Film contrast
Old 1 Week Ago   #1
seany65
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Film contrast

Films are often described as low-, medium- or high- contrast but I was wondering exactly what goes on with this.

If I have a foggy day and the scene is low contrast, how will each type of film record this?

Will a high contrast film make the image look medium or high contrast?

If I have a very bright day with very dark shadows and very bright highlights, how will each type of film record this?

Will a low contrast film make the image look medium contrast, will it be able to show some small amount of detail in both lows and highs?

I suppose what I think I'm trying to ask is:

With a bright, contrasty scene does a high contrast film make an image more contrasty or is it just able to show details in the lows and highs which the other films can't show?

With a dull foggy scene does a low contrast film make an image less contrasty or does it catch tonal variations which the other films can't get?

Obviously I understand that processing and printing play a huge part but what if there's no option to process and print myself or I don't have access to any lab that could take instructions?

Any help would be much appreciated.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
Ko.Fe.
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Take it easy. I did. I have normal film, a.k.a. HP5+. I have normal developer, HC-110.
I like my negatives flat. I could expose it this way in any light. I could do extra contrast in print.

But if I still want contrast film, Iford Pan F 50. Or if I want less but wide contrast, uncoated lens.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
charjohncarter
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You can control contrast and shadow detail with development, agitation and your personal film speed. That is what they do with large format and the Zone System. I use roll film so I do everything the same with each roll (of a specific film), then with the miracle of digital editing you can really 'play' with contrast, etc. The variables all seem cognate but with an editing program you can almost change anything.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
Chriscrawfordphoto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
You can control contrast and shadow detail with development, agitation and your personal film speed. That is what they do with large format and the Zone System. I use roll film so I do everything the same with each roll (of a specific film), then with the miracle of digital editing you can really 'play' with contrast, etc. The variables all seem cognate but with an editing program you can almost change anything.

right. With BW film, you have a lot of control over contrast. With color, you're stuck with what the manufacturer design it to have.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
BillBingham2
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I found this book helpful: The New Zone System Manual.

B2 (;->
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Old 6 Days Ago   #6
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Thanks for the replies, but I don't have the space to store any chemicals. The only place I could have, is my walk-in closet, but then I'd have to move out all of my books, all of my dvds, all of my useful computer software discs, my centon pv23 tripod (which needs a quick release plate) and all of my cameras and bags, and I've got nowhere else to put them. So I can't home-process anything, and I haven't got the money for a good film scanner and a better printer.

Which means I have a choice of two things:

1) Find a lab that takes instructions.

2) Choose films which have the charactaristics that I want (possibly for specific shoots/projects I have in mind) which I can then modify with filters as occasion may suggest, and hope the basic labs I can pay for can print the pics to a reasonable standard.

I haven't really got the money for No.1 so all I'm left with is No.2.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #7
davidnewtonguitars
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I found as you, but then I bought a developing tank kit and a dark changing bag and develop my own film. The whole affair, chemistry and all, stores in a large box.

I use my regular ink jet printer, a very inexpensive HP job, with 4x6 and 5x7 photo paper. Using black ink only using the very limited printer controls, I get decent prints.

I have saved money over sending it out, and have all the challenge that I need to keep my interest.

Start by choosing a film that seems to offer what you are looking for in tone & grain, and stick with it over and over. Make lots of mistakes and learn from them.

This forum is a great place to discuss mistakes and learn from those who seem to know how to control film.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seany65 View Post

Which means I have a choice of two things:

1) Find a lab that takes instructions.

2) Choose films which have the charactaristics that I want (possibly for specific shoots/projects I have in mind) which I can then modify with filters as occasion may suggest, and hope the basic labs I can pay for can print the pics to a reasonable standard.

I haven't really got the money for No.1 so all I'm left with is No.2.
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