About to develop my first B&W film, need advice.

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by pavelkupcik, Jan 8, 2021.

  1. The "flat" look your home brewed neg has seems to indicate it has been under-exposed and under-developed

    I've inverted it as a positive and no contrast or toning is obvious. Flash would have been much more ideal in this situation, even with 3200 IMO

    Here is a link that has small images, divided in two, one half negative, one half positive. To me, the top left corner image is closest to this neg.
    Link .... Assessing negatives

    Flat Image.jpg

    What I've done here was to apply "Auto Tone" and "Auto Contrast" which eliminated the "flat" look, but it's still under-exposed, which means not enough light got to the film.

    Auto Tone, Contrast.jpg

    This next one was an attempt to correct it even more by using "Levels", as well as "Auto Tone" and "Auto Contrast"
    The "Levels" adjustments were quite extreme, which means your developer was too old, badly stored, depleted or diluted too much.

    The under-exposure warranted more development time, and that would have made this neg much better, but unless you knew that there was
    under-exposure, you wouldn't know to compensate by increasing the development time

    If you don't want to do any "pushing" or "pulling" and you want good negs, get the exposure right. Do you have a light meter? You need an accurate light meter.

  2. Thank you "kmac" for the thorough response and the effort put in. The processing you did is roughly where I ended up, a lot of manipulation to get something semi useful. I'm puzzled how I managed to underexpose and under develop. For these shots I used the built in incident meter in my Hasselblad PME45 prizm. The meter in it has been very reliable so far. I must have made a user error somewhere as every single frame has the same problem. I also have a Sekonic L858D, but don't use it much.

    I think I'm going to run a new test to get to the bottom of it. I'll buy a fresh roll of the film and then shoot and develop both the fresh roll and one of the older rolls from freezer at different exposures and analyze the results. I'll also run it through fresh developer and fixer just in case.
  3. The bright window light may have caused the under-exposure, the shutter speed ended up too fast, and/or the aperture opening too small. Perhaps taking a meter reading more towards the floor would have provided a more correct exposure, anything but that window.
    glen_h likes this.
  4. We don't think about it so much, but many of the places where we want to use high speed film have light in the wrong place.

    If you are using Delta 3200, and not exposing it wide open and a slow shutter speed, you are doing it wrong.

    Yes it looks like there is a bright light from behind the stairs, which will confuse many meters.
    (The whole idea of matrix metering on newer cameras is to figure out this case.)

    The thing to do is either meter directly off the subject (hold the meter close),
    or use an incident light meter to measure the light shining on the subject.
    (Third choice is to meter off an 18% gray card in front of the subject, and lit
    by the same light.)

    If there is enough light, expose for 1600 or 800. It has plenty of latitude to do that.

    Note that there are push times for 6400, 12500, and 25000. Of course you expect
    bad results, and should probably try to be especially fresh. It seems that cosmic
    rays are enough, and also airport X-rays.

    TSA says safe to ISO 800, but is good about hand inspection when asked.
    I use Diafine and expose films at higher EI values, which I explain to any
    TSA agent that asks. Though one agent did comment on the develop-by
    date being before he was born.

    I suspect that the fog is age fog for this film. It is just that sensitive.

    Otherwise, ISO 400 black and white films usually work fine to about 20 years,
    and slower films even longer.
  5. Those examples are obviously simulated from a single image - and badly done at that.
    For example: Why would a correctly exposed/overdeveloped picture have grey highlights, while an underexposed/overdeveloped shot has pure white highlights? And why does the correctly exposed/correctly developed shot look as flat as a pancake?

    I wish 'professionals' that haven't a clue would stop using the Internet to spread misinformation!
  6. I just noticed that you said incident meter.

    I have never had a camera with an incident meter, but then also
    I have never had a Hasselblad. How do you use a camera with an incident meter?
  7. I use it just like any other standalone meter. Meter with it and manually transfer exposure to the camera. The prism/viewfinder is detachable, you can even remove it, walk over to the subject, meter with incident, walk back to your camera on tripod, manually set camera exposure and shoot. I don't do that as I also have a separate meter, but one could.
  8. Just to follow up on the TMAX 400 development aspect of the original thread. I'm glad that process succeeded, I scanned the film and it looked great. Here are few shots from it. It was stressful preparing to develop my first film, and then it was magical pulling the developed film out of the tank and seeing the results. On the other hand it was totally crushing seeing the Delta 3200 results :(
    Anyway, here are some TMAX400 shots in TMAX 1:4 developer, scanned with Canon 5D IV on a light table, it's a 4 shot stitch, about 1:1.3 magnification.

    View attachment 04.jpeg

    View attachment 12.jpeg
  9. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    In post #6 you indicated that you were using 1 litre of dev / stop / fix etc, yet only processing one film. Did you, by any chance, use the correct amount of dev for one film, but dilute it to fill the 1 litre tank ? This link

    How much developer/stop/fixer do I need with 120 film?.

    may help you if this is what happened.
  10. I'm pretty sure I did it correctly, I prepared 1l of working solution at 1:4 dilution, 200ml of TMAX stock solution (from manufacturer bottle) + 800ml of distilled water. I used it with TMAX on day1 and then reused with Delta 3200 on day 2. But maybe 2 things happened. I didn't store it correctly over night and the bottle I used let oxygen in and it got exhausted. And maybe i didn't control temperatures that closely, it was a lot colder the second night when doing the Delta film. I processed TMAX at 72F and Delta at 68F. I measured the developer temp maybe 15min before processing, it's possible it got colder by the time I actually processed. The stainless steel tank also feels pretty cold, so maybe the tank cooled the developer down after I poured it in. I think what I need to try next time is to sit the tank in water warmed up to the right temperature. I process the film in a room with utility sink with running hot and cold water. So I think I'll just prefill the sink with water at the right temp, sit all all my working solutions and tank in it and let it sit in it until the moment I need it. I'll put a thermometer in the sink and adjust hot water as need if temp starts dropping. I may even re-sit the tank in it between agitations to keep it consistent, e.g. if developer should be at 75F, but ambient is 68F. My intuition is telling me that the stainless steel tank is probably great conduit of heat transfer and I need to work little bit harder to keep it at the right temp. I'm new to development and these are just my early thoughts, would welcome any feedback. Thank you.
  11. Mixing sounds right, but I also suspect temperature.

    You might also check your thermometer.

    Ilford recommends closer to 75F for push times higher than 6400, mostly because people
    will get tired of waiting so long. The heat capacity of the metal is small enough that it shouldn't
    do it, but then again every little bit adds up.

    I believe 1L is enough for 12 rolls, with increased times for the last 8 rolls.
    For only overnight, ordinary bottles with most of the air out should be fine.

    The data sheet also has a time-temperature correction chart.
    (It is supposed to be the same for all films and developers.)

    If you are down to 66F, it should go to about 9:15.

    In a cold room, it might lose that much in 15 minutes.

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