A Visual Approach To Large Format Film Speed & Development Time Testing by Paul Wainwright

April 08, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Spanning the first four editions of the Darkroom Underground Magazine, Paul Wainwright systematically teaches you how to properly test your large format black and white film and establish the development times for any film and developer combination.

What makes this series even more interesting and important is Paul's method doesn't require a densitometer!  Yes, that is correct.  You can finally test your black and white film and developer combinations and you don't need a densitometer.  I personally think a visual approach is the most practical and relevant because it is based on reality and not scientific numbers that get calculated.  I have been using a similar approach to Paul's methods for many years and I highly recommend his method to any large format photographer that wants total control over the technical aspects of their workflow. 

You can learn Paul's systematic visual-based method for testing your black and white films and developers starting with the first edition of the magazine (July 2017), then part two is covered in the October 2017 Edition, part 3 in the January 2018 Edition, and the culmination of the series is presented in a practical and real-world application in the April 2018 Edition

If you are a current subscriber, new or existing, you can receive a special 25% discount on all of the past editions by contacting me for a special discount code that you can use at checkout. If you aren't a subscriber today, go ahead and subscribe to receive the most current edition of the magazine and then claim your 25% discount on any of the past editions. 

In the first article (Volume 1 Number 1, July 2017), Paul described his method for making a 4 x 5 negative that contains all zones from Zone zero through Zone X, in half-zone steps, together with a “film base plus fog” exposure. He also described a similar procedure for making a 10-zone series of exposures for roll film users.

In the second article (Volume 1 Number 2, October 2017), Paul described his approach to using these negatives to determine his own personal film speed and development times, without a densitometer.

In the third article (Volume 2 Number 1, January 2018), Paul discusses how he uses a contact print of the 10-stop zone test negative as a poor-man’s reflection densitometer, and his method for checking the linearity of his spot meter.

In the final article in this series (Volume 2 Number 2, April 2018), Paul illustrates a practical application of his methods in real life.

-Tim Layton

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