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05-19-2017, 03:25 AM   #1
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Dark Negatives

Hey guys and girls, I had a bit of a issue on the last role of film I developed, it's the second time I'm using this film, Eastman Double-X, first time I used it at 400iso, everything went fine, this last time at 200iso, and this last time the negatives got very dark, I'm very new to this, so would like some guidance, to help me understand and diagnose the cause.
The shots were taken with a Spotmatic F, between a Zenitar 1.7 50mm, and a SMC 3.5 135mm, I could think that it was my error when taking the shots, but I always exposed to the shadows, and even if that was the case in some of the photos, it wouldn't be in all, and I'm getting consistent dark negatives from all the role.
For scan I used the k1, assembled in a little jig I did, used Pixel Shift, and after seeing the results tried bracketing and HDR, the results were the almost the same has just Pixel Shift.
With my little experience I feel the problem was in the development stage, I followed a recipe from Digitaltruth Photo - Film Photography, Darkroom Supplies & Resources , Rodinal 1+60 20C 7min, followed it very precisely, temps were on the spot and so was time.
What I did diferente, I used the stirring rod from the Patterson tank instead of the normal (to me), rotation/inversion, during the first minute, after that I closed the tank and procede has normal, 10 sec rotation/inversion each minute.
I do the film to reel switch, with a dark bag, that I don't trust to much, no double isolation on the arm, so I do it, with the dark bag inside my dark toilette, not totally isolated but pretty close, my idea is just to minimize any problem the bag may have, and so far have been fine.

Negatives sooc, edges trimmed, and direct inversion

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05-19-2017, 03:45 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Don't use HDR - it averages things out too much.

Don't use pixel shift unless you've got one frame for which you worked out the exposure and want the best possible detail.

Use downsampled JPEGS until you've got the exposure right.

What settings are you using for exposure, and how are you back-lighting your negatives? (I use a flash on a PTTL cable.) Increase your bracketing intervals both ways and see what happens.

Remember also that if you're using a Spotmatic F with modern batteries, the voltage MAY be throwing the meter off by a stop or two. On the next roll, shoot three or four test shots with exposures checked against the K-1 using the exact same lens (if you have an M42 adapter). Take the shot with the K-1, ensure the exposure is correct on the rear screen, then swap the lens immediately to the Spotmatic F at the same ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Check if your meter is under, over or near to exact. If it's wrong, change the ISO on the Spotmatic F until the needle is centred and write down the difference. Repeat at multiple ISO settings from 100 to the Spotmatic's maximum. Make a graph of your findings and keep it handy.
05-19-2017, 04:10 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Don't use HDR - it averages things out too much.

Don't use pixel shift unless you've got one frame for which you worked out the exposure and want the best possible detail.

Use downsampled JPEGS until you've got the exposure right.

What settings are you using for exposure, and how are you back-lighting your negatives? (I use a flash on a PTTL cable.) Increase your bracketing intervals both ways and see what happens.

Remember also that if you're using a Spotmatic F with modern batteries, the voltage MAY be throwing the meter off by a stop or two. On the next roll, shoot three or four test shots with exposures checked against the K-1 using the exact same lens (if you have an M42 adapter). Take the shot with the K-1, ensure the exposure is correct on the rear screen, then swap the lens immediately to the Spotmatic F at the same ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Check if your meter is under, over or near to exact. If it's wrong, change the ISO on the Spotmatic F until the needle is centred and write down the difference. Repeat at multiple ISO settings from 100 to the Spotmatic's maximum. Make a graph of your findings and keep it handy.
Okie, will give it a try, but it is the exact same process that gives me this ones.
I'm using a couple of fluorescent light bulbs, they stay behind a difusor, 50mm on extension tubes, at f8, iso 100, 0.4", live view for ES.
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05-19-2017, 04:17 AM - 1 Like   #4
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That last shot certainly looks good enough - your develop/scan process seems to be okay.

Is this last shot from the same roll as the others, or another roll? If the troublesome shots are from a subsequent roll or later on the same one, perhaps your Spotmatic F's meter is starting to have issues. My SPF's meter recently went absolutely stupid after one or two good films (including an initial colour film that went to the lab with no development adjustments needed), and Eric Hendrickson currently has the camera on his bench as a result, with replacing the meter listed as one of the necessary items. I was going to treat it to a CLA this year anyway on principle, but it's just as good that this happened when it did.

05-19-2017, 04:30 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
That last shot certainly looks good enough - your develop/scan process seems to be okay.

Is this last shot from the same roll as the others, or another roll? If the troublesome shots are from a subsequent roll or later on the same one, perhaps your Spotmatic F's meter is starting to have issues. My SPF's meter recently went absolutely stupid after one or two good films (including an initial colour film that went to the lab with no development adjustments needed), and Eric Hendrickson currently has the camera on his bench as a result, with replacing the meter listed as one of the necessary items. I was going to treat it to a CLA this year anyway on principle, but it's just as good that this happened when it did.
It's another role, same film, the last one at 400 the first at 200, setting on camera changed and different development times, base iso is 250.

My camera does have issues with the meter, sometimes it stays locked in a position, sometimes the needle jiggles, but it's problems I know when they happen, and when they happen they are critical, but are not constant, usually when it meters, that is most of the time, it meters fine, granted I have the camera at a very short time, and just had 3 rolls trough it, this being the first one I don't use iso 400.

Couldn't I have underdeveloped the film? Or ligh leaks? Asking because of the dark areas on the sides of the film, last photo, first post.
05-19-2017, 05:03 AM - 1 Like   #6
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400 will get you unexposure if light meter and technique are ok with 5222. Scanning will allow some rescue of underexposured negatives like you got but even your dark ones won't wet print that easily!

For a nice print you need silver in shadows unless you like the pushed look.

I use 250 incident dome on nose ID68 (microphen) or Rodinal 1+100 60mins 20C.

The fogging looks like flashing in loading cassette not

http://www.kyphoto.com/classics/sealreplacement.html

But inspect foam!

Last edited by Xmas; 05-19-2017 at 05:10 AM.
05-19-2017, 06:05 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Your more recent exposures do seem under-exposed by a stop or two, but are still quite useable. Here is a quick edit of your first exposure (some curves and levels adjustment), and there seems to be good detail in both the highlights and shadows, even on the .jpg image you posted. I don't think you are very far off. As others have suggested, compare your Spotmatic metering with your DSLR metering to see if it might be off a little. Otherwise, you are getting nice results with your process!

-Joe-
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05-19-2017, 06:36 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Xmas Quote
400 will get you unexposure if light meter and technique are ok with 5222. Scanning will allow some rescue of underexposured negatives like you got but even your dark ones won't wet print that easily!

For a nice print you need silver in shadows unless you like the pushed look.

I use 250 incident dome on nose ID68 (microphen) or Rodinal 1+100 60mins 20C.

The fogging looks like flashing in loading cassette not

Favorite Classics / Jon Goodman's Seal Replacement Instructions

But inspect foam!
Thank you, and great info you shared, great resource.
I don't expect to wet print, at least for now, it's something I desire, but don't have the conditions to do it atm, maybe in the future.
By loading cassete you mean when I loaded the reels or when the film was loaded in the cassete? I buy them at 24 exposures, I don't have control over that step.
I can and I did use the images, they are dark but have enough detail.
What I'm really trying to do is understand the problem, has this is fairly new to me.
Again thank you

05-19-2017, 06:50 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by k0og Quote
Your more recent exposures do seem under-exposed by a stop or two, but are still quite useable. Here is a quick edit of your first exposure (some curves and levels adjustment), and there seems to be good detail in both the highlights and shadows, even on the .jpg image you posted. I don't think you are very far off. As others have suggested, compare your Spotmatic metering with your DSLR metering to see if it might be off a little. Otherwise, you are getting nice results with your process!

-Joe-
They are usable, what I am really after is the cause of the problem, specially developing is very new to me, and so some (a lot) uncertainty.
They do get lighter if I underexpose them a bit more during "scanning", maybe just that the problem and I'm trying to catch ghosts. Oh well
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05-19-2017, 06:53 AM - 1 Like   #10
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another factor could be Rodinal is normally a stand developer, after the initial stirring you just let it "stand" there on the counter with the occasional stir. the process you described is how I develop films using Ilfosol 3.
05-19-2017, 08:01 AM - 1 Like   #11
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I do not know this film, so I do not know what the latitude is.
But there are films that have a wide latitude, so you can easy under or over expose them (and the develop accordingly). But there are films that have a very narrow latitude, show you have to stick as close as possible to the ISO value.
But also with developing, if the mixture is too concentrated, it will push the film, therefore give more dense negatives.
It might be that this film does not react well to under or over exposing. But it might also be that the film does not react well to the developer that you are using.


And don't worry, if this is your second roll of this film, and it didn't go right. It happens to everybody. You need to get to know the film, the developer, and the way you develop. And it can take some time until you are really satisfied
05-19-2017, 08:14 AM - 1 Like   #12
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The issue, I think, is that digital shooters - and by extension hybrid shooters who develop then scan their negatives - forget everything that used to happen in the darkroom before the final print was made. There would be contact prints of the entire set of negatives from one roll made at various levels of exposure, then you would pick the best time from that and use it for a master contact sheet for the roll, then you would print chosen negatives at various levels of exposure, etc. so there were at least two or three different refinements of the exact development required before you produced the final work, e.g.




This hit me last weekend when I was trying and failing to get good results with some negatives I'd shot on reliable cameras and developed with reliable chemicals according to reliable methods. It took a lot of playing around, and the rescanning of an entire roll, to realise that the first time you scan it may not be the best time. The first time I do it, I pull the entire roll - uncut - through a slide copier and shoot them one frame at a time, and hitherto I had considered that it - done. I've only just started to realise that this is a load of rubbish, and the video links supplied have only confirmed that for me.

ETA: My challenge now is to sit down and work out, very carefully, what my workflow is to be in future. I think some more experiments are in order, but the conclusions of an experiment can vary greatly depending on how it is set up, so that needs some thinking about too.

Last edited by pathdoc; 05-19-2017 at 08:24 AM.
05-19-2017, 08:46 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
The issue, I think, is that digital shooters - and by extension hybrid shooters who develop then scan their negatives - forget everything that used to happen in the darkroom before the final print was made. There would be contact prints of the entire set of negatives from one roll made at various levels of exposure, then you would pick the best time from that and use it for a master contact sheet for the roll, then you would print chosen negatives at various levels of exposure, etc. so there were at least two or three different refinements of the exact development required before you produced the final work, e.g.

Making a B&W Proof - YouTube

Making a B&W Print - YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RakDAkuzUdk

This hit me last weekend when I was trying and failing to get good results with some negatives I'd shot on reliable cameras and developed with reliable chemicals according to reliable methods. It took a lot of playing around, and the rescanning of an entire roll, to realise that the first time you scan it may not be the best time. The first time I do it, I pull the entire roll - uncut - through a slide copier and shoot them one frame at a time, and hitherto I had considered that it - done. I've only just started to realise that this is a load of rubbish, and the video links supplied have only confirmed that for me.

ETA: My challenge now is to sit down and work out, very carefully, what my workflow is to be in future. I think some more experiments are in order, but the conclusions of an experiment can vary greatly depending on how it is set up, so that needs some thinking about too.
Couldn't agree more, indeed I assumed that because my last roll went "okiesh", with those settings and the camera, the light bulbs, etc, still hadn't moved a inch from that time, it would be ok...
This time, I din't take all that much care with focusing, straightening, etc, just wanted to test exposure
in order
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1/20
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05-19-2017, 08:58 AM - 1 Like   #14
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The light leak could be camera or darkroom I get 5222 on 400 foot reels and cut 100 foot off for day light loader so lots of opportunity for accidents.

Normal to need to replace seals if they were foam. They can go to sticky goo that eats Paint or fine powder that migrates everywhere.

Unlikely to give that signature on film but...
05-19-2017, 09:36 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nuno Almeida Quote
Hey guys and girls, I had a bit of a issue on the last role of film I developed, it's the second time I'm using this film, Eastman Double-X, first time I used it at 400iso, everything went fine, this last time at 200iso, and this last time the negatives got very dark, I'm very new to this, so would like some guidance, to help me understand and diagnose the cause.
The shots were taken with a Spotmatic F, between a Zenitar 1.7 50mm, and a SMC 3.5 135mm, I could think that it was my error when taking the shots, but I always exposed to the shadows, and even if that was the case in some of the photos, it wouldn't be in all, and I'm getting consistent dark negatives from all the role.
For scan I used the k1, assembled in a little jig I did, used Pixel Shift, and after seeing the results tried bracketing and HDR, the results were the almost the same has just Pixel Shift.
With my little experience I feel the problem was in the development stage, I followed a recipe from Digitaltruth Photo - Film Photography, Darkroom Supplies & Resources , Rodinal 1+60 20C 7min, followed it very precisely, temps were on the spot and so was time.
What I did diferente, I used the stirring rod from the Patterson tank instead of the normal (to me), rotation/inversion, during the first minute, after that I closed the tank and procede has normal, 10 sec rotation/inversion each minute.
I do the film to reel switch, with a dark bag, that I don't trust to much, no double isolation on the arm, so I do it, with the dark bag inside my dark toilette, not totally isolated but pretty close, my idea is just to minimize any problem the bag may have, and so far have been fine.

Negatives sooc, edges trimmed, and direct inversion
It looks to me like your main problem is underexposure. Judging by the lack of detail in shadows I'd estimate that you are about 3 stops under. (Underexposed negatives are usually described as being "thin" or "lacking in density".) As others have demonstrated, it is possible to correct to some extent in post processing. It's somewhat like "pushing" film, except that software rather than increased development is used to bring contrast and brightness to acceptable levels.

Underdeveloped negatives would tend to be low in contrast but I would expect to see substantially more shadow detail than in your examples. Note that the shot of the section of film strip that you also included appears to be adequately exposed and correctly developed, although perhaps a bit too dense overall. Perfectly useable, though.

I did note that there is some evidence of a bit of light leakage on that film strip, around sprocket holes. If you are bulk loading film, I would suspect a light leak in a cassette.

I wouldn't worry too much about using pixel shift or HDR. If you are filling the frame when copying negs, the K1 has plenty of resolution even without pixel shift. The dynamic range of modern DSLRs is adequate to handle the brightness range of correctly exposed and developed negatives.

Anyhow, you're making a good start.
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