developing for finest grain

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by Jean-Claude, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. I am returning to the same spot where I took nice pictures last Sunday but this time will use an APX 100 film instead of HP5.

    Usually I develop it in Studional (Rodinal special) 1+15 for 4 minutes in a JOBO. Since I want to print as large as possible, say 60x80cm, I need the finest grain possible.

    What is the rule of thumb when diluting a film double? In this case 1+30. Twice the normal time was not enough (8 minutes) the first time!

    Before testing and retesting again & again, I would like to get your thoughts regarding the same developper of course. Thank you!
  2. AJG


    Rodinal has many adherents, but I doubt that anyone ever claimed it to be the developer that created the finest grain. There is usually some trade off between fine grain and ultimate sharpness, with some fine grain developers causing a noticeable loss of sharpness compared to more standard formulas. Also, large prints are usually viewed at a greater distance so grain becomes less objectionable.
    bgelfand likes this.
  3. +1 to not using Rodinal for fine grain.

    APX100 has a fairly fine grain no matter what you develop it in, but I suggest you use HC-110 or D-76/ID-11 (same formula). HC-110 will be more economical in the long run, but costs more for the minimum quantity. If you see what I mean.

    Both HC-110 and D-76 are fairly foolproof developers that don't require any special treatment or technique, such as adjusting the exposure away from 'box speed'.
  4. Several years ago I did some tests of the APX 100 material in my "then" Pyro developer, 510-Pyro, vrs a 3ml / 450 Nikor s/s tank development of Rodinal using a modified semi stand developing scheme. The Rodinol scheme produces excellent negatives but even those are improved with the Pyro developing. I believe the stain "reduces" the apparent grain of the developed negative in the print. Currently I am using the Pyrocat HDC (DIY brewed) with excellent results on both 100 & 400 asa materials. Aloha, Bill
  5. SCL


    Rodinal isn't known for fine grain, but rather sharp grain. If you're printing on canvas at the size indicated, Rodinal would do fine, I've got several prints this size from tri-x negatives developed in Rodinal which look great since they're viewed from a distance, but if you're going for a fine arts type print with lots of tonality, I think D76 or HC110 is a better choice
  6. This is an example of a "contradiction". To get acutance you have to compromise in other directions and so on.
    Here's a chart from the way-back machine:
  7. Rodinal and Rodinal special (Studional) are 2 completely different developpers (see also massive development chart)

    I just discover this:
    Rodinal vs. Rodinal Special

    I will put my question the other way around: what are the pros/cons of increasing dilution (more water and more time accordingly) for a normal exposed film? Does it depend on the developper, the film, both?
    For a given filmssome people use stock solution, others 1+1, 1+2 or even 1+3. Why?

    Does our friend JDM have pictures similar to the ones above? That would be great!
    Thank you.
  8. In my experience, the only thing that helped somewhat reducing grain with Rodinal was slow and little agitation, and running lower temperatures. I've used Rodinal with the current Agfa APX100, and it is *not* a low grain combination, plus the contrast pretty easily became excessive.

    If I want really low grain, I go with Perceptol. Gives great tonality, but sacrifices some sharpness in the process. With good slow(er) films, that is not much of an issue, since they're inherently sharp enough. HC110 is also an excellent choice, and since it stays good for a very long time, getting one bottle to last you several years makes a lot of sense if you develop irregular quantities.
  9. SCL


    An interesting discussion on the issue of developer dilution is often covered in discussions of the development process known as "stand development" and how exhaustion of the developer affects tonality. J. Hildenbrandt had an interesting discussion of the issue along with sample photos, all done with Rodinal, but it seems his website is down at present. My recollection was that he used a semi-stand process with a mid development short agitation, 1+300 dilution and a 1-2 hour development timeframe.
  10. My question does not refer to Rodinal, but Studional, 2 very different pair of shoes:)
  11. SCL


    Stand development is a technique which isn't developer specific.
  12. Sorry, can't put my finger on them right now. If I do find such comparisons I will post them later
  13. OK, Rodinal Special, AKA Studional going by its MSDS is a P-Q developer using an organic alkali accelerator. In this respect it bears much more similarity to HC-110 than it does to plain-vanilla Rodinal. In fact it's absolutely nothing like traditional Rodinal. (You live and learn!)

    WRT dilution: As a general rule, the faster you develop, the less fine the grain. However, there comes a dilution point where there just isn't/aren't sufficient developing agent(s) in the tank to fully develop the film. The weak solution then becomes a 'compensating' developer that limits contrast.

    For fine-grain developing, I would aim for a dilution that gives a developing time in the region of 7 to 10 minutes @ 20 Celsius. But read the data sheet to ensure you're using at least the minimum recommended quantity of concentrate.
  14. Thank you Joe.

    WRT minimum quantity of concentrate, the Agfa sheet says 10-12 films for 1 liter solution which is +/- 100ml of concentrate per film???Impossible. Agfa also suggests dilution 1+15, 4 minutes.

    The other day I devlopped 2 HP5 films (rated 400ISO) with 40 ml concentrate + 600ml of water (1+15) for 4 minutes at 20C. They came out just beautifully.

    I live and would like to learn:)
  15. Sorry!
  16. From before your mother was born, Not what you wanted, but perhaps still useful:


    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
    Jean-Claude likes this.
  17. IMO, only photographers can tell much difference between developers. Film is way more important. D-76 has been so popular for so long because it's one of the best compromises out there. I actually don't like it quite as much diluted, but use it full strength. Fuzzy grain isn't a good look, so I avoid so-called fine grain developers. As said above you need enough developing agent, so if you dilute too much, you need to use a large volume of developer per film- double or triple tank if needed. IMO again, going for "the finest grain possible" often results in an inferior overall image.
  18. Ja. I'm afraid that's true of a lot of us here, after all. :confused:
  19. Capacity values are usually given after dilution, but one can back compute.

    The capacity values for HC-110 decrease in proportion to the dilution, such that one can give
    (though Kodak never does) a value of concentrate needed.

    250ml of HC-110 (B), 1:31 dilution, has the capacity for one roll of 135-36, and
    needs 250ml/32 = 7.8ml of concentrate.

    From that, you can find 128 rolls/liter of concentrate.

    R09 spezial only gives one recommended dilution, which will do about 3 rolls in 250ml.

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