Getting a fine grain

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by /dev/null, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. /dev/null

    /dev/null Member

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    Need some help, a bit puzzled here. I am looking for a fine grain, so a sales person of analog film and developer advised me to use the APH09 Rodinal, but a teacher at the academy said APH 09 Rodinal is not for fine grain. I did a film of Adox ART 50 in Rodinal and I have quite large grain. I also did a film of TMAX100 in HC-110 and got a very nice, almost grainless result. All techniques on dev via the Mass Dev Chart.

    So, now I still have Adox ART 50 and 100, I prefer liquids over the D76, so any thoughts on doing the Adox ART in HC-110 or something else? I am looking for the wide spectrum on the grays.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    Whenever you mention one film&dev combo here on APUG/flickr/whereever you get about 5 people praising it as the only sensible choice and 10 more condemning it as the worst possible combo. The common saying here (from the really experienced ones) goes along the lines: "If you start, use some standard film&dev combo and only after you mastered them make changes to optimize certain parameters YOU care about - you might not even need to".

    Rodinal is said to be a developer with a lot of character but people have made great negatives with it. I am quite surprised that you saw "quite large grain" with ISO 50 film and ANY developer. HC-110 is said to be more of a standard dev so for gaining initial experience it might be a good choice. I'd go with your teacher's recommendations until you have enough experience and skill to photographically stand on your own feet.
     
  3. /dev/null

    /dev/null Member

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    Ok, let me rephrase then or put my question in a different way. Say I use the Adox ART 50 and develop it in APH09 using standards which will give a certain grain. Can I alter the amount of grain considerably by using APH09 in different amounts AND/OR develop it with by more or less agitatiing.

    I am purely speaking of grain now. The amount of developer in ratio to water in combination with agitation, will this have influence on the amount of grain? If yes, my question is answered. Thanks.
     
  4. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    I've used Rodinal with the Efke/Adox 25, 50 and 100 films, and never found grain to be an issue. I tend to use Rodinal 1+100 at 20C.

    You may want to experiment a little with the dilution & agitation of Rodinal first. The higher dilutions tend to show less grain, and with reduced agitation, lower the contrast.

    If you do want to change, take a look over on this site (Fotohuis Rovo) at your different options.
     
  5. hobbes

    hobbes Member

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    Hello /dev/null :smile:
    I wonder how did you manage to get grainy pix with Adox CHS 50 :wink: ..and I think that's because you underexposed the film and tried to squeeze the results through a scanner, which gets goofy when you try to obtain information on scanned regions that are blank or plain black resulting in some digital noise added to the scanned areas. :smile: Otherwise, expose your Adox 50 @25-32 and bath in R09/Rodinal 1:50 and you'll be thrilled :smile:
     
  6. /dev/null

    /dev/null Member

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    Hey hobbes, that is exactly what I did :smile: Film was underexposed and then scanned and then pushed and I saw lots and lots of grain.

    So, I think my question is answered then, thanks a lot! I will try to expose the film at lower ISO. The reason why I wondered was that I get beautiful, almost grainless results with the TMAX100 in HC-110 and that made me wonder how on earth my ADOX ART50 got so grainy and 'ugly'.

    Thanks! :smile:
     
  7. hobbes

    hobbes Member

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    Hey, no problem! ..I've been there and messed up alot :D
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    First it's a misconception that Rodinal doesn't produce fine grain, it can if used carefully and in fact some of the best 35mm work I've seen was shot on APX100 processed in Rodinal. Ive used bot EFKE 25 & 50 (Adox CHS) with no grain.

    However you have a combination of a high pH developer containg Hydroxide and emulsions that are quite soft and these films will surface suffer reticulate and give the appearance of greater grain if there's deviation in the temperatures during the processing, including washing.

    You must beware of over exposure with EFKE films that causes increased grain and loss of sharpness. These a re single layer emulsions and have a bit less tolerance to under or over exposure.

    Ian
     
  9. /dev/null

    /dev/null Member

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    Well, it's only since a week or two that I know there is more than developing every possible b/w film in Amaloco AM-74 and shaking it around for 3-5min in water somewhere between 20-40C :smile: Got the advice from a photography shop around the corner and I'm not sure now if the guy ever developed a film himself in the past :tongue:. Now I understand what people mean with developing color is easier than b/w...
     
  10. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Rodinal is a non-solvent developer, which means it doesn't reduce grain. If you start with fine, slow film, you end up with a very fine result. If you start with a coarser faster film, you get larger grain than you would have with a solvent ("fine grain") developer like D-76 or Xtol.

    So people will see huge grain on Tri-X with Rodinal, assume Rodinal is bad for grain. Whatever.

    Put some fine grain film (Acros, TMX, Pan-F, Efke/Adox 25) through Rodinal at 1+50 and you will not see a "grainless" result, but it will be very fine grain with huge resolution, good acutance and lots of detail. If you use D76 or Xtol instead, it will look smoother but that's because the solvent in those other developers softens the grain and dissolves away some detail to gain smoothness.

    You need to be careful to distinguish between the size of the grain and the magnitude (brightness ratio) of the grain; they are quite separate concepts yet people think of "graininess" as just a single scalar value. Think of it as the difference between wavelength and amplitude.

    If you under-expose and push or increase contrast in post (scanning or higher paper grades), the contrast increase will increase the grain magnitude, so don't do that.

    If you agitate Rodinal more or run it at higher temperature, you get (to overgeneralise a bit) more grain. Less agitation (3 inversions at the top of every minute, perhaps once every couple minutes) and developing at 20C will minimise grain.

    Example, Efke-25 (same as Adox CHS-25) in Rodinal 1+50:
    [​IMG]

    Perhaps you really want "smooth" not fine-grain though, in which case try using D-76 instead of Rodinal. The more-concentrated the D76 or Xtol you use, the more solvent action, therefore these developers at stock concentration will give smoother results than at 1+1 dilution, at the cost of very fine detail. And try some TMX too, that's much easier to shoot than Efke-25 and about the same resolution.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2011
  11. Роберт

    Роберт Member

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    Yes, a very correct statement for Efke/Adox CHS.

    But Rodinal is not a real fine grain developer. But high acutance developers are fitting very good with Efke 25-50-100 films. Like Tetenal neofin Blau/Blue, Beutler A+B or FX-1.

    So if you want less grain: Try the Efke 25 in one of those developers.
    And when using Rodinal, go to less agitation because then Rodinal will generate much less grain too.

    Here an example of Efke 25 in Beutler A+B, 1+1+10 for 7:00 minutes, 20C in 35mm format.

    3531595018_f19fb577aa_z.jpg
     
  12. Роберт

    Роберт Member

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    AM-74 is a concept Hydroquinone, Phenidone developer were sharpness is over fine grain. It's a semi-compensating developer which has to be used around 20C too. A lot of films are going around 5:00 - 6:00 minutes in AM74 1+7. However by diluting more, the sharpness will also go up with a minimum of more grain.

    AM-74 is in 1+9 - 1+15 on it's best. With a lot of films you can have good results with it.

    Greetz,

    Роберт
     
  13. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    If you want fine grain then use a slow film such as Ilford Pan F Plus and a fine grain developer such as Perceptol or Kodak D-23.
     
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  15. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

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    Tetenal Neofin Blue was the developer designed for the original Adox films, some say current ones are a bit different but the result is still the best.
     
  16. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Fine grain usually starts with a fine-grained film. It is the most important factor by far IME. The Adox/Efke 25 and 50 films have pretty fine grain, but not when compared to a modern film like T-Max. And the Adox/Efke 100 is not very fine grained at all IME.

    I'd start with HC-110 for it's convenience and relatively fine grain. It has a decent amount of grain solvent if used at dilution B or stronger. Rodinal does not.
     
  17. /dev/null

    /dev/null Member

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    Thanks a lot for all the replies, it starts making sense now and what I was doing wrong or what I've should have done different. It's all more complex then it first looks, but that is what I like about analog photography and developing, all the variables.
     
  18. Роберт

    Роберт Member

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    If you want real fine grain in 35mm you can develop with an Ultra Fine Grain type developer.

    Actual still in commercial availability:
    Perceptol
    CG-512/RLS
    W665

    But they have all the disadvantage that you will loose at least one F stop and the sharpness will be less. In theory the Ultra Fine Grain developers based on Phenylene Diamine will have the smallest grain. W665 (Windisch) is based on Ortho Phenylene Diamine.
    This developer works very well on e.g. Fomapan T200 film (E.I. 80-100).
     
  19. piu58

    piu58 Member

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    Rodinal does not like A) high temperature and B) overdevelopment. I use Rodinal at 16 deg Celsius which requires to increase the dev time by a factor 1.6.
    It is a good idea not to try receiving the box speed of the film because that leads mostly to overdevelopment.
    With that in mind you can get a quite fine grain from Rodinal. Other devs can give slightly finder grain, but the grain itself is muddy.
     
  20. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    That's the misconception about Rodinal it's not the temperature of the deveoper itself that causes any problems it's poor temperature control throughout the entire process cycle including the washing.

    By working at a lower temperature you're reducing the swelling & softening of the emulsion slightly but it's entirely unecessary if you just monitor all stages of the processing and keep temperatures within +/- 1? C of the initial developer temperature.

    I used Rodinal as one of my two main film developers for about 20 years and working at the recommended 20? C was never an issue.

    Ian
     
  21. Роберт

    Роберт Member

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    I am using this para- Amino Phenol type developer since 1967 and control the temperature always between 18C - 20C. Equal processing temperatures during all steps were in the past very important and still is for classical type films like Efke. By reducing the agitation you can reach reasonable fine grain with Rodinal.

    But for extreme grain reduction you need an Ultra Fine Grain developer based on Phenylene Diamine (Sease III, Windisch W665, MCM100). But you will loose at least one F stop with Ultra Fine Grain developers and not all type films will react in the right way.

    Regards,

    Роберт
     
  22. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Ian: what is the physical mechanism that makes grain worse (do you mean larger or of greater density variation?) when the temp shifts after development? I don't understand how for example a slightly warmer or cooler fixer could affect the grain structure.
     
  23. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The problem is micro or surface reticulation of the film caused by the softening of the emulsion by the deveoper followed by temperature shocks in the process cycle, some films suffer more than others. Rodinal's high pH and specifically the hydroxide increase the potential problem.

    The issue has been know about since the late 1920's or early 30's, it became more important with the rise of 35mm photography, I've BJPA article on reducing grain by wet mounting negatives on a glass slide for enlargement, something Ctein was still doingdecades later for the same reason.

    In more recent years Kodak have done a lot of research to help minimise micro/surface reticulation. With papers it causes a mottling on the surface particulary noticeable with glossy papers, it'll happen with RC B&W and Colour papers as well as FB B&W, actually steaming removes it. With the advent of Digital minilabs and negative scanners, and also with high end scanning it became a greater issue, so Kodak altered the emulsion hardening to help eliminate the issues with their colour films making them more scanner friendly.

    So some films suffer more than others EFKE will be about the worst due to having less hardening, Foma somewhere in between Ilford's films and most of Kodak's, some Fuji B&W emulsions are softer as well. Then it's a combination of softer emulsion, the developers effect on that emulsion and the care taken in the process cycle.

    Ian
     
  24. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    So it's not actually a silver-grain thing, but a physical texture issue with the emulsion surface?
     
  25. skahde

    skahde Member

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    Hi Ian,

    I'd like to thank you! It has been quite a while since someone shed some additional light on the issue of graininess and Rodinal. The phenmenon of microreticulation is something I stumbled upon when viewing at developed film through a microscope. I provides a strange looking, additional plane of focus and may also be visible in a grain focusser.

    The influence of the temperature came up some years ago in german forums. Agfa in their Textbook from 1937 - "Das Agfa Laborhandbuch" - recommended a lower temperature for Rodinal (16 C) than for their other developers (18 C, standard room temperature of the time). Several photographers tried this and got very fine grain with Rodinal and films where this previously seemed impossible, e.g. HP5+.

    As I take it from what you wrote above, back in the day emulsions were less hardened and swelling may have been more of a problem with a high-pH, therfore, Agfa recommended a low temperature. With modern emulsions choosing a lower process-temperature may prevent micro-reticulation, when temperature control within 1 C can not be guaranteed. And I think under most circumstances it will be a stretch without dedicated precautions taken.

    Best

    Stefan
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2011
  26. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Thanks Stefan

    Last time I wrote a serious thread on this subject it was hijacked and the points lost because peple deliberately misinterpreted what I'd written.

    Yes even when I started in photography back in the 60's films emulsions were significantly softer during processing. FP3 and HP3 which I used at school (cheap ex-Government surpus) were softer than FP4 and HP4, which were again softer than the modern versions FP4+ and HP5+.

    I knew that many German 35mm workers used Rodinal at 16?C or 18?C but I haven't come across that particular Agfa reference before, I think ironically I may have a copy of the book but then my German is non existant although I can tranlate a formula :D. What's important today is that the Agfa Rodinal from 1964 onwards has a higher pH and excess Hydroxide compared to the pre WWII version so the issues could be worse.

    Part of the problem when discussing the issue of micro (surface) reticulation is most people with a good grasp, understanding and experience of processing should never come across it as a serious problem. However it is the reason why some photographers produce constitent high quality negative and prints while others using the same film/developer combinations can't even when the exposure & dev times are correct.

    Ian