Quick Contact Cheat
Yesterday evening I developed 2 films (135, Tri-X, in Diafine). They were drying in the bathroom when I went to bed, dry when I woke up. I cut them up, then I was on my way to work... as usual with this kind of thing, the big question is: "What is on the film? Anything good?" In the good old days of darkroom work, we'd do a contact sheet. Nowadays I do what I could call a "contact cheat".
As I've cut the film and placed it into a protective sleeve, I hold it up to the window and take a picture with my mobile phone. For 120 film, one picture is enough, for 135 two pictures (lower and upper part) work better. As I get to work, I transfer the pix to my computer. I open them in a simple image editor. Obviously they show the negatives, pretty washed out too. First I invert them, then I go into the "Levels" function and hit the "black point" way up and the "white point" a little bit down. The histogram shows the right points quite obviously. But also the pictures start to look almost right too.
Just like on a real contact sheet, these adjustments are done for all the pictures together. So I can see which negatives are over/under exposed. I get an overall idea of the composition and "what's there". Sometimes it's not so easy to make out what a picture actually shows... but that's just like a real contact sheet too. And I can fuss over my "new" pictures all day long, till I get the time to scan them :-)
The "contact cheat" shows the pictures larger than you see them in the example picture. So in some way it's better than a real contact. On the other hand it's not as sharp as a good contact sheet.