scenes on one roll of film, I would expose all of the frames correctly for the shadows. Then I would do 1 of 2 things with development...

If I felt strongly that a given frame or frames had more importance or a greater chance of yielding something good, I would process for that contrast and possibly sacrifice others.

If I had no idea which frames would be better or more important, I would process for the contrasty scenes (shorter development), which would give flat negs for the less contrasty scenes. The idea being that it I can boost contrast in a flat negative when printing, but can't put detail back into blown highlights.

A third option might be just to change rolls. So you have some blank frames on one roll? Big deal.

But as I said earlier, this really doesn't come up for me as I would generally shoot so many frames that whole rolls are pretty much always shot in the same conditions.

Cheers,
Gary

Ade-oh
02-28-2011, 01:18
Basically, you want quality, it takes work. No getting around it. :p


True, but it needs to be the right work. Please don't take this as a personal attack because I don't know you at all, but I find that many adherents to the Zone System have essentially fallen for the 'One True Path' fallacy. The Zone System is one way of getting printable negatives but there are plenty of others which produce equally usable results. If all other things are equal, the negatives of person X are not better than those of person Y, simply because person X used the Zone System and person Y didn't; and nor are they likely to be, provided person Y is using a valid and consistent method. It's a variation of the same fallacy which says that 'all other things being equal, my photos are better than yours because I'm using a Leica and you're using a Zorki'.

Chriscrawfordphoto
02-28-2011, 01:59
True, but it needs to be the right work. Please don't take this as a personal attack because I don't know you at all, but I find that many adherents to the Zone System have essentially fallen for the 'One True Path' fallacy. The Zone System is one way of getting printable negatives but there are plenty of others which produce equally usable results. If all other things are equal, the negatives of person X are not better than those of person Y, simply because person X used the Zone System and person Y didn't; and nor are they likely to be, provided person Y is using a valid and consistent method. It's a variation of the same fallacy which says that 'all other things being equal, my photos are better than yours because I'm using a Leica and you're using a Zorki'.

You're right that there are different ways to get perfect exposure. An incident light meter, used correctly, also works well, though its readings require some interpretation when used for negative film since it is a highlight-biased system (which is perfect for slide film or digital).

What most people do is use the built in meter in their camera, which is usually one that averages brightness of the whole scene. The problem is, that's basically a guess. If the whole scene or nearly all is the same tone, you can do that and add a couple stops for a white scene or subtract a couple for a very dark one, but most real-world scenes aren't that easy. Its just dumb luck that anyone gets a perfect exposure that way and though most people get 'usable' results, that's not good enough for me.

I shoot stuff that isn't running away, I have time to meter carefully with a spotmeter for my black and white work. I use an incident for my slides or digital work. Some people claim that putting so much effort into it isn't creative somehow. I heard that a lot from my classmates in college. It was just a defense from them because they did crap work, and instead of doing it right, they spouted that bull**** about creativity. You see that kind of laziness A LOT in art schools. A lot of kids think art school is some big fun party where you smoke lots of weed and don't have to work at anything while mom & dad pay for it all.

I went to school to learn to do photography the right way because I already had an idea of what I wanted to do with it, even at a young age. I work hard because that's what works for the kind of images I want to make. I preach that to others because people ask me all the time how I get the beautiful images that I make. I tell them how to do it, in detail. Some photographers I have met were dicks about that, they treated technical knowledge like some deep dark secret. To me, it frees me to be creative because I don't have to worry about the technical aspects...I know that stuff will be perfect, so I can concentrate on the image. I don't have a problem sharing my knowledge; just because I teach someone to expose and develop film precisely dosn't mean they're going to copy my style...they'll have their own vision and they'll have the freedom to make it work.

Sure, there are other ways that do work. There are also a lot of ways people on the internet push that are worthless. I tell people how I do it when they ask, but a lot of people tell me its not worth the effort. :p Problem is all the methods I know of that do work consistently, perfectly, every time, no exceptions, all require thought and work. Some ways work most of the time, but I have found it much better to do it right and get the results I want the first time. Some things are gone when you go back to reshoot if you screw up!

I am not offended by what you wrote, and hope I didn't offend you either, Ade. I am just explaining why I feel the way I do about my working methods.

Roger Hicks
02-28-2011, 03:37
True, but it needs to be the right work. Please don't take this as a personal attack because I don't know you at all, but I find that many adherents to the Zone System have essentially fallen for the 'One True Path' fallacy. The Zone System is one way of getting printable negatives but there are plenty of others which produce equally usable results. If all other things are equal, the negatives of person X are not better than those of person Y, simply because person X used the Zone System and person Y didn't; and nor are they likely to be, provided person Y is using a valid and consistent method. It's a variation of the same fallacy which says that 'all other things being equal, my photos are better than yours because I'm using a Leica and you're using a Zorki'.

Absolutely. The secret is to go to as much trouble as is reasonable, and to keep trying to get better.

From http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/ps%20zone.html,

Ten reasons why we do not use or recommend the zone system

Numerous excellent photographers use the Zone System, and if it suits you, do not let us dissuade you. If on the other hand you have been considering the Zone System, or (more still) if you have flirted with it and found it not to your liking, you may care to read the following.

First, the Zone System cannot be essential. There are at least as many great photographers who do not use the Zone System as there are who do use it.

[Points 2 to 9 omitted]

Tenth and finally, we find many adherents of the Zone System very hard to deal with. They can be rather like religious zealots who fix you with a beady eye and try to persuade you that their own particular world-picture is the only one that has any validity. Clearly, as evidenced by the first point above, they are wrong. But it is worse. Depressingly many are convinced that the Zone System is the foundation of sensitometry, rather than vice versa. More than once, we have come across Zonies who allege "Ah, yes, you are using the Zone System but you do not realize it." Well, no, you are using basic sensitometry -- and so is the Zone System. And quite a few Zonies are rotten photographers, too: technically excellent, but aesthetically hopeless, often recycling (badly) the subject matter of the Master, Ansel Adams, namely faux-wilderness pictures. The worst of them are not even technically excellent, but merely sad obsessives.

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
02-28-2011, 03:47
I'm so confused. :confused:

I have recently ordered a new scanner and chemicals to begin developing my own film so I am following this thread closely. I understand the concept of metering a scene for the darkest area that one wishes to find detail. My confusion is with regard to the relationship between the highlights and development times. Can anyone recommend articles for further study? Is the relationship between ISO and development time part of this also?

Now that I have revealed my true ignorance, I will sit back and follow some more with great interest. Thanks to everyone here who offers so much of their experience so freely.

This may help as a starter. Follow some of the other links inside it for more information: http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/ps%20neg%20density.html. It was written for wet printers; for scanning, the main thing is to avoid highlights so dense that the scanner cannot see through them. This often means slightly less exposure and development than would be optimum for wet printing.

Cheers,

R.

Ade-oh
02-28-2011, 06:24
I am not offended by what you wrote, and hope I didn't offend you either, Ade. I am just explaining why I feel the way I do about my working methods.

Chris: no, not offended in the slightest degree. Civilised debate moves knowledge forwards!

charjohncarter
02-28-2011, 08:05
As John said, it can be done. It gives nice negatives for direct sun, and better negatives for soft light than just exposing flat scenes at the same ISO... What you get then is flat scenes' negatives that reach whites, but yet they're compressed. How much? It depends on how flat the scene was.

The best the OP can look for is a development time for overcast/shadows scenes, and a development time for sunny scenes. If working with one body is the idea, I'd go for soft light at box speed first, and after being able to get normal contrast negatives there, I'd experiment with half box speed with shorter than normal development for direct sun, and then twice box speed for pushing in low/very soft light with longer than normal development. But I'd spend some days at box speed without direct sun first, to get a good development for that common situation on normal bright overcast or under the shadows on a sunny day.

Cheers,

Juan

I'll get a little more specific; I use 250 for my 400 films in direct sun and cloudy bright. Then for open shade (3 stops down from direct sun) is use EI 320-400. If heavy overcast (4 stops down or more for indoor), I use 400-500. You do get some minor density differences, but I can't tell yet if that is my metering variations or development. Unfortunately, I don't use 35mm except for vacations or family stuff so I don't use it consistently.

SciAggie
02-28-2011, 08:19
This is crazy – I actually woke up this morning thinking about this stuff, but I think I’ve got it.
The exposure index (EI) is a working ISO that specifically takes into consideration film choice, developer, developing technique, and any metering or camera variables that affect exposure.
The suggestion here is to actually determine an EI for high contrast scenes and low contrast scenes. This EI is matched with a development time for a particular chemical developer choice.
Once these values are determined by testing, one meters for the area of the photo where shadow detail is important. The previous EI/ development time testing takes care of the highlights.
Is this short summary about right?

Roger Hicks
02-28-2011, 09:13
This is crazy – I actually woke up this morning thinking about this stuff, but I think I’ve got it.
The exposure index (EI) is a working ISO that specifically takes into consideration film choice, developer, developing technique, and any metering or camera variables that affect exposure.
The suggestion here is to actually determine an EI for high contrast scenes and low contrast scenes. This EI is matched with a development time for a particular chemical developer choice.
Once these values are determined by testing, one meters for the area of the photo where shadow detail is important. The previous EI/ development time testing takes care of the highlights.
Is this short summary about right?

That's about it.

(Plain black text would be easier to read).

Cheers,

E.

charjohncarter
02-28-2011, 09:38
This is crazy – I actually woke up this morning thinking about this stuff, but I think I’ve got it.
The exposure index (EI) is a working ISO that specifically takes into consideration film choice, developer, developing technique, and any metering or camera variables that affect exposure.
The suggestion here is to actually determine an EI for high contrast scenes and low contrast scenes. This EI is matched with a development time for a particular chemical developer choice.
Once these values are determined by testing, one meters for the area of the photo where shadow detail is important. The previous EI/ development time testing takes care of the highlights.
Is this short summary about right?

Yes, ASA, ISO, EI are alphabet soup (DIN is not included in the soup, it is related but the numbers are greatly different). They seem to be used interchangeably. They all have slight differences but close enough. And you have pointed one out.

gns
02-28-2011, 09:44
I'd like to clarify one thing (and Roger, you can correct me if this is wrong).

For a given film and developer and working method, there is a correct EI. Technically the EI doesn't change for differing scene contrast or dev. time. When we say that we change the EI (like when I said shoot tri-x at 200), we are really just talking about a way to get the shadows exposed properly when using average metering or sunny 16 type rules of thumb. If you were metering the shadows with a spot meter, I don't think the EI would change.

Cheers,
Gary

Juan Valdenebro
02-28-2011, 09:50
I'll get a little more specific; I use 250 for my 400 films in direct sun and cloudy bright. Then for open shade (3 stops down from direct sun) is use EI 320-400. If heavy overcast (4 stops down or more for indoor), I use 400-500. You do get some minor density differences, but I can't tell yet if that is my metering variations or development. Unfortunately, I don't use 35mm except for vacations or family stuff so I don't use it consistently.

Hi John,

I develop soft light for a lot more minutes than sun, almost twice as long because I really compress sunny scenes, so I know the difference in contrast (compared to proper soft development) is huge even overexposing the soft ones on a sun roll if I develop for sun times...

But I was thinking, as I use mostly filters 2 and 1.5 for printing, I'd have a lot of room in wet printing for gaining contrast, so all this could be helpful sometimes if I have no time for a camera change being on sun if something fleeting comes in the shadows... So I decided to give it a try: as I ran out of Tri-X I went out to the sun to waste one of those Acros rolls that take me ages to disappear from the fridge... I shot some sunny scenes with yellow filter on my Hexar AF (in manual 1/250 f5.6 1/2), and in the middle of them I did shadows scenes (in auto, keeping the filter on as it would happen if a fast emergency comes) at N, N+1 and N+2... I'll develop it tomorrow and after a couple of wet prints I'll know if the soft ones can be fixed enough with filtering... That would be nice... I prefer that to developing for a middle point time and getting less clean shadows for the sunny scenes...

Cheers,

Juan

charjohncarter
02-28-2011, 09:57
We'll wait for the results.

Juan Valdenebro
02-28-2011, 10:04
I'd like to clarify one thing (and Roger, you can correct me if this is wrong).

For a given film and developer and working method, there is a correct EI. Technically the EI doesn't change for differing scene contrast or dev. time. When we say that we change the EI (like when I said shoot tri-x at 200), we are really just talking about a way to get the shadows exposed properly when using average metering or sunny 16 type rules of thumb. If you were metering the shadows with a spot meter, I don't think the EI would change.

Cheers,
Gary

Hi Gary, sorry I'm not Roger... :)

As I see things, B&W film doesn't have an unique EI... At least not in the way color film works...

I use (for B&W only) different EIs, and I mean for my incident metering (not for spot / shadows checking) depending on the kind of light and contrast, for different development times, obviously... When development is extended, the medium values are affected too, even if the contrast is more readable from seeing the highlights printed. So, to ask your question from another point of view, to place a medium gray card close to its value both on sunny and soft scenes -on negative- if different development times are used, different EI values should be used for metering... In other words, I use my B&W film like slide film: once I decide both EI values and both development times for a new film, I know after a simple incident metering things will fall on place...

Cheers,

Juan

alistair.o
02-28-2011, 11:12
That's about it.

(Plain black text would be easier to read).

Cheers,

E.

Who said humour's dead? :D

Al

Chriscrawfordphoto
02-28-2011, 11:36
I'd like to clarify one thing (and Roger, you can correct me if this is wrong).

For a given film and developer and working method, there is a correct EI. Technically the EI doesn't change for differing scene contrast or dev. time. When we say that we change the EI (like when I said shoot tri-x at 200), we are really just talking about a way to get the shadows exposed properly when using average metering or sunny 16 type rules of thumb. If you were metering the shadows with a spot meter, I don't think the EI would change.

Cheers,
Gary

Its wrong. A shorter developing time does lower film's effective speed, even when metering the shadows with a spotmeter. I do it all the time and have scientifically tested using a densitometer. On most films, you lose a full stop of speed when developing time is reduced 20-30%

Lengthening developing doesn't raise speed much with most films, just 1/3 to 1/2 stop and some developers are better for that than others.

Roger Hicks
02-28-2011, 12:06
I'd like to clarify one thing (and Roger, you can correct me if this is wrong).

For a given film and developer and working method, there is a correct EI. Technically the EI doesn't change for differing scene contrast or dev. time. When we say that we change the EI (like when I said shoot tri-x at 200), we are really just talking about a way to get the shadows exposed properly when using average metering or sunny 16 type rules of thumb. If you were metering the shadows with a spot meter, I don't think the EI would change.

Cheers,
Gary

Dear Gary,

Well, sort of. The thing is that ISO specifies all conditions. EI (being a working speed) doesn't so much specify them as accommodate them.

A very great deal, when changing dev time in particular, depends on the shape of the characteristic curve. A long-toe film such as Delta 3200 will show greater variation in EI, and less in contrast, with varied development time, than a short-toe film such as Pan F.

As soon as you depart from ISO standards, spot metering becomes very empirical indeed. My own experience accords with yours: that effective EI, for usable shadow detail, changes a lot less than you might expect. But equally, I'm reasonably sure that Chris is correct if you stick with a fixed density criterion (instead of 'usable contrast') for speed.

Cheers,

R.

xwhatsit
02-28-2011, 12:30
So, with rollfilm, make these exposure adjustments -- different EIs on the same roll. Then develop for the normal time. Not as good as shooting all at the same EI and developing appropriately, but still better than shooting all at box speed and developing normally regardless of scene contrast. Have I got the right end of the stick?

It seems I do this to a limited degree anyway, when I use my Weston Master. It has the A and C marks for contrasty and flat scenes. Auckland is one of those changeable weather places; rain, bright sun, overcast all in a few hours.

gns
02-28-2011, 12:43
Roger, Chris,

So let's take 2 scenarios.

1. I'm looking at a pretty normal contrast scene. I get my spot meter and read the darkest area where I want detail. I take my reading and stop down 2 or 3 stops (whatever) and get an exposure of 1/250th of a second. I then read the lightes area where I want detail and determine that I will use normal development time. Done.

2. Now I have a contrasty situation. I do the same...read the shadow area,blah blah blah and come up with 1/250th of a second. Now I read the light area and see that I need to contract that down by one stop, so I decide to use a short dev. I do not however go back and change my exposure to 1/125th (change iso)because I'm shortening the development, do I? It seems to me that doing that would then push my light area up one more stop requiring a further contraction. Vicious circle?

Cheers,
Gary

Juan Valdenebro
02-28-2011, 12:58
It's true it's easier (talking about amounts) to "make" a film slower than making it faster, as Chris said.

It's true different films have different designs and curves and produce different results when we "displace" their EI for shorter and longer development times, as Roger said.

But it's also true that inside their curves, B&W films allow certain "movement" if we talk about EI and middle values (not only contrast and highlights), and even if shadow detail "speed" can't be considerably risen, there's room for placing values where the photographer wants up to a certain point (inside the working range of the curve) as Ansel Adams did with his zone system.

Thank God B&W films don't have an unique EI like color films, and thank God we can do a lot with planned development when it's related to proper exposure (and this includes variable EI for metering...)

I just developed the test roll, and it's getting dry... Sun scenes are fine, and soft light ones even at +2 are very flat, and whites are not reached on film... Maybe some things can be done while printing, though... Yet I have to print, but I'd say a better way to do it is using longer development for soft scenes, and I'll keep using two bodies at least... I think that system (giving more light to flat scenes with the same development time) works better for those developing sun scenes for longer times than I do: middle point development.

Cheers,

Juan

Chriscrawfordphoto
02-28-2011, 13:00
Roger, Chris,

So let's take 2 scenarios.

1. I'm looking at a pretty normal contrast scene. I get my spot meter and read the darkest area where I want detail. I take my reading and stop down 2 or 3 stops (whatever) and get an exposure of 1/250th of a second. I then read the lightes area where I want detail and determine that I will use normal development time. Done.

2. Now I have a contrasty situation. I do the same...read the shadow area,blah blah blah and come up with 1/250th of a second. Now I read the light area and see that I need to contract that down by one stop, so I decide to use a short dev. I do not however go back and change my exposure to 1/125th (change iso)because I'm shortening the development, do I? It seems to me that doing that would then push my light area up one more stop requiring a further contraction. Vicious circle?

Cheers,
Gary

Yes, you do need to give that extra stop of exposure if you want full shadow detail, and no it doesn't push the highlights back where they were. Test it, you'll see. Shorter developing time affects the bright tones more than the darks, so even with the added exposure to support the darks, the lights are still reduced

tlitody
02-28-2011, 13:07
Roger, Chris,

So let's take 2 scenarios.

1. I'm looking at a pretty normal contrast scene. I get my spot meter and read the darkest area where I want detail. I take my reading and stop down 2 or 3 stops (whatever) and get an exposure of 1/250th of a second. I then read the lightes area where I want detail and determine that I will use normal development time. Done.

2. Now I have a contrasty situation. I do the same...read the shadow area,blah blah blah and come up with 1/250th of a second. Now I read the light area and see that I need to contract that down by one stop, so I decide to use a short dev. I do not however go back and change my exposure to 1/125th (change iso)because I'm shortening the development, do I? It seems to me that doing that would then push my light area up one more stop requiring a further contraction. Vicious circle?

Cheers,
Gary

John Sexton said "It's a zone system, not a pinpoint system". That gives you half a stop either way latitude without ruining anything unless you want to get anal about it. If in doubt just over expose a little to be sure of not losing too much low value detail.

Juan Valdenebro
02-28-2011, 13:14
gns,

Why don't you test it yourself? Do you wet print?

The reason for saying this is the variables are a lot, and what you'll find will depend on many many things you'll do with your own shutters, your own meters, your own development, your own films, your own thermometer, etc... It's as unusual as winning the lottery to go and do anything anyone tells you and being able to get exactly the same conclusions and results... One thing is true, though: if you change exposure, you're placing your values inside film's curve just a bit differently, but you keep contrast unless you go too far (out of the curve), however if you change development, you're changing values a lot more than just with exposure, and here's where most people are lazy, and prefer not to develop the same scene for different times, so they never see how flexible films are... I wet print Tri-X exposed from 50 to 1600 incident, but this is not about EI: it's a lot more about different development times. But testing different development times with different scenes only, is like doing nothing...

Cheers,

Juan

gns
02-28-2011, 13:15
Chris,

If you increase exposure by one stop, then the light area which WAS one stop above where we wanted it, is now 2 stops above where we wanted. right? So now what do we do about development?

Chriscrawfordphoto
02-28-2011, 13:19
Chris,

If you increase exposure by one stop, then the light area which WAS one stop above where we wanted it, is now 2 stops above where we wanted. right? So now what do we do about development?

You reduce the developing time. With most films, one stop overexposure coupled with a 25% reduction in developing time will keep the dark tones at the same place they'd be with normal exposure and developing and will drop the light tones one stop lower than they'd have been with normal exposure and development.

Juan Valdenebro
02-28-2011, 13:31
You reduce the developing time. With most films, one stop overexposure coupled with a 25% reduction in developing time will keep the dark tones at the same place they'd be with normal exposure and developing and will drop the light tones one stop lower than they'd have been with normal exposure and development.

Hi Chris,

In general that's right if we talk about the ways things work, but it seems too precise for being true... It depends a lot on film's design as Roger said, and I'd say, also on developers: it doesn't happen the same way with Tri-X/Rodinal and TMax400/TMax developer, just to talk about two sets that behave differently, being the first one more permissive and the second one more critical...

Again, we're all saying the same in general...

Cheers,

Juan

johannielscom
02-28-2011, 13:46
Dear Johan,

So am I. I do only the easy bits, and if something takes too long, I don't do it. Photographically, I've always believed in 'shoot first and ask questions afterwards'.

It's almost certainly useful to know the theory behind what you're doing, but it's far from essential, so unless you're interested, or unless you're being paid to do it, it's not worth much investigation.

As Ade-oh points out, and as your own experience shows, a lot of people get altogether too excited about this sort of thing, and lose sight of making good pictures becase they're trapped in a morass of minutiae that often, they don't fully understand.

I'd lay odds that 99% of the time, I could use any of four different metering techniques (incident, spot, broad-area reflected, in-camera), and then arrive at much the same conclusion about the optimum exposure. About 80-90% of the time, if I guessed the exposure, it would be within 1/2 stop of the optimum exposure as metered, often spot on for the optimum.

In fact, I've noticed something REALLY weird lately with my Ms. Quite a few times, I've turned the shutter speed dial and aperture ring to roughly the rght position, without reading the values I've set; put the camera to my eye; and found that the meter agrees. This is what comes from using basically the same equipment (M-series Leicas) since the mid-70s. I don't need to read the details: I'm doing it by a combination of touch, and an internalized view of what's where on the dials/rings.

Cheers,

R.

Dear Roger,

first thank you for your reply, as time progresses I'm slowly overcoming the 'Oh dear, I've been doing it all wrong' feeling when reading threads like this, and your reply helps. It helps to also apply my in-bred stubborness to my photography:D

On the bold part of your answer, this very occasionally happens to me too and when it does, I always experience this envigourating mix of 'shock&awe' with a spark of pride. I greatly enjoy those rare moments when it all falls into place.

Funny thing is, when trying to guess exposure consciously I feel I'm more likely to get it wrong than when I 'fiddle everything from feeling'.

When talking to the 'metered people' about my photography, I cannot share it with them, they look at me blankly. We then both experience a mutual 'Ain't he a sad bugger' feeling for all different reasons, but there's still some kind of sharing photography present, though :p

Chriscrawfordphoto
02-28-2011, 13:51
Hi Chris,

In general that's right if we talk about the ways things work, but it seems too precise for being true... It depends a lot on film's design as Roger said, and I'd say, also on developers: it doesn't happen the same way with Tri-X/Rodinal and TMax400/TMax developer, just to talk about two sets that behave differently, being the first one more permissive and the second one more critical...

Again, we're all saying the same in general...

Cheers,

Juan

Juan,

Yeah, the exact amount of developing time change needed for the one stop lowering of contrast varies depending on the film and developer used. I gave 25% as a starting point because it works well for most films and developers and can be fine tuned by testing if one is ambitious enough to do it.

gns
02-28-2011, 14:06
You reduce the developing time. With most films, one stop overexposure coupled with a 25% reduction in developing time will keep the dark tones at the same place they'd be with normal exposure and developing and will drop the light tones one stop lower than they'd have been with normal exposure and development.

Chris, You are now reducing the development a second time (what I meant by vicious circle). Read through the thread again from my scenario #2.
I am not getting something.

Gary

Chriscrawfordphoto
02-28-2011, 14:30
Chris, You are now reducing the development a second time (what I meant by vicious circle). Read through the thread again from my scenario #2.
I am not getting something.

Gary

No, I'm afraid you aren't. Its very simple. Reduce dev. time + increased exposure = lower contrast. If you don't understand why, it doesn't matter. Fact is, it works and is provable by simply trying it. If you're scientifically inclined, you can test it by photographing a flat even-toned surface on two rolls of film.

• On the first roll, take a reading of the surface with your meter and give 2 stops less exposure than the meter says. Then do a second photo using a reading 2 stops higher than the meter said. This roll gets developed normally.

• On the second roll set your meter's ISO speed one stop lower than what you used for the first test roll. Take a reading of the flat surface, expose two stops less than the meter says, then do another picture using a reading 3 stops over the meter. Develop for 25% less than the normal roll.

• Now look at the developed rolls. The underexposed frames represent a dark tone that is still able to hold full texture detail. They should look about the same density on both rolls. The overexposed frames represent a light tone that can hold full detail. They should be close to the same density on both rolls because of the reduced developing time, even though the light frame was given a lot more exposure on the reduced-developing roll.

charjohncarter
02-28-2011, 15:40
So, with rollfilm, make these exposure adjustments -- different EIs on the same roll. Then develop for the normal time. Not as good as shooting all at the same EI and developing appropriately, but still better than shooting all at box speed and developing normally regardless of scene contrast. Have I got the right end of the stick?

It seems I do this to a limited degree anyway, when I use my Weston Master. It has the A and C marks for contrasty and flat scenes. Auckland is one of those changeable weather places; rain, bright sun, overcast all in a few hours.

I'm glad that someone has also tried this. But like I said, I'm still not sure if it really works, at least in my erratic tries. This is just an idea (maybe crazy), and wouldn't want to lead anyone into an area without independent confirmations and also some testing which I won't do (as I'm too lazy).

Roger Hicks
03-01-2011, 02:38
Roger, Chris,

So let's take 2 scenarios.

1. I'm looking at a pretty normal contrast scene. I get my spot meter and read the darkest area where I want detail. I take my reading and stop down 2 or 3 stops (whatever) and get an exposure of 1/250th of a second. I then read the lightes area where I want detail and determine that I will use normal development time. Done.

2. Now I have a contrasty situation. I do the same...read the shadow area,blah blah blah and come up with 1/250th of a second. Now I read the light area and see that I need to contract that down by one stop, so I decide to use a short dev. I do not however go back and change my exposure to 1/125th (change iso)because I'm shortening the development, do I? It seems to me that doing that would then push my light area up one more stop requiring a further contraction. Vicious circle?

Cheers,
Gary

Dear Gary,

My own experience, from the films my wife and I use (mostly HP5 for me and Tri-X for her), is that the need to change the exposure is far more theoretical than real.

Then again, although using different paper grades gives different tonality from changing dev times, it's what the grades are for. Thus, generally, I use one of two development times: northen climes (flatter light) and southern (contrastier, so 10% less dev time, rounded down to the nearest half minute).

Also, I've been thinking quite a lot lately about tonality, etc., and I've come to the conclusion that while I may greatly admire (let us say) Chris's pictures, insofar as I can judge what they look like on my computer screen, for me content trumps technical perfection by such a wide margin that all I demand of technical quality is that it should not be so bad that I notice picture quality before image quality, or that I subsequently think 'pity it wasn't better technically'.

This is not quite as sloppy as it sounds. The less interesting the content of a picture, the higher the quality has to be, so Ansel Adams wannabees have to be a lot more technically obsessive than Cartier-Bresson wannabees. From http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/ps%20quality%201%20appropriate.html:

We hope that in the above we have made it clear that there is no such thing as absolute technical quality: there is only appropriate technical quality, and what is appropriate will vary from picture to picture. A snapshot doesn't have to be technically perfect: it's enough if it makes you smile. A 'fine art' picture may stand or fall on its technical quality; or the technical quality may be substantially irrelevant; or a technical 'fault' may have been used creatively.

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
03-01-2011, 02:55
It seems I do this to a limited degree anyway, when I use my Weston Master. It has the A and C marks for contrasty and flat scenes. Auckland is one of those changeable weather places; rain, bright sun, overcast all in a few hours.

Exactly. It's not using different EIs: it's interpreting the meter reading differently, which is what A and C are for. From http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/over-under-indices.html:

'A' AND 'C'

These are supplementary indices for subjects requiring less exposure than 'normal' (and ideally more development - at least 30%) and those requiring more exposure than normal (and ideally less development - we suggest about 15%). In effect, this means scenes with a limited brightness range (overcast weather) and scenes with an unusually long brightness range (sunny days with deep shadows).

The original 1956 Weston II instruction book gives as examples 'distant views and landscapes on dull days', in which case you use the 'A' (1/2) index, and 'a sunlit street with dark shadows', in which case you use the 'C' (2x) index.

The key words are 'ideally'. As noted in the post above, if you've a mixture of different scenes on the one film, you can only do one time. Like you, but apparently unlike many people on the forum, I often have a lot of different subject brightness ranges on a single roll, so I don't change dev times much, except with single sheet LF or (occasionally) with rollfilm.

Years ago, I tried both the multiple backs and multiple cameras approach, before deciding that for me the loss of immediacy was too great: deciding (or indeed remembering) which camera or back to use, having to change backs or lenses (unless I had two identical lenses on two bodies) and so forth.

With 35mm, it's MUCH quicker to bracket (best guess, best guess + 2 stops), develop normally, and to choose an appropriate paper grade.

This will brand me as hopelessly sloppy in the eyes of many, but all I can say is, hey, I have always regarded 35mm as a medium for seizing the moment. If it was good enough for Willy Ronis, it's good enough for me.

Cheers,

R.

DNG
03-01-2011, 12:32
We should God (Kodak, Fuji, Ilford, etc..), that Negative film is so forgiving, and we have wonderful developers to pick from....
When we do screw up, or have no time to make the changes in fast changing situations.

Juan Valdenebro
03-01-2011, 14:40
When I want to use a new film, what I want before being in front of real scenes with that film in my camera (and the risk of missing some good scenes) is knowing how the film behaves with different development times and kinds of light. So I routinely do a simple test that takes me just a few hours, but it's really worth it:


I buy two rolls, and do it on a sunny, cloudless day always... First I pick a scene with direct sun including whites, and shoot it at box speed incident with yellow filter doing N, N+1, N+2 and N+3, and then do the same with a second sunny scene near the first one. I advance blank frames until frame number 14 and do the same two scenes the same way. Then advance until frame 27 and do it for the last time. (The second roll is the same, but with a scene where there's no direct sun: in the shadows where light is softer and contrast lower, and the shots are N-2, N-1, N, N+1 and N+2). Shooting this takes five minutes. I find the whole-stop differences give better visual information than the sometimes too close half-stop ones...


Then I come back home and find (internet) the most common development time people (not the massive dev. chart) are using for sunny scenes, and the time they generally use for soft scenes. Then I cut the sunny film in three, load on the reel one third, and place the other two inside a black canister. I develop one with the normal time, another one with a time one third shorter, and another one with a time one third longer. Then the same with the soft light roll. Development takes three hours.


Then I go into the darkroom and make one contact print of the sunny stripes and another one of the soft stripes, both at enlarger times where the negative borders just reach pure black on paper. It takes 30 minutes.


I end up with two scenes on each kind of light, and I just pick VISUALLY the look I prefer: I write down the EI I used on my meter and the development time for the best sunny frame, and the same for the best shadows frame.


When you have in front of you both contact prints, you see the film completely. Of course any film has an unique precise sensitivity to light, but I guess the question made was not that (we all know that) but about which EI to use for metering... Reflected light metering is less precise. Metering the shadows can mean lots of things depending on the scene, and can produce really different results depending on the scene's values, and doesn't really take care of the general final range or the highlights. Incident metering with scenes on both lights including whites, gives you the chance to always expose and develop for optimal contrast right to the point where scenes' whites reach white on paper. As with slide film.


I don't use the zone system, although on my years of student I had to do it a lot to produce on negative and on paper precise gray values given by my teachers on tough exams and with negative densitometry... But as I don't place gray values or “create” images anymore, but just reflect reality, I prefer it this way.


For example I meter Tri-X incident with yellow filter on direct sun at ISO50. That's 1/250 f/8.5. But not all films are the same: with Acros I don't meter it at +3 like Tri-X, but at +2 (ISO25), and that's 1/125 f/8.5... That's a decision I took visually, preferring a frame's look to the same scene seen in three different contrast level bracketings wet printed from strips done at three different development times.


When I need a soft scene printed with normal contrast, I use a different EI on my meter than that for sun. And for really dull scenes, another one to increase contrast. I have a plastified card on my wallet and another one on each bag, and I've been completing them, updating them from my notes for the last ten years, so for all films I use I have data on the EIs and development times to use for sun, soft and pushed scenes.


It has taken a bit of time, but it's pretty easy indeed, and there's no better way IMO.


Cheers,


Juan

ChrisN
03-02-2011, 01:46
For folks who make traditional contact proof sheets from their negatives, there is a good shortcut to achieving good exposure and development - Making Contact with Curtains by Barry Thornton (http://www.shrani.si/f/1x/HV/1NqS4Wgw/btmaking-contact-with-cu.pdf). In the article I was amused to find a echo of Chris C's comment about artists disdaining precision as stiffling their creativity.

Chriscrawfordphoto
03-02-2011, 02:12
For folks who make traditional contact proof sheets from their negatives, there is a good shortcut to achieving good exposure and development - Making Contact with Curtains by Barry Thornton (http://www.shrani.si/f/1x/HV/1NqS4Wgw/btmaking-contact-with-cu.pdf). In the article I was amused to find a echo of Chris C's comment about artists disdaining precision as stiffling their creativity.

F--cking PERFECT! I could have written that myself. I learned the basics of what I know from master artists like Mr. Thornton and taught myself the rest from the experience of 'doing it', putting into practice the craft of photography every day, year after year, until I had mastered it myself. There is no substitute for plain hard work.

charjohncarter
03-02-2011, 08:05
Juan, I don't know if you have read Arnold Gassan's book but he has a different method to get to the same place as you. If you are interested I'll scan the section and send. I would not change your method, but it is interesting. Thanks, for the detailed description.

SciAggie
03-02-2011, 09:30
The good information you guys are sharing is great. What if a person is developing their own negatives, scanning and ordering prints? I still need the best negative possible but I will not be able to make and evaluate a contact sheet?

I know you guys are operating and discussing beyond my skill level, but I am trying to learn.

Juan Valdenebro
03-02-2011, 10:26
Juan, I don't know if you have read Arnold Gassan's book but he has a different method to get to the same place as you. If you are interested I'll scan the section and send. I would not change your method, but it is interesting. Thanks, for the detailed description.

Thanks a lot, John! I haven't read it, but of course it will be really interesting! I'm here to keep learning and improving, of course...

Thanks again!

Cheers,

Juan

Juan Valdenebro
03-02-2011, 10:31
The good information you guys are sharing is great. What if a person is developing their own negatives, scanning and ordering prints? I still need the best negative possible but I will not be able to make and evaluate a contact sheet?

I know you guys are operating and discussing beyond my skill level, but I am trying to learn.

To be able to evaluate your negatives with a scanner, all your efforts should be directed to make the scanner scan the same way always (away from autoexpoure) no matter the range on your frames... That way you'll se the differences, both on exposure (EI) and contrast (development). If well done, it's just as precise as contact prints. I recommend you to judge from prints, not from screens...

Cheers,

Juan

03-02-2011, 19:44
Juan,

sorry for being dense. Just how do you cut the negative in 3rds ? I am using a dark bag. Any suggestions ?

thanks

raytoei

Juan Valdenebro
03-02-2011, 20:02
Hi,

I use a dark bag too. As those negatives can be scratched, I treat them without care... First, with scissors I cut the first few inches of the film (what's used to load it), and the very final part at the end (close to the plastic thing). I know every third's length is just a bit more than twice the distance from the end of my thumb to the end of my pinky (?) I just don't know the word in English for that measurement taken with our hand. Take into account my hands are small... I just start rolling, sliding film's ends in a way that they are prepared for real bending being three strips one over the other two... Yes, they try to curl, but the hands finally win after a minute... When I've got to keep ends controlled on place and checked the three parts are more or less the very same length, I really bend the film in two places (for thirds) in a stronger way to have it totally bent, and on those bent marks that won't disappear, I cut. It's easy: I can't know exactly where the shot strips are falling, but the blank frames are there for covering those two blind cuts.

Cheers,

Juan

ChrisN
03-02-2011, 20:51
Just remembered another book on my shelf that will be of interest to people who have enjoyed (or at least endured) this thread.

A Zone System for all Formats by Joseph Saltzer. My copy was published by American Photographic Book Publishing Co. Inc. in 1979. It reads very much like a textbook, with concise instruction for performing tests to determine exposure index for film, and standard exposure times for paper. Like Adams, at times it is not an easy read, but if a person has the discipline to follow through I suspect you would achieve very good control over your results.

Ronald M
03-03-2011, 02:50
Adjusting exposure for flat or contrasty subject is not changing EI.

I keep low subject brightness range subject centered around the middle range. High range subjects use the whole scale.

And when you make the contacts, they all look good.

I do the same thing with a digital camera.

Roger Hicks
03-03-2011, 05:43
Just remembered another book on my shelf that will be of interest to people who have enjoyed (or at least endured) this thread.

A Zone System for all Formats by Joseph Saltzer. My copy was published by American Photographic Book Publishing Co. Inc. in 1979. It reads very much like a textbook, with concise instruction for performing tests to determine exposure index for film, and standard exposure times for paper. Like Adams, at times it is not an easy read, but if a person has the discipline to follow through I suspect you would achieve very good control over your results.
Dear Chris,

I would however caution anyone against rushing out and buying it 'sight unseen', as another view is that it is a cynical, ill-written and heavily-padded attempt to cash in on the Zone System franchise. Yes, I have the same 1979 Amphoto edition. Everyone must decide for himself whether your praise or my denigration is more appropriate for his personal style of photograohy.

Cheers,

R.

ChrisN
03-04-2011, 03:39
Dear Chris,

I would however caution anyone against rushing out and buying it 'sight unseen', as another view is that it is a cynical, ill-written and heavily-padded attempt to cash in on the Zone System franchise. Yes, I have the same 1979 Amphoto edition. Everyone must decide for himself whether your praise or my denigration is more appropriate for his personal style of photograohy.

Cheers,

R.

Indeed. And with copies available through Amazon from $0.01 plus postage, those interested may care to risk the small investment on the off-chance that they may learn something from it that cannot be gleaned from other sources. And to save you the effort, I will make the comment that perhaps $0.01 reflects the value of Saltzer's work - again only the individual reader can decide for themself.

Roger Hicks
03-04-2011, 03:51
Indeed. And with copies available through Amazon from $0.01 plus postage, those interested may care to risk the small investment on the off-chance that they may learn something from it that cannot be gleaned from other sources. And to save you the effort, I will make the comment that perhaps $0.01 reflects the value of Saltzer's work - again only the individual reader can decide for themself.

Dear Chris,

At a penny, who can argue? At that price, I'd even buy it myself out of curiosity, had my curiosity not been more than sated by it already.

Unfortunately, I bought mine long ago, though fortunately not at the $25 publication price -- and $25 bought a lot more in 1979 than it does today. I was labouring under the misapprehension that it might still cost $10 or more, or (worse still) that it might have become a cult book and sell for more than $25. The capacity of some people for self-flagellation is considerable!

Thanks for the information.

Cheers,

R.

fidget
03-07-2011, 11:53
Thanks for an interesting and informative thread.

Still being a relative novice, I must try to incorporate some of these ideas into my process. I believe that I understand the basis of "expose for shadows and develop for the highlights" and I like the idea of a simple system. Mike Johnston's "Not much of a system system" therefore has great appeal and was, I initially thought, an easy system to use, or at least must be far better than making no allowances for differing contrast scenes.
I can understand the effect of changes made to the IE and appropriate changes in development times, along the lines of the example he gives for his process using Tri-X:

For a scene of normal contrast EI.200 at "std" development time.
For a scene of low contrast use EI.400 and increase dev time by 30% over std.
For a scene of high contrast use EI.100 and decrease dev time by 15% from std.

This is good so far, but I have been thrown into confusion by a later suggestion that, on a roll used over varying scene contrasts, that one should use a middle dev time and stick to the suggested changes in EI.

This is very confusing for me, perhaps I haven't grasped this at all......

If I were to do this, I might have a new "standard" dev time (from an average of the above times) and expose thus:

For a scene of normal contrast EI.200.
For a scene of low contrast use EI.400.
For a scene of high contrast use EI.100.
Develop at "std" time

But hasn't this reversed the changes in contrast? I mean, if I were to change from EI200 to EI400 for a contrasty scene and then dev for the same time that I would have done for the EI200 (normal) scene, then I have effectively reduced the dev time for "normal development for that speed" and so reduced the contrast?

Regards, Dave

brandonmsweet
03-07-2011, 12:16
Dave,

That is correct. The majority of development for shadows happens in the beginning stages of development whereas the highlights continue to develop t hrough the process. Hence shortening the development time reigns in the highlights and helps keep some nice solid highlight detail.

Roger Hicks
03-07-2011, 13:17
Thanks for an interesting and informative thread.

Still being a relative novice, I must try to incorporate some of these ideas into my process. I believe that I understand the basis of "expose for shadows and develop for the highlights" and I like the idea of a simple system. Mike Johnston's "Not much of a system system" therefore has great appeal and was, I initially thought, an easy system to use, or at least must be far better than making no allowances for differing contrast scenes.
I can understand the effect of changes made to the IE and appropriate changes in development times, along the lines of the example he gives for his process using Tri-X:

For a scene of normal contrast EI.200 at "std" development time.
For a scene of low contrast use EI.400 and increase dev time by 30% over std.
For a scene of high contrast use EI.100 and decrease dev time by 15% from std.

This is good so far, but I have been thrown into confusion by a later suggestion that, on a roll used over varying scene contrasts, that one should use a middle dev time and stick to the suggested changes in EI.

This is very confusing for me, perhaps I haven't grasped this at all......

If I were to do this, I might have a new "standard" dev time (from an average of the above times) and expose thus:

For a scene of normal contrast EI.200.
For a scene of low contrast use EI.400.
For a scene of high contrast use EI.100.
Develop at "std" time

But hasn't this reversed the changes in contrast? I mean, if I were to change from EI200 to EI400 for a contrasty scene and then dev for the same time that I would have done for the EI200 (normal) scene, then I have effectively reduced the dev time for "normal development for that speed" and so reduced the contrast?

Regards, Dave

Dear Dave,

Yes, the highlighted portion should work very well.

A lot depends on metering as well as subject brightness range. Spot metering for shadows can lead to a different recommendation from broad area metering and from incident (= artificial highlight) metering, according to the subject brightness range.

The trick is not to look for more precision than exists, and indeed, not for more precision than is necessary -- both of which are sometimes advocated by those who do not actually quite understand as much as they think they do.

Informed rules of thumb from good photographers are often a lot more use than the maunderings of those who believe in 'testing' rather than in taking pictures.

Cheers,

R.

03-07-2011, 16:12
Juan,

Thanks. Am going to use your method to test my optimal film exposure/development combination.

Ontop of Sunny and Non-Sunny rolls, I will probably use a 3rd roll for Indoor shoots.

So far I have been frivolous with my development times and exposure settings. Which is okay so far, but at some point I would like to accurately do this testing for my Plus-X and Tri-x in 135 format and also for Fomapan 400-120.

My developer choice will be xtol in -30%, Box and +30% development.

thanks !

raytoei
ps. does loading 2 short strips work for a single reel ?

Juan Valdenebro
03-07-2011, 16:27
Juan,

Thanks. Am going to use your method to test my optimal film exposure/development combination.

Ontop of Sunny and Non-Sunny rolls, I will probably use a 3rd roll for Indoor shoots.

So far I have been frivolous with my development times and exposure settings. Which is okay so far, but at some point I would like to accurately do this testing for my Plus-X and Tri-x in 135 format and also for Fomapan 400-120.

My developer choice will be xtol in -30%, Box and +30% development.

thanks !

raytoei
ps. does loading 2 short strips work for a single reel ?

Never tried that... I guess if the first one is real short, it can be gently pushed to go further into the spiral, so you'll have space for a second strip that wouldn't touch the first one by any chance...

Good luck on your tests!

Cheers,

Juan

charjohncarter
03-07-2011, 16:33
I don't see anything wrong with two short strips on a single reel. The most important thing is to get a EI and a development and agitation cycle that really works (that sounds simple but it isn't; when do you really know it is right?). But I got that fairly quickly with one of my films, and I have over the years continued to fine tune that film. So, in other words, you have just started.

When I started doing a new film I would get it right for sunlight. In California (my part of CA) it is almost always sunny. So I figured I would just work with that, and then worry about shade, overcast and indoor later.

03-07-2011, 16:51
Juan and John,

thanks for your comments. I develop around 5 rolls a week and just started my 2nd year in development. I am consistent with my agitation, dilution and I do keep records. So from that perspective, this is covered.

In terms of learning, I have only just started and there are so many questions, eg.

a. I wonder which will look better, an overexposed overdeveloped negative (and can be corrected in print) or one which is just right ?

b. Why not 50% more development or Underdevelopment, instead of 30%

etc. I guess the only answer is to DIY and find out for myself.

cheers!

raytoei

charjohncarter
03-07-2011, 19:00
a. I can't give you an answer: there are too many variables after development.

b. As you probably have guessed I don't do that.

You will have to ask my 'tocayo' Juan these questions.

BUT DIY is the best answer. I don't know about Juan but from his past attitude of giving; I would say he will be happy to help, as will I.

Roger Hicks
03-08-2011, 01:47
Juan and John,

thanks for your comments. I develop around 5 rolls a week and just started my 2nd year in development. I am consistent with my agitation, dilution and I do keep records. So from that perspective, this is covered.

In terms of learning, I have only just started and there are so many questions, eg.

a. I wonder which will look better, an overexposed overdeveloped negative (and can be corrected in print) or one which is just right ?

b. Why not 50% more development or Underdevelopment, instead of 30%

etc. I guess the only answer is to DIY and find out for myself.

cheers!

raytoei

More exposure will often give you better tonality, at the price of bigger grain and less sharpness: not usually enough to matter with rollfilm and RF, but possibly significant with big prints from 35mm.

More development also increases grain size and decreases sharpness, so it's always best to give the minimum required to get an average neg to print on grade 2 or 3. But very slight overdevelopment is irrelevant.

Why 30/30? I'd say those were not the best figures. Cutting has far more effect than increasing, so I always recommend 15/50 as a starting point. You may end up with -10% or -20% but I'd be surprised at 30%, while in the other direction, you might end up with anything from +30% to +60%.

Cheers,

R.

charjohncarter
03-08-2011, 07:52
More exposure will often give you better tonality, at the price of bigger grain and less sharpness: not usually enough to matter with rollfilm and RF, but possibly significant with big prints from 35mm.

More development also increases grain size and decreases sharpness, so it's always best to give the minimum required to get an average neg to print on grade 2 or 3. But very slight overdevelopment is irrelevant.

Why 30/30? I'd say those were not the best figures. Cutting has far more effect than increasing, so I always recommend 15/50 as a starting point. You may end up with -10% or -20% but I'd be surprised at 30%, while in the other direction, you might end up with anything from +30% to +60%.

Cheers,

R.

I sure agree about grain, at least with TriX and 35mm. I still use TriX with 35mm but I don't like the grain. I don't adjust my development times, if I do anthing I change the EI/ISO. Once I get the time I want I stay with it.

Juan Valdenebro
03-08-2011, 09:48
Juan and John,

thanks for your comments. I develop around 5 rolls a week and just started my 2nd year in development. I am consistent with my agitation, dilution and I do keep records. So from that perspective, this is covered.

In terms of learning, I have only just started and there are so many questions, eg.

a. I wonder which will look better, an overexposed overdeveloped negative (and can be corrected in print) or one which is just right ?

b. Why not 50% more development or Underdevelopment, instead of 30%

etc. I guess the only answer is to DIY and find out for myself.

cheers!

raytoei

Hi,

a. If you overexpose and overdevelop, your highlights will be gone on paper, and sometimes even on negative... A correct negative will print a lot better. Right ones are a bit overexposed for short development if it was a sunny scene, and a bit underexposed for long development if contrast was low.

b. Because with a 30% difference, when you print your strips from the same scene on a single contact print, you see a difference in their contrast that's big enough to take decisions depending on the kind of light the scene had... You'll see it. But if you want to use 50% for say 6-12-18 minutes, you'll get a good view too. I'd do it for 8-12-16 instead so I wouldn't have too wide time (contrast) gaps between each strip...

Cheers,

Juan

tlitody
03-08-2011, 10:28
Juan and John,

thanks for your comments. I develop around 5 rolls a week and just started my 2nd year in development. I am consistent with my agitation, dilution and I do keep records. So from that perspective, this is covered.

In terms of learning, I have only just started and there are so many questions, eg.

a. I wonder which will look better, an overexposed overdeveloped negative (and can be corrected in print) or one which is just right ?

b. Why not 50% more development or Underdevelopment, instead of 30%

etc. I guess the only answer is to DIY and find out for myself.

cheers!

raytoei

its much simpler than the apparently abitrary numbers banded around make you think.

imagine if standard development was 10mins. If you decrease by 30% you end up with 7 mins development. But if you want to increase from 7 minutes to 10 mins development, that means you have to increase 7 min by 42.857% to arrive at 10 min development time. So when reducing development you always have to reduce by a smaller percentage than when increasing development for a similar effect on contrast in the opposite direction.

As a rough guide, increase by 50% more than the reduction percentage for a similar effect on contrast in the opposite direction. It is only a rough guide as it varies with the percentages but the difference between 42.57% and 45%(30% + 15%) is very small in the effect on the negative so it works well enough.
Or looking at it from the other direction, the reduction percentage should be 66.6% of an increase percentage for a similar effect on contrast in the opposite direction.

Now I've written it it seems as clear as mud. It's much simpler in practice once you have an idea of how much effect a reduction or increase in time has on contrast in the negative.

Juan Valdenebro
03-08-2011, 10:47
its much simpler than the apparently abitrary numbers banded around make you think.

imagine if standard development was 10mins. If you decrease by 30% you end up with 7 mins development. But if you want to increase from 7 minutes to 10 mins development, that means you have to increase 7 min by 42.857% to arrive at 10 min development time. So when reducing development you always have to reduce by a smaller percentage than when increasing development for a similar effect on contrast in the opposite direction.

As a rough guide, increase by 50% more than the reduction percentage for a similar effect on contrast in the opposite direction. It is only a rough guide as it varies with the percentages but the difference between 42.57% and 45%(30% + 15%) is very small in the effect on the negative so it works well enough.
Or looking at it from the other direction, the reduction percentage should be 66.6% of an increase percentage for a similar effect on contrast in the opposite direction.

Now I've written it it seems as clear as mud. It's much simpler in practice once you have an idea of how much effect a reduction or increase in time has on contrast in the negative.

Even simpler: to avoid mistakes or confusion, anytime I do it I just do it the same way... I use one third less minutes and one third more minutes, both from the main time.

Cheers,

Juan

Roger Hicks
03-08-2011, 11:14
Even simpler: to avoid mistakes or confusion, anytime I do it I just do it the same way... I use one third less minutes and one third more minutes, both from the main time.

Cheers,

Juan

Dear Juan,

Or 15/50, which is just as easy to remember and probably better related to the proportional effect.

All of which shows that it's possible to get too excited about looking for a precision that doesn't exist.

Cheers,

R.

Darshan
03-11-2011, 23:27
This is one of the best threads ever, albeit, I don't do any developing/printing on my own (yes, you can call me a moron, but only once :D).

The reason I like such threads is that it satisfies my infinitely curious mind a little bit, but then it also raises tons of more questions, so keep going gentlemen...:p

05-24-2011, 18:25
Guys,

thanks for the wealth of information here.

I found something interesting and not sure if i know the explanation:

when i push my Plus-X 125 2 stops to 400 iso (or even 3 stops to 800 iso), i find my night shots, indoor shots much nicer, smoother than outdoor shots.

I rationalize it by the lack of film latitude (due to pushing) and the width of contrast of the image to be recorded. In a low contrast environment (night, indoor), the pushed film can (or barely) record the range of contrast needed. But in a high contrast environment, the film can't record enough shadow information making the images look very flat.

Does this make sense ?

thanks

raytoei

erik
05-24-2011, 19:12
Night shots tend to be very high in contrast actually. Inky shadows, bright lights. Graininess usually is more obvious in large areas of mid tone, which often are absent in night scenes. Hey, if it's workin', go with it.

ChrisN
05-24-2011, 19:45
Guys,

thanks for the wealth of information here.

I found something interesting and not sure if i know the explanation:

when i push my Plus-X 125 2 stops to 400 iso (or even 3 stops to 800 iso), i find my night shots, indoor shots much nicer, smoother than outdoor shots.

I rationalize it by the lack of film latitude (due to pushing) and the width of contrast of the image to be recorded. In a low contrast environment (night, indoor), the pushed film can (or barely) record the range of contrast needed. But in a high contrast environment, the film can't record enough shadow information making the images look very flat.

Does this make sense ?

thanks

raytoei

Interesting! This might tie in with something I have read in a book by Gene Nocon "Photographic Printing" (Antler Books Ltd, 1987) p35.

"...Rating the film at the normal ASA when taking pictures at night will provide a set of exposures that will convey the impression of a grey day. Rate the film at four times its normal ASA (thus reducing the exposure -2 f/stops) to render night as night."

I think this relates to the fact that a meter reading is calibrated to 18% grey (or thereabouts). A meter reading of a very dark scene will render that scene as middle grey, unless the photographer knows this and adjusts the exposure (or their EI - exposure index) to take this into account.