Developing Ilford FP4

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by steve_lebel, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. I recently included some FP4 on a vacation trip. I developed the
    first roll with Rodinal using a dilution of 1:100 at 68 deg. F, for
    their recommended time of 15 minutes. The negatives when scanned,
    give me a sense that the frames were underexposed by about 1 stop.

    Is there anything I can do to modifiy my development on the other
    rolls to bring the images more closely to their original visualized
    look? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I failed to run some
    tests to quantify this film with my equipment before I left on this
    vacation, and now face some stressful moments in my little darkroom.
    Thanks in advance. Steve
  2. You need a speed increasing developer, of which Rodinal is not. It won't be a big difference, probably less than a stop, but some developers will do better in the shadows than others. I can't suggest any commercial preparations, as I mostly mix my own stuff, but no doubt others here can chime in with some good suggestions. This doesn't apply to Rodinal or HC110, but for almost everything else, use absolutely fresh developer. I've noticed that loss of shadow detail (speed) is the first thing to go. If you use a liquid, make sure it was manufactured recently. If you use a powder, use it within a couple weeks of mixing the stock. (My favorite with FP4+ is FX2- you can also buy Bill Troop's modified version from the Formulary. It will pick up maybe 1/2 stop in speed. Do a mild push.)
  3. If the negs are underexposed, they will lack detail in the shadow areas. If they are underdeveloped, they lack contrast.

    You should not need to look at the scans to see if there is shadow detail or not. If you lack shadow detail, a push developer might help. Microfin from Ilford will give more speed. Others who do push processing can better advise you.

    If you lack contrast, print on higher contrast paper or intensify the negs. Scanner programs allow you to increase contrast and there is photoshop for further corrections. You can rescan with more contrast.

    Buy more film and expose the same way and develope per above before you do the second film, which is what you should have done in the first place.

    Since you have a scan, why not attach it to another response so we can see the problem. Use the brouse for file when first submitting the response and before finalising it, attach it, then put a title on it like underexposed/underdeveloped? If you resize it to 600 pix wide, it can be viewed directly, other wise a link will show. If you submit too large a file, those with slow connections can`t see it. They will downloading forever and maybe time out.

    Photoshop Elements has a nice save for web program found under file. Save as a new file so as not to loose the original. Med to low quality jpeg is sufficient.
  4. Here is a sample of a typical negative for your further analysis. I hope that by sharing this scanned negative, you will be able to better assess my situation/problem. Thanks for your help.
  5. Can't really tell from the example. You really need to examine the negative. Ronald's response pretty much says it all.
  6. I rated FP4+ (120 format) at ISO 125 and developed in Rodinal 1+100, 68F for 20 minutes. Haven't printed anything yet but the negatives look very decent- sharp with a lot of details.

    Recently, I tried Rodinal 1+100 for Pan F+ and FP4+ and got excellent results.
  7. Look at the right side of the neg, top on what I see as it is rotated. There are lots of dark shadows there, but the scan appears overall too dark too.

    There should be some detail in those shadows. If the neg is clear there, there is not much you can do. If there is a slight amount of detail, I would dye dodge those areas to keep them from going to dark. Use Kodak Crocein Scarlet 5413-75-2. You need very LITTLE dye density. Practice on something else first. Use very dilute dye. Add a little, make a print. Add more and a second print.You could also sandwich a clear neg and do the dye on it.

    My dye came from B&H in New York. The only size bottle is $35, but it is a lifetime supply.

    You can also sandwich the neg with matt acetate and add pencil density to hold back the dark areas.

    If there is NO detail to preserve, just let it go black. Otherwise it will look smokey grey.

    This would have been a perfect place to give 1 or 2 stops over exposure and reduce development. This is very high contrast lighting and taming it would be of benefit.
  8. Ron,
    I should have also mentioned that when I shot this film, there was a B+W #23 yellow filter on the lens. The internal light meter adjusted for this filter. I am only scanning my neg's for some other backup method. I am working on finishing the building of my darkroom, so by this winter I will be able to print on paper. I can take the scan and using Photoshop adjust the lighing and contrast and come up with a fairly nice looking shot, but wanted your professional opinion on what went wrong so that I could learn from everyone's experience. Thanks, Steve
  9. You don't have Digital ICE or FARE turned on on your scanner, do you?
  10. As Ron said, you have pretty decent shadow detail. I think your highlights are okay, too - it's a pretty contrasty scene, and there is one little patch to the left of the large formation in the middle (assuming I've rotated it the right way) that is intense. But the rest of the image is fine. I just did simple levels and a tiny curve. It seems okay to me, though still a bit underexposed. Using even something like D76 diluted will probably get you closer to box speed than Rodinal. allan
  11. Well the redo shows more detail than I thought was there. I guess it was burried in the overall darkness.

    The 023 requires 3x exposure compensation or 1 1/2 stops. Never depend upon the camera meter to compensate correctly. When I use mine in the winter and it is too cold to remove and replace it, I adjust the camera to give +1 stop over. All camera are different, but there are only so many meter cell manufactures and all mine require the +1 in order to meter thru the lens correctly. Meter a grey board or white in full sun, then add the filter and remeter. If you get 1.5 stops more required, you are lucky.

    You are always better to meter without the filter and then add the correction manually. Depending upon the color of the subject, an inboard camra meter may or may not give you a correct exposure either. The meters are calibrated for a middle grey and either lighter or darker subjects require compensation. An incident meter requires almost no correction.

    The use of the contrast increasing filter could be tried here, but I would have made some back up shots without it. The dark shadows on the sun lite rocks provide great contrast, but it also made the large shadows very dark which you did not want.

    You can print an unfiltered one so the shadows are are correctly rendered, then mask the shadows with a dodging tool and give some additional exposure to the balance of the pic thru a high contrast printing filter. This will not change the highlites, but will deepen the blacks and the shadows will be preserved.

    Shadows are mostly blue light, and the yellow filter passes little blue making them extra dark.

    Spouce is calling for dinner, so got to quit.
  12. Steve, the yellow filter will affect the shadows more than the highligts. So even if your exposure was spot on, your shadows can still be thin...

    I like Neofin Blau for FP4+ - using the zone system, I get an EI of about 160. So if you mix your own use Beutler's, otherwise splurge on a few vials of Neofin.
  13. Well it is spouse, but I was in a hurry.

    Contrast filters require different adjustments depending upon strength for TTL metering. A light yellow will read very close. As you go up to deep yellows like the 023, oranges, 025 red, 029 red, the TTL reading will be increasingly wrong. Also if you are reading non grey such a the red rocks of Bryce Canyon, great experience will be required to know how the deep yellow will react with reds, bluish shadows, and how a camera meter will react to all this if you are trying to TTL meter.

    Last comment is I would not have placed the rock column in the center, but moved it slightly right. Rarely does a main subject belong dead center. Cover the right 20% and see if you don`t like it better.

    Good luck on your new darkroom.
  14. Thanks for all your help on this subject. As I mentioned, I am planning to do a lot of printing this winter. I assume from your feedback, that once in the darkroom, I can manipulate the scene with Ilford's variable contrast filters and use dodging and burning to bring the pic closer to the "visualized" scene. Ron, thanks also for your critique. You are right, the hoodo should have been shifted away from center. Again, my thanks to all contributors! Best regards, Steve.
  15. I've used this combination in the past and been more than happy. I shot the film at 100 (simply because it was easier to set on the old meter). It seemed to be spot on. However, I developed it for 20 minutes in 1+100 at 20c - I think 15 minutes may be a bit short for that dilution.

    It seems 20 minutes is a good starting time for most films (up to ISO400 at least) in Rodinal @1+100.


Share This Page