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07-29-2008, 05:02 PM   #1
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Gimme some Grain!

Folks:

I find that one of the most attractive things about shooting film is the wonderful, organic quality of the grain. While digital filters can come close, it just doesn't match the "real thing" of film emulsion. There's something "right" about it to my eye. I've played with Kodak 200 and 400 Gold, and I just love the results from my film scanner. I want more grain, please!

Due to living limitations (wife) I do not have the ability to set up a processing lab, so I'm locked into what I can get from the Walgreens or Target labs. What films (both B&W and color) should I try to get the most grain texture from my negs? Is there anything in-the-camera I can do to enhance the effect?

Thanks!

germar

07-29-2008, 06:05 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by germar Quote
Folks:

I find that one of the most attractive things about shooting film is the wonderful, organic quality of the grain. While digital filters can come close, it just doesn't match the "real thing" of film emulsion. There's something "right" about it to my eye. I've played with Kodak 200 and 400 Gold, and I just love the results from my film scanner. I want more grain, please!

Due to living limitations (wife) I do not have the ability to set up a processing lab, so I'm locked into what I can get from the Walgreens or Target labs. What films (both B&W and color) should I try to get the most grain texture from my negs? Is there anything in-the-camera I can do to enhance the effect?

Thanks!

germar
You are going against the grain, so to speak. Manufacturers try to reduce grain in film because it is considered objectionable.

Anyway, higher ISO films will be grainier than lower ISO films, so try to find the 1600 speed stuff.
Faster if you can get it.

If you underexpose a little bit, you will increase the grain, but at the expense of shadow detail and contrast. If you are processing digitally, you can get the contrast back during that stage.

The easiest thing to do is to shoot looser and crop more. Magnification and grain go hand in hand.
07-29-2008, 06:08 PM   #3
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Hi, you can try push processing. Usually high speed film. Underexpose the film and overdevelop the film. For example, expose Ilford HP5 (iso 400) at ISO 3200 and push process (overdevelop) by 3 stops. For color film good results can be obtained with Fuji 1600. You have to push process color film using a Dip and Dunk film processor. Regular roller transport can not due to it's fixed developer, bleach and fixer time/temp.

Ok, I was not telling you the truth. It is possible to push process color film using a regular roller transport if the lab operator is willing to do so. Make sure there are no other rolls in the machine. As soon as the film cuts from the cannister (you will hear a loud selenoid actv. sound) wait 2-3 sec. to allow the end to fully immerse. Turn off the main drive. Try, lets say 20 seconds, then turn the drive back on. Bleach and fixer time will be normal. For testing purposes , ask for snip test (lab will cut only few frames for testing).

With color film you can not push too much, it will look flat if you over do it. For B&W you can go to extremes but contrast will be very harsh.

Have fun
07-29-2008, 07:09 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nico Quote
Hi, you can try push processing. Usually high speed film. Underexpose the film and overdevelop the film. For example, expose Ilford HP5 (iso 400) at ISO 3200 and push process (overdevelop) by 3 stops. For color film good results can be obtained with Fuji 1600. You have to push process color film using a Dip and Dunk film processor. Regular roller transport can not due to it's fixed developer, bleach and fixer time/temp.

Ok, I was not telling you the truth. It is possible to push process color film using a regular roller transport if the lab operator is willing to do so. Make sure there are no other rolls in the machine. As soon as the film cuts from the cannister (you will hear a loud selenoid actv. sound) wait 2-3 sec. to allow the end to fully immerse. Turn off the main drive. Try, lets say 20 seconds, then turn the drive back on. Bleach and fixer time will be normal. For testing purposes , ask for snip test (lab will cut only few frames for testing).

With color film you can not push too much, it will look flat if you over do it. For B&W you can go to extremes but contrast will be very harsh.

Have fun
Do you work in a lab? Not many people know about shutting the main drive off on a minilab processor to push process a film.
Years and years ago, when the internet was still cooling, I did a whole bunch of film grain tests, which I published to the net. One of the things I tested was Ektapress film, which I pushed 1 and two stops to see what would happen (not much, it turned out). Kodak listed the times as +15 seconds for a 1 stop push, +30 seconds for a two stop push, time deviations listed are from the standard C-41 dev time of 3:15 (IIRC, it's been a while since I've had to know this stuff).

I liked the old Kodak High Speed Recording film, which was nominally an 800 ISO film with all the contrast range of a pancake at that speed, but it came alive at 2400 ISO.
I'm sure I still have 10 rolls of it in the freezer.

07-29-2008, 08:10 PM   #5
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germar if you really want to develop B&W rolls yourself try looking into some of the local colleges to see if you can get access to their labs. Austin has plenty of colleges to go around. Your local community college could be a good bet.

Infrared film will give nice grain. There was also Kodak Technical Pan film that was extremely versatile from the finest grain to really grainy like infrared to high contrast to low contrast depending on how you developed it. Sadly Kodak discontinued it.

Like the others have said go for the higher ISO films. Kodak has readably available 800 speed color films probably right in Walgreens and Target.
07-30-2008, 12:03 AM   #6
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lol all this talk of push processing in a C41 machine...that's one thing I would never do for customers since it's too easy to go from "under the table favor" to "your tech here messed up my roll." Me getting in trouble = no good...you guys know how customers are

Also don't forget about the hand crank...now that thing can give you lots of time in one of the chemicals.

germar, did you know you can fit all of your chemicals into a tub in your sink? You don't necessarily need the whole bathroom to process film. And, aside from loading the reel with film, you can shake n bake in the light
07-30-2008, 02:12 AM   #7
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Hi Ryan,
if the customer understand the risks there are no problems. I do not see as "under the table favor" as you describe it. Usually test roll is processed before the customer bring in the actual rolls. Hand crank never worked for me. In order to process the film evenly, you would have to hand crank evenly until the end of the film is out of the Developer. That is going to mess up the Bleach time. Except for the Developer you want to keep the rest normal.

The bigger picture is that the Pro labs tha uses a dip and dunk processor is getting hard to find. In San Diego CA six large pro labs closed during the past four years. Only one pro lab with c-41 dip and dunk processor is in operation.


Germar,
things got little complicated but if you are really interested I think the information is going to help you. Let me simplify a little.

color push processing:

My choice is Fuji 1600. You can try 800 speed.
Processing is best done by Dip and Dunk processor. D&D processor can adj. Dev. time easily.
Always process a test roll. Results will vary. Do not push process over 3 stops. Images will look flat if you pass certain point.


B&W push process:

All B&W film processor has a variable developing time adj.
Try hand processing as recommended by Rico and Ryan. It is really that easy.
Contrast will increase when you push process.
I like the T-max 3200. Tech Pan if you can find it. It is excellent. Recording film if you can find it (golf ball size grain).
For larger grains do not use T-max developer with T-max film.

07-30-2008, 04:23 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote
lol all this talk of push processing in a C41 machine...that's one thing I would never do for customers since it's too easy to go from "under the table favor" to "your tech here messed up my roll." Me getting in trouble = no good...you guys know how customers are
Have the customers write the push processing request on the paperwork in their own handwriting. Then there can be no question about their having requested it.

Or make out and print up a little notice saying something like, "I request push processing, understand that the results might not be to my liking, and assume responsibility for the outcome". Have them sign it.

07-30-2008, 05:56 AM   #9
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Ilford XP2 (or the Kodak equivalent) when under exposed and auto scanned by the minilab produces decent grain. With a bit of PS you can 'thicken' the thin negatvie (e.g. blend a dup layer in 'multiply') and get a pretty satisfactory result.

This is with a Fed + Jupiter 12, XP2:
07-30-2008, 06:11 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote
lol all this talk of push processing in a C41 machine...that's one thing I would never do for customers since it's too easy to go from "under the table favor" to "your tech here messed up my roll." Me getting in trouble = no good...you guys know how customers are

Also don't forget about the hand crank...now that thing can give you lots of time in one of the chemicals.

germar, did you know you can fit all of your chemicals into a tub in your sink? You don't necessarily need the whole bathroom to process film. And, aside from loading the reel with film, you can shake n bake in the light
There should be no such thing as an under the table favour. If you are in the habit of doing them, you are asking to have your job taken away from you.
If you are in the habit of writing the customer's instructions on their envelope, and nothing else, there should be no problems.
If it is a special service for your lab, then have the customer sign off below the processing instructions to prove later on that you were following instructions.
Also, don't do it for free. Put a surcharge on the job at least equal to your processing charge. This will eliminate most of the morons from even asking.
The truth about C-41, BTW, is that it is a develop to completion process, and push processing has between very little or no effect on the final outcome. Generally, all that happens is the mask gets a little darker.
07-30-2008, 07:21 AM   #11
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although I have not pushed film in many many years, I had very good success with 2 options. E-6 processing of Ektachrome slides up to 1600 ISO (from 400) and B&W processing of Koday Tri-X or Ilford HP5. pushing 400 ISO to 3200 ISO by extending the developing time with D76 (if memory serves me correctly) chemicals from about 6 minutes at 20C to 30 Minutes at 20C.

you get lots of wonderful grain, with random, irregular shape, as oposed to the somewhat regularly sized noise of a digital sensor at High ISO.

I don't know now who does E-6 processing, but it should be possible for any photo processor to send it out for you, and they will push it or process it for a fee. I did the B&W myself, and it does not take a darkroom, only a dark closet or darkened room to load the film, all processing is daylight, and then youo can scan the negatives. Scans at 10MP (2880 DPI) work just fine and are high enough resolution to reproduce the grain
07-30-2008, 08:14 AM   #12
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Fuji used to have a PRO-800 film
it was excellent but above 400 gave nice even grain

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
although I have not pushed film in many many years, I had very good success with 2 options. E-6 processing of Ektachrome slides up to 1600 ISO (from 400) and B&W processing of Koday Tri-X or Ilford HP5. pushing 400 ISO to 3200 ISO by extending the developing time with D76 (if memory serves me correctly) chemicals from about 6 minutes at 20C to 30 Minutes at 20C.

you get lots of wonderful grain, with random, irregular shape, as oposed to the somewhat regularly sized noise of a digital sensor at High ISO.

I don't know now who does E-6 processing, but it should be possible for any photo processor to send it out for you, and they will push it or process it for a fee. I did the B&W myself, and it does not take a darkroom, only a dark closet or darkened room to load the film, all processing is daylight, and then youo can scan the negatives. Scans at 10MP (2880 DPI) work just fine and are high enough resolution to reproduce the grain
07-30-2008, 11:45 AM   #13
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I meant "under the table" as in "not officially offered," not something illegal etc. I've done weird things for customers like 4x12" panos when we technically don't sell that size. The printer can do it, so I did it and charged him for 4x8 or something like that.

I don't do free work, that's for sure. But if someone requests something like color adjustments, red eye reduction, etc I'll do it on a couple pics at no charge. Anything more than a couple, and the customer has to do them (if digital files).
07-30-2008, 04:35 PM   #14
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Nice thread, thanks to all who offered me guidance on this. Hopefully, I will soon post some results.

Anyone know of a publication (or better yet a website) for beginners wanting to process with limited space/storage? I figure it's gonna be a simple Tri-X setup, but that would be an interesting start.

Regards and thanks!

germar
07-30-2008, 06:24 PM   #15
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Oh, I agree...The film grain is simply pretty...I believe you have to like it right off though, because to many (my older kids) it is all noise and yuk...But to me and my wife, it is really a part of what makes a photograph.....
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