What to do about overexposure

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I have some negs that were going to make me rich and famous only to discover they are so dense that it takes 3x exposure to get a proof. I developed some others with them that turned out OK so it was not processing. I am thinking a sticky shutter. Was in a place where I could not hear it. 3X enlargement not good for the clouds in them, I don't like grain, that's why I use large negs. What can I do? Will reducer do anything for the grain? I have a couple I can experiment on.

-- Richard C. Trochlil (trochlilbb@neumedia.net), September 19, 2000


"Compensating" or "proportionate" reducers are a safe way to go. There is also a use for heavy negs for Platinum printing or other alternative processes.

-- Scott Walton (scotlynn@shore.net), September 19, 2000.

If you are going to use any reducing agents, make sure you give a long pre-wet of say 5 mins so the uptake of bleach will be more even. james

-- james (james_mickelson@hotmail.com), September 19, 2000.

Kodak Farmer's Reducer will work, but be sure to follow James's advice about the pre-soak.

I suggest a less radical, but more expensive approach. Kodak duplicating film (I think it is SO-39). Calumet has it as B&W Dupe. You don't risk your negatives with this as you do with a reducer.

It's a one-step negative-to-negative film. You expose it like a print, but the longer you expose it, the lighter it gets. You can manipulate exposure (dodge & burn-in) and adjust the overall scale. Develop in your print developer. It's about $40 for 25 sheets!

Good luck.

-- Charlie Strack (charlie_strack@sti.com), September 19, 2000.

You might consider having them drum scanned and output back to 4x5. Expensive, but it could be worth it depending on their value.

-- Al Seyle (alseyle@gte.net), September 19, 2000.

Also reducers increase grain. They also make shadows emptier. Why are you having a problem making a print? At 3 times the exposure for a print that means 10 secs normal makes it 30 secs. There isn't anything wrong with that. Hell I have mistakes in the 10 minute range that produce excellent prints. Just be careful with the reducers. They can be wonderful one minute and hell the next. James

-- james (james_mickelson@hotmail.com), September 24, 2000.

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