Well, I finally managed to get back in the darkroom and try out our new-old Hewes steel developing tank & reels. After the auto-loading Paterson reel we had decided to start giving up the ghost, I figured it might be a good idea to try something that might end up being a bit more reliable, though there are caveats, as always!
Loading the steel reels is straightforward, but requires practice; there are videos on youtube that are very helpful, I found this one and this one to be helpful. One of the two rolls I developed this time was misaligned and therefore ‘bunched up’, somewhere in the inner spirals, causing the chemicals to pool there during the process. This resulted in lines and blobs on the negatives at around this point on the roll. Like I said, practice will hopefully alleviate this.
I also recently managed to get hold of a Gossen Profispot for around half the price they normally go for – this is the spot meter attachment for my Profisix light meter. For the purpose of testing, instead of using a grey card, I used this to meter on the Edale to Hope walk, and after looking at the ‘scanned’ negatives, it became apparent that a steep learning process is going to transpire, when at last the time arises of course!
Anyhow, I shot a couple of rolls of Tri-X on two separate trips out to the Peak District from the past month or so; one a walk out through Endcliffe Park towards the Norfolk Arms shot using the MIR 45mm f3.5, the other a very wet and windy hike out from Edale towards Hope, via the Roman Road – shot on the Zeiss Flektogon 50mm f4.
The rolls were shot at ISO 320 and developed accordingly in 1:3 Perceptol, for times derived from the Massive Dev Chart. I also performed some cropping, contrast boosting and white balancing in PS, and the negatives were scanned using a Canon 500D, fitted with a Sigma 18-250mm f3.5.
These are the first proper outings for these lenses and it seems that this copy of the MIR isn’t all that bad! I’m looking forward to doing a better comparison when I have more time to spare.