domingo, 10 de maio de 2015

Variations on the 2.nd bath of Dignan NFC-41

Keeping the first bath like the original, I tried some variations of the 2.nd bath. I used four variations, from which I give the composition per Liter:

  1. 53g Potassium Carbonate + 1g Potassium Bromide - 30' at R.T.
  2. 53g Potassium Carbonate + 1g Potassium Bromide + 26g Sodium Sulfite + 0,4g Sodium Hydroxide - 30' at R.T.
  3. Parodinal 1:25 - 15 ' at R.T.
  4. Caffenol PC - 30' at R.T.
Without more comments, here are four captures of the same scene using the same first bath but different 2.nd baths:

!.st Variation
2.nd variation
3.rd variation variation
The first variation gives realistic colors but the 2.nd adds warmth, less grain and better definition. The 3.rd variation has high definition but almost no color but still some, may serve for artistic photos. The has no color, it seems that CD4 was completely blocked by the B&W developers. The last two variations were done in conjunction with incomplete bleach in order to keep silver in the emulsion but to clear the filter layers and give transparency.

domingo, 3 de maio de 2015

C-41, 2-bath developer and grain

I have been an enthusiast of the Dignan 2-bath developer for C-41 at room temperature. The 3 main advantages of this procedure, for me at least, are no need of higher temperature, no need to control the time exactly and it is a very cheap process. C-41 classic developing procedure was not thought for tinkerers but for professional laboratories with expensive developing equipment, I think.

However, many people succeed to produce excellent results following as close as possible the C-41 classic protocol. They already have experience on that, and they found themselves ways to control temperature and time with precision.

What disadvantages may I point to Dignan's 2-bath developer?

The first one is that you have to fight the color shift to magenta and low saturation. In my tests I came to the conclusion that you may reach better colors with a higher pH at the 2.nd bath. Dignan proposes a Potassium Carbonate bath at 5.3% with 0.5g/L of Potassium Bromide and Donald Quals suggest you may replace it with Sodium Carbonate, 4.3% of monohydrate, somehow easier to find. I prefered Potassium Carbonate like proposed by Dignan. On the other hand, Potassium Bromide require longer developing time, the suggested 6 minutes are not sufficient, you have to give much more. Because over-development will not occur, to be in the safe side I always let 30 minutes. And Potassium Bromide may be replaced with common table salt, 4g/liter.

For quite a long time I used Sodium Carbonate at the second bath and made color correction by digital post processing. But one day I tried to mix some drops of Sodium Hydroxide and I got very saturated colors without magenta shift. Then I discovered the original recipe and started using Potassium Carbonate.

The second disadvantage is the grain, I gave priority to the color shift but now that I am satisfied with the color, I started fighting grain. There is not much information about grain in C-41 process. No wonder because the development is standard, deviations to it are not allowed, if you get grain using classic C-41 developer kits, buy another one or change the film or the film speed. Many people report that over-exposure will lead to less grain, but with split developer I couldn't get any improvements.

Then I started thinking: why does grain form in C-41? The final image has no silver, so the grains are not due to silver grains but to dye spots. But the dyes form where silver was developed. If silver is developed without huge grains, dye spots will also be smaller, I thought. So, why not using Sulfite in the second bath as silver solvent, preventing silver grain/dye spots?

Yes! This supposition has been confirmed. I used following formula for the second bath:

5% Potassium Carbonate (50g/liter)
2% Sodium Sulfite (20g/liter)
0.4% Sodium Chloride (4g/liter)

Please enlarge picture to appreciate grain:

Developed without sulfite

Developed with sulfite

The film developed with sulfite has less grain but also a lower pH, thus the color shift to magenta is there again. Next step, make a small adjustment in pH to avoid color shift.

terça-feira, 28 de abril de 2015

Is post processing with film necessary?

In forums it is a very commonly discussed subject. Should the digitized pictures of a film be manipulated with software or not?

In the past, when pictures were mostly printed on paper and not on screen, post process occurred at the enlarger step, covering areas with masks or with the hand, using filters, faders and so on, using different papers (soft, normal, hard, etc.), textures, toning, sepia, gold, sulfides, etc.

Today, digital paper (screens) replaced paper and paper prints are made with printers, inkjet or laser and not with enlargers, at least for the most people. Some still use enlargers, B&W or color and go on post processing physically and chemically.

I can't find a reason why we should not post process to achieve a result we would like to get. If we expose correctly the pictures at the camera and then we develop the film following rules that we know will give us the best result and then we scan and make no adjustments at scanning and the result after scanning is that we want, ok, we are lucky. But having in attention that not always this is the case, and in the same film we have well and not so well exposed pictures, some need backlight correction and other not, shadow details may be wanted or not and so on, more or less contrast, more or less light, color correction, grain reduction, sharpness level, dust removal, undesired color removal, etc., etc. and you may use a software or scanner utility to make adjustments, I think you should use them. And this without including other possibilities like transforming the look of the picture in order to get a particular artistic or nostalgic effect.

So, now I post some positivated versions of the same negative to illustrate my point of view:

Scan 1, direct from scanner w/o any adjustments
Scan 2, direct from scanner with auto correction
Scan 3, direct from scanner with color restoration
Scan 1 + auto level in GIMP
Scan 1 + auto level in Photoscape
Scan 1 + auto level in Photoscape and undesired color removal (magenta)
So, take your conclusions about post processing. One may say «Yeahhh, if you had given the right times, the right chemicals, the right film and so on, you wouldn't need post processing». OK, I might have had the last result directly from scanner. But I had it anyway and with less stress and having some fun with software, in this case not very much, two steps only.

Note: auto-level in GIMP and in Photoscape gave me almost the same result, but I prefered the one of Photoscape, the blue of the sky a little darker and the green of the grass more vivid.

domingo, 26 de abril de 2015

Worldwide Pinhole Photographic Day

I am ill I couldn't go out for Pinhole today.

The site of the event is here

I choosed an old Pinhole photo to show today, took on film, maybe 1/2 second, open and close.

quinta-feira, 23 de abril de 2015

Split C-41 developer at room temperature

Since a while I have been using Dignan's 2-bath C-41 developer. The color restitution depends more on the second bath, so I have been experimenting different solutions, and these are the results for a 5% solution of Potassium Carbonate anhydrous with 4g/liter of Sodium Chloride, table salt. The film I used was Fuji Superia 100, expired in 2002.

It is said that time is not a problem with this developer, but according to my tests better too long than too short. So I propose 15 minutes for the first bath of CD4 and 30 minutes for the second. All at room temperature.

Still I need to improve the graininess overexposing the film and bleaching/fixing well to remove all silver salts  and silver from the film.

quarta-feira, 15 de abril de 2015

Animation GIF


Sensitive epileptic people should CLOSE immediately this BLOG! This kind of animation may trigger an epileptic attack.

This kind of animation may be automatically produced with adequate software or via HTML programming. I used Stereo Photomaker 64, a freeware that may be found in internet. To make this, I used three versions of one photo, in one of them I cut a little at the borders to look closer. The image presents thus 3 pics in sequence, the original, the negative of the original and the original that was cut. The time duration of each pic is measured in miliseconds, 20 ms for original and closer image but just 1 ms for the negative one.

quarta-feira, 1 de abril de 2015

3 Great Free Software Programs to treat your photos.

I have been looking for free software to treat my photos. The first I discovered was GIMP, The GNU Image Manipulation Program. I am still using it and there are additional plugins that may be added to the program, it is very good indeed but not for beginners.

Then, because I found GIMP very difficult to learn well and heavy for my small PC memory, still working with Windows XP, I searched for a good free and fast program and I came then by chance to Photoscape that has the essential tools to enhance the quality of scanned film pictures.

One of my challenges is to transform a Black and White picture into color picture. This is possible with Photoscape with the tool Paint Brush holding the shift key down. But if you go a second time with the tool over an already zone the color changes to more dark and this may cause you waste of time to correct an accidental double brushing.

By chance I discovered this tool on line that only do that, colorize pictures. Very easy to use and efficient. It is called Colorize Photo and works online.

Bellow is a B&W picture I took with my RTB (round tin box) a pinhole camera I made recently. I used Ilford MG IV, f/200, some 10 seconds exposure. Developer was a home made Parodinal in dilution 1:5. And bellow it is a colorized picture I made with GIMP, using the tool Renderize-Fog with several colors and opacity. You don't control how the spots will be spread over the picture but choosing the right colors and their opacity, it is possible to get a more or less colorized artistic effect.

Brightness and contrast adjusstments in Photoscape

Above picture colorized with GIMP

Let us take now another B&W picture and see what one may have using both the online Colorize Photo and GIMP to spread some random spots to mask possible imperfections of my ability in using hand driven mouse to colorize the picture. The photo was taken with an Olympus Trip 35, a wonderful small 35 mm camera and using long expired film Kodak TMax 400 in a cloudy Spring day and developed with a coffee-Vit C-phenidone made after a Flickr friend, Jay De Fehr's, finding that phenidone is super additive with coffee and not only with Vit C, this is used in Kodak's XTol developer for quite a long time.

Olympus Trip 35 - TMax 400 - Caphenol
Using "Colorized Photo" and GIMP