35mm film Developed in Ilford PQ Universal

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ColdEye, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    Some months ago I asked how to develop Fuji Neopan using this developer and after a very long wait, finally got my scanner! I know it sucks, I have not got a place for a darkroom for enlargers and other stuff yet so this is the only way to view my negatives. These are un-retouched scans, you can still see specs of dirt. Based on the answers I got, the resulting pictures should be grainy. But from what I got, they look fine to me. There is grain, but I think that is normal amount of grain, or am I mistaken? As you can see the last photo shows some ugly blacks, I believe it is from my underexposing it. I went with a dillution of 1:19 and I think 6 or 7 mins. in the tank and mild agitation. Anyways, I just want to share my results. :smile:

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    PS. It took me around 3 months to finish this roll (January to March), then developed it sometime around June or early July I think.
     
  2. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Ilford PQ Universal is not an ideal developer for 35mm film. Universal developers are best used for LF negatives and papers.
     
  3. foc

    foc Member

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    I have in the past used Ilfors PQ Universal to develope 35mm negs. At the higher dillution rate of 1+19 I got less grain than at 1+9.

    I know it's not an ideal developer but I was happy with my results.
     
  4. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Subscriber

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    I've used PQ once with fine results. It's a universal developer and made for paper or film and produces pretty fine grain. So nothing wrong with using it. Based on my limited experience, I'd say no more grain (and maybe less) than Rodinal, imo.

    Your scans are small. I can see mottling in the dark areas. Is this what you mean? Doesn't look like grain to me – but could easily be an artefact of scanning. I might be inclined to guess that they were scanned at a reduced bit-depth from the limited evidence at hand, but need to see bigger scans to comment further. What scanner are you using , settings etc?
     
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  5. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    I am using an Epson 4490 and Vuescan, and I admit I have A LOT to learn about scanning (can't even scan color images properly). In the last image on the right side the big black part, there seems to be, for lack of a better term, pixelation? I don't really know what to call it, I just thought that is what shows up if the negative was under exposed.
     
  6. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    I don't know about PQ, but my experience is that you won't know about grain till you print with your enlarger, and your paper. The contrast choice of your paper will have a lot to do with the expression of the grain, and you can't tell from the scans what grade of paper you will need. I use quick scans to see what is on the film too, but the printing is what tells the tale.
     
  7. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Subscriber

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    I think that's true up to a point and I agree about the contrast of the paper. However, I find that a lot of scanned negatives online vary tremendously with regards quality. It's easy to find examples of Plus-X with more apparent grain than Tri-X, for example, even with the stand development techniques. Without knowledge of scanner and settings used it is only possible to speculate that variations in such scans could be down to NR and ICE filters used in the scanner software with default or user-applied settings.


    Recently, I have been able to compare my own neg scans with my own prints. The scans were done on a cheapish Epson flatbed and with care the grain of a neg can be captured well enough to fairly reflect the grain of the final print. FWIW, I always turn off all NR and I don't use ICE. I only adjust the levels before scanning to get the best DR possible and I use 4800 dpi. I then tweak the final levels in Photoshop. I find that this way I can see the film grain, even though not as sharply defined as the print. Digital noise is easy to spot and distinguish from film grain.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 18, 2011
  8. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Agreed, re the scanning stuff (I just didn't want to get into d***l on this forum). Turn that stuff off to get the best scan.
    And true, you can get a relative (to other scans done the same way) take on grain structure, but still, ColdEye will need to print them to see the "look" they will have.
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    My own experience is it can be an excellent fine grain developer, very clean working , good tonal range and sharpness. It needs dilution 1+19 even 1+29 for normal use. It was our main paper and specialist emulsion developer in the 70's/80's at work and also used for many of our films. I've had great results from 35mm but you need to do ISO speed/dev time tests

    However the developer needs to be reasonably fresh for film use as it loses a little bit of activity stored part filled, talking months here. We were using 5 litres PQ concentrate every 1-2 weeks.

    The May & Baker (now Champion) equivalent to PQ Universal - Suprol was used commercially as a fine grain developer for all film formats in machine processing.

    Ian
     
  10. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    Ian, can you give your developing times for it? I am not using it now, but I want to try using it again.
     
  11. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Yes, I was thinking of lower dilutions 1+7. At 1+19 it can be considered an acutance developer. Other possibilities would be D-72 or DK-50 1+9 with 9 g/l of added sodium metaborate. I have used DK-50 with excellent results.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 20, 2011
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Last time I used PQ Universal was back in 1986 :D We used it mainly for copy negatives with Ilford Otho or FP4 but I did a series of tests with 3 or 4 developers and 35mm FP4 and it gave very good results but there was a slight drop in film speed compared to Adox Borax MQ and Rodinal, about a 1/3 of a stop.

    Not sure I'd find my notes now however I do have an Ilford booklet with the times for 120 FP4 in PQ Universal which I'l dig our later today. 7 mins sounds about right though.

    Ian
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Ilford's time for FP3 in PQ Universal at 1+19 is 6 mins, I used FP3 and dev times where similar to FP4, it wasn't as sharp, and FP4 have slightly finer grain. So that 7 mins time is a good ball park figure.

    Ian
     
  14. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Subscriber

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    I'm using much the same model, maybe older, scanner. I use the software that comes with it on the Mac. The first thing I did was turn off all the defaults and aim to get the best initial scan i could with the most and clearest information .

    Try this.

    Scan.
    Dust the neg. strip. Use 24 bit colour (not some default B&W setting, which I find did not work very well). Set it to a 4800 dpi scan. Turn off all filters that the scan software has set up as defaults. i.e Use no sharpening, no noise reduction, use no (ICE) scratch or dust filter*. Make a single frame preview and allow it to set the autolevels - or adjust those by eye until the preview shows a good range of black to white with no clipping at either end and ignoring the area outside the neg frame. You can also leave it as negative image for processing later. I suggest you select and scan one frame at time – else it's slow and the file are huge. Save as tiff or another lossless format.

    Post process.
    If you have image processing software like Photoshop then – invert to a positive image, desaturate it (make B&W) and then quickly adjust the levels to your preference. You may then want to reduce the width of the image, with image size, to around 3000 pixels for posting. Save as high quality jpg. That's just my method and you should get a clear idea from such a scan of the real grain of the neg.

    Post the results!

    * at least until you know what a good clear scan looks like. And later you can learn to clean up dust in the scan by hand.

    NB. I'm only saying all this as you want to post a clear neg scan here for discussion of your film processing. (Otherwise, I would not be allowed by forum rules to say any of this.)
     
  15. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    Here are my new results. Kodak Tri-X 400 (outdated last dec 2010) souped in Ilford PQ Universal 1:29 for 14mins ( I think I overdeveloped). And to mr.datsun, I tried those setting you said, and I think the negatives scanned much better. :smile: It is quite grainy, I might try diluting it a bit more or using it if I want grainy images.

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