Ilford FP4+ vs my tiny arsenal of developers

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by gnashings, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Hello,

    I am about to develop a roll of 35mm FP4+ that I rated at box speed. Up to this point, I have been souping it in Rodinal 1:50. I love the way it looks, although some would say there is more grain than they like. I was about to throw this roll into the same soup when I thought:"Hmmm, lets see what the good folks of APUG can share with me!"
    Here is my very humble arsenal: Rodinal (of course!), Microphen, Acufine, and D76.
    Now, am I correct in thinking that Microphen and Acufine will give me a undesired (in this case) push, therefore falling out of contention here?
    If its down to the Lord's Own Developer or D76 - what are your thoughts and suggestions of best approach with either? I think I will have normal to somewhat contrasty pictures on this roll and usually like to have a punchy print on Gr3 paper from my negs. Normally, they will not be enlarged past 8x10 (unless I have something marvelous there, which I doubt :smile:). I know all the combinations from the various dev charts - but I think I could benefit from the wealth of experience of all the APUG'ers in getting the best "look"!

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions

    Peter.
     
  2. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    You can use Microphen at box speed stock, 1:1 or 1:3, D76 is always a good choice for Fp4 or Plus X stock or 1:1. Acuifne can be used if you dilute it and determine the correct time. Of the 3 possiblities, if you are shooting in flat low contrast lighting I would try the microphen, for average conditions the D76.
     
  3. kaiyen

    kaiyen Member

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    Just some random thoughts.

    How did you meter? If you had it at 125 but _didn't_ meter the shadows, then the increased film speed of Microphen (I've never used Acufine), which should give you about 1/3-2/3 of a stop increase, will actually be helpful. Plus, it's pretty good at controlling contrast, too.

    If you like the acutance of Rodinal, try D76 1+3 as a comparison. Grain won't be any less than Rodinal, though, very likely (dang, still gotta go look at those test negatives I ran comparing Rodinal 1+50, D76 1+0, 1+1, and 1+3...). But it would be interesting to compare. Otherwise I've always liked 1+1.

    allan
     
  4. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Hmmm, so it seems like Rodinal is the odd man out!
    These negs are of architecture, old trains and people - not spot metered or anything - but with the center weighted meter's advice and + usually one stop of over exposure to get nice shadow detail and some detail on the faces, which are often somewhat in shadow. The light was ranging from average to somewhat contrasty. This was all done very much "from the hip" - so it will not have any semblence of Ansel Adam's like zone control or anything :smile:
    Thanks for the advice thus far -I much appreciate it!

    Peter
     
  5. arigram

    arigram Member

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    Don't throw anything heavy at me, but I would suggest a developer you don't have:
    Ilford's own Ilfosol-S.
    It's a tiny little 250ml bottle, it keeps fresh for very little but I've got my best results with FP4+ so far, especially if rated at 80 iso.
     
  6. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    If you expose + 1, I would recommend D76 1:1 with 10 to 20% less time than recommended on the data sheet to keep from blowing out the highlights. The general rule is that exposure sets the shadow details, development time the highlights. But you need to look at your negatives (the ones you already developed) to see how your past exposures have handled both shadow and highlights and what kind of burning and dodging did you need to do to get the prints you wanted. This may give you a ball park idea of what your true EI is and how to adjust your development time to best fit your paper.
     
  7. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    You can always develop the film in Rodinal plus sulfite. This will decrease the grain size and produces very nice negatives. Use your usual dilution but dilute with a 9% solution (90 grams per liter) of sodium sufite. With this modification development is a bit faster so use a shorter development time say about 0.85 times normal.

    This method was popular some years ago. With this method it's also possible to use Rodinal as a replenished system by adding a small amount of concentrate to the Rpdinal-sulfite developer as a replenisher. Before using a new development method it's always good to run a test roll.
     
  8. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    The venerable D-76 will not disappoint.
     
  9. kaiyen

    kaiyen Member

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    I certainly wasn't implying that. You asked for suggestions for other developers. I routinely use Rodinal 1+50 for FP4.

    allan
     
  10. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Ilfosol is available to me - I may pick up a batch.

    Allan,

    Sorry if I misunderstood you - I thought you meant that you would prefer the others. I lovethe way Rodinal(1:50) does FP4+ in 120 - not as much in 35mm, in some cases. Its strange, it just seems that some frames (off the same roll!) seem to suit the look, others do not.

    Questio on sodium sulfite - is it available anywhere other than chemistry supply outlets? I think I would like to try some "perverted rodinal" some day, perhaps not here necessarily, but its something that I think I would love to have up my sleeve:smile:

    Thanks to all for your responses and suggestions, they really made me look more closely at how I go about my developing. I guess in retrospective, I rate it at box speed, but in reality tend to overexpose most of the time compared to my meter readings. When a scene seems like something the meter will understand, I usually take its word for it - but when I have faces in shadows, back lights and so on, I tend to compensate a bit when shooting hand held, quick shots type stuff.

    Thanks again,

    Peter.
     
  11. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    I had shot a few rolls of FP4 and had them developed at a lab, and wasn't overly impressed with the film.

    Anyway, I had one roll left, so tried it in Rodinal 1+100, and the results were quite impressive. Good tonal range, sharp and it was hard to spot the grain (but then it was 6x9!).

    I've had good success with 1+100 dilutions, even with supposedly grainy films like APX400 (rated at 400).

    Give the higher dilution a try.
     
  12. arigram

    arigram Member

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    Peter, I have tried Rodinal, D-76 and Perceptol with FP4+ 120 at 125,80 and 64 iso and I like Ilfosol-S by far. Its the fastest (6 1/2 minutes at 20C for 125iso) and its gives me really great tones, sharpness and invisible grain. I am not sure how it achieves it but it excells it everything: iso, speed, tones, sharpness and grain! The only drawback is its tiny container and it's bad keeping quallities.
    Because the market for BW film photographers its tiny here, its the most available developer and so I never took it seriously, until I tried it. What a surprise!
    Of course I use it with medium format 6x6 film but I am sure you will also like it.
     
  13. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    It's available from pool supply stores (probably not much help there in Canada). You can have your photostore order from Brandess-Kalt-Aetna Group www.bkaphoto.com (fairly pricey). Probably the easiest is from Fotochem since they are in Quebec
    www.colba.net/~fotochem/index.htm. Two sites in US www.chemistrystore.com and www.techcheminc.com (they sell photochemicals at good prices).
     
  14. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Thanks guys - I may go and buy some Ilfosol... simply because, well, any excuse to buy more stuff is a good one! If my wife asks I'll tell her Arigram told me to - you are in Greece, so reasonably safe from her wrath:smile: (I just got another camera...that she seems to think I didn't need... I don't get it...)

    As far as the high dilution Rodinal is concerned, I know there are minimum amounts of rodinal they recommend for any solutions (I believe 7ml?) - now, I need about 300 ml of solution for my Paterson tank andone roll of 35mm. My question is, should I be concerned with the small actual amount of developer? Should I mix up more solution so that I have that 6 or 7 ml in there? Would this be considered "stand developing" with all the minimalist agitation that goes with it?

    Thanks for all your input - as always, I am learning so much from all of you guys and want you to know how much I appreciate the time you take toshare your knowledge with me!

    Peter.

    PS Gerald - we have pools in Canada, you know! We just skate on them half the time:smile: Jokes aside, thanks for the purchasing tips.
     
  15. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Down here in Florida there is a pool supply place in every mall. But not all of them stock sodium sulfite. I don't know how far you'd have to drive and with the gas factored in it might be cheaper to order on the web. This stuff is cheap about US$3 a pound if you buy several pounds.
     
  16. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    You should also look into doing stand development... try your Rodinal at around 1:125 with minimal agitation (5 inversions in the 1st minute, then 2 every 15 mins) for 1 hour. You should look up the articles Steve Sherman has written on this technique (mostly done with Pyro-based developers) for a much better description of the process. If you can get your hands on one of the Pyro developers, I'd suggest that even more than Rodinal.
     
  17. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    In Canada try JD PHOTOCHEM:

    http://www.jdphotochem.com

    Wonderful people to deal with! Their price on sodium sulfite is $3.00 USD a pound in 5 pound lots, $2.80 USD a pound in 10 pound lots. Smaller amounts are available at higher prices.
     
  18. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Thanks again guys - I really like the FP4+ and wanted to really see how many ways I can enjoy one of my favorite films with what I had at hand (or what Henry's can sell me...). I definitely have some ideas!
     
  19. arigram

    arigram Member

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    *sigh* women...
    I am so happy I can spend all of my money on photography and don't worry
    about bribing a female to keep her calm about my spending habbits!
    Good thing to know that I am far enough from yours, she seems dangerous from your description! I mean, after all, I just adviced you to try out a 5 buck film developer not start you up on heroin!
     
  20. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Hehehehee, its a case of worrying a straw may break the camel's back... even a $5 straw :smile: Seriously, feroucious as she is, she is very supportive - but she has that whole grown up "don't buy what you can't afford" thing that is so foreign to me when I see something shiny:smile:
    But on topic though - I am going to get a bit of Ilfosol and try a roll of FP4+ in it, and then in D76 (probably 1:1) - different rolls, of course (before I start a trend - photographers are willing to try anything it seems :smile:).
    Thanks again!

    Peter
     
  21. Nigel Harley

    Nigel Harley Member

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    FP4+ is one of my favorite 'standard' films. I often load it in my 'snapping' camera and leave it set to 125ASA. But develope I develope it in my 'normal' dev time for 100ASA - 11:30mins in ID11 1+1. This gives a good alround negative that straight prints G2 or G3.

    When I rate FP4+ at 64ASA my 'normal' time is 14mins ID11 1+1.

    I have never tried D76 as I have always had a good supply of ID11. I recently bought some emergency stock of D76 just in case the Ilford situation stopped supply, but as of yet I have not used it. Everyweher I have read says they are almost identical and the times can be interchanged.

    Have fun :smile:
     
  22. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Thanks for the input - I am leaning towards the D76 experiment for this roll - we'll see how it goes! As soon as I have 5 minutes of time to myself..hehehehe:smile: