About Rodinal, Ilford HP5+, and photo-folklore

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by David Nebenzahl, Aug 1, 2003.

  1. Forgive me, forgive me, this question (or similar ones) has probably been
    asked and answered a zillion times ...

    Anyhow: just printed up some negs on Ilford HP5+ (35mm) that I developed in
    Rodinal at 1:50. Before I printed them, my reaction to looking at the raw negs
    was "how crisp"; unfortunately, after printing, it's "how grainy!". (The 8x10
    prints were particularly granular.)

    They're *really* grainy; even more than I remember old Tri-X being. Other than
    that, they look fine. I developed the suggested 11 minutes (exposed at ISO
    400) in a plastic tank with no cover, rotary agitation only, just as suggested
    (1st minute continuous, every 30 sec. thereafter).

    So, can someone reiterate just what those different Rodinal dilutions are good
    for? Interestingly, the datasheet for the film says it's OK to use 1:50, while
    the chart on the developer package says "not recommended". It's discrepancies
    like these that make me suspect there's more mumbo-jumbo, folklore and
    mythology at work here than verifiable data or reproducible results.

    I'd heard that one of the qualities of Rodinal is that it doesn't minimize
    grain, that it's sort of a "what you see is what's in the film structure" kind
    of developer. Well, I guess I got the benefit of that quality in spades!

    I'm not extremely disappointed or anything: at this point, I'm just
    experimenting with lots of different combinations, trying to find what works
    and what doesn't. But these results were just a little too grainy for my liking.

    --
    We are receiving alerts about a worm that is spreading around the Internet
    contained in a .zip archive file. What is surprising to security analysts
    is that this worm is spreading at all since it cannot execute without user
    intervention. Security analysts believe the rapid spread indicates that
    recipients are still opening email attachments even after they have been
    warned many times that it is unsafe to do so.

    - Description of the "Sobig.E" worm, ca. June 2003
     
    David Nebenzahl, Aug 1, 2003
    #1
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  2. David Nebenzahl

    Bruce Osgood Guest

    I don't think Rodinal is intended to be fast film developer. If you like the
    chrispness try a film of 100 ISO or slower.
    Bruce
    Brooklyn, N.Y.
    http://www.hometown.aol.com/camclicker
     
    Bruce Osgood, Aug 1, 2003
    #2
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  3. I would not use that combination. You may want to try Aculux-2 by Paterson.
     
    Michael Scarpitti, Aug 2, 2003
    #3
  4. Rodinal is made with Potassium Hydroxide and not a lot of
    sulfite. The result is a tendency to swell the gelatin and
    cause grain clumping. Grain clumping is from the tendency
    for developing silver grains to migrate toward each other
    through the softened gelatin. Remember that we are talking
    about microscopic distances. The visible grain of film is
    actually the result of the combination of many grains. Where
    clumping does not occur the grain is a result of the
    statistical distribution of the grains in the emulsion.
    Clumping tends to move more of them together and exagerate
    the grain.
    Sulfite also tends to change the morphology, or shape, of
    the silver grains as they develop. High sulfite tends to
    make the grains devlop in a filimentary way. Under an
    electron microscope the grains look like little clumps of
    steel wool. This gives the individual grains more covering
    power so the overall graininess appears to be less. Low
    sulfite developers tend to have less filimentary silver and
    more in the form of the original halide crystals.
    Beause the pH of Rodinal has more effect on grain than the
    sulfite content diluting it results in somewhat finer grain
    where diluting a high sulfite developer usually results in
    some coarsening of the grain.
    For inherently grainy films like HP-5 some other kind of
    developer is advantageous. Plain old D-76 will yield better
    results than Rodinal. Even better is Xtol. If you want to
    maximize speed use a phenidone based developer like Xtol,
    Microphen, or T-Max. These are listed in order of increasing
    grain size. Even T-Max will be finer grained than Rodinal.
    Keep in mind that Rodinal is a very old and quite simple
    formula for a highly concentrated developer. Its primary
    virtue is its convenience of use, not its results.
    What you are getting is pretty much par for Rodinal.
     
    Richard Knoppow, Aug 2, 2003
    #4
  5. HP5+ in Rodinal will not produce the 0.65 contrast index that AGFA recommends. That
    is why they do not recommend that combination. If you can get by with 0.61 as most
    of us do, use it. But do not expect fine grain. If you want finer grain, add 4 grams
    of sodium ascorbate per liter and develop as for 1+25 dilution.
     
    Patrick Gainer, Aug 2, 2003
    #5
  6. David Nebenzahl

    John Hicks Guest

    A couple of things you could do....

    Develop less and print on contrastier paper. Don't take this to an
    extreme; just reduce the time by around 20% and print on, for example,
    grade 3 rather than grade 2, or dilute your Rodinal 1:75 to 1:100 and
    use the same time. Note that you may need to go to EI 200 or so.

    Add sodium sulfite to the working solution, up to around 50g/L.

    Add sodium _ascorbate_ (not ascorbic acid) to the working solution,
    4g/L.

    A combination of less development/more dilution and sodium ascorbate
    appears to me to make the least-grainy Rodinal for HP5+, while none of
    these come remotely close to the fine grain given by ordinary
    D-76/ID-11 1:1. Also, although the Rodinal negs may appear to be
    sharper the D-76 negs show _much_ finer detail.

    The moral of this story is that you're not going to approach the
    grain characteristics of many other developers using Rodinal; other
    image characteristics may be more important, so imho it's not correct
    to simply say that Rodinal and fast films shouldn't be used together.
     
    John Hicks, Aug 2, 2003
    #6
  7. Complete agreement with Richard here. Rodinal is not really a
    fin-grain developer. Try Aculux-2.
     
    Michael Scarpitti, Aug 2, 2003
    #7
  8. [...]

    Another thing I could do: just not use Rodinal.
    Well, I'd say it's correct to say that Rodinal and fast films shouldn't be
    used together *if* one is concerned about grain size. There are places where
    grainy prints are appropriate, after all.


    --
    We are receiving alerts about a worm that is spreading around the Internet
    contained in a .zip archive file. What is surprising to security analysts
    is that this worm is spreading at all since it cannot execute without user
    intervention. Security analysts believe the rapid spread indicates that
    recipients are still opening email attachments even after they have been
    warned many times that it is unsafe to do so.

    - Description of the "Sobig.E" worm, ca. June 2003
     
    David Nebenzahl, Aug 2, 2003
    #8
  9. David Nebenzahl

    Andrew Price Guest

    On Sat, 02 Aug 2003 12:19:31 -0700, David Nebenzahl

    [---]
    If you were using Rodinal for the convenience of a liquid developer,
    you could try replacing it with Ilford's own Ilfotec DD-X; personally,
    I've been pleased with the results it gives with HP5.
     
    Andrew Price, Aug 2, 2003
    #9
  10. The biggest advantage of Rodinal, aside from its economy, is its phenomenal
    storage life. DD-X is good for perhaps six months or a year once open;
    Rodinal is good for five or more years.

    If you want finer grain plus economy plus long-term stability, it's hard to
    go wrong with PMK. This is a pyrogallol-based developer you can get from
    Artcraft or Photographer's Formulary, or you can buy the raw ingredients
    (pyrogallol, sodium metaborate, metol) and mix yourself. The formula is
    publicly available. Pyro is, however, a different developer. While I
    strongly recommend it, I suggest you research it before you spend a bunch of
    money on it. PMK works particularly well on conventional films like HP5+
    and Tri-X.

    Jim
     
    Jim MacKenzie, Aug 5, 2003
    #10
  11. David Nebenzahl

    John Guest

    If stored in full bottles, DDX should easily last 2 years. It's just a
    slight variation of Microphen which is very stable.

    John
     
    John, Aug 6, 2003
    #11
  12. That's not bad. But it's not as good as the indefinite storage life of PMK.
    :) My PMK is already three years old and it's just as effective as it was
    the day I bought it, and if everything I've read is true, it'll be good for
    the seven years I'll probably need to finish it off.

    Jim
     
    Jim MacKenzie, Aug 6, 2003
    #12
  13. That would only make it four years old. :) Or do you mean 104?

    Jim
     
    Jim MacKenzie, Aug 6, 2003
    #13
  14. David Nebenzahl

    John Guest

    I had a funny thing happen with PMK. It worked fine but after the bottle
    fell below half full it oxidized very quickly. Turned black as ink. If I ever
    bother with it again I'll bottle it into smaller (125ml) bottles.

    Regards

    John S. Douglas, Photographer
    http://www.darkroompro.com
     
    John, Aug 7, 2003
    #14
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