FP4+ in Rodinal

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by bob_b., Mar 29, 2004.

  1. Recently I posed a question about using a liquid developer like DD-X or Rodinal for FP4+. I had some Rodinal around, so I thought I'd give that a shot with a couple rolls as a quick experiment. Thought I'd share an example of my results. My first roll I developed for close to the Ilford recommeded time, and it came out really overdeveloped. So I cut back the time and got decent results. Grain was more controlled than I expected - still very much in the "fine-grain" category. It was a contrasty day, and the shadows are sort of blocked up (I'll probably shoot at EI 80 next time). Sharpness is good. I'm not sure about the tonality/gradation of tones. I'll probably give Rodinal another go just to try to dial it in a bit more, but right now I suspect there's a better developer for this film (for my tastes, anyway) lurking out there. I know there's been a hearty recommendation for Acutol, so I might try that if I can find it locally. Or maybe go back to XTOL (although I'm not a fan of mixing powders). I realize jpeq scans are not very representative of what you'd get from traditional printing, but it gives a rough idea. Tell me if this looks like "typical Rodinal" (whatever that might be). FP4+ 120, EI 100, Rodinal 1:50, 12 minutes, 68 degrees
  2. Here's a tighter crop to get a closer look at the grain. Note that I did some very minor level adjustments in Photoshop to get close to the tonality of a quick test print I made. Also a bit of spotting. Nothing else.
  3. I've been a Rodinalcoholic for twenty years. It is the most robust and reliable developer I know and it has never let me down. It is at its best with slow films but works well with some fast films (I've had good results with Fuji Neopan 400 and 1600). Your print shows classic Rodinal tonality and inclines me to want to revisit FP4/Rodinal. I use Rodinal with Delta 100 and TMax 100 (this latter giving excellent results).

    I'm currently testing some other formulations (pyrocat/carbonate, D23) but I still take Rodinal as my benchmark. My experience is that there is much to be gained by becoming thoroughly conversant with one or two developer/film combinations. I spent about three years as a newcomer to photography trying all manner of film/developer combinations but eventually discovered that it was constant practise that really improved my photography.
  4. I too am a Rodinal fan, but I also use other devs. for other looks. Like Chris said, it takes a while to get to a film and dev. combo. Try Acutol. Try 'em all! Is there a bad dev. out there?
  5. Bob, I think the "look" of your photo is rather pleasing.

    We all talk about "tonality," "sharpness," etc. and I think we all have slightly different definitions and expectations of what these terms mean. This fact, unfortunately, makes for some misunderstandings in this forum about what a photo "should" look like, and lots of opinions about which developers give the "best" look for a certain film.

    I think the important thing is to find a film/developer that gives you the "look" you want. That particular "look" may be different from the next person, but those differences are what what make the world an interesting place. If you consider photograpy an art form, then there can be no absolutes that dictate what is "best" when it comes to certain qualities of a photograph.

    I only make these comments because there have been so many flame wars about one developer being better than another and so forth. I can just smell another one coming with this post. So far so good.

    I appreciate the posts like yours where someone tries out a certain film/developer and shares his or her opinion. Sometimes it inspires me to try something new.
  6. "I only make these comments because there have been so many flame wars about one developer being better than another and so forth. I can just smell another one coming with this post."

    Steve, it's unfortunate that the expectation of yet another bout of tediously didactic rhetoric would cause any of us to couch our opinions too cautiously in deference to a bully.

    Don't be discouraged. And don't feed the bears. If there's nothing for them to eat they'll wander off to another campsite. I'll do my best to clean up the droppings so folks don't have to watch their steps so carefully.
  7. I like your results thus far, so I think its worth more experimentation.

    Is it just me or do others enjoy the experimentation for its own sake? I kinda feel like a mad scientist at times.

  8. The question I have is what scanner did you use? Whatever it was, it seems to work quite well in terms of preserving the sharpness and resolution of the negative.

    I would say the results you got are very typical of what I get with the same film/developer combination and the quality is rather self-evident. I also frequently use Pan F+ with Rodinal.
  9. Thanks for the responses. I certainly don't want to promote any duels between developers. I just wanted to get an idea if my results were close to what should be expected from this combo - sounds as if that's so. As mentioned, everyone has their own personal tastes and visions, and they are all "right" and "good".

    I also agree that experimentation is good and fun. It's nice to be familiar with how to achieve different looks/effects with various film/developer combinations. I think we have to be careful not to spend too much time/thought in that arena, while we all know that it's really the image, itself, that matters (regardless of what film/developer/camera/lens/etc was used).

    I look forward to trying Rodinal again. The verdict is still out on whether I'll stick with it in the long run. I do like FP4+, and will stick with it as my primary film for while (leaving a little room for experimentation of course).

    Scanner was an Epson 3170 (great bang for the buck scanner for my purposes). 6x6 negative scanned @3200dpi. Slight level adjustments to try to match the darkroom print. Some spotting of dust marks. Resized for posting.
  10. Bob, can't judge the quality of your scan on my crappy LCD, but few other thoughts.

    It's only couple of weeks as I returned to my own darkroom after 15 years of 'lab-only'. I developed few FP-4 in ID-11 (1+3), then in Rodinal Special (1+15). All films appear to be developed normal as I judge mesuring densities with Seconic meter and a light table (found I have to rate it at E.I.100). Tonalities are fine, but the grain is size of a baseball for my taste.

    In school years long ago I developed a lot of russian-made B&W films that were rated at E.I. 32 (according to manufactures, though I didn't do my own tests). I've spent a lot of time trying different developers mixing them from raw chemicals that I could find. At the end I came by Kodak DK-20 developer (can't find this recipy anymore). That was when I finally was satisfied with the grain and striking accutance (and that's with film shoot through russian Helios lens and printed through primitive lens), though contrast was a bit high. Nevertheless, I have something to compare my current results with. I remember hanging my own 20x30cm fiber prints on the wall. That was back in 80s. My recent prints are fine with the contrast and sharpness, but the grain disturbs me very much, so I'm thinking to go down to lower speed films, gonna find some ISO50 or even ISO25 film and try it with Perceptol.

    By the way, regarding developing time - the paper inside the Rodinal Special box recommended 4 minutes dev.time, while on-line PDF on Ilford website stated 3.5 minutes. I used the later adjusted to ambient 20.4C (-10 seconds), taking into account time to fill the tank and to pour the developer out later. Test frame exposed for zone 8 came gave 4 stops difference above filmbase+fog.
  11. Rodinal Special is a completely different developer than Rodinal.
  12. "Is it just me or do others enjoy the experimentation for its own sake?"

    Absolutely, Timothy. If I'd done less experimenting last year I'd have been more productive. But I'd have had less fun.
  13. I am a big fan of FP4 in Rodinol. For my diffused light source, I use an EI.of 64, develop at a 75:1 ratio for 18 1/2 minutes, at 68 degrees. Beautiful negatives!
  14. I personally love Rodinal with slow films. Great developer that gives a distinct look - a bit classic and modern at the same time (in my opinion).
  15. Hi, everyone. I have read through the replies with great interest. I personally develop FP-4+ in D76H, home-brewed, which IMHO is superior to the classic version. However this thread has really drawn my attention to Rodinal. So much is talked about this dev on the forum that I must give it a try, if not for any other reason, just to know what people are talking about. Thank you all. - T.K.
  16. I hate to be the lone dissenter here, but why is it then when we have a discussion about rodinal suddenly there's a handicap applied to any image posted???????

    The goal of using particular films/developers is to achieve a good image, not get brownie points for using a particular developer. The image posted by Bob only encourages my opinion that rodinal and Ilford films *don't work*. I see both the annoying 'tapioca pudding' grain effect of Ilford films + Rodinal with mushy grain, and very compressed (dare I see muddy) tones of a metallic object shot in open sun. For a second there I though we were looking at under exposed print film that was desaturated.

    If you want to mess with Rodinal, keep it with Agfa films or Kodak Tri-X and Plus-X. Rodinal in Tri-X Pro is nothing less than amazing and has sharper grain the posted image. Keep FP4 with more solvent and higher energy developers like HC110.
  17. I would also echo the recommendation of HC-110 (dilution B) with FP4+. It might be a tad too contrasty for some tastes, but I love that combo.
  18. Bob-

    Yes your results are very similar to results I have gotten with FP4+/Rodinal. I have given it several tries and I've come to the conclusion that this combination, while giving decent results, leaves me wanting something more. The hollow, flat, and IMO lifeless shadows are common: you'll have to shoot at around 64 to get any detail in there at all. Some people, however, like pure black shadows. FP4+ in XTOL gave very nice results the few times I have used it. I am in the process of experimenting with FP4+ as well, so if I hit on something I really like, I'll post it.

    Best of luck!

  19. I just shot a couple of rolls of FP4+ (120) in a crappy camera (spartaflex) so I'll need compensation development. (my guess is that speed is 1/60 and lens is f/8)

    Any time reccomendations with this combo???

    I was planning on using Rodinal 1+100, for about 1 hour agitating every 10 minutes.
  20. I'd go with Rodinal at 1:200 dilution for two hours and skip the agitation, other than for the first 30-60 seconds. Works for me using FP4+ for nighttime photos under a full moon.
  21. I decided to go for a more conventional route....
    1+50 for 20 minutes, agitating every other minute.

    Pictures looked good when wet, wil make contacts/enlargements this weekend and analyze those.
    Now i found a lot of light leak on the edges of the LAST 2 frames.... did I thighten the roll too little or did I unload it incorrectly?

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