Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Varying Degree Of Difficulty

This weekend consisted of a couple of things.  For one, my good friend John let me borrow his Polaroid SX70 Land camera, and his Zeiss Ikon Contax IIIa with his new Carl Zeiss Sonnar 50mm ƒ/1.5 and a KMZ Jupiter 9 85mm ƒ/2 lenses.
What a nifty little rangefinder, and that SX70.  Wow that's fun!

But today we're going to delve into the realm of Polypan F, again.  Only this time, far deeper. To the point of going beyond gray.
This film is not, in my opinion, a 50ASA film, but a 25ASA film.  For one, most films develop far faster than this one at it's supposed BOX speed when they are shot at box.  Such as Tri-X takes about 6:30 to develop at box speed in HC-110 Dil. B, which Polypan takes more than 9 minutes!
It's supposed based off developing times of Ilford Pan F+?  Not likely, unless you shoot it at 25ASA.
Plus, being a cinecopy film, it makes more sense of it being a very slow speed film below 50ASA.
The film also has a limited sensitivity, as it doesn't have a strong sensitivity to Blue light, like most Panchromatic films, nor does it have a strong sensitivity to red lights, like many other Panchromatics.
From what I can tell, from using a Wratten #25a filter, the images I got were a little disappointing.  Especially compared to the images I got today using Tri-X.  It was rather odd to see how thin the negatives were with the Wratten #25a deep red filter on.  It's like it had mostly blinded Polypan.
It was on an AE-1, so the camera metered just fine through the filter, but the film just didn't see it very well.
This time, though, I tried a big push.
First, I tried Polypan F 50 at 400ASA, and it worked out very nicely, actually.  I put the roll through my Fed2 35mm Rangefinder, and using a Gossen Luna Pro SBC metered my shots for 400. 
Sure enough after developing the film in HC-110 Dil. A for 9:30, it worked beautifully.  Negatives were dense enough to use, and see very good detail. 
Decently fine grain, which leads me to believe that this film is capable of the 3 stop push from 50ASA to 400ASA.  Granted, it's more like a 4 stop push, considering that I still believe this film to be a 25ASA film instead.

Very good negatives, and easily printed without any fancy work.
Contrast is a bit strong, agreed, but that could be compensated for with a -1/-2 filter.

Although those images were taken quite a while ago, say back in April, they still fit for the type of push I'm going to be getting into.

As you push a film, you start to get further and further to the point where the film will reach finality.
What that means is that it will not develop any further, regardless of how long you leave it in the developer.

Polypan will develop, and continue to develop, up to around 640ASA.. That's it.  Beyond that, and you're just wasting your time. This is my conclusion from my recent run of experimentation.
I have found that out during a recent push test at 1600ASA.  Yes, 1600!  It was seriously pushed to its limits.  5 stops from 50ASA, and 6 from 25!

This push blew the pants off my previous pushes with this film..  With this push, though, I used HC-110 Dil. A, but cut that in half... Instead of 1+15 of A I used 1+8!
That's a lot of syrup!  In fact, that's the most syrup I have ever used at one time as a one-shot developer!

Needless to say, even after using that strong a concentrated developer, the film made it to around 640ASA and just stopped.  That's it, it said.. I cannot go any further!

All these images for the 1600ASA push were taken on a Canon EOS Rebel Ti 35mm SLR.  The reason I chose this camera is it uses some of the latest in Light Meter technologies, similar to those used on a Digital SLR, such as the Canon EOS Rebel.  The EF 50mm ƒ/1.8 II lens is the ideal choice, and I used the camera basically in (P)rogram mode.  I even gave it a +1/3EV to give it the best chance for exposure.
That, and I also gave the film a slightly longer than anticipated bath.

Yes, you can see a lot of detail in the scans, I admit that, and I'm actually fairly impressed with many of the images, but printing would be quite difficult for a lot of these negatives.  They are very thin! 

I may go ahead an attempt to print one of these negatives in the near future, just to see if I can do it.

So my experiments with pushing Polypan F have come to an end, and I will not be trying Polypan at any faster a speed.  Higher than 400ASA is a fools quest.

That said, I will continue to experiment with this film, and see how far I can pull it.  Currently I am running a roll through an Ansco Memar at 1.5ASA and seeing how well that's coming along.
I have shot Polypan at 6ASA with very good results, but this time, it's an extra 2 stop pull.  Basically the same idea of pushing the film 5 stops, this time I'm pulling it. 
Whenever I pull a film, I dilute the developer a little bit more, just to give it more time in the soup.  Such as, if a film is at 5:00 in Dil. B, well for a 2 stop pull I will use Dil. H, which is double Dil. B then reduce the developing time by 20% then another 20%.  This will give you, roughly, a starting point for the pull.

So until next time, keep those shutters firing!

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