HP5+, Rodinal, Minimising Grain ?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Ming Rider, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. Ming Rider

    Ming Rider Member

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    Hi all,

    I was hoping to draw on the wealth of experience here.

    I like to shoot HP5 and process in Rodinal (substitute) because I love the 'age' that it gives the images. Only problem is that I tend to get quite noticeable grain, (I previously processed FP4+ in Rodinal with great results).

    Have read on many sites that this is common for this combination, but is there a preferred method to at least minimise the grain clustering?

    Have consulted the 'Darkroom Cookbook' and 'Film Developers Cookbook'.

    My method has always been Rodinal 1:25, 20c, 6 minutes, agitation first minute, 10s every minute after.

    This is the result. Cheers :-

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1371717421.740576.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2013
  2. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    The combo is what it is.

    Minimizing exposure and development may help.

    Switching up to medium format will help. Similarly getting closer to your subject may help, say head and shoulders portraits instead of full length, helps make subject details more prominent than grain.

    Switching to Delta 400 or TMY or TX or back to FP4 may help you refine your results too.

    But, part of the 'age' or look or feel or whatever you want to call it is the grain. And, nice sharp grain actually helps photos look sharper.

    Everything in the system affects the perceived graininess. Lighting, lens contrast, flare, how its printed...

    My advice though, before you change anything, is to put the print on the wall (thumbtack or frame) above the sofa, get back off the sofa and with your feet on the floor and standing up straight look at the print and ask yourself does it look good? Leave it there for a week. If the grain still bothers you after a week, try one of the fixes above.
     
  3. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    It's an inherently grainy combination. If you insist on that film+developer combo, then try developing at 18C and using less agitation, e.g. 30s at start then for 5s every 3 minutes. Obviously you will need to develop longer, and it will change the tonal curve somewhat, maybe to something you don't like any more.
     
  4. mono

    mono Subscriber

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  5. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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  6. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Correct. Accept it. Avoiding overexposure, and developing to a slightly lower gradient helps a little, but it is what it is. HP5+ is a fast film. And Rodinal is a high pH, low sulfite developer. Put it all together and you get grain.
     
  7. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    If you don't like grain then I can't think of a worse combination. HP5+ is by nature a grainy film, grainier than 400TX. You have at least two options. Switch to FP4+ and Rodinal or HP5+ and a fine grain developer such as Ilford ID-11.
     
  8. jdhealey

    jdhealey Member

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    Grain and Rodinal

    Hi

    I don't have a direct comment, but you might try Spuersinn HCD-2 and HCD-S developer, available from www.ag-photograhic.co.uk or www.keyphoto.com (both of whom will ship abroad). HCD-s produces bright, crisp iamges on a wide range of films, with good tonal range. but you can vary the degree of graininess you want by varying dilution, temp and whther you use it as one or two bath. Full instructions included..and it does push and pull process well. It is German-made, so they understand the Rodinal users, and if it suits your photography might be an interesting alternative.

    Dave
     
  9. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    You can shoot it on medium format. You can salt the Rodinal which will soften grain. You can enlarge with a Dichro. You can print on matt paper.

    But it may be better to get in bed with XTOL at 1:2 or 1:3.

    Rodinal is what you call a honest grain developer.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2013
  10. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Welcome to APUG Dave.
     
  11. piu58

    piu58 Member

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    That is from me. If you have any questions do not hestiate to ask.

    For short: Use Rodinal at 16°C, with longer development time. The factor is around 1.6.
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Lower temperatures have no effect on a film's grain size with any developer, nor do higher temperatures of up to about 28-30°C it's a total myth and been proved many times by research at the major film companies.

    However because of the free Hydroxide in Rodinal poor temperature control across the process cycle can result in micro reticulation, the hydroxide softens the emulsion, it can be worse at higher temperatures as the swell of gelatin is also temperature related working a lower temperatures can cover up bad technique. The results of micro reticulation which is a surface effect is more apparent graininess in prints and scans, but the actual film grain is normal.

    Agfa used to recommend mixing up Rodinal with a weak sulphite solution if you needed to prolong the life of a working solution this also helps give finer grain.

    Ian
     
  13. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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  15. Ming Rider

    Ming Rider Member

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    Wow, thank you all for the tips and advice. I couldn't believe my eyes when I checked the thread tonight. :smile:

    For the record, I like grain. It gives my photo's a look that I like. Just slightly smaller than golf balls would be nice though. :wink:

    Changing to another film would be a bit awkward at the moment as I just spent 50 quid on a 30m roll of HP5+. Another developer would be interesting though.

    Now going to have a read of the links.

    Cheers,
     
  16. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    If you're open to changing developers, I will suggest Xtol 1+1 or 1+2. Much less grainy than Rodinal, but with less loss of resolution/sharpness from solvent effects than you would get with D76. You'll also get at least one stop more film speed. It's definitely a different look than Rodinal and you may not like it, but it WILL help reduce the obtrusiveness of the grain. Or you might like it; who knows.

    Using Xtol doesn't make the grains smaller, it reduces their intensity. If you think of grain noise as being a wave (variations in density with respect to position), then Xtol reduces the amplitude of the wave, not the wavelength.
     
  17. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I do think there are probably some "improvement" to be had by switching to XTol, DD-X, D-76, or Perceptol BUT it isn't even close to what a film change would get you AND finer grain means less sharpness, you can have one or the other. Only you can decide which is more important.

    So, onward to considering the example shot you provided, why not just step closer to your subject?

    Cut the distance by half or 2/3 (with the same focal length) and you have instantly reduced the size of the grain in relation to your subject matter by half or 2/3.
     
  18. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Finer grain doesn't mean less sharpness, in fact it often means better definition and sharpness on a macro level, but a grainy print might have more apparent sharpness from a distance.

    Ian
     
  19. Tijmendal

    Tijmendal Member

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    Stand development is definitely going to be the way to go here. I'd try 1:100 for an hour. 15 seconds of slow agitation, then swoosh it (like you would a glass of fine wine) three times at the 20 and 40 minute mark. Temperature doesn't matter too much with stand, but keep it in the 20 degree celsius range. I've never done HP5 with stand, but I can imagine it'll work similary to Tri-X.
     
  20. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    So Ian, it was my understanding that for a given film, fine grain developers essentially make a slightly softer images than high sharpness developers. For example that XTol used straight would produce finer grain than XTol at 1:4 because at 1:4 it has less solvent effect to smooth the edges. Am I off in that thinking?
     
  21. zsas

    zsas Member

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    How do you agitate?
     
  22. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's a balance, Xtol at Full strength and replenished gives the best all round qualities in terms of fine grain, sharpness and tonality, better than fresh unused Xtol which is still good but I'd use at 1+2 for the best balkance if used dilute. I used to do that with ID-11/D76.

    If I went for a true fine grain developer like Perceptol or Microdol-X I'd again use at 1+2 and that combination does give the best balance of speed, sharpness, fine grain and tonality. I have a friend who uses Perceptol like this.

    So yes in the example you gave above you're right but I was referring to the differences between a fine grain developer like Perceptol and a standard like ID-11/D76.

    Ian
     
  23. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Mark, perceived sharpness seems to have more to do with graininess and edge effects. The smooth edges thing (traditional acutance) doesn't really hold water when you look at what is happening at the microscopic level. It also depends heavily on the film. For example when Altman and Henn did their famous study of solvent effects, guess what - with Panatomic-X, D-25 (an extra fine grain, highly solvent formula) produced the same acutance as D-76 1:1 but with significantly lower graininess. The results were the opposite with Tri-X. Richard Henry's tests were similarly illuminating in revealing that generalizations are impossible. One constant appears to be that you pay a substantially higher price in graininess to get a modest increase in acutance. You might want to check out my thread in the exposure forum.
     
  24. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    All the things people mention about temperature, minimizing exposure, etc will not substantially effect the grain size.....smaller golf balls. If you like the classic look, try another classic developer like HC110 or D76 or Ilford's equivilents. HC110 is much less grainy than Rodinal and a little more than D76.
     
  25. piu58

    piu58 Member

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    >> For short: Use Rodinal at 16°C, with longer development time. The factor is around 1.6.
    > How do you agitate?

    I gave the factor for longer dev time, because you may use your ususl agitation scheme. Simply multiply the time for 20° with 1.6.

    I agitate continuously.
     
  26. zsas

    zsas Member

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    For how long? How many times per minute?

    For eg, @mono suggests:



    What kind of agitation would one use?

    X sec continious initial, then x sec every y minute?