How to influence grain in color process?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Michael Quintero, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. Dear ng,

    As far as I understand it the grain in the bw negative can to some
    extend be controlled by choice of the developer. MicrodolX is among
    others said to produce a slightly grainier impression than e.g.
    Rodinal. Now my newbie question is how this relates to the color
    process? Is there also a choice of different developers that influence
    the impression of grain (I know it´s dye clouds in this case) or is it
    totaly controlled by the design of the emulsion?

    Thanks for your input!
    Michael Quintero, Jul 23, 2007
    1. Advertisements

  2. Hi Michael,

    The C-41 color developer only has one basic formulation, but I qualify that
    immediately by saying that, as the exact Kodak formula is proprietary, there are
    slight variations given by various photochemists who have reverse analyzed the
    developer formula. These can easily be found on the internet, in fact, in prior
    posts to this group. If you cannot locate them, I will direct you further. For
    the most part, these do not significantly affect the grain, though one or
    another of them may be more active. I have always wondered about the effect of
    making significant variations to the developer forumula, but I have not
    attempted any tests.

    My experience as to grain, however, is this. Increased agitation makes the
    grain rougher.

    Francis A. Miniter
    Francis A. Miniter, Jul 23, 2007
    1. Advertisements

  3. Michael Quintero

    Rod Smith Guest

    As per another reply, you'll find little variation in C-41 developers with
    respect to grain size. In my experience, though, using a poor blix (as
    opposed to separate bleach and fix steps, as Kodak's C-41 officially
    requires) can create a subjective increase in graininess. The explanation
    I've heard is that blixes tend to leave more undissolved silver in the
    final negative than does processing with separate bleach and fixer. I've
    not tried to investigate this effect very carefully, though; I just know
    that the first few rolls of C-41 I processed (using blixes) seemed
    grainier than they should have, so I switched to separate bleach and
    fixer. If you want to increase grain, though, you might experiment with
    using blixes (particularly bad ones -- the one described at was the worse
    of the two I tried) rather than separate bleach and fix steps.

    Of course, the usual method of adjusting grain in color film is to change
    films. Faster films usually have coarser grain than slower films, although
    there are exceptions to this rule, particularly across manufacturers. Of
    the three current major C-41 film manufacturers, Ferrania film is the
    grainiest at any given speed, in my experience. In the US, Ferrania film
    is most commonly sold as store brands, such as the Stop & Shop grocery
    store house brand or Freestyle's ( Arista
    Color. Kodak recently updated their Portra line using a technology that's
    said to reduce grain size, but I don't yet have much experience with this
    latest film. No doubt this technology will soon make its way into other
    Kodak products, and Fuji will either license it or create something
    similar themselves.
    Rod Smith, Jul 25, 2007
  4. You can't use B&W developers in the C-41 process, because you
    need a developer which will combine with the color couplers in the
    emulsion to produce the dye image. On the other hand, the first
    developer in the reversal E-6 process is basically a B&W developer and
    you can experiment by substituting any B&W developer and then proceeding
    through the reversal and color development steps using the "ordinary"
    chemicals. That said....takes a lot of experimentation and I can't
    really recall seeing anything particularly interesting when I knew a
    bunch of fellow photo students trying it out.
    George Mastellone, Jul 26, 2007
  5. Michael Quintero

    happychips Guest

    If you are up for processing your own c-41 ( more than one on this
    newsgroup does) then you can accentuate the grain by pushing the c-41
    film (yes I said C-41) by one stop, and then developing for something
    on the order of 40% more than normal i.e about 4.5minutes. There will
    be a colour shift, and perhaps the possibility of some crossing of
    curves which can be corrected for in the ra-4 printing stage.

    Mike Wilde.
    happychips, Aug 2, 2007
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.