Processing Black and White Film for Scanning – Diafine and TX!

If you’re like me you’re always on the lookout for a great black and white film/ developer combo for scanning. I’ve tried many different films and developers and then recently stumbled upon the great marriage of Diafine and TX (Kodak Tri-x)…my new standard. Watch the videos below to learn more about this dynamic combination and for tips on proper processing techniques as well as a few quick tips on scanning black and white negatives. Be sure to also check out my sample pictures under the videos to see just how good it is. (Click on the images for a larger view.)

Video:

Please note that due to YouTube 10 minute video limit I had to break this 12 minute discussion into two parts. (Be sure to watch both videos!)

Video 1

Video 2

Example Pictures:

This image illustrates the huge dynamic range possible with TX and Diafine. In this example TX was rated at 1600, 35mm. (Check out that shadow detail!)

TX1600_DynamicRangeExample

This example is TX at 1600 in low flat lighting…the full print size is 16″x24″ and the crop is a 4″x6″ section out of the full image area. Film size: 35mm

This example and the close up represent TX at 1600. The final image size (print) is 16″x24″ and the crop represents a 3″x3″ area of the final image at full size. Remember…this is TX at 1600 in 35mm!!

EveCropAt1600TX35mm16_24print

Processing Information for Tested Films:

Fuji Acros 100 EI 200 70-75 5+5 (Best choice for really big enlargements and where an EI of 200 is ok.)

FP4 EI 200-250 70-75 3+3 (Very nice but I prefer PMK for FP4).
TMY-2 EI 500-640 70-75 3+3 (Very nice combo but I’d stick with Xtol or D76 1:1…see my review of this film here on the Figital Revolution.)

TX EI 1250-1600 70-75 3+3 (My personal favorite and my new everyday film. I also keep an ND filter with me (.9) for the bright afternoon light and just remove it as the day ends so I can shoot this film all day long on my M7 with no worries!)

All chemicals are mixed with distilled water. Processing is done by hand with stainless steel tanks and reels.

I will be posting Part 2 in a few days which will cover my scanning techniques (specific and general) as well as basic file handling. Part 3 (next week) will focus on the final print and have a demo (yes another video) on hand coating your own paper for inkjet. Stay Tuned!!

For a quick audioblog on my printing techniques and my thoughts on tonality just click on this link: A Fear of Gray

All images and video Copyright Stephen M. Schaub 2008

Polaroid – The End of an Icon?

PolaroidJust in case you haven’t heard…that wonderful instant Polaroid material you’ve used for years is about to be no more! That’s right: Polaroid has announced that it will stop production of its instant materials at the end of this year. There have been rumors that Fuji and Ilford may be interested in the technology but to date nothing has, er, developed. Here is a link to a great interview from NPR on Polaroid and reflections by several artists who use this material for the artworks including Chuck Close. (Just click on the AUDIO logo.)

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Having worked with Polaroid materials for several of my own artwork projects from my Through A Glass Darkly series and Book, The Haiku Series, The Sakura Porfolio and my Encaustic Cycle as well as also being collected in the Polaroid Permanent Collections  as one of their featured artists I find this news of a once-great icon in photography closing shop very, very disturbing for the future of our creative medium.

Sticky Filter Syndrome – Help for Photographers in Need.

Do you- or a photographer you know- suffer from Sticky Filter Syndrome? There is no need to be ashamed… we’ve all been there. This informative video gives a quick fix and a preventative cure for this dreaded photographic ailment.

Thought for the Day.

Abe“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

                                –  Abraham Lincoln

This is a key underlying concept of the Figital Revolution…if we as photogrpahers band together and speak out about what we want in our industry, the industry will be compelled to listen! So over the next few months I will be conducting brief surveys (3 yes or no questions each) on what the photographic community really wants. So click on the survey link and and make your voice heard! I will post the results on The Figital Revolution and also use this information in meetings with industry (aka The Photo Industrial Complex) to illustrate what Real Photographers- that’s you- want! Please note you must enter your email address at the end of the survey to keep voting honest… please only VOTE once… it’s how Lincoln would have wanted it.

Link To Survey!

 Via La Revolution – Stephen Schaub

Please note that by completing this survey your email address will NOT be shared and you will NOT be added to any email mailing list. If you would to receive our online newsletter just click here to subscribe as it is FREE!

The New Kodak TMAX 400 Film – GET EXCITED KODAK IS BACK!!

New Tmax 400 Box

Kodak IMHO hit a home run with the new TMAX 400. I’ve been testing the 35mm version- (the box says world’s sharpest 400… and it is!) and having now shot around 30 rolls of this film in Puerto Rico and tested a few more here in Vermont here are some initial thoughts (note- please be sure to click on the images to get a larger view):

1. I tried 3 different developers (D-76, XTOL and PMK… XTOL Straight wins hands down.)

2. True 400 speed in XTOL.

3. Extremely fine grain with a very, very nice tonality…MY NEW FAVORITE FILM!!!

4. I feel that the times posted by Kodak for this new film are pretty darn good- at least the Xtol processing time/ temp produces negs that scan perfectly.

Eve Full Frame

I have posted an example snapshot I took of my wife Eve Ogden Schaub of LIFE=ART while at lunch in Puerto Rico (my Pina Colada is just out of the frame). The image was shot on a Leica M7 with a Summilux 50mm F1.4 at F/2.8 (060 filter on lens). Be sure to check out the detail images as well as they really illustrate why I feel this film is a real winner (remember…this is 35mm 400 speed film!)

Eve EyesEve Right Eye Close UpOOF

The scan was done on our Imacon at 6300dpi, 16 Bit, Wet Mount. Printed at 16″ x 24″ on our d’Vinci Fine Art Printer it blows me away that this is 35mm. Go get this film NOW! This is a film we as photographers should support as it is fantastic (and how often can you say that these days?)

Please note that there is quite a bit of old stock TMAX 400 out there (I don’t like the old film at all)…the new version has only been out since Oct/ Nov 2007 and can be a bit hard to find. The box should have a red rectangle that says “World’s Sharpest !” The Catalog Number is: 894 7947…I purchased mine from a Calumet Store.

SanJuanCopyrightStephenMSchaub2008Here is a sample preview of my new artworks from Puerto Rico (These are from my Fragment Series). The image is 36″ x36″!

Viva La Revolution!!

Please note all images Copyright Stephen M. Schaub 2008

Confession of a Bagaholic

AudioBlog LogoOk, I admit it…I’m a bag (camera bag) aholic. Are you?This audioblog seeks to give an answer to this “condition” that plagues photographers everywhere. How should you carry your gear? Why do camera bags suck? What is the best way to carry your gear for travel photography?  All of these and more are considered and answered in this therapeutic audioblog. The images below are referenced in this audioblog so give a listen and let the healing begin. To order the bag seen below (does not include insert) call: Iomar Perez in Puerto Rico at 787.612.6862.

To order a Y Strap just click on the link.

picture-002.jpgpicture-003.jpgpicture-001.jpgme.jpg

Next On The Revolution!

During the next two weeks I will be photographing in the rainforest of Puerto Rico and surrounding areas. During this time I will be testing the new Kodak TMAX 400 (35mm) film and plan on a full report upon my return. Initial testing done by me at Indian Hill Imageworks indicates that this may be my new favorite film (best 400 speed I’ve ever seen)…amazing grain (almost as good as most 100 speed films) with a huge tonal range. Stay tuned!

 Viva La Revolution!!

The Real Story On Digital Permanence

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A wakeup call for photographers, paper manufacturers and ink makers on the enigma of proper digital print presentation, finishing and long term storage. Do you think traditional darkroom prints and digital prints (say inkjet) can be finished using the exact same technique and materials (like most galleries and frame shops?) …WRONG! Give a listen and lets make this important discussion happen now before digital printing is forever labeled as less archival, less permanent- LESS in general than traditional darkroom prints….it just ain’t so.

A Digital Point And Shoot Camera for Photographers?

sigma dp1 image

Rarely do I get excited about new cameras (let alone another digital point and shoot camera) introduced to our already-flooded medium, but a new offering by Sigma (DP1) needs to highlighted. I have been watching the development of this camera for over a year now and it seems that Sigma will now have it (DP1) out by Spring 2008…early Xmas anyone? For more information click here.

Meter Matters – Building a Knowledge Base for Proper Exposure.

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Do you trust your in-camera meter? I hope not! This audioblog focuses on the idea of building a knowledge base for a better understanding of light, material limitations and proper exposure. By hybrid artist Stephen M. Schaub. MeterMatter