Agitation: does it affect contrast or grain?

Film Photography & Darkroom discussion

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Ornello
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Re: Agitation: does it affect contrast or grain?

Postby Ornello » Fri Oct 23, 2009 11:01 am

miha wrote:
Ornello wrote:No, it isn't. Kodak recommends CI of 0.42 for condenser or 0.55 for diffusion. I think those values are too high by one-half to one grade.
As you are very well aware of, Contrast Index (CI) is not gamma.

Kodak recommends CI of 0.56 in every tech sheet for their various B&W films.
Nope, they distinguish between condenser and diffusion, and recommend a lower CI for condenser. I was referring to CI, and forgot the values differ a little.


From:
http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professi ... /f4043.pdf

"PROCESSING
These starting-point recommendations are intended to produce negatives with a contrast appropriate for printing with a diffusion enlarger. To print negatives with a condenser enlarger, you may need to adjust the contrast by reducing your development time; see “Adjusting Film Contrast.” Tank development times shorter than 5 minutes may produce unsatisfactory uniformity."


"Note: These tables apply to negatives you will print with a diffusion enlarger. If you use a condenser enlarger, shift your selection one column to the left.."

Note this:

http://www.kodak.com/global/plugins/acr ... /z-133.pdf

"0.58 is the contrast-index aim for printing negatives with a diffusion enlarger; use 0.43 if you will print negatives with a condenser enlarger."

I suggest those aim-point values be lower yet, based on the need for optimum results for 35mm film. If you reduce development even more and print on grade 3, you get better results. How do I know this? I experimented and compared the results.

There has been considerable erosion of once-commonplace photographic knowledge. When I refer to a book or manufacturer web site, it is not because I just learned this yesterday, or that I have not tested it myself. It simply is a means of making available to many that knowledge which has been available in the past but has forgotten or ignored.

These values of CI that Kodak has recommended for diffusion and condenser are of quite long standing. They are not news. It is unfortunate that many people have in fact never heard of them. That is why I presented them in this thread. Some would argue that the values are wrong or irrelevant. To this I would simply reply that the values are averages, and that as such, slight deviations from them are perfectly permissible. But if someone claims that a CI of 0,75 is the best for 35mm film with a condenser enlarger (and I am sure someone out there will make such a claim), I would have to say that this represents enough of a deviation to be an 'error', not an aesthetic choice.

'Aberrant' practices have become much more popular than before, due to the fact that many more students take classes in photography than in past, and this has created an atmosphere of confusion, as one student tells another this or that 'tip'. It is possible to develop one's film any number of ways, and print it any number of ways, and get some kind of results that may please someone. What standards serve to do it provide a reference point, so that the aberrant does not become the norm.

It is possible to establish, through trial and error, the validity of these recommended CI values. Since most of us have better things to do with our time, the amount of testing we perform has to be relevant. Since the time when I was much more involved in B&W photography, new emulsions and developers have made their appearance, and others available for a number of years never found their way into my work, simply because I was not motivated to experiment. I was also using Kodachrome almost exclusively for the last 10 years or so, and avoiding B&W.

Thus, recently, I have begun a series of tests on these new or unfamiliar B&W products, to bring myself up to date with them.
Last edited by Ornello on Fri Oct 23, 2009 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Keith Tapscott.
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Re: Agitation: does it affect contrast or grain?

Postby Keith Tapscott. » Fri Oct 23, 2009 12:45 pm

"0.58 is the contrast-index aim for printing negatives with a diffusion enlarger; use 0.43 if you will print negatives with a condenser enlarger."

The above quote is indeed mentioned in the Kodak technical publications as provided in the links. I will point out though, that any processing recommendations should be used as a starting point and adjusted if a different contrast is required, as individual preferences may differ from one photographer to another.
The suggestion of using grade 3 paper as standard for 35mm B&W negatives instead of grade 2 paper, was once a common recommendation in older photographic magazines.
I still have a copy of POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY magazine which was a special edition dealing with sharpness, "Vintage August 1961". I wasn`t even born then. :lol:

Ornello
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Re: Agitation: does it affect contrast or grain?

Postby Ornello » Fri Oct 23, 2009 12:55 pm

Keith Tapscott. wrote:"0.58 is the contrast-index aim for printing negatives with a diffusion enlarger; use 0.43 if you will print negatives with a condenser enlarger."

The above quote is indeed mentioned in the Kodak technical publications as provided in the links. I will point out though, that any processing recommendations should be used as a starting point and adjusted if a different contrast is required, as individual preferences may differ from one photographer to another.
The suggestion of using grade 3 paper as standard for 35mm B&W negatives instead of grade 2 paper, was once a common recommendation in older photographic magazines.
I still have a copy of POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY magazine which was a special edition dealing with sharpness, "Vintage August 1961". I wasn`t even born then. :lol:
Yes, as I said things get "forgotten". It is largely due to the influence of books such as zone system "manuals" and books by Ansel Adams (which were clearly aimed at large-format practitioners) that grade 2 became identified as "standard". For 35mm, it's better to use grade 3 as "standard" and this was common knowledge, and not in the least controversial. The less you develop the film, the sharper the image is. That reduces the contrast somewhat so you use higher grade of paper to make up for the difference. The trade-off is more favorable in graininess too. Graininess increases faster than contrast, so reducing the development time and increasing the contrast of paper (using grade 3) results in a net gain of slightly finer grain and better sharpness compared to a producing a slightly contrastier negative and using grade 2 paper.

The point is that in 35mm work you have to be more concerned with optimizing development because of its critical effect on sharpness and graininess, and reject about it as a means of controlling print contrast.

In the old days (1920s through 1960s) portrait photographers used a more or less standard lighting setup and developed their film in a standard way. Portrait papers came in only a single grade, so development time changes were the only way to adjust contrast. Once the proper negative contrast was established, development was not usually altered. It is primarily in uncontrolled (outdoor) environments that there is any need for contrast control. Studio work does not require it.

miha
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Re: Agitation: does it affect contrast or grain?

Postby miha » Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:28 pm

Ornello,

contrast can be measured as gamma, Kodak's C.I. ore Ilford's G, where gamma 0.73 is about C.I. 0.55 and G 0.52.

In your first post, you have stated that gamma around 0.38-0.42 is correct. In your next post, you have stated: Kodak recommends CI of 0.42 for condenser or 0.55 for diffusion. I think those values are too high by one-half to one grade.
Very different numbers!

It is worth pointing out, that majority of modern dichroic-head enlargers are far from condenser enlargers, so C.I.56 or gamma 0.72 is about correct for 135mm film. (I have also stated that gamma 0.62 is standard. Wrong, gamma 0.72 is standard).

If one wants pulling, pushing, rodinal, zone-system, grain, whatever,...that is correct too. Photography is about fun, not about testing.

Cheers!

Ornello
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Re: Agitation: does it affect contrast or grain?

Postby Ornello » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:15 am

miha wrote:Ornello,

contrast can be measured as gamma, Kodak's C.I. ore Ilford's G, where gamma 0.73 is about C.I. 0.55 and G 0.52.

In your first post, you have stated that gamma around 0.38-0.42 is correct. In your next post, you have stated: Kodak recommends CI of 0.42 for condenser or 0.55 for diffusion. I think those values are too high by one-half to one grade.
Very different numbers!

It is worth pointing out, that majority of modern dichroic-head enlargers are far from condenser enlargers, so C.I.56 or gamma 0.72 is about correct for 135mm film. (I have also stated that gamma 0.62 is standard. Wrong, gamma 0.72 is standard).

If one wants pulling, pushing, rodinal, zone-system, grain, whatever,...that is correct too. Photography is about fun, not about testing.

Cheers!
What do you mean by "correct"? What I'm saying is that by using grade 3 as your "normal" grade for 35mm negatives, and using an ordinary condenser enlarger, you will find that development must be cut back, and this will in turn give you finer grain and better sharpness, because the graininess goes down quicker than the contrast does. In other words, less development coupled with higher printing contrast (higher paper grade & condenser together) yields a better result. Of course if you don't care what your results are, then why bother with any discipline at all? Why take the temperature of the developer? Why time the development? Why not just develop until it "feels right"? After all, isn't that more "fun"?

I am not sure how one measures gamma or CI without a sensitometer, so the method I use and recommend is to start with grade 3 paper and develop your negatives until they print right with full highlight detail and shadow detail of a normal sunny scene taken on a clear day (e.g., a basic scene with a white house & grass in it).
Last edited by Ornello on Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

miha
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Re: Agitation: does it affect contrast or grain?

Postby miha » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:52 am

Ornello, I'm aware of your paradigm. When I want optimum results I shoot medium format, when I want convenience and multiple focal lenghts I shoot 135. With 135 and fast lenses I often underexpose and overdevelope (push).

My standard paper grade is 2 (or unfiltered Multigrade RC/FB paper) when pritning small or 3 when printing big (30x40 cm).

FYI, I have a copy of ILFORD REFERENCE NEGAIVE & PRINT (both original). Negative is FP4 (not plus) exposed at EI 125, developed in ID 11 stock for 6', print is made on Multigrade RC, filtered as grade 2. There is a detailed description of how to judge the negative and the print and how to compare it to you output. Ilford also says: "...Remember that only if a majority of your negatives print well on a Grade 2 of Grade 3 paper is your development time likely to be right."

I have set my standards 15 years ago and they work for me.

Ornello
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Re: Agitation: does it affect contrast or grain?

Postby Ornello » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:58 am

miha wrote:Ornello, I'm aware of your paradigm. When I want optimum results I shoot medium format, when I want convenience and multiple focal lenghts I shoot 135. With 135 and fast lenses I often underexpose and overdevelope (push).

My standard paper grade is 2 (or unfiltered Multigrade RC/FB paper) when pritning small or 3 when printing big (30x40 cm).

FYI, I have a copy of ILFORD REFERENCE NEGAIVE & PRINT (both original). Negative is FP4 (not plus) exposed at EI 125, developed in ID 11 stock for 6', print is made on Multigrade RC, filtered as grade 2. There is a detailed description of how to judge the negative and the print and how to compare it to you output. Ilford also says: "...Remember that only if a majority of your negatives print well on a Grade 2 of Grade 3 paper is your development time likely to be right."

I have set my standards 15 years ago and they work for me.
Your attitude toward 35mm work is not uncommon....but it is one with which I have no sympathy at all. I can and do make excellent quality images using 35mm equipment and optimum techniques. People need to be taught how to obtain the best possible results.....then if they want to do something else they can....but they'll never learn how good 35mm can be doing things the way you do.

The Ilford statement is a bit too vague...I would say they are being a little too liberal...there is no reason one cannot get superb results with 35mm. I would advise a little less development than what Ilford would. One should not use the paper unfiltered, as you lose the advantage of precise contrast control. I currently use a dichroic head and a condenser system (Rolleimat Universal enlarger). I adjust the color controls to get contrast on Multigrade IV that matches the contrast of Ilford Galerie grade 3.

Keith pointed out that years ago magazines recommended using grade 3 as "normal" for 35mm work.

I guarantee you can do better than what you are now, even if as you say it works for you.

Try cutting your film EI by 40% and your development by 30%, and printing on grade 3.

I never push film, ever. It gains absolutely nothing.

ID-11 stock for 6 minutes on FP4 Plus? That's way overdeveloped. I would go 1:1 for about 6-7 minutes to start.
Last edited by Ornello on Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:22 am, edited 4 times in total.

miha
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Re: Agitation: does it affect contrast or grain?

Postby miha » Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:09 am

As I said, when I want optimum result, I use MF (TMX@80, Tetenal Neofin Blue), when convenience, I shoot 135 (often HP5+ @1600, Ilfotec HC). What I gain with pushing are images otherwise unobtainable :wink:

Ornello
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Re: Agitation: does it affect contrast or grain?

Postby Ornello » Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:23 am

miha wrote:As I said, when I want optimum result, I use MF (TMX@80, Tetenal Neofin Blue), when convenience, I shoot 135 (often HP5+ @1600, Ilfotec HC). What I gain with pushing are images otherwise unobtainable :wink:
I shoot HP5 at about EI 250. Superb film at that speed.

miha
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Re: Agitation: does it affect contrast or grain?

Postby miha » Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:48 am

Ornello wrote:Your attitude toward 35mm work is not uncommon....but it is one with which I have no sympathy at all. I can and do make excellent quality images using 35mm equipment and optimum techniques. People need to be taught how to obtain the best possible results.....then if they want to do something else they can....but they'll never learn how good 35mm can be doing things the way you do.
Why symphaty? With optimum techniques, MF results are far superior than 135. My image chain is not optimum but close (Leica or Mamiya, EL-Nikkor 2.8/50 or 5.6/80, Kaiser V-sistem with colour head).
Ornello wrote:I shoot HP5 at about EI 250. Superb film at that speed.
I agree, but with 135 and my interests I need at leat EI 1600. And I like the look of pushed HP5 more than lets say Delta 3200.

Ornello
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Re: Agitation: does it affect contrast or grain?

Postby Ornello » Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:05 am

miha wrote:
Ornello wrote:Your attitude toward 35mm work is not uncommon....but it is one with which I have no sympathy at all. I can and do make excellent quality images using 35mm equipment and optimum techniques. People need to be taught how to obtain the best possible results.....then if they want to do something else they can....but they'll never learn how good 35mm can be doing things the way you do.
Why sympathy? With optimum techniques, MF results are far superior than 135. My image chain is not optimum but close (Leica or Mamiya, EL-Nikkor 2.8/50 or 5.6/80, Kaiser V-sistem with colour head).
Ornello wrote:I shoot HP5 at about EI 250. Superb film at that speed.
I agree, but with 135 and my interests I need at least EI 1600. And I like the look of pushed HP5 more than lets say Delta 3200.
I use Leicaflex cameras and lenses, and a Leitz Focotar-2 50mm f/4.5 enlarging lens (obtained 1977). The lens is noticeably better than the EL-Nikkor I had used prior to that. Superb contrast and sharpness. Each minor improvement adds up to a big difference overall. The Leitz camera lenses, the exposure and development, the printing, the enlarging lens....all these together give me superb results. I used to push film too...I got better.

I tested all three of the very fast films by developing them to the same normal contrast. I found the Ilford to be the fastest and grainiest (EI about 1000). Next was Kodak T-Max 3200 (EI 800), which is noticeably finer-grained. Finally Fuji Neopan 1600, is EI 650 and looks about like Tri-X Pan. I don't see the justification for using anything but the Neopan 1600 given how fine-grained it is. The extra 2/3 stop is all but meaningless.

In all, I have been using the following films:

Fuji Neopan Acros 100 (EI 64)
Fuji Neopan 400 (EI 250)
Ilford HP5 (EI 250)
Ilford Delta 400 (EI 250)
Fuji Neopan 1600 (EI 650)

All have been developed in FX-39. The 400 speed films all look pretty similar.

The results you can get with a film like Acros in 35mm (if you follow my technique) make medium format all but redundant. The reason your medium format results are so much better is because of your approach to 35mm, not so much the film size difference.

miha
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Re: Agitation: does it affect contrast or grain?

Postby miha » Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:17 am

Ornello wrote:... and a Leitz Focotar-2 50mm f/4.5 enlarging lens (obtained 1977). The lens is noticeably better than the EL-Nikkor I had used prior to that
Come on...your Nikkor must have been defective or you have had the old f4 version...

Ornello
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Re: Agitation: does it affect contrast or grain?

Postby Ornello » Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:36 am

miha wrote:
Ornello wrote:... and a Leitz Focotar-2 50mm f/4.5 enlarging lens (obtained 1977). The lens is noticeably better than the EL-Nikkor I had used prior to that
Come on...your Nikkor must have been defective or you have had the old f4 version...
Not saying the EL-Nikkor was not good...not at all...but the Focotar 2 is just so spectacular...clearly better all around. I owned the original version from 1969, I believe there was a second.

First version:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Nikon-EL-NIKKOR-50m ... 3a502cc3cc

Second:
http://cgi.ebay.com/EL-NIKKOR-1-2-8-f-5 ... 2e96f53afe

According to one on-line comment:
"The f2.8 has at least two variants; the latest has slightly better illumination in the far corners. The front and rear elements are slightly larger in diameter. Both have 6 elements."

Another opines:
"About a year ago, I got hold of a pristine Focotar-2 fairly cheaply, less than $150.00. This lens is a monster. I did not believe that that anthing could be better than my Rodagons, but this thing beats any other 50mm I've ever used. It now lives on my 1c."

The Focotar-2 uses really high-end glass. Expect to pay $450 or more to find one used. Production ceased about 15 years ago I think.

http://cgi.ebay.com/LEITZ-LEICA-FOCOTAR ... 4149e9e7cf

http://cgi.ebay.com/Leica-Focotar-2-4-5 ... 2556dca232

http://cgi.ebay.com/LEITZ-WETZLAR-FOCOT ... 3ca6ccc4af

There was an earlier version, made up to 1977, that is also quite good, also better than the Nikkor, but by a smaller margin. It is described in glowing terms by Barry Thornton in Edge of Darkness.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Leica-Leitz-5cm-f4- ... 1e58cbadcc

http://cgi.ebay.com/Leica-Focotar-50-4- ... 5ad025abc9

It's not my fault you didn't know about these things...but in 35mm small differences are magnified. Small differences in technique, lenses, films, developers, etc. all make a big difference when added together.

I hardly need to remind you that the Leitz products are expensive in part because of their extremely tight production tolerances. Every one of the lenses is tested, unlike other firms' products, which are usually sample-tested. If you want to get a Focotar-2, you can count on it producing results intended by the designers. Unless it has been damaged, you won't have to worry that you got a bad sample.
Last edited by Ornello on Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

miha
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Re: Agitation: does it affect contrast or grain?

Postby miha » Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:51 pm

Ornello wrote:It's not my fault you didn't know about these things...but in 35mm small differences are magnified. Small differences in technique, lenses, films, developers, etc. all make a big difference when added together.

Indeed, so get rid od your R lenses and purchase the newest aspericals in M mount, and most important, dump you Rolleimat, as Focomat is far more stable and would do justice to your focotar. After you've done that, you can rerun your tests...You see, it never ends.

Ornello
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Re: Agitation: does it affect contrast or grain?

Postby Ornello » Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:21 pm

miha wrote:
Ornello wrote:It's not my fault you didn't know about these things...but in 35mm small differences are magnified. Small differences in technique, lenses, films, developers, etc. all make a big difference when added together.

Indeed, so get rid od your R lenses and purchase the newest aspericals in M mount, and most important, dump you Rolleimat, as Focomat is far more stable and would do justice to your focotar. After you've done that, you can rerun your tests...You see, it never ends.
I get the most out of what I've got, and I'm not an M user. The enlarger has little to do with it; it's the lens that matters.


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