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Hi all
so decided to find my E.I for Foma 200 and these are my results,
I made a couple of small mistakes wich I'm sure the purist will pick up ;-)

My Process ...
Towel on wall gray card stuck on with masking tape.
2 x Profoto heads soft brollies even light.
Series of exp at different iso 200-160-125-100 @ -2 stops from av spot metered, from towel around the card.
"in looking back I should have just opened up from the first expo instead of re-metering from the towel every time "

I then scanned negs with no adj all zeroed out. V800 with silverfast 8
then placed into Photoshop and took LAB readings from 11x11 pix average placed inside the squares at the same location.
from Ian's zone gradient tool I believe my new ISO/EI is 125?

my questions...
I can see texture at iso 200 but the numbers dont give me zone III but iso 125 gives me L31 & L35 from towel and L29 from Gray card , close enough for me.

Next is dev test I know I should NOT cut corners but if I was I would give this norm dev of 6 mins @ 20 deg as the tape is close to zone 9 or should I drop dev time a wee bit.

I know I'm going to get slammed for my last comment ;-)

FYI I will test dev time ;-)

thanks for your thoughts and inputs now to some shooting

Regards Leo


David M

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It all looks OK to me.
The most important part is probably " to some shooting". Whatever your test results might be, real-life shooting is the true test. The next step, for dev time, might include plus and minus times.
On the other hand, you've been testing with the scanner "zeroed out" so you will probably have room for adjustments during scanning when you are making actual pictures.
It's sensible to remember that Zones are only a convenient way to discuss a world where tonality varies continuously and not in steps. "Close to Zone 9" is still Zone 8 and as long as the neg is not so dense that the scanner cannot penetrate, you should be able to make a decent print.
It's good to hear a sensible phrase like "a wee bit" instead of all those obsessive base-plus-fog numbers. Just a thought: most authorities suggest that development times below five minutes risk uneven development. Have you thought about examining your agitation pattern? A wee bit less agitation might do the trick. Alternatively, you might consider a small change in dilution.
May I ask if you will be shooting mainly with the Profoto heads or outdoors in daylight?


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Thread starter #3
Morning David! thanks for your comments!
I'm using a Jobo tank so I agitate constantly or I end up with dev marks "learnt the hard way.
I'll try backing off a tad ;-)
I use the developer fomadon D76 at stock will look into dilution if you have suggestions happy to listen.
in regards to shooting with studio or daylight I mainly shoot studio with work and would love to introduce it to my work, I also enjoy getting out shooting in daylight so bit of both really.
Do you agree that the Ei is 125 ?
regards from oz

David M

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What a rapid reply! Thank you.
The number you determine is a personal EI not a test of absolute film speed. 125 is well within the normal findings for Zone system users and if it works well for you, then it's correct. My own EI is 50 for Foma 100. For all we know, the differences that people find may lie in their meters or the water they use, rather than the film itself. And personal preference must play a part. I have a friend who really, really likes big black, very black shadows so that influences his whole process.
I have no data on changing dilution although in fact, I use half normal strength for my (infrequent) minus development, to avoid very short processing times. The usual advice is to reduce by 10% and see how it goes. It won't do any harm and at worst your highlights will be even better contained. You might find that 1:2 developer and the appropriate longer time might give you more flexibility, but I have no experience of rotary processing apart from a very brief flirtation with Cibachrome (as it then was). Some people claim that they get better acutance from the dilute solution.
My apologies for not being able to give you sure-fire accurate figures. These discussions are teaching me that I'm now a much more seat-of-the-pants practitioner than I'd believed. Once upon a time, I did much more testing, so perhaps it's entered my unconscious.


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Thanks David will look into dilution... will have a nice bench mark to reference.
no apologies needed Its refreshing to have someone flying by the seat of his pants in the unconscious world ;-)

David M

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My Freudian Trousers have made me think another thought.
I'm wondering how you intend to present your images. Will they be mostly seen on screen or on paper? (Or, indeed, some other medium...)
If on paper, will they be darkroom or digital prints? My thought was that it might be worthwhile making an actual print, by your normal means, of your test negs, to see if theory is translating into practice.
Classic Zone procedures seem to assume that the printing stage is rather standard, and the advice given on wet printing is mostly about aesthetic expression. Normally, we would make a test strip before each print and evaluate it visually, rather than numerically. (There is a good deal of advice on the web about making "better " test strips.)
A digital print from a negative must go through three complex devices (scanner, computer, printer), and presumably three sets of software, all of which can influence the final result.
I do hope this is not making your life more complicated. My apologies if it is.


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Hi David
At present I'm printing digitaly, and without doing a print through those figures I know quite precisely how that print will transpire.
I suppose my concern with the test I did was confirmation that I was reading my negative correctly as my approach was a bit of a mixture of traditional and the new.

David M

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Excellent. I'm not trying to teach you to suck eggs, as you seem to be very well informed. I thought that if anyone else reads this thread, it was a useful thing to mention.


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totally agree! how selfish of me!
Its been a great ecxessise as I have my print of the test infront of me.
In numbers from monitour to print it printed well I belive it will give me what i desire from my Zone III I will now go for the Dev test to see if I can atcheive a satifactory outcome of my Hilights.
I will also endevour to shoot a real life/daylight image and a flash to see if the results give me a possitive outcome will post results as I have time.


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Thread starter #10
Hi all David in particular ;-)
surprisingly my iso Ei in daylight dropped a little further from 125 to 80. I have had to retest again due to diluting my D76 1:2, from stock.
I did get out one morning and shot 2 sheets unfortunately for me I had not tested either dilution nor daylight Ei and I belive, and now have confirmed that flash and daylight for some reason give me different exposures in my metered shadows?
good to know thanks for the question David ;-)
I've enclosed both images my morning out.... funny I go out with all best intentions to shoot a nice landscape with a river and a tree and I end up driving past a multi story carpark and get stuck in ?!
moral of the story test test test
the first shot is my morning out I belive a little short of detail in my blacks nice print tho ;-)
Second my still life test @ Ei 80 32 secs at F16 with my hi lights .5 of a stop over dev D76 13 mins I belive its a nice negative printed out of the box.

David M

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That's an elegant shot of the car park and very welcome indeed. LF photography has a lifetime's supply of rivers and trees. This is much more personal. On my screen, the blacks look fine.
It isn't really surprising that you got a different EI in daylight, when you think of all the links in the process. There's the specific colour of the light, both direct and reflected, the accuracy of the shutter, the accuracy of the diaphragm (and your own setting of it), even the state of the glass in the lens. Then there's your personal metering preferences, the accuracy of the meter you're using and its own response to the light (as Fred Picker pointed out, a meter's response is not linear). There can be differences between meters. And so far, not a drop of developer has been spilt. If all these factors add up to no more than a third of a stop, then you are doing well.
And a third of a stop of extra shadow detail can do no harm. It gives you more choices in printing.
The underlying legend of the Zone System is that you arrive in front of a scene, pre-visualise the tonal values, meter them, shoot, develop the neg precisely and make the print, all in one smooth pre-ordained sequence, but actual life is different. (Well, my life is...) Quite often, I think, when we are away from the original scene, we may change our mind about how the print should look. Some people say that this is printing to show how you felt about the scene, rather than merely transcribing what you saw.
It seems to me that making the print can be regarded as new creative journey. All sorts of factors can influence the print. We may, for instance, be making it as part of a larger work or sequence and we want it to sit comfortably with the others. Or we may simply see new creative opportunities.
In any case, well done. I, myself, like to see images made from superficially unpromising material. Thank you for sharing it.

Keith Haithwaite

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If 'LF photography has a lifetime's supply of rivers and trees' then there isn't much hope for photography in general then David. :(

I have absolutely no idea what I am looking at here Leo but I quite like it as a picture - which is more than I can say about some of his structures. :confused:

David M

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Hello Keith,
This remark was in the context of seeing Leo's excellent car park picture, which I thought was much more personal and original, as is his latest one. In fact, I rather think that he should be the one giving advice, not asking for it.
I don't know if you frequent the US LF Forum, but there seem to be an awful lot of photographers there who are intent on following Ansel's tripod holes – not the high road to creativity, in my view. Anyone who can produce an original tree and river picture gets my unstinted applause. It does happen.
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It's not often I expect to be admiring pictures posted in a thread about film testing, but these are all very impressive. I tend to agree with the comments about trees and rivers...there is a lot of very boring stuff posted daily elsewhere. That's not to say there aren't good pictures of the natural world being produced, but there is definitely a tendency by some LF workers to point their cameras at some trees, rocks or a river, and assume the outcome will have some merit.
I've been working in 4x5 for about 2 years, and haven't posted here, or elsewhere, apart from one image. The reason is quite simply that I have yet to produce anything I feel is of artistic merit. The work shown on this site so far has all been of a high standard. I'm hoping to get there at some point.
In the meantime, I look forward to being inspired by the LF images posted here.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


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Thread starter #18
Hi keith,
Ive admired this building from a far on tv and in passing, if anyone is interested its the UTS building in Sydney quick google and you will see the mind of this man in full flow.
Not for everyone thats for sure, but if we don't push for change we will become stagnant and life would be very boring, so from me... thanks Frank!
The funny part is that i walked around this building that has been photographed by every passer by + many pros an I really did not want to come away with a generic image of the building, in my observations I came across this composition that I liked.
It was me trying to make sense of all the confusion and by your words it worked ;-).

David... thank you for your kind words, It means a great deal as I embarked on this 4x5 project to rekindle my love for the magic of film photography. I have been going out to please myself sometimes a real battle not to conform to any ideals that may come to mind, as I leave for a rare morning out leaving family on a Sat morning to have a couple of hours exploration of places I have never visited, trying to slow myself not to make mistakes but also enjoy the process of creativity and mastery of this fabulous gift we have to record our feelings thoughts individuality and ideas, always rewarding to the soul if your being recognised for your individuality, so again thank you for your eloquent comments, and my apologies for my terrible gramma punctuation etc. ;-)

Alexmuir, I may start a thread on our journeys into LF I know "old cliche" but its not about the end result but about the journey, it would be far more interesting and beneficial to analyse our mistakes I know I benefit greatly, I know Ive made plenty over the past year.
I'm personally trying to archive one key thing with other side projects as they present, every time I go out or shoot.
A film testing
B straight lines shadows creating interest in a otherwise mundane subject ;-)
C still life with more detail in blacks in daylight as B was missing ;-) as I made the mistake of ego over fact .. "thanks david"
D. all three of the above + Location dim flat light ..key under exp over dev.
E. lots more to go ... happy days !
Hopefully one day I'll be able to break everyone of those observations/ lessons to create something outstanding with my LF.

if anyone is on Instagram some of my moments are posted here too under the user name shootwithnoshoeson, as I shoot with lots of different mediums and platforms.

peace and good light !
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David M

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Although this is a thread on testing, may I say that there's a difference between an image of an attractive scene and an attractive image of a scene.
Photography's historic ability to transcribe reality has produced a huge legacy of transcriptions: " is what the Pyramids look like; here is what my grandmother/parent/child looks like; here is prisoner 582: here is the dry rot in the house I might buy..." and so on. This is entirely valid and useful today.
On the other hand, the medium has long been used to show more than the appearance of objects. We tend to call this creative or expressive. I am assuming that anyone on this forum is mainly concerned with the latter.
Some subjects have been so thoroughly photographed that it's difficult for an observer to avoid a "seen it before" reaction and dismiss the image, whatever its merits. This is deplorable, but I think there's a grain of truth.
No subject is off-limits; it's up to the photographer to involve the viewer.
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well, I came across this after a biggish bush bash.... trees and a pond I KNOW!, due to this beeing the only interesting composition I came across, I thought I'd try my hand at over exp under dev as the foreground was in deep shadow and the clouds well the clouds were 2 stops over ;-)
typical Ozzy bush scene tranquility at its best! just keep ya eyes peeled for the crocs!
I over exp by 3 stops and just cut my Dev time in half.
next time I'll develop a little longer but all in all I'm quite chuffed... too boot my 4-year-old daughter really liked it and is now printed by her bedside ... happy with that !

DAM RAW 25X31 nice print   .jpg