Neopan 400 in Perceptol - a bad combination?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by peter_langfelder, May 16, 2004.

  1. Hello,

    having had good luck with Acros in Perceptol, I decided to give Neopan
    400 a try - exposed at 200, developed for 13:30 in 1+1 dilution. I
    have been developing Neopan 400 in Xtol 1+1 and was consistently
    pleased with the tonality of the film, especially for portraits; I was
    hoping to keep the tonality while reducing the apparent grain a little
    (not that Neopan in Xtol shot at 250 is excessively grainy - but why
    not try to soften it a bit more?). The first results have been quite
    disappointing, though - tonality is worse (too much contrast in the
    highlights - it might work for carefully controled studio lighting,
    but not for general photgraphy) and the grain seems to be at least as
    harsh, if not harsher, than in Xtol 1+1. The prints are reminiscent
    of Neopan 1600 (tonality-wise - the grain is finer, of course), and
    that's certainly not what I was trying to achieve!

    Any suggestions as to whether I should keep experimenting (increasing
    exposure and decreasing development), or have others tried and were
    similarly dissapointed?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. I'm very surprised. I don't know of any film which performs badly in Perceptol. I'd suggest your negs are over-developed. What agitation regime do you use? And how closely controlled was the temperature? And I'd also recommend you use Perceptol at 1+3. As a metol-only formulation it should give finely graded highlights, given correct development times.
  3. Why not try to make the grain finer? Because the same chemical processes that decrease grain also decrease sharpness. If the grain is more diffuse, so is the image detail. That doesn't mean that Perceptol is a bad developer - it isn't - but that photography is about compromise. You can have cake or icing, or a little of each, but not all of both.
  4. Chris, thanks for the encouraging answer. The film is probably somewhat overdeveloped, since it printed optimally with contrast 1-1.5 (on Agfa MCP paper). My agitation is 3 gentle inversions and two bangs to dislodge bubbles per minute. Surprisingly, I tried printing a few of the photos on Ilford MG IV paper yesterday, and got much better prints out of it - didn't know paper could make that much of a difference.
  5. If your negs are printing optimally at grade 1-1.5 then I'd recommend a 20-25 percent reduction in development. I pre-soak in water at 20 C, but this is a matter of personal choice. After the pre-soak I pour in the dev and give four inversions in the first 30 seconds. Then one inversion every 30 seconds after that.
  6. Another point. The tank only needs tapping the first time that liquid goes in to it. Once the film is thoroughly wetted bubbles will not be a problem. This is another reason I use a pre-soak (2 minutes).

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