Film from the 1950's having a "safety stop"? - Page 2
PhotoCamel: Your friendly photo community, with free discussion forums, digital photography reviews, photo sharing, galleries, downloads, blogs, photography contests, and prizes.
 

Go Back   PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Cameras and Lenses > Film Camera

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-01-2010   #11
Llama
 
Posts: 864
CamelKarma: 639
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Film from the 1950's having a "safety stop"?

blumesan, that's some pretty cool information!

I should start asking questions about the stuff my lab uses.
__________________
Don't spare my feelings, just criticise
Go ahead and edit photos I post, but only for use on this forum (else send me a message)

Smugmug - http://xxloverxx.smugmug.com
xxloverxx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2010   #12
Photocamel Master
 
Ed Shapiro's Avatar
 
Location: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
Posts: 6,718
CamelKarma: 5188665
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Film from the 1950's having a "safety stop"?

Xxloverxx !- Hi dare! (Brooklyn Pronunciation) We must be on the same wavelength- Who said there is no such thing as mental telepathy? Hey you can always call me in on issues from the olden days because I am OLD and was there when some of those old issues were actually in place.

OK- so here is the deal on those old A.S.A. safety factors:

A.S.A stood for the American Standards Association- they were the authority in assigning film speeds criteria in the old days. Those criteria are now the job of the I.S.O. (I assume that stands for International Standards Organization). In the old days and today, advanced amateur and professionals mostly determine there own EXPOSURE INDEXES based of the type of negatives or digital files the wish to create based on their own likings and procedures. In other words, the old A.S.A. ratings were merely a starting point and advanced workers had their own methods.

Back in the 50s the average user, at least according to Kodak, was a rank amateur who would send his or her film to a drug store type of commercial photofinisher. Advanced armatures and pros had their own darkrooms and were able to manipulate their processing procedures and create the own film/developer combinations as well as time and temperature factors in the developing process- many followed the procedures of the ZONE SYSTEM which required this flexibility of exposure and development. The commercial amateur photofinishers were laughed at by advanced workers- they used to joke that theses labs would develop film in urine and other such liquids (gross), Nevertheless they did come up with snapshot quality images that were good enough for the average family snap-shooter. When theses labs received film, there was just one type of general developer in use- not the ones designed for maximizing film speeds so that one of the biggest cause of muddy looking prints with poor shadow detail was underexposure which could not be addressed or compensated for at the lab. Taking this into consideration, Kodak published A.S.A. ratings that were about 50% of the actual film speed potential and other manufacturers followed suit. The instructions included with all films made reference to this policy and encourage advanced photographers to conduct tests to arrive at the own exposure indexes. So the rule of thumb in those days was; you can get a decent or at least “snappy” print out of an overexposed or dense negative but a “thin” underexposed negative was not as salvageable, it at all. The “death rattle” of negatives was an overexposed a “pulled” under developed negative- dense and flat- a total nightmare to print- muddy grainy- god awful!

Users of color transparency material had no such safety margins, slide films had little or no exposure latitude so exposures had to be spot on and careful photographers would bracket exposures to be sure of a good slide. Some photographers like a slightly underexposed slide for dramatic color saturation. With transparencies slated for publication or lithographic reproduction, some color separation houses preferred well saturated transparencies while other preferred more normal renditions. Nobody wanted washed out slides or reproduction transparencies.

Then came the popularity of color negative film. I don’t remember safety factors on that material but it became standard professional practice to routinely overexpose the early versions of Kodacolor, Ektacolor and Vericolor film by ˝ to 1 full stop. This method yielded more saturated color and less grain. Early professional color negative films were quite grainy where the amateur emulsions like Kodacolor was sharper and had less grain. The pro films were geared to warm skin tones as in wedding and portrait photography and were aged for the best color quality- at least that was Kodak’s excuse for the grain and somewhat lesser sharpness.

Push processing color negatives films was a big no-no unless you liked color crossover which causes nearly impossible to correctly print negatives. For a while there was Ektapress which could be pushed but the images were rather lackluster and the film was soon discontinued. There were all kinds of folklore about the old C-22 and the current C41 process as to not processing different kinds of film in the same machine or batch and all kinds of things that would ruin the chemicals. I never found that to be true in my own lab but who knows? Most of those films and the old C-22 process are all long dead and buried so nobody can really find out unless they can find someone with personal experience. Most labs gave those excuses because they did not want to bother changing routines for special processes- they had a “one size fits all” policy. For many years, I water soaked my film prior to starting them in the C-22 and slightly altered the processing time. I got amazing shadow detail and no crossover problems.

Fore many decades the best method of exposing negative films was to expose for the shadows and print for the highlights. This was a great method to control contrast ratios and yielded salon quality prints. Portraitists who switched to digital in the early days had a hard time braking old habits. This old method was based on the wide latitude of negatives which goes back to the old safety factor. Nowadays, with the new generation of T-grain films, in many of the ISO 400 and 800 emulsions, the assigned speed are right on and overexposure can cause a reduction in quality.

In the black and white field, there are not many of the old emulsion still on the market. There may be a few high silver traditional films still left on the European market- I am not sure now. My favorites are all gone. The new T-grain selection as well as TRI-X is good but rather limited. The available developers are also somewhat limited unless you care to make scratch formulas if you can find the chemicals. I still maintain a wet darkroom which I love but that is becoming less practical as the days go on. In my studio, I offer real fiber base prints processed to archival standards. I charge a lot of money for those and find very them marketable. I can do that as long as my supply of paper (in the freezer) and chemicals such as selenium toner remain on the market.

So dats the way it is with the old safety factor- nothing that can mean much nowadays what with the predominance of digital photography. The old adage “of overexpose if you are not sure” is long dead and buried unless you are a diehard film user and if you know about the zone system, it’s old hat for you anyway.

If you miss the “smell” of the old darkroom just fill an old jar with oxidized developer and/or old fixer (hypo) and keep in next your computer so when you are editing just give it a sniff every now and again. I am gonna hang my old safelight above the screen for a pang on nostalgia.

Oh- y’all- thanks for this thread- it was FUN. Call me in for any and all old stuff and test my memory- new stuff is OK too!

Ed



Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20th1_small.jpg (3.7 KB, 110 views)
File Type: jpg LivingImage.jpg (35.4 KB, 110 views)
File Type: jpg cari2.jpg (84.2 KB, 109 views)
__________________
Ed Shapiro - Master Photographer
Ottawa, Canada
Ed Shapiro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2010   #13
Camel Breath
 
Steven G Webb's Avatar
 
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 12,784
CamelKarma: 1206139
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Film from the 1950's having a "safety stop"?

Thank you Ed I was hoping you'd chime in on this topic.

Steve
__________________
Have you ever stopped to think and forgot to start again?

Facebook

Camel Equine Group

My Equine Album

Fireworks Album

Steven G Webb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2010   #14
Llama
 
Posts: 864
CamelKarma: 639
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Film from the 1950's having a "safety stop"?

Thanks for all the help Ed

Overexposing my 400H still seems to give quite a bit of grain though. Hmm. Or it's just the scanning (speaking of which, quite miffed at my lab. They scanned one of my night-time negatives and pushed the exposure digitally until it looked like I'd made it mid-afternoon (it was made after sunset, 1.4 at 1/30th and now the noise on that scan is absolutely appalling. They also blew the sky right out on one of my sunset shots, and that one was clearly digitally pushed because I could see the noise there. Ugh)

Those're some beautiful cameras - are they all yours?
__________________
Don't spare my feelings, just criticise
Go ahead and edit photos I post, but only for use on this forum (else send me a message)

Smugmug - http://xxloverxx.smugmug.com
xxloverxx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2011   #15
Dromedary
 
tomrit's Avatar
 
Location: Boone NC USA
Posts: 1,527
CamelKarma: 2684
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Film from the 1950's having a "safety stop"?

The change over was either in 1957, or 1959 (my mind gets fuzzy sometimes but I am thinking it was '59). I have a 1956 Kodak Pocket Photoguide that has the old film speeds in it. The change doubled most speeds, but some only went up a bit. Like Plus X Professional went from 80 to 125, while the amateur version went from 80 to 160.

The claim was the light meters were then in general use and the safety factor was no longer needed. The big change that made was for folks using the Sunny-16 rule, today Sunny-11 works better because it puts the safety factor back in, but you have to watch out because some films sold today do not like over exposure at all (Formapan, AKA Arista.EDU Ultra, comes to mind).
__________________
Tom
www.tomrit.com
tomrit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2011   #16
Vicuna
 
Location: U.K
Posts: 123
CamelKarma: 304
Editing OK?: No
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Film from the 1950's having a "safety stop"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Shapiro View Post
Xxloverxx !- Hi dare! (Brooklyn Pronunciation) We must be on the same wavelength- Who said there is no such thing as mental telepathy? Hey you can always call me in on issues from the olden days because I am OLD and was there when some of those old issues were actually in place.

OK- so here is the deal on those old A.S.A. safety factors:

A.S.A stood for the American Standards Association- they were the authority in assigning film speeds criteria in the old days. Those criteria are now the job of the I.S.O. (I assume that stands for International Standards Organization). In the old days and today, advanced amateur and professionals mostly determine there own EXPOSURE INDEXES based of the type of negatives or digital files the wish to create based on their own likings and procedures. In other words, the old A.S.A. ratings were merely a starting point and advanced workers had their own methods.

Back in the 50s the average user, at least according to Kodak, was a rank amateur who would send his or her film to a drug store type of commercial photofinisher. Advanced armatures and pros had their own darkrooms and were able to manipulate their processing procedures and create the own film/developer combinations as well as time and temperature factors in the developing process- many followed the procedures of the ZONE SYSTEM which required this flexibility of exposure and development. The commercial amateur photofinishers were laughed at by advanced workers- they used to joke that theses labs would develop film in urine and other such liquids (gross), Nevertheless they did come up with snapshot quality images that were good enough for the average family snap-shooter. When theses labs received film, there was just one type of general developer in use- not the ones designed for maximizing film speeds so that one of the biggest cause of muddy looking prints with poor shadow detail was underexposure which could not be addressed or compensated for at the lab. Taking this into consideration, Kodak published A.S.A. ratings that were about 50% of the actual film speed potential and other manufacturers followed suit. The instructions included with all films made reference to this policy and encourage advanced photographers to conduct tests to arrive at the own exposure indexes. So the rule of thumb in those days was; you can get a decent or at least “snappy” print out of an overexposed or dense negative but a “thin” underexposed negative was not as salvageable, it at all. The “death rattle” of negatives was an overexposed a “pulled” under developed negative- dense and flat- a total nightmare to print- muddy grainy- god awful!

Users of color transparency material had no such safety margins, slide films had little or no exposure latitude so exposures had to be spot on and careful photographers would bracket exposures to be sure of a good slide. Some photographers like a slightly underexposed slide for dramatic color saturation. With transparencies slated for publication or lithographic reproduction, some color separation houses preferred well saturated transparencies while other preferred more normal renditions. Nobody wanted washed out slides or reproduction transparencies.

Then came the popularity of color negative film. I don’t remember safety factors on that material but it became standard professional practice to routinely overexpose the early versions of Kodacolor, Ektacolor and Vericolor film by ˝ to 1 full stop. This method yielded more saturated color and less grain. Early professional color negative films were quite grainy where the amateur emulsions like Kodacolor was sharper and had less grain. The pro films were geared to warm skin tones as in wedding and portrait photography and were aged for the best color quality- at least that was Kodak’s excuse for the grain and somewhat lesser sharpness.

Push processing color negatives films was a big no-no unless you liked color crossover which causes nearly impossible to correctly print negatives. For a while there was Ektapress which could be pushed but the images were rather lackluster and the film was soon discontinued. There were all kinds of folklore about the old C-22 and the current C41 process as to not processing different kinds of film in the same machine or batch and all kinds of things that would ruin the chemicals. I never found that to be true in my own lab but who knows? Most of those films and the old C-22 process are all long dead and buried so nobody can really find out unless they can find someone with personal experience. Most labs gave those excuses because they did not want to bother changing routines for special processes- they had a “one size fits all” policy. For many years, I water soaked my film prior to starting them in the C-22 and slightly altered the processing time. I got amazing shadow detail and no crossover problems.

Fore many decades the best method of exposing negative films was to expose for the shadows and print for the highlights. This was a great method to control contrast ratios and yielded salon quality prints. Portraitists who switched to digital in the early days had a hard time braking old habits. This old method was based on the wide latitude of negatives which goes back to the old safety factor. Nowadays, with the new generation of T-grain films, in many of the ISO 400 and 800 emulsions, the assigned speed are right on and overexposure can cause a reduction in quality.

In the black and white field, there are not many of the old emulsion still on the market. There may be a few high silver traditional films still left on the European market- I am not sure now. My favorites are all gone. The new T-grain selection as well as TRI-X is good but rather limited. The available developers are also somewhat limited unless you care to make scratch formulas if you can find the chemicals. I still maintain a wet darkroom which I love but that is becoming less practical as the days go on. In my studio, I offer real fiber base prints processed to archival standards. I charge a lot of money for those and find very them marketable. I can do that as long as my supply of paper (in the freezer) and chemicals such as selenium toner remain on the market.

So dats the way it is with the old safety factor- nothing that can mean much nowadays what with the predominance of digital photography. The old adage “of overexpose if you are not sure” is long dead and buried unless you are a diehard film user and if you know about the zone system, it’s old hat for you anyway.

If you miss the “smell” of the old darkroom just fill an old jar with oxidized developer and/or old fixer (hypo) and keep in next your computer so when you are editing just give it a sniff every now and again. I am gonna hang my old safelight above the screen for a pang on nostalgia.

Oh- y’all- thanks for this thread- it was FUN. Call me in for any and all old stuff and test my memory- new stuff is OK too!

Ed


Unfortunately Ed I'm old enough to remember all this stuff because I've been a photographer since 1953, but it was good to be reminded by your excellent treatise, thanks a lot.

Ben.
Ben Myerson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2011   #17
PhotoCamel Supporter DONATED
Bactrian
 
Jim Jones's Avatar
 
Location: Rural Missouri
Posts: 2,345
CamelKarma: 501383
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Film from the 1950's having a "safety stop"?

In 1951 Verichrome was rated at ASA 50 in daylight and 25 by Ttungsten, Plus-X was 50 daylight and 32 tungsten, and Super-XX Panchromatic was 100 daylight and 80 tungsten. Tri-X Panchromatic sheet film was a fast 200 daylight and 160 tungsten. Soon it was available in 35mm. Kodachrome was only ASA 10, but the fast lenses available on expensive cameras made that acceptable. Referring to ASA ratings, the 1951 Kodak Data Book for Kodak films says, "For black-and-white continuous-tone negative materials covered by the standard, a safety factor of 2.5 is used."

I vaguely remember that when Kodak doubled the ASA speed rating of their film, they said that extensive analysis of typical negatives indicated that film was typically being overexposed and that doubling the ASA rating and thus halving the exposure would usually give optimum quality. My mistrust of advertising hype suspects that it was more a result of one-upmanship than of scientific investigation. Bracketing my exposures supports the theory that halving the film speed rating results in better shadow detail without blocking highlights.


__________________
Members don't see ads in threads. Register for your free account today and become a member of PhotoCamel to open up the site's many benefits and features.
Jim Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

« PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Cameras and Lenses > Film Camera »


Share this topic:

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
you're probably thinking "stop!" but here's one more of the baby girl :) Rain Lily Portraits 11 06-21-2009 07:33 PM
New Online "Radio" Show About Shooting Film SecondFocus Film Camera 5 10-28-2008 04:05 PM
Filter comparison "none" " UV" " 81A" and "polarize" . dvdowns Camera Accessories 8 06-25-2008 08:24 AM
Clarify a " stop " for me please . dvdowns Photography Talk 10 04-27-2006 02:27 PM