Fuji Neopan 400 and Paterson Aculux

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by pauldc, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. pauldc

    pauldc Member

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    Not sure if anyone is interested but I have just finished playing around with Fuji Neopan 400 in Paterson Aculux both in 35mm and 120 formats. My initial experience was terrible with the Paterson times quoted being far to long for my negatives and diffusion enlarger (Paterson quotes 15 and 17 minutes respectively for 35mm and 120). The results were incredibly dense negatives (especially in 120) and lots of grain and blown highlights.

    Anyway, after playing around I have found that 7.25 minutes at EI 250 is perfect for 35mm Neopan 400 in outdoor light (sunny, hazy and cloudy) and 8.25 minutes for the same EI for 120 film. The negatives are now great with little grain and fantastic tonality - almost metallic in tone and quite modern.

    I am posting as I was in the verge of giving up on this combo until I made the tests. Of course it might not apply to others methodologies and practices but I hope it is helpful and would be interested to hear anyone elses experiences with this combo.

    best wishes

    Paul
     
  2. BradS

    BradS Member

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    YES! I am interested. Thanks very much for posting. If you do any testing with other films in Aculux2, please post those results too.
     
  3. shadesofgrey

    shadesofgrey Member

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    I'm interested too! Nice post paul. Anything to do with dev times and or film combinations is always welcome. Did you use a 1-9 dilution? Been thinking of giving the same combo a try myself; thanks for doing all the leg work! I'm about to play with Fomapan 400 and Neopan 400 in Jessops Econodev: Never used Econodev before so it should be fun. No listing on MDC for Formapan/Econodev combo so guess I'll be guesstamating a little. Might help if I can find out what's in the Jessops bottle; Ilford? Rodinal? Hmmmmm? I wonder what Fomapan looks like after a bath in Aculux.....we're off!

    Take care.

    B.
     
  4. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I have yet to try this film in Aculux 2, bt I will very soon. I have tried it in DDX and and agree on the look it is almost like a metallic TriX. I like the smooth tonality and fine grain and was planning on trying Aculux for really smooth grain. I actually find paterson time not too far out, perhaps 10% over. I also found FWIW that in DDX this film meets its box speed, quite easily. I am eventually going to try it in FX39 (again for box speed) too to sharpen it up. I find this film far less crisp than TriX and HP5, but lovely in its own right. I am moving away from HP5 as I am struggling to generate the contrast I need in the UK and have a few pro packs each of 120 TriX and Neopan to decide between for a 400 speed film. Aculux is definitely my fine grain dev. I love the stuff.
     
  5. pauldc

    pauldc Member

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    Glad people are finding it a useful topic. Yes, I am using the 1+9 dilution and developing at 20 degrees C. I find that Neopan 400 is still really sharp in Aculux2 although it is known as a low grain developer primarily. The real plus is the great tonality even at 35mm.

    Given my really pleasing experiences with this I am now going to try some testing on Neopan 1600 with Aculux2. Will post my experiences in the next week or so.

    On a broader note, my main developer / film combo is FP4+ and Aculux2 which I have found to be great if you like the really creamy look (again both in 35mm and 120). In 35mm I use an EI of 64 and develop for 6.5 minutes (for the diffuser) and this gives me a lot of shadow detail but the highlights are well controlled. It works really nicely for portraits in late afternoon light.

    I have a box of FX-50 sitting on my shelf which I want to look at soon as the promise of aculux2 tonality and grain with fx-39 sharpness sounds a dream ticket but given how great aculux2 is doing (plus so horror stories about FX-50) I think I am going to be satisfied with aculux2 as my standard developer (juxtposed with Rodinal).

    best wishes

    Paul
     
  6. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    The manufacturers developing times, are starting points. If you are getting too much contrast for your standard paper, reduce in one minute increments, if too soft, increase in one minute increments, you will soon nail your own personal developing time for your own enlarger and working methods, to the nearest minute or half minute. Speed ratings likewise, if the negs are thinner in the shadows than you desire, drop the ISO/ASA by one-third E.V. step and see if that improves matters, repeat if necessary.
    Remember, that what works for one photographer, may not work for another, so you need to find a time and if necessary, an exposure index that suits your own individual photographic procedures.
     
  7. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    ref last post... remember that dev time does affect film speed....and if you make substantial changes to your initial dev time (assuming the shadow detail was right), a speed adjustment might also be required...less/more development does affect shadows to an extent.

    Anyway back to Aculux 2...it is rare to find a smoothie dev that retains the crispness of grain. Try it with HP5 if you want to see low (relatively) grain and retention of acutance. it is very like dilute perceptol in this regard.

    If you want absolute cream, nor grain (ever) and do not mind low acutance (in fact NO acutance) try it with Pan-F. Soft as hell, yes, but for mist, delicate cloud formations etc over sea, it gets no better.)
     
  8. shadesofgrey

    shadesofgrey Member

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    Horror stories about FX-50! Missed that! What's the storey? Almost bought a bottle yesterday only decided to concentrate on the Econodev.....PHEW! What shelf life do you get from a bottle of Aculux and do you decant it? Call me "Apothecary" if you like but I even decant Ilfosol s into a 'GLASS' bottle; never had the dreaded "Drop dead dev" syndrome yet. Perhaps there's a mystical quality about glass that helps/protects/influences the chemicals in some way: after all; they say that if you put a dull razor blade under a certain type of pyramid it will regain it's sharpness? Wonder if I put my Cosmic Symbol under one would it take away the air bubbles in the lens? Nah! Wouldn't be as much fun! Keep us posted...... if you try the FX-50!
     
  9. pauldc

    pauldc Member

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    Shelf life for me with Aculux is about 3 months - at room temp and in the original bottle. It starts to go a bit yellow after the first month but this does not seem to have any effect on the developer. When it goes dark yellow and more opaque then it is finished.

    There is not a huge amount written about FX-50 but I have done exhaustive google based searches of the news groups and unfortunately lots of reported experiences are not good. Some are saying that the B bottle goes off very quickly and there are people reporting that new B bottles when opened are already yellow (though suppliers in the UK are reportedly willing to exchange the product if this is the case). At the same time, there seems to be debate between people who find the Paterson times too long and those that find them too short (this group of people do not have the yellow bottle B problem). Several people reported their negatives coming out totally blank. Also, I have yet to find anyone who raves about FX-50 and in particular the tonality. I do want to give it a go and I really hope that maybe new batches are good (I wonder if it is a bit like people's early experiences of Xtol in this regard, another ascorbate style developer?). The promise of FX-50 sounds wonderful. However, I am reluctant to risk it on negatives with anything precious on them so I will probably wait and do some test shots of my allotment at some point! I really don't want to put anyone off of FX-50 but I always value the experiences reported on the newsgroups, especially if a common theme starts to emerge. Also, looking at the massive development chart, all that is listed is Paterson standard times so I am guessing not much testing has been done or reported. I imagine for people who are creating disappointing negatives (or even blank ones) the inclination is to go back to an old faithful developer rather than persevere with a new and unfamiliar one that is giving extreme results.

    Would love to hear your experiences of FX-50 and anything we can learn to adapt to this new developer. I am also with Tom and Keith on this thread in terms of being very aware of how personal workflows can influence personal development times.

    Paul
     
  10. shadesofgrey

    shadesofgrey Member

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    Hi Paul. Sorry for the late reply, had a long-ish weekend. Yep, keep you posted on whatever I try with FX-50. Agree that personal workflows can influence personal development times; but then, that's photography for you. A cruel mistress that serves no one man yet, is desired by all. Bought a few rolls of Fomapan 400 after a friend gave me a couple to try out. Really like it, though I think it needs playing with ISO wise. Tried it in Ilfosol s, not bad, bit dirty looking, much better in Rodinal. Find out over the coming weeks what FX-50 does to it. But first....Neo in FX-50...can't wait. Take care.

    B.
     
  11. lawrenceimpey

    lawrenceimpey Member

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    I used FX50 once but never again. Shelf life of the B bottle is non-existent (about three days!). It's sad to see a great company like Paterson producing such rubbish (but, as we know, their other products are excellent).
     
  12. Oldtimer Jay

    Oldtimer Jay Member

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    Hi All,

    To touch on both aspects of this thread:# 1. If you brew your own developers, you may find FX15 to be even nicer than Acculux 2 for Fuji 400. In my experience the tones and acutance are similar to Acculux 2 but the grain is noticably finer. # 2. I really like Paterson products, BUT have gotten 3 sealed FX50 kits from B&H weeks apart from each other and found each totally dead out of the sealed bottle!


    Roger Hicks, whom I greatly respect, wrote an article in Shutterbug which convinced me to try it, but I have given up on it. Maybe because it is less well known, new stock is actually rather old.
     
  13. Oldtimer Jay

    Oldtimer Jay Member

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    Hi All,

    To touch on both aspects of this thread:# 1. If you brew your own developers, you may find FX15 to be even nicer than Acculux 2 for Fuji 400. In my experience the tones and acutance are similar to Acculux 2 but the grain is noticably finer. # 2. I really like Paterson products, BUT have gotten 3 sealed FX50 kits from B&H weeks apart from each other and found each totally dead out of the sealed bottle!


    Roger Hicks, whom I greatly respect, wrote an article in Shutterbug which convinced me to try it, but I have given up on it. Maybe because it is less well known, new stock is actually rather old.

    Cheers,

    Jay L
     
  14. pauldc

    pauldc Member

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    Jay,

    thanks for the info on FX15 - I am just starting to get in to mixing my own developers and this is exactly the information I need! Do you use FX15 at the same times / dilution as Aculux?

    Paul
     
  15. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Aculux 2 & Neopan 400

    1+19, 70 degrees, agitation 5 seconds per 5 minutes, 30 minutes.

    Good luck.
     
  16. Jordan

    Jordan Member

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    Re FX-50 horror stories: mine possibly one of the ones you read. My experience wasn't so much a horror story as disappointment. I used it for a little while before the B bottle went bad. I got fairly foggy negs for some reason. And it is expensive. (B&H was the only place I could find who would sell it to me at the time.)

    If you are interested in a phenidone-ascorbate film developer, you can give XTOL a try (follow the tips about maximizing its lifetime) or home-brew Pat Gainer's PC developers or Ryuji Suzuki's DS-series or even E-76 or Mytol.
     
  17. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Check the 'use by date' on the bottle.

    I've received some VERY short dated paterson from B&H... when it should have a VERY long date... according to Paterson USA.

    I love B&H, but wonder how they got their hands on short-date Paterson.

    Aculux 2 seems totally wonderful.
     
  18. pauldc

    pauldc Member

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    This is a very interesting use of more dilute Aculux. I am guessing it gives good highlight control. What sort of contrast do you get with negatives from this (and what sort of light are you shooting in)? Is this for a diffuser enlarger?

    Paul
     
  19. Simon E

    Simon E Member

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    I tried it and was distinctly underwhelmed. Went straight back to Microphen/DD-X when I get the 'need for speed'. I re-read Roger's review afterwards, and I'm afraid it didn't sound terribly objective to these cynical eyes. If he likes the product I'm happy for him, but I don't feel the review places the product in context. The review is available on Paterson's website in PDF format.

    Simon.
     
  20. Oldtimer Jay

    Oldtimer Jay Member

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    Hi again ,

    For anyone interested in the Fuji 400 FX 15 combination, what I have found works best for me in 35 MM is: FX15 1:1 for 9 min @ 68 with 4 gentle inversions per minute. I have not tried it with MF but would start with an additional 10% on the time.

    Good Luck!

    Jay L.