Monday, June 5, 2023

A successful half-dozen sheets of ancient 4x5 Plus-X

After therapy with a roll of 120 film and a continuing prescription of Manic Expression, I successfully exposed and processed six sheets of the 40-year-old 4x5 Plus-X rescued from the transition to digital in my department early in the millenium. I had been leading the transition to digital graphics on the whole campus for some time, so I can't be too critical.

My first ventures with the big old film revealed I was being too trusting of my changing bag and even unfogged negatives, when developed, had odd marks which I attributed to the film resting against the hanger during stand development. A few weeks ago, I again confidently set forth with the Pinhole Lab Camera and the changing bag, making sure to swap the film in as deep a shadow as I could. I even had a black jacket on. Alas, it looks like reloading this big camera just takes too much wiggling and it seems the teensy amount of light it takes to fog film snuck in through the sleeves.

I exposed another six sheets, this time loaded entirely in the darkroom, all with the camera set up for the 60mm film plane with .28mm pinholes. Some of those previous sheets which had been semi-stand developed looked like they were unevenly developed as well, so I did normal agitation with Rodinal 1:50, this time with a Paterson MOD54 4 x 5" Sheet Film Holder.

There doesn't seem to be any exposure-fogging or serious base-fogging in the vintage Plus-X and no issues with uneven development. The Paterson System is much less trouble than hangers and tanks and uses much less developer. It's a little tricky to load compared to hangers, but you can't beat daylight processing.

I'd been watching the dappled sunlight on the hostas just outside the lanai for days before I got up my courage to make an exposure.

Intruding into the top of that picture is the larger hosta next to it.

A dark coleus.

Just after a brief shower, the mad profusion of No-Mow May in the garden when we allow the globe flowers and daisies to feed the bees.

While mowing the front lawn on a sweaty afternoon, I watched these picturesque clouds build over Lake Winnebago. Despite only having one frame in the camera available to capture them, I rode over for the reflection in Miller's Bay

I had to do a little rising front architectural work, this time at two scales. Maybe I'll go on some one-frame-available bike rides with it in the future. 

These files were created with a 55mm, f3.5 Micro-NIKKOR-P·C Auto (which is older than the film) on a Nikon D750. I just metered it in the middle and I think that's giving me too dense images, but with 16-bit grey scale you've got plenty of data to play with. Experimenting with digital camera capture of negatives is another thing I seem to have to force myself to do.

For the next six sheets, I'm going out to the 90mm film plane with the .34mm pinholes and try semistand developing again. There are 75 sheets of the Plus-X left.

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