Pan F+ long night exposures, how to develop?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by johndc, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. I took some long (reciprocity-corrected) night shots on Pan F+ and I'm thinking
    of developing them in Rodinal 1+100. Will this give good results or should I use
    something else (like XTOL)? I also have Diafine but I prefer the acutance of the
    Rodinal. If I use Rodinal (1+100) should I agitate less frequently?

    Suggestions are appreciated.

  2. hmmmm it depends what they are of. If they're of the night sky I'd use a more concentrated solution which would reduce the contrast which is a bitch to tame when taking pictures of the moon and whatnot. If it is scenes at night and you need all the contrast you can get, I would use the 1+100 with a partial stand development, which would increase the contrast in the highlights. I would be tempted rather than any of those however to use a speed-increasing developer such as microphen, as you would get good highlight and shadow details, and it will put you on the side of caution in terms of exposure, you don't want your film coming out as thin as kate moss, after all.
  3. Not the first choice I would have made for night photography (Acros and it's lack of reciprocity failure I find much more suitable). That said though I'd say if your images are of contrasty scenes I'd use Diafine. It's great for taming the highlights. But with Pan F you might not have very smooth tones in that circumstance. I'd think that Xtol would be better than Rodinal though. What was the lighting and the subject matter?
    Shot on Fuji Acros developed in Diafine:
  4. Sorry, wonder why that link is not clickable. Another try:
  5. You're not going to like this answer, but you need to do some testing. I've settled on the following for my night photography.
    HC110 diluted 1:30. I develop it for 18'. Agitation is constant for the first 15" and then one inversion/rotation every 4' after that, skipping the last one.

    This allows the low values to open up, while controlling the high values. I tend to shoot fairly long exposures at night, usually measuring in the minutes at f/16 or more.

    Here's an example of my results:

    My suggestion would be to shoot a roll of film under controlled lighting with a dynamic range similar to what you have on that Pan F. I'd bracket the exposures and then duplicate them as many times as you can on the roll, leaving enough space to easily cut them separate from each other. Then pick whatever developer you like, dilute it heavily and then test the heck out of extended development times.

    I'd stay away from XTOL for this. I use it for most of my development, but not this stuff. It just doesn't do the job for me nearly as well as HC110 or D76.

    Hope this helps.

  6. The scenes are of low-contrast details (graffitti, sidewalk drawings, etc.) under streetlight, and thankfully there are no light sources in the pictures themselves. I used Pan F+ because it happened to be the only film I had with me at the time -- it certainly wouldn't be my first choice for night photography (that honor is reserved for HP5).

    I may just use XTOL, as it has served me quite well in the past and it's less likely to block up the highlights on PanF. Diafine is convenient but I've always found it kind of boring (though a lifesaver when using flash).
  7. From what you now describe yes, I would agree the Diafine would not be the best choice. I love Tri-X rated at 1000 in bright daylight in Diafine. Slight grain but still nice tones and controlled highlights.

    Please share your results with us when you can. And please, try Acros on your next night jaunt. Really good stuff and almost no adjustment needed for reciprocity failure.
  8. Next time I get some extra cash I'll be sure to pick up some Acros on your suggestion. If memory serves, TMX also has excellent reciprocity characteristics -- I may pick up a few rolls of that too. Hopefully I'll be able to scan my negs on Wednesday. Thanks again!
  9. Craig Nelson has done alot of long exposure work with Pan-F+. He can be found at

  10. hi,

    rodnal 1:250 ( 2ml:500ml ) agitate for the first 30 seconds then leave for 60 minutes... great negs that print on grade 2 condenser head. you can shoot day and night on the same roll with this method.
  11. Unless it's used highly diluted as a compensating developer, Rodinal will lose you film speed, especially with slower films like PanF+. And that's the last thing you want with film that's been exposed to low intensity light.

    Low intensity exposure tends to increase contrast, and PanF+ is an inherently contrasty film anyway. So personally, I would go for a developer that gives you maximum emulsion speed, such as Microphen. This'll lift the shadow density, and so reduce the contrast slightly.

    Diafine is also supposed to give a full emulsion speed, so I'd opt for that, rather than the Rodinal, because acutance isn't everything. If it was, we'd all just use lith developer for everything, and forget about tonality and fineness of grain.
  12. Dave, nice shot of that Shrewsbury Street diner :) I like the results and will bookmark this page for when I develop long exposures.

  13. "acutance isn't everything"

    really? thanks for the news flash.
  14. I like Rodinal 1:50. Here's a shot with Panf nd R09 [clone].

Share This Page