Post 120.

To commemorate my 120th blog post I thought it apt to shoot a roll of 120.

Prior to this post I hadn’t shot any medium format film in quite a while, so I decide to root through my loose film bag to see if I had any rolls to shoot, develop and print. I found two rolls of Delta 400 but then I remembered that I sold all of the medium format cameras I owned. Undeterred I continued to root through my camera cupboard to see if I could find something that I could use; low and behold I found the Ensign “All-Distance” box camera that Kev (the uni tech) gave me as a leaving present last year.20140114-125148.jpgI loaded it up and decided to set the aperture to ‘large’. I did this because the shutter sounded quite short and the weather we’ve been having the past 3 weeks hasn’t been great so I deemed a large aperture appropriate.

Since I wasn’t sure how the roll would come out I decided to try stand developing the roll in Caffenol-C-L.20140114-125224.jpgI’ve used Caffenol before but I’ve never stand developed a roll of film so it was an ideal experiment. I mixed the chemicals and I let the developer work for 1 hour whilst I watched a film. I was pleasantly surprised by the results; a few frames are over exposed and over developed with some bizarre staining along the length of one side but I’m not complaining, I say it’s part of the charm. These are some of the resultant negatives on a light table.20140114-125238.jpg20140114-125243.jpgThey’re not bad considering I’ve never used this camera or stand developed with coffee before.

I decided to contact print these negatives. Normally I’d scan Caffenol negatives but these are 6×9 and I usually resize my scans a little for the blog. Resizing 6×9 to what I usually resize to would make for unpleasant results.20140114-125250.jpg

It was nice to shoot my first roll of the year, even if it was 3 weeks in the making. I can’t wait to get out and shoot some 5×4 though, hopefully the weather will hold out for long enough and I’ll be able to get a day of shooting.

But before I bring this post to a close I’d like to ask two questions: What do you do with the masking tape? Do you keep it attached (“for strength”) or remove it? I’m of the ‘remove it’ camp.20140114-125318.jpg


6 responses to “Post 120.

  1. I regularly shoot 2¼ film (not as much as 35mm or digital) and process it myself. I did notice that you are using Delta 400 and I was wondering how you develop it. I usually avoid tabular crystal film (for ASA 400 I usually shoot Foma 400) because of limited dynamic range but it could be the way I process it. What is your opinion?

    • T-grain films typically have a reliance on colour-dye sensitisers and lack of silver, which is why they don’t usually respond to expansion and contraction. I usually develop Delta 100/400 in ID-11, a cousin developer of D-76, and I usually get negatives with texture throughout every frame; because of my metering. Without knowing in explicit detail your method of exposure, development scheme and all the peripheries I’m afraid I can’t really guess as to why your not getting adequate results from your negatives. I could suggest an infinity of possible things to try but they’re all subjective and may not be applicable to you. Sorry I couldn’t be of much help.

      • I don’t use developers with much Sodium Sulfite Such as ID-11 or D 76 because it dissolves the edges of the grains in order to achieve a finer appearing grain. I prefer sharp grain and high acutance over fine grain. I usually use a pyro developer or Rodinal, RO9, or HC-110 dilution H (1+63) depending on what result I’m looking for. HC-110 has a lot of sulfite but when Dilution H is used the sulfite is reduced to a level where it’s dissolving effect is almost nonexistent.
        I usually use high silver content emulsions with cubic crystals. For high speed film (ASA 400) I almost always use Foma 400 although when I need very high speed I do use Delta 3200 and develop in Rodinal.
        You might try Rodnal I’d bet you’d like it (even with tabular crystal film).
        Getting back to the original question; I normally get about a total of 7 stops latitude with my film/developer but seldom got more than 5 stops with tabular film and had trouble with the highlights (blown out) if I was exposing for the shadows. When using Rodinal, a compensating developer I still had trouble with tabular film.

      • I moved away from R09 because of the grain amplification, when printed big I didn’t like the look. Do you use the Zone System? I only ever expose for 5 stops of contrast so they’re easier to print later on. No highlight issues either. I’ve never used HC-110 so I can’t comment on why it’s blowing out your highlights, but it could be the lack of sulphites not restraining the base+fog enough?! I’m not sure. I did have an issue once with R09 and blown out highlights, I over agitated; but with your level of knowledge sounding greater than mine, I bet that’s not your issue. I won’t talk about Pyrocat or silver rich films, spoilers.

      • I don’t use the “Zone system”, I usually meter on several areas and make a decision on what exposure to use, I know it sounds imprecise but I’ve been doing it for decades, it even worked well for slide film (for the last five years I’ve only shot B&W film) that’s a little more fussy than B&W film.
        Most of what I print (in the darkroom) is alternative processes especially “Lith” printing. If I want to make a regular print I usually scan my negative and print it digitally.
        If you use HC-110 try at one of the greater dilutions keep in mind that there must be at least 6ml HC-110 per roll of 35mm or 120 film, in order for the film to fully develop. Another reason to use one of the greater dilutions is to increase development time, with dilution A or B the development time is only a couple of minutes.
        I haven’t had any trouble with fog at all.
        I’ve developed my own agitation technique that works for me.
        I like PMK it a very easy to use pyro developer. It gives very fine grain because it’s staining the gelatin for density not the grains.
        If you decide to try and use HC-110 contact me and I’ll send you some useful information, the same for pyro.
        I’m doing some experimenting with a a new film and developer, If you’re interested let me know.

      • I’ve refused to use slide because of the narrow latitude of the film, and I prefer working with panchromatic. I’ll have a look in the college cabinets, I think they have a bottle of stock HC-110 somewhere. I didn’t think agitation would be the issue.
        Anyway, I hope you find out the cause of your 5 stop problem and figure out why your highlights are blowing out.

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