Is there something wrong with this?
Old 07-28-2015   #1
Maxime
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Is there something wrong with this?

Hi all,

First post here and just wanted to seek advice from the members here on a couple of photos I took a while back.

I shot this photo with a Leica MP and the film used is Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to 1600. I got a lab to process and scan the rolls I have taken.

Upon receiving the photos back I was quite disappointed by the results. The grain is terrible and blotchy. I have compared and seen numerous Tri-X shots on the internet and they definitely don't look remotely like mine in terms of outcome.

Can anyone perhaps suggest why these photos have turned out this way?

Thanks,
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Old 07-28-2015   #2
Maxime
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Sorry here is a link to the photos:


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Old 07-28-2015   #3
Ong
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Could be the developer the lab had used?

Dare I ask which lab you sent this to? (I'm Sydney based as well)
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Old 07-28-2015   #4
Maxime
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Hi Ong,

I believe it was the developer as well but I am definitely no expert within this space. The grain seems so blotchy and more contrasty that I'd expect. I have other examples where the highlights are completely blown. Perhaps overdeveloped?

Cheers,
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Old 07-28-2015   #5
JP Owens
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Could have been the scanning accentuated the grain. Have you looked at the negatives with a loupe?
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Old 07-28-2015   #6
Ong
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I'm going with possibly overdeveloped. If you have the negs on you, maybe rescan them with someone else? It also may be just how it has been scanned which has... extaggerated the issues.
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Old 07-28-2015   #7
JP Owens
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I've seen a lot worse from pushed Tri-X; but, I haven't pushed Tri-X since the days of Acufine, so I'm not a good judge.
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Old 07-28-2015   #8
Maxime
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Hi guys,

Thanks for the feedback.

Going to purchase a Plustek 8100 scanner possibly this weekend and will try and scan it again and see how they turn out.

Cheers,
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Old 07-28-2015   #9
mfogiel
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Talking

I would say, that you have made 3 grave mistakes:
1) exposing Tri X at 1600 - there is no point in doing that unless you have a slow lens and shoot in the dark, expose at EI 250
2) after buying the best camera in the world and the best film in the world you gave the film to some random lab for development: unless this happens to be a pro lab you trust you are much better off developing at home in your kitchen, while you listen to jazz and drink good wine
3) not content with the above points 1 and 2, you also insisted on having the scans done by somebody else on unknown equipment and with unknown proficiency. It is like subjecting yourself to a plastic surgery in a military camp hospital

To wrap up: raise up to the standard of your equipment and you will be fine
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Old 07-28-2015   #10
Maxime
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Hi Mfogiel,

I agree with your points. I am now shooting Tri X at 800 now but the shots I uploaded at 1600 were due to me shooting in low light so needed to finish the roll.

The lab I did send it to do wonderful colour work from what I see from others but I have yet to see them do much black and white work.

From their website it appears they use Fuji Frontier SP3000 scanners.

Will go get my own scanner and learn to develop on my own to ensure the photos turn out optimal

Cheers,
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Old 07-28-2015   #11
Drago
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to my eyes it looks like you lack any "white" in these photos. Everything is blown away, so i guess it could be something with the scanner, the way they scan them. And the grain is completely normal to me too. It's a combination of day light and bad scan that gives that blotchy effect you mention. I don't understand why you need pushed film to 1600 for daylight photos, let alone they look overexposed a bit . So no - nothing wrong to me
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Old 07-28-2015   #12
x-ray
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It's impossible to tell without seeing your negs.

I agree you started out wrong. Pushing with most developers builds contrast and grain. Even Acufine at 1600 builds some contrast. Most developers however will build excessive contrast at 1600. TX was reformulated about 9 or 10 years ago. I don't even feel it's 400 ISO any longer. Like many I have to rate it at ISO 250. Also I find it doesn't push as well.

II also agree sending B&W film out is a crap shoot. Even pro quality labs are unreliable in many cases. You have no idea what they'll run your film in or how they'll run it much less how it's scanned. Most techs in my opinion don't know much and don't care what the end product looks like. I'm not even sure if most consumers know good from bad processing and printing anymore.
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Old 07-28-2015   #13
dogbunny
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It just looks like they developed at box speed. Your results have a unique effect, just not what you were looking for. The same film, shot at the same speed, then developed in straight D76 would look quite different. It's cool if you want to go buy a scanner, but really that has nothing to do with these results.
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Old 07-28-2015   #14
mawilliams
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It's been said but it looks like machine (i.e. poor) scanning to me. Quick scans by a machine usually clip the highlights. The enlarged grain is due to pushing the film two stops which is a separate issue. You won't be able to "fix" the grain but if you were to scan these yourself you would likely find you exposed them properly enough to get detail in both the shadows and highlights.
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Old 07-28-2015   #15
newsgrunt
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There's nothing wrong with 'pushing' Tri X to 1600, you just need to find the right developer and time and all will be well. I also think these are poor scans but would like to see the negs first.
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Old 07-28-2015   #16
Dwig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxime View Post
...
I shot this photo with a Leica MP and the film used is Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to 1600. ...
A Leica MP can't properly expose any film at ISO 1600 in full daylight, except with the rare lens that stops to f/22 or smaller. Even when set to 1/1000th at f/22 its exposure accuracy is dubious; overexposure is likely.

Quote:
... The lab I did send it to do wonderful colour work ...
This is of no value in judging their B&W work. The two are radically different. Any one B&W film needs somewhat different processing from any other B&W film where color films all proccess the same as one another.

Doing quality work from B&W requires that each film type is processed by itself in the most appropriate chemicals for that film. Most labs don't follow this procedure. They use some compromise processing regimen. If you want to do good B&W work do it yourself.
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Old 07-28-2015   #17
Godfrey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxime View Post
...
I shot this photo with a Leica MP and the film used is Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to 1600. I got a lab to process and scan the rolls I have taken.

Upon receiving the photos back I was quite disappointed by the results. The grain is terrible and blotchy. I have compared and seen numerous Tri-X shots on the internet and they definitely don't look remotely like mine in terms of outcome.

Can anyone perhaps suggest why these photos have turned out this way? ...
Hi Maxime,

The look these photos have may not have been what you were after but they fall into a genre of "grainy, contrasty Tri-X" imaging that I remember well and like in certain circumstances. They're actually rather nice just as they are if you accept the imaging genre.

If you're looking to achieve a specific intent and imaging look, you need more information and control to work your way there. You need to know what the processing is precisely and how it affects the film's capture so you know what to expect from it. You need to know how to scan the film to suit your desires best.

Pushing Tri-X two stops and then having it*processed and scanned by a lab gives you no information to know what to expect—that's the problem with this. You have no way of knowing if the next time you shoot Tri-X at ISO 1600 it will turn out the same. This is why when I am having my B&W film developed by a lab, I stick to near-nominal speed ratings and do my own scanning. If I'm going to use film at other than nominal speed ratings, I process it myself too.

I see you are on your way there with a scanner purchase... Keep going! Don't look at what other people do and wonder why yours looks different so much as look at what you're doing and see how the film and processing responds, how the scanner deals with that. When you reach the point where you can get what you want consistently, you're home. :-)

Have a grand journey and show photos from along the way...!

G


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Old 07-28-2015   #18
Fotohuis
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C-41 color negative and E-6 slides (positive) are Kodak standards. So if a lab is exactly reproducing it to these specs the color work is perfect.

However in B&W there is no standard. In fact you have to make your own standard. A regular film exposed on box speed in a general purpose developer is maybe 90% OK. And most people are then satisfied about the end result.
However if you are going to push or pull you have already to know exactly what you are doing. A normal lab can not handle this in the right way.

In principle Tri-X 400 is a flexible film which can be used between iso 200-1600 but iso 1600 and 35mm need an excellent combo film-developer otherwise you will get the crap which you have now.

My suggestion: Expose on iso 320-400 and let the lab do their regular B&W developer. Anything else: You have to do it yourself. No rocket science but you need some experiences with it which takes time and effort and a good notebook (on paper then I mean, what you have done in exposure and what you have done in development).

What I am doing for multiple different exposure on one roll and different developing times: For each different step I put a small sticker on the film surface: Camera on B, lock it, remove the lens and put the sticker on the film surface. One extra blanc picture and a next serie of different exposures. You have no mirror on a MP so if the curtain stays open, not a problem. BTW I have a M7 (Leica). When putting the film on a reel and developing tank, you can feel the sticker on the film and there you can cut it and the next part of the film on another reel and tank. Make notes what is what. In this way I have enough of one film (135-36) to do a complete film test with a developer on different developing times and exposures. When doing this on a grey chart in combination with a test chart, it is all what you need.

Here an example of the Fomapan 200 film: E.I. 100 and developed in Windisch W665 an ultra fine grain type developer. M7+Summicron F/2,0-50mm.
I am almost 100% nobody used this combination so searching the web: NO info.



The grain is neglectible and a nice grey tonal range from White to deep Black.
FP200 E.I. 100 in W665 1+0 9:45 minutes at 20,0C.
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Old 07-28-2015   #19
codester80
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Tri-X can easily be pushed to 1600 so ignore all the naysayers on here. However, there is no reason to push to 1600 in broad daylight (unless looking for a specific look). I'm guessing your negatives are very dense (look very dark and muddy). At 1600, you would be shooting at 1000/th at f/16 you would still be overexposing. What I see in your photos is extreme over exposure resulting in chunky grain, blown highlights, and an overall grittiness as the scanner and software attempt to save the image.
Your pictures prove the amazing latitude of film as you still get images that are OK (or great if you were going for a gritty look).
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Old 07-28-2015   #20
Dwig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codester80 View Post
Tri-X can easily be pushed to 1600 so ignore all the naysayers on here. ...
There are no such "naysayers" here concerning whether Tri-X can be pushed to 1600 successfully.

What the group is agreeing on is:
  • a lab's generic push is not going to yield optimum results; each emulsion needs its own custom adjustments
  • lab scanning is more often than not less than optimal
  • there is no need to push in daylight situations (the OP did explain why they did)
  • that an MP can't handle 1600 in daylight situations (at least no one challenged my earlier assertion) meaning the OP's images are likely significantly overexposed
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Old 07-28-2015   #21
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I happen to quite like the look.

Tell me, is there anything in those two pictures that is missing (tone-wise) that can radically improve the aesthetics?

Having said that, I agree with other who stated that for B&W, home developing is the best option. That doesn't mean I enjoy it, though.
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Old 07-28-2015   #22
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Yes, looks overexposed and/or overdeveloped. It is hard to know without the details on the lab developer and process used.

It may be that the negatives are too dense for the scanner, but they will [wet] print much better.
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Old 07-28-2015   #23
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Looks like the lab have maxed out the sharpening and bumped up the contrast/brightness way too much.

The photos have an interesting look if you're going for that. But it sounds like the OP wanted some tone in there. Even if the neg is super contrasty, I'd expect there to be some greys in there.

Try rescanning them yourself - you'll have better control over the process thus final images.
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