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09-27-2016, 06:47 PM   #1
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Weird Results from Ilford XP2

Long story short, I went out the week before last with some Ilford XP2 and Kodak Ektar 100, and Dwayne's Photo E-mailed the scanned results today.

The scans from Ektar looked like this:









The scans from XP2 looked like this:









I used the same camera, same lens, and remembered to turn the ISO dial. I am sure I focused correctly What was going on?

09-27-2016, 06:59 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I'm guessing there are a combination of things going on. First, notice the artifacts in the sky. That usually indicates the scans were fairly low res jpegs. If they can scan them as TIFF for DNG files, you shouldn't have those types of artifacts.

The XP2 which is one of the most forgiving high exposure latitude emulsions I've ever used, appears underdeveloped. I'd have to see the negs to make that call and the edge numbers. Hopefully that is not the case and it was scanned as a black and white greyscale image, again at too low res. I've gotten my best results with XP2 by scanning it RGB as a TIFF or DNG and then converting it to greyscale later in post-processing.

I've never used Dwayne's, but you may want to try another lab in the future. They're not cheap, but I love both A&I in Los Angeles and thefindlab.com in Utah.
09-27-2016, 07:08 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
I'm guessing there are a combination of things going on. First, notice the artifacts in the sky. That usually indicates the scans were fairly low res jpegs. If they can scan them as TIFF for DNG files, you shouldn't have those types of artifacts.

The XP2 which is one of the most forgiving high exposure latitude emulsions I've ever used, appears underdeveloped. I'd have to see the negs to make that call and the edge numbers. Hopefully that is not the case and it was scanned as a black and white greyscale image, again at too low res. I've gotten my best results with XP2 by scanning it RGB as a TIFF or DNG and then converting it to greyscale later in post-processing.

I've never used Dwayne's, but you may want to try another lab in the future. They're not cheap, but I love both A&I in Los Angeles and thefindlab.com in Utah.
I had to apply some radical compression, and the original scans were JPEGs with 6M in average size.

How to tell between overexposed image and underdeveloped image?

Sincerely
09-27-2016, 07:46 PM - 1 Like   #4
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I read your title and thought, yes those XP2 shots are in color, that shouldn't be happening .

09-27-2016, 08:26 PM - 1 Like   #5
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If film is properly exposed and under developed, the dark areas will not be dark enough, which is what is happening here and the image will be flat, with low contrast, again, this is what it appears to be here in these XP images. If the dark areas are dark, then the development was OK, but the film was underexposed. Properly developed images should also have good contrast. As these are scans of the negatives, the scan can be over exposed too with these images. Looking at the negatives, they should show good contrast, though of course be a negative image.

Last edited by BigDave; 09-29-2016 at 08:50 PM.
09-27-2016, 09:05 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote

How to tell between overexposed image and underdeveloped image?

Sincerely
From a scan itʻs only guesswork as we are viewing a second generation image at best.

On your negatives there are the exposure numbers and usually some text like XP2 or Ilford, etc.

First, we have to assume any pro lab like Dwayneʻs uses a C-41 processor ($$$) made by either Noritsu, Fujifilm, or Kodak. These processor use a computer and sensors to monitor the processing speed, temperatures, etc. The chems are pretty much packaged and Iʻve never known of any color lab so cheap as to dilute chems. There is even a pump run by a microprocessor that replenishes the developer so that it is not exhausted.

However, despite all this awesome technology, it still requires in an ideal setting, the operator to run daily tests with a densitometer to interpret if anything is amiss. This sort of testing is usually what separates the expensive labs from the economy ones.

IF the writing/numbers on the edge of the negatives are thin or light, that usually indicates that the developer was either too low temperature or exhausted due to poor replenishment or old stock. By looking at the edge numbers, this eliminates the camera exposure as the cause, as it was exposed by Ilford.

Compounding this could be temperature or exhausted blix (bleach fix) that follows the developer in the C41 processor. The blix wonʻt affect the density of the edge numbers, but if too cool or exhausted will not properly bleach and fix the clear areas or stain, leaving the negative flat and low contrast.

Of course you could have both an overexposed image AND/or underdeveloped negs. But even if you left your ISO at 100 from the Ektar, XP2 can easily handle 2 EVs over and under exposure without push or pull processing. Ektar on the other hand has a very small exposure latitude and it seemed you pretty much nailed those.

I have instruments to test my shutter speeds (on FSLRs) and visibly check that my aperture is not sticking. Also look at your shadow areas in the train and they look too thin without detail if in fact you overexposed that shot.

All this adds up to lab error either in the processing and/or in the scanning (which you can only tell inspecting your negs). Once youʻve either worked in a commercial lab or run your own darkroom, you come to realize that the only way to get it done right is to do it yourself or pay dearly to that one lab whose rep and prices depends on their quality.
09-28-2016, 05:45 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
From a scan itʻs only guesswork as we are viewing a second generation image at best.

On your negatives there are the exposure numbers and usually some text like XP2 or Ilford, etc.

First, we have to assume any pro lab like Dwayneʻs uses a C-41 processor ($$$) made by either Noritsu, Fujifilm, or Kodak. These processor use a computer and sensors to monitor the processing speed, temperatures, etc. The chems are pretty much packaged and Iʻve never known of any color lab so cheap as to dilute chems. There is even a pump run by a microprocessor that replenishes the developer so that it is not exhausted.

However, despite all this awesome technology, it still requires in an ideal setting, the operator to run daily tests with a densitometer to interpret if anything is amiss. This sort of testing is usually what separates the expensive labs from the economy ones.

IF the writing/numbers on the edge of the negatives are thin or light, that usually indicates that the developer was either too low temperature or exhausted due to poor replenishment or old stock. By looking at the edge numbers, this eliminates the camera exposure as the cause, as it was exposed by Ilford.

Compounding this could be temperature or exhausted blix (bleach fix) that follows the developer in the C41 processor. The blix wonʻt affect the density of the edge numbers, but if too cool or exhausted will not properly bleach and fix the clear areas or stain, leaving the negative flat and low contrast.

Of course you could have both an overexposed image AND/or underdeveloped negs. But even if you left your ISO at 100 from the Ektar, XP2 can easily handle 2 EVs over and under exposure without push or pull processing. Ektar on the other hand has a very small exposure latitude and it seemed you pretty much nailed those.

I have instruments to test my shutter speeds (on FSLRs) and visibly check that my aperture is not sticking. Also look at your shadow areas in the train and they look too thin without detail if in fact you overexposed that shot.

All this adds up to lab error either in the processing and/or in the scanning (which you can only tell inspecting your negs). Once youʻve either worked in a commercial lab or run your own darkroom, you come to realize that the only way to get it done right is to do it yourself or pay dearly to that one lab whose rep and prices depends on their quality.
The negs are on their way home via mail, will update when I got them.
09-30-2016, 09:24 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
From a scan itʻs only guesswork as we are viewing a second generation image at best.

On your negatives there are the exposure numbers and usually some text like XP2 or Ilford, etc.

First, we have to assume any pro lab like Dwayneʻs uses a C-41 processor ($$$) made by either Noritsu, Fujifilm, or Kodak. These processor use a computer and sensors to monitor the processing speed, temperatures, etc. The chems are pretty much packaged and Iʻve never known of any color lab so cheap as to dilute chems. There is even a pump run by a microprocessor that replenishes the developer so that it is not exhausted.

However, despite all this awesome technology, it still requires in an ideal setting, the operator to run daily tests with a densitometer to interpret if anything is amiss. This sort of testing is usually what separates the expensive labs from the economy ones.

IF the writing/numbers on the edge of the negatives are thin or light, that usually indicates that the developer was either too low temperature or exhausted due to poor replenishment or old stock. By looking at the edge numbers, this eliminates the camera exposure as the cause, as it was exposed by Ilford.

Compounding this could be temperature or exhausted blix (bleach fix) that follows the developer in the C41 processor. The blix wonʻt affect the density of the edge numbers, but if too cool or exhausted will not properly bleach and fix the clear areas or stain, leaving the negative flat and low contrast.

Of course you could have both an overexposed image AND/or underdeveloped negs. But even if you left your ISO at 100 from the Ektar, XP2 can easily handle 2 EVs over and under exposure without push or pull processing. Ektar on the other hand has a very small exposure latitude and it seemed you pretty much nailed those.

I have instruments to test my shutter speeds (on FSLRs) and visibly check that my aperture is not sticking. Also look at your shadow areas in the train and they look too thin without detail if in fact you overexposed that shot.

All this adds up to lab error either in the processing and/or in the scanning (which you can only tell inspecting your negs). Once youʻve either worked in a commercial lab or run your own darkroom, you come to realize that the only way to get it done right is to do it yourself or pay dearly to that one lab whose rep and prices depends on their quality.
Got the negs back in my mail. The Ilford text is dark and clearly readable. The negative images look good without using a lope. However I am not sure what happened to the digital files.

09-30-2016, 10:46 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote
Got the negs back in my mail. The Ilford text is dark and clearly readable. The negative images look good without using a lope. However I am not sure what happened to the digital files.
Thatʻs good news as your negs sound like they were correctly developed and exposed. The lab dropped the ball on your B&W scans.
09-30-2016, 10:59 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
Thatʻs good news as your negs sound like they were correctly developed and exposed. The lab dropped the ball on your B&W scans.
Once my photography professor and TA starts working next week, I will probably run these films in my department's film scanner.
10-01-2016, 04:43 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote
Once my photography professor and TA starts working next week, I will probably run these films in my department's film scanner.
I use Vuescan as the application to run our film and flatbed scanner. Unless youʻve done it before, try various settings to compare results. If you have access to a decent post-processing software, definitely scan them as DNG or TIFF files. But experiment with using an input of color vs. grey scale and also if there is an option for Ilford XP-2 as the profile vs. a generic setting. Sometimes Iʻve gotten better results on generic, than one for the specific emulsion.

Also note some software like Google Nikʻs Silver EFX Pro 2 require an RGB file to convert to greyscale.

Please post at least one example of what Iʻm expecting to be a vast improvement over ʻDwayneʻs World". When I send my C41 film to a lab, I usually ask them to develop and to do a low-res scan only. Batch scans with a film scanner takes too long for my patience, but with essentially thumbnails, I can pick out the "keepers", and then do a high res scan of my best images.
10-01-2016, 12:21 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
I use Vuescan as the application to run our film and flatbed scanner. Unless youʻve done it before, try various settings to compare results. If you have access to a decent post-processing software, definitely scan them as DNG or TIFF files. But experiment with using an input of color vs. grey scale and also if there is an option for Ilford XP-2 as the profile vs. a generic setting. Sometimes Iʻve gotten better results on generic, than one for the specific emulsion.

Also note some software like Google Nikʻs Silver EFX Pro 2 require an RGB file to convert to greyscale.

Please post at least one example of what Iʻm expecting to be a vast improvement over ʻDwayneʻs World". When I send my C41 film to a lab, I usually ask them to develop and to do a low-res scan only. Batch scans with a film scanner takes too long for my patience, but with essentially thumbnails, I can pick out the "keepers", and then do a high res scan of my best images.
Actually our policy is that we are not allowed to operate the film scanner ourselves, only under the help of the TA.

We do have a flatbed that we can operate by myself, but I am not sure if I can check out a film holder.
10-01-2016, 02:26 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote
Actually our policy is that we are not allowed to operate the film scanner ourselves, only under the help of the TA.

We do have a flatbed that we can operate by myself, but I am not sure if I can check out a film holder.
Then get the help of the TA and take note of what looks good and what doesnʻt and why. Adapters for flatbed scanners are okay, but not as good as a film scanner. Without a comparison, the flatbed scan looks good, but if you do a side-by-side comparison, the film scanner is significantly better.
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