Perhaps others here also know the chronic problem of too-dark b&w reversal films. At least for me, b&w reversal films turn out much more often too dark than too bright. This happens especially in the case of expired films or obscure russian film stock etc., as well as in the case of negligence in development or lack of potassium rhodanide additive.
Often you just have a basic fog (so, bad Dmin) … There are many reasons.
Since my childhood I am fascinated by the sea: the view into the sheer infinite, full of reflections, wild and full of life. It leaves no human soul untouched, everyone seems to recognize a part of itself in it. Herman Melville‘s stage for American dreams gone insane in the personification of Captain Ahab, poets like Chateaubriand saw in it a “philosophical painting”. Of the latter, I filmed the poem La Mer in Brittany in 2010, and for the first time fell in love with the unreal, wild and seemingly untouched nature found there. Eight years later, in 2018, I again traveled to Brittany, this time to the southern area around Quiberon. There I was looking for a new film material and at the same time I wanted to break new ground.
In 1978, so more than 40 years ago, the photochemistry legend Patrick D. Dignan published a highly interesting script with the title “How to Compound … Simplified Color Processing Formulas.“
Unfortunately, this script is extremely hard to find, and the Dignan family has no further copies either. Darkroom mate Adrian C. from England was so nice and scanned his copy, Filmkorn now makes it available as a searchable PDF download!
The document is very interesting. While it does not list the exact formulas of the original processes, they would be very difficult to recreate. Rather, it offers a variety of simplified and tried-and-tested alternative processes with often startlingly good (or even indistinguishable) results.
The collection includes recipes for alternatives to the C-41, C-22, E-6, E-4, E3, Agfachrome and some paper processes (including a developer for Cibachrome!).
Great reading, and a printout shouldn’t be missing in any ambitious lab. You can learn a lot here.
Alberto Vangelisti is more than a tinkerer — he is apparently a gifted engineer: He managed something that the most proven machines failed in recent years: Design, construction and operation of a machine that reliably magnet-stripes any type of films (including polyester), precise and extremely inexpensive.
Many amateur lab workers have their darkroom in the basement or in the attic, but at least in places that are otherwise rarely used. In addition, there is often a lot of electrical equipment in a small-format-film-suitable darkroom, such as a heat plate, heated bain-marie, film dryer, sunlamp, lighting – and other things like e.g. an exhaust air system, a water lifting system, a radio or a water boiler.
Those who splice their film with tape know the air bubbles that occasionally gather under the adhesive film. From Würker (and later Wittner) there was the practical tape roller with which this air could be removed. Splices processed in this way are less visible and audible.
Many small gauge film makers do not even know that there is a Double-X between the (now discontinued) Plus-X and the still very popular Tri-X. As the name suggests, its sensitivity lies between these two popular classics. However, it was introduced only in 1959, after the Plus-X (1938) and after the Tri-X (1954). In 1964, it was followed by the highly sensitive 4-X, which existed until 1990.
For some time now, one of my cameras piling up is a Agfa Microflex 100, which seems to be still working flawlessly. At the very least, test shots with expired, self-developed Moviechrome film have yielded impeccable results.
The Microflex with its metal case is very well made and with its small dimensions an ideal pocket camera to follow you anywhere. I was really eager to use it with up-to-date colour reversal material with 100 ASA sensitivity and daylight sensitization, but the Agfa Microflex 100 is only designed for use with 40 ASA tungsten films – the standard film material at the time:
The film sensitivity is fixed at 40 ASA, a sensor is missing in the cassette compartment for sensitivity detection or even the possibility of manual setting of film sensitivity.
Exposure measurement of the Microflex 100 is not happening through the lens but by an external exposure meter placed above the lens. I took advantage of this circumstance in order to be able to correctly expose 100 ASA films: By using a neutral density filter with a factor of 2 (ND2) in front of the lens, the amount of light entering is reduced by 50%, which corresponds to the use of a film with 50 ASA instead of 100 ASA. This comes close enough to the camera-based sensitivity of 40 ASA to be able to expect correctly exposed shots.
However, the camera lens does not have a filter thread and due to the focus adjustment design, there is also no way to use a snap-on filter.
I helped myself with a 35.5 mm (1.4″) diameter filter, which gets mounted reversed (flipped) on the lens and is fixed with tape, in such a way that the sharpness setting is still possible without hindrance.
Now it was still necessary to outsmart the fixed “artificial light mode” of the camera and to pan out the daylight filter. The Microflex 100 also lacks a switch available for most other cameras. The filter can only be disabled in a cumbersome way if a contact is pressed at the bottom of the tripod thread with a sufficiently long screw. Appropriate screws are available in various versions in the online photo accessories stores.
Warning: The usual tripod filter screws are too short and do not disable the daylight filter reliably!
The first Fuji Provie meanwhile ran amazingly smoothly through this modded Agfa Microflex 100, without the film jamming not uncommon to this film stock. After the development of the film by Frank Bruinsma, it will become clear whether these measures have had the desired effect.
The hoses of the Lomo tanks often become brittle over time or have kinks that remain. Unfortunately, the hoses of all Lomo tanks do not have a standard measure, so replacement is often unsatisfactory. Although 0.5″ garden hoses can somehow be made attached to the smaller tanks, those are far too stiff and make a controlled outpouring of chemistry difficult.