Excessive grain and underexposure with Diafine

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by nicholas_cafritz, Jun 10, 2016.

  1. Hi, So I just developed a bunch of rolls in Diafine and the negatives have come out very grainy and look underexposed. Even the black bars between frames have grain. I have been developing in Diafine with this exact process for a while and never seen this before and not sure whats going wrong.
    Trix 400 35mm exposed at iso1250
    4mins in A&B at 70 degrees.
    2 initial inversions followed by 2 inversions every minute.
    rinse twice
    NH5 for 2 minutes
    Rinse for 10 minutes
    Scanned on V800
    Shot on several different cameras.
    The only thing I can think is that it is from the X-ray when I went through airport security, but other rolls look fine...
    Thanks in advance!
    Examples below:
  2. Can you tell the difference in underdevelopment and underexposure?
    As far as grain, pushing Tri-X will give you enlarged grain. Your shot above does not look bad at all. X-rays at the airport generally give wierd fogging and odd exposure striping. This just looks like Tri-X pushed.

    How about a scan of the negatives from this roll next to negatives exposed and processed identically from one of the other rolls?
  3. Thanks Zelph,
    Its not necessarily a push with diafine, thats just the best speed to shoot trix with it.
    Normally I get results like the photos attached.
    I also don't normally say grain on the frame...
    Totally stumped
  4. This problem seems to be confined to Tri X. I had a roll of HP5 in the same batch and it looks great.
    I think its actually not grain, but noise from the scanner auto-exposing and pushing the image a stop or two...
    Is there a reason that I would be getting less speed from my Tri X all of a sudden, the film isn't excessively old or anything. Maybe 6 months max, NOT refrigerated, thats really the only thing I can come up with.
  5. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    "I think its actually not grain, but noise from the scanner ..."

    I have an idea. Why not get a loupe and actually look at the film itself?
  6. Hi James, I did check it with a loupe, that is part of reason why I think may be noise. I really need a higher magnification to be sure that the grain is in fact not there
  7. I used Diafine and Acufine many years ago (when it first came out) and am impressed with the quality of the large normal image. Any chance the scanner was set wrong?
  8. Hi Randy, I don't think its the scanner, other rolls have come out just fine. Its weird because nothing really changed in my process, processing or digital, only the quality of the negative...
  9. I think I see your problem. 70F is too low, I always use Diafine at 72-80F.
  10. Diafine says 70 to 85F, so 70 should be fine.
    Grain in the bars between frames sounds like fogging due to old or kept too warm film.
    Looking at your times, the 2 minute fix sounds a little low for Tri-X.
    Usually rapid (ammonia based) fixer says 2-5 minutes, where 2 is for Panatomic-X, and 5 is for Tri-X. (and maybe longer for T-grain films.)
    I would try refixing for about 5 minutes, then usual wash and dry.
    Normal underfiximg gives a milky look, but if you are just a tiny bit underfixed, maybe what you see.
    Also, rapid fixer is pH sensitive, and might work slightly slower at some pH values.
    And underexposed means more work for the fixer.
  11. Hmmm - Underfixing could definitely be the problem. Very curious to test that out.

    Thank you!!
  12. That grain will pretty much disappear if you make an enlarger print. To a large degree, anyway. Underexposed Tri-X and Diafine are not made for each other, while overexposed Tri-X and Diafine are.
    Having said, it's a combination I was never fond of. It became popular because newspaper photogs could get a useable image this way in all sorts of lighting, but it's not an optimal image. Tri-X looks a lot better in D76 or Rodinal, two classic combinations. You'll see a lot more tonal range and better whites w/ something like that. In Diafine, Tri-X gets sort of grey.
  13. The Diafine box recommendation for Tri-X has been between 1200 and 1600 over the years.
    As Kodak recommends Tri-X at 800 with no development change, and 1600 with extended development, it doesn't seem so hard to believe that Diafine can do it.
    The Diafine box speed for Panatomic-X used to be 250, so about three stops. I used to do that and get reasonable, though maybe not optimal, results. I suspect that 120 or 160 would have been a better choice.
    But with many modern films, the Diafine speed increase is much lower. Pan-F+ goes from 50 to 80.
    Diafine claims optimal development for all films, though it isn't so obvious that there haven't been more changes in films over the years, such that the formula should be re-optimized for newer films.

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