Can you change a films latitude.

Grandpa Ron

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When I shoot, and develop my 4x5 films, I use the recommended manufacturers procedures. However, the negatives always seem thin to me.
I am using, Arista EDU 400 and HC110 for 7 minutes. Admittedly I had not developed film for decades, until a year or so ago. Since then I have developed scores of 4x5.

From reading the Ansel Adams books, I know that he and others had such a grasp of the photographic process. They knew film, developer, concentrations and time needed to get the negative they wanted, before they even pressed the shutter.

So the questions are,
* Are my negatives really "thin"?
* Are the negatives lacking in latitude?
* Are there changes to film exposure and/or development time that the novice can use to improves the negative latitude.

These negatives were masked of on a light table and shot with a digital Canon T6 rebel. When I post process, I can push the "auto" correct and improve the negative. The histograms look very narrow.

IMG_9697.JPG
Vignetting due to lens hood

IMG_9709.JPG
Wood path with deep shadows and bright sunlit patches.

Since, experimenting take time and money, I am interest in what other suggest I can do to improve the these negatives.
 
They have no contrast. A histogram of both puts 99% of the image in about 50% of the scale. What paper are you using for printing? If you're using multigrade paper, start using filters in the darkroom. Otherwise, change paper.
 
Sparky,

The problem is almost all my negatives come out with this lack of contrast.

It is true that when I set up my bathroom dark room, I can increase the contrast somewhat with Grade 3 paper or variable contrast paper and filters. However I do not have a permanent darkroom, so I convert to digital.

The digital negative has the same poor contrast so I have to compensate with the post processing adjustments.

So the question comes back to, how do I increase the contrast of the negative.
* Would increasing the exposer a stop or 2 increase the contrast or just darken the negative.
* Would increasing the development time by 15%, increase the negative contrast; or would it just darken the negative.
 
If I need to increase the contrast of a neg during development I increase the agitation slightly. Other wise in the case of your negs I would work it in the darkroom with multi-grade paper, dodge/burn.
The only BW "digital neg" or in my case scan to positive, I work with is just scanning large negs at work on an Epson XL10000 flatbed.
Have never shot that film and I do not use that developer so I can't comment.
 
From memory when I used to develop FP3/FP4 in Acutol, to increase contrast and improve the grain structure, I used to under expose slightly and then increase development time to compensate. At the time I must have been following a technique that I had read about without understanding why it worked however, I dug out my ancient copy of The Ilford Manual of Photography and found the following:

"When an exposed film is immersed in a developer, the highlights - the most heavily exposed parts of the negative, appear almost at once; then the middle tones appear, and finally the shadow details. If the negative is taken out of the developer as soon as the shadows appear, a thin negative of soft gradation will result. If, however, development continues, every tone will gain in density, but the highlights and middle tones will gain more rapidly than the shadows. This means that the negative will increase in contrast as well as density."

The explanation goes on to say that increasing density will also result in increasing grain and so there is a limit to the degree to which you can do this. Consequently, I'm guessing that what I was effectively doing by reducing exposure slightly but increasing development time to compensate was to increase contrast but the reduced exposure would have avoided the increase in density and therefore grain to some extent. To what degree you need to adjust exposure/development times I can't remember at this distance but a little experimentation should get you there.
 
From memory when I used to develop FP3/FP4 in Acutol, to increase contrast and improve the grain structure, I used to under expose slightly and then increase development time to compensate.

This is called 'pushing' the film.
 
This is called 'pushing' the film.
Yes but pushing the film is more about pushing the film speed artificially. It is the same process but taken to the limit irrespective of the effect on grain or latitude. When 400ASA (ISO 400) was the fastest everyday film around, it was what you had to do. I think most press photographers would push Tri X as a matter of course in low light or where they needed a faster shutter speed.
 
Yes, push processing will increase contrast, and grain. I would not go more than 1 stop over, too much risk of blowing out the highlights pushing normally exposed film. Maybe start with 1/2 stop.

In the darkroom use variable contrast paper with filters along with some dodging and burning. Print paper is cheaper than film to experiment with.
 
Development will affect the highlights ... when I member trying to use the Zone System it was expose for (place) the shadow in a Zone and develop to place the highlights in another zone.
Example ... from Tri-X datasheet ... you can see development of the negative does not affect the toe as much

1654558230009.png
 
Hmmm, the negs also look fogged to me ... not sure if that is being caused by your taking picture of the neg.
 
 
When I shoot, and develop my 4x5 films, I use the recommended manufacturers procedures. However, the negatives always seem thin to me.
I am using, Arista EDU 400 and HC110 for 7 minutes. Admittedly I had not developed film for decades, until a year or so ago. Since then I have developed scores of 4x5.

From reading the Ansel Adams books, I know that he and others had such a grasp of the photographic process. They knew film, developer, concentrations and time needed to get the negative they wanted, before they even pressed the shutter.

So the questions are,
* Are my negatives really "thin"?
* Are the negatives lacking in latitude?
* Are there changes to film exposure and/or development time that the novice can use to improves the negative latitude.

These negatives were masked of on a light table and shot with a digital Canon T6 rebel. When I post process, I can push the "auto" correct and improve the negative. The histograms look very narrow.

View attachment 256809
Vignetting due to lens hood

View attachment 256810
Wood path with deep shadows and bright sunlit patches.

Since, experimenting take time and money, I am interest in what other suggest I can do to improve the these negatives.
Odd that no one has asked an important question - how accurate is your meter and shutters?
 
I have had similar results also. One question I have is how old is the film?

If new, then more than likely fogging, or under development.

If older, youll prob. have to push it anyway to compensate. My experience has been that the older films if ever had been in a warm spot will under contrast.
 
Hmm, the neg looks thin ... under exposed
I agree. Realize that the more light hitting the negative during exposure, the more the silver is darkened and remains. Under exposure yields thin negatives. It's why we expose film for shadows, the opposite of digital where there is no information in blown highlights. If you have a spot meter, spot the darkest shadow where you want detail. The meter puts it at zone V. Decrease exposure 2 stops to put in zone III or for insurance, one stop to put it in zone IV. The rest of the tones fall where they belong and remember negative film has a pretty wide range into highlights.
 

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