What is a Proper Negative?

What is a proper negative? Let’s look at exposure in a different way. The flash unit I’ve been using seems to think that it know best as to what is a correct exposure and as a result what is a proper negative. Let’s have a look. When the flash is set to an automatic setting, Red or Blue, it will adjust the duration of the flash to achieve a reflected light reading, made through the sensor on the front of the flash head, and the results will be pretty much the same all of the time. In this inquiry we will be looking at direct flash pictures taken with automatic settings. No bounce flash will be used until proper samples are shown.


43-3, and 4 next to it, not shown here, were taken with automatic settings and a direct flash. Note the nasty shadows in white on the negative on the right side of the camera. 90mm LS, no 2x converter, dot 400, WA, Red, 0 degrees, U, 8, f2.8, 1/125 The next shot passed the Green flash test so this is the same, same settings. Focus was off but that is not the subject here. f2.8 makes it difficult to focus. “This is the first time that all of the pictures came out correctly. The even tonality suggests to me that the flash has adjusted everything to its own settings. I tried a variety of things.” I did want more contrast in the negative and bought new film to develop longer.


44-6 from page 85, Arista 400, 90mm, dot 400, WA, Red, 0 degrees, U8, f2.8, 125 12’, Green, The overhead light was on and so was the lamp behind me. Developing was by the box information. 12-13 minuets in D-76 1:1. I used 13 minuets. Different film, longer development, different effect, pretty much the same though. Just a little darker.  Pages, like 85, are in my journal which is not published; this is lifted from it because I cannot print a hard copy right now as I am out of ink.


45-2 from page 92, TX400 called Tri-X 400, 90 LS, 2X teleconverter, Vivitar 2800, room lights, Pentax 6×7 4158461 Chimney Finder and strap, camera set to 220, Camera on 8, lens on U, I was on the couch almost 9’ away. F4. The 2X teleconverter takes two stops of light. The light meter was set at the line under 100. No panel was used in the flash. The shutter on the LS lens was set on 1/250 for hand holding this big honking lens. A floor lamp was on situated at the right Ceiling lights were on full and it was dark outside. A torch was used to focus with.


46-3 from page 95, 400TX 165 LS, 4 on camera speed is 1/4th of a second, chimney view finder, Big pipe tripod, Vivitar 2800 flash, Blue Automatic, f8, closest focus possible at 5’1” to back of chimney. It was daytime, the lights were on, all of them. F8, 4, Blue. 400 line. Shot 6 had all of the lights turned off and it looks just the same.


47-7 from page 100. Vertical counter clockwise rotation with the flash on the bottom left. f8, Blue, 9’ away. Automatic setting on the flash.


47-9 from page 100. Vertical, clockwise rotation with the flash on the top right, f16, Manual, 9’ away, 1/250. The camera was 4148168, the lens 165LS, the camera was set on 4. The sun was up but not shining into the living room, Vivitar 2800 flash, Manual mostly, 1/250th of a second shutter, 400TX film, pentaprism TTL finder, 400 line. I wanted better focus so manual was used with f16. Ambient light played a part in this exposure. More on that later.

48-1 n

48-1 from page 103. 4148168 400TX 165LS 4 Vivitar 2800 no panel 400 line 1/250, all the lights were on.  M f5.6 75* +2  Now this is a shot taken with the flash set on Manual and the light bounced off the ceiling but it makes a good computer print and it looks like the other negatives so it may be a proper negative.

49-2 n

49-2 page 105. This film was pushed to 1600 in processing to see how dark it would get. The others were developed 9 3/4-10 min but this was 13 1/4 min. It shows. The positive looks great. The dark statue prints nicely in the PC. 400TX in 4148168 on 4 165mm LS lens, Vivitar 2800 flash, 400 line, no panel 1/250 hand held, TTL Pentaprism finder.Daylight window light was on the left, and the face was black +2 exposure at f5.6-8 with a 45 degree bounce flash on Manual.


This IS a little light as the statue is so dark. However, it is necessary in order to get the detail to show. It could be printed darker to get the paper to show more notes and the wall to be a little darker. I think that the thicker emulsions are needed to eliminate white specks. Very thin negatives look bad especially in the darks and are loaded with specks.


Pentax 6×7 Exposures Evaluations

49-10 Taken by my son
49-10 Taken by my son

April 22, 2016 This photo is pretty good, for a single bounce flash. It is very dark under the brows, but I can see the eyes, just barely, and it is dark under the chin all around the throat. The flash was aimed at the ceiling, what do you expect? What I am interested in is the condition of the shadows on the negatives and what controls them. So, this is what I intend to do. 120 negatives taken of a statue, my son, and a couple of me will be compared. 400TX is the film. We’ll look at rolls: 40, 46, 47, 48, & 49. They are all 120 400TX. Roll 45,135-24, did not have a backing that colored the pre-rinse water even if 400TX so excluded.

40-6 Blue, 200 iso line f5.6, 250, T&S, flashed (flash check?) fill lamp on couch, no panel, 0 angle, light was blocked with a notebook from the flash sensor. 90LS and the 2X teleconverter. I was tired of thin negatives and really liked this one because it was so dark. 10 min development. The flash sensor got covered.


46-3 Blue, 400 iso line f8, 125, LS shutter speed makes no difference in exposure on automatic. 4&U, 165mmLS lens. It was daytime and all the lights were on. 10 min development. Turning off the lights made no difference in the negatives.


46-9 Red, 400 iso line, f4, 250, Bounce, 45 degrees, Green, (focused at 9’) 165mmLS lens, 10 min development. Daylight. No panel in flash. This is a bounce flash and although underexposed is what I want to do. The others have the annoying flash shadow on them but are better exposed.


47-5 Manual, 400 iso line f4, 250, Bounce 60*, 165mmLS lens, I assume that processing was the same, 10 min development, although it was not noted. The sun was up but not shining into the living room. 15’ = f11. This is a +3 exposure.


47-10 Manual, 400 line, f8, 250, Bounce 45*, 165mmLS lens, 10 min development, This exposure had the lens opened one stop more than what was indicated on the flash head. +1. 15’=f11. It was day time but not bright and no direct sun inside. I wanted more depth of field so closed the lens 2 stops from that used in 47-5. I had a white shirt on.

48-1 n

48-1 All the lights were on and it was bright there. 4148168 400TX 165LS 4 Vivitar 2800 no panel 400 line 1/250. 9 3/4 min development. M f5.6 75* +2, the next shot at +1 didn’t work as well as this one did.

48-5 n

48-5 M f4 60* +3 4148168 400TX 165LS 4 Vivitar 2800 no panel 400 line 1/250 M f4 60* +3

48-7 n

48-7 M, Camera on 2, f5.6 60* 250 +2 This is pretty good, too. I just wanted to test the sync speed on the camera. The robe is whiter than in 48-5

48-8 n

48-8 M 4 f5.6 60* +2 My eye sockets are so deep they were dark in 47-10 so I kept my head up to catch the light from the ceiling bounce flash 9 3/4 min development

48-10 n

48-10 Manual, f11-8, +1, 0*, 11’ focus I set up the shot then handed off the camera to Melita who took the shot. You can barely see the shadows around the ears. All the lights were on. 9 3/4 min development

49-2 n

49-2 It is easier to print good shadow detail when there is detail in the shadows. #1 looked good until you try to make a positive out of it. 400TX in 4148168 on 4 165mm LS lens, Vivitar 2800 flash, 400 line, no panel 1/250 hand held, TTL Pentaprism finder, Daylight on left of head, face was black. 13 1/4 min development Manual +2 f5.6-8 45*

49-7 n

49-7 f8 +2 75* M bounce I stood in the doorway looking down. Darks on the negative, the light areas, do look darker as do the shadows show more grays in them. Developed for 1600 iso. Bounce distance varied so exposure was adjusted

49-10 n

49-10 +1 f8 M 75* Bounce flash I don’t know why this came out. Perhaps the extended development did work. What would a +3 look like? Try duplicating 40-6 again to see if that fill lamp really did work. Bracket on manual. Use the 165LS lens and 13 1/4 min development Turn on all of the living room lights and see if improvement occurs.

Here is a positive larger of my son in 49-7



Pentax 6×7 165mm Leaf Shutter Lens

Pentax 6x7 with 165LS lens and Vivitar 2800 Flash
Pentax 6×7 with 165LS lens and Vivitar 2800 Flash

Video on YouTube

Well, I got it to work. All the shots came out great. One shot was even taken with a flash at f16.  Here are two shots of my son, the first is at f4 because it is a bounce flash off the ceiling. The second is straight at him only the flash was on manual and that means I could take it at f16.

46-10 f16
f 16 Manual flash
bounce flash on automatic Red f4
bounce flash on automatic Red f4