Neopan Acros in Rodinal too contrasty: what am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by atomicthumbs, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. atomicthumbs

    atomicthumbs Member

    Messages:
    23
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have recently developed several rolls of Acros (shot at 100) in Rodinal 1+100, standing or semi-standing for one hour.

    When I look at them under the loupe, they look absolutely beautiful. They're almost like negative slides.

    However, when I scan them, they end up way too contrasty. The midtones are outweighed by the highlights and shadows, and everything looks like I shot it under an arc lamp. A black and white cat in the shade has blown-out white fur and blocked-up black fur. A man in the sunlight with his dog produces a nearly unusable shot that half looks like I shot it on document film.

    I thought that stand development was supposed to reduce contrast. Am I overdeveloping? Would I be better served by shooting at a lower EI, reducing my stand development time, agitating less, switching to normal development, or switching to Xtol, D76, Diafine, or HC110?

    (I know it's not a scanning problem; the scanner is set to use the full range of contrast on the film, and I adjust it in Photoshop.)
     
  2. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,470
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If they look like 'the real thing' in reverse, the gamma is probably 1.0, which is way too high; they are over developed. They should look a little 'flat' with a gamma from 0.6 to 0.8. Also, consider under-exposure, its like an epidemic. You'll always have difficulty printing an under-exposed negative.
     
  3. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

    Messages:
    543
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Location:
    Bothell, WA
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I've had a lot of luck with Acros in Rodinal at 1:50.

    I've settled in to Rodinal 1:50, 10-13 minutes. Simple development beyond that - 30 seconds initial agitation followed by 2 inversions per minute. I've been very happy with the results* Acros has rapidly become one of my favorite films.

    I have some sample shots with similar development here: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=acros+rodinal&w=59657594@N00&s=int

    * I haven't printed negatives developed that way yet - only scanned them. I think they'd print fine too though I'd probably make adjustments to optimize for better printing.
     
  4. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

    Messages:
    630
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
    Location:
    Norway
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I got good results with Acros 35mm 100 EI 100 in Tetenal Ultrafin 1:20 for 4 minutes 20 degrees (celcius).

    Almost too short dev time to handle, but it went ok and even in contrasty light I had good detail on both highlights and shadows (in the scans).

    I also did a succesful development of Across 100 120 film EI 100 in Rodinal 1:50 for 13 minutes 30 seconds at 20 degrees (agitate first 30, then two slow inversions each minute).
    I attached a sample, which I had to "S" the curve a little to get some punch after scanning and setting black and white points, enough details, but light was flat.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2011
  5. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,489
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Location:
    Kyoto, Japan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I love Acros in Rodinal at normal development. I find I get much better results with slightly longer development (14.5 min) with Acros exposed at 80. I've never had much luck with using Rodinal for stand development, although in those cases I always had very low contrast negs, opposed to what you seem to be having. Why don't you try Acros in Rodinal for normal development using the Massive Development Chart guidelines? If it's still not working for you, then try another developer. (I've often used D-76 1:1 with nice results).
     
  6. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,341
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn,Mic
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    'Standing' development' Rodinal can still grossly over develop film! Especially Acros.

    There is not any advantage to high dilutions of Rodinal over 1+50, except to slow the process down a little.
    You might try 1+50 for 16 minutes, and agitate it every 5th minute and see what kind of EI will give you a good negative; fine tune from there.

    Scanning, of course, IS a problem for Rodianal and Acros because your scanner simply can't SEE the detail in your negative; you're never going to get the nuance from a scanner that is so easy with a good enlarger.

    If you are wedded to film scanning, you might as well make it easy on yourself and stick to XTOL. Good luck.
     
  7. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,617
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Wes
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Dear atomicthumbs,

    Whenever you change your developing method, there is going to be a period of learning. If you are new to it, it is far better to start with something conventional. One nice thing about Xtol is that the times in the data sheet are quite good (assuming you follow the instructions).

    Good luck,

    Neal Wydra
     
  8. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

    Messages:
    756
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Location:
    NY
    Shooter:
    35mm RF

    Great to see you posting valuable advice again, Mr Cardwell!
     
  9. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,204
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Good to see you here, D.

    Mr Cardwell has taught me an awful lot about photography, how to keep things simple, and how to focus on the picture rather than the process.

    Compared to Cardwell, I have only used Rodinal five years, compared to his 40. But I learned that it is an extremely powerful developer. It will continue to develop and develop and develop, basically until you stop it. The idea to do standing development is spreading like a plague across the internet, and is touted as fashionable. What it really does is make you sloppy as a photographer, because it's thought of as a 'catch all' solution for roll film where some frames are underexposed and other overexposed, and somehow standing development magically equalizes that. You just proved that it doesn't quite work that way. You still have to pay attention to what you're doing. If you really learn how to use it, it has been proven by people like Steve Sherman that it can work just beautifully. But more goes into it than just stuffing film into the soup and forgetting about it.
    Since most people scan film these days, it's difficult for them to see if there is actually any benefit to what they're doing or not. Like DF says, scanning a negative with lots of highlight intensity will often yield blocked up highlights that look like someone smeared toothpaste on the picture, while in a good enlarger you will be able to extract all sorts of details that you never thought were possible.

    If your negatives have too much contrast, you developed it for too long. Just try 1+50 and agitating every three or five minutes. Develop a few rolls where you start at 16 minutes. If your highlights are blocked up, develop for less time. Continue like this until you strike a good balance. This is simple and rudimentary testing, requiring some work from you. Nobody else can do it for you, because everything you see, do, and the equipment you use, will be different from what everybody else does. Put in the work and sort it out by working on your technique. After you have mastered a more standard approach, you may wish to revisit standing development, if only to see if it really gives you any benefit or not. You will have learned a lot by this stage.

    - Thomas
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2011
  10. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,542
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It is worth noting in addition to developer/development effects on contrast, Acros inherently has very high contrast in areas of high exposure. In fact the most contrasty part of its gradation is in the highlights. This is not necessarily a good or bad thing, just something to be aware of as a unique characteristic of Acros, compared with TMX or Delta 100.
     
  11. r-brian

    r-brian Member

    Messages:
    617
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Location:
    Albuquerque,
    I don't understand the stand developing at 1+100 dilution. When I first heard of stand developing, the dilution was 1+200 for an hour. I've done it this way a couple of times with fine results.

    For Acros, my standard developing is 1+100 for 18 minutes @68*F with extended agitation times towards the end. The only dilution and time I know by heart, everything else I have to look up.
     
  12. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

    Messages:
    1,237
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Location:
    Downers Grov
    Too much contrast is too long a time in developer. That simple. I would expose 6 frames , 12" of film", of a full tone range subject and start with 30 min and work up or down from there.

    Further no film manufacturer recommends stand. You get streaking and sooner or later you will spoil your best shot. Work out a time with 10 sec per min agitation.

    The best way to reduce contrast is more exposure and less development. 20% reduction for each stop of exposure over.

    You can also double scan, one for highlights and once for shadows and combine in photoshop.

    It is also possible to do HDR with film
     
  13. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,368
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    If you want to go the scanning route, you should consider Diafine. Sandy King wrote an extensive article about Diafine for a scanning workflow and called it the "silver bullet." If you look at my fine art site, most of that work was done with Diafine. It's great stuff, and lasts forever.
     
  14. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,769
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2003
    Location:
    NH
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    That is great advice. I played with semi-stand development and found that it really did give incredible sharpness. But I couldn't keep the development even across the whole sheet of film (4x5). This was ok if there were no smooth areas like the sky in the shot. Unfortunately I did ruin a few good shots since I thought I had it worked out (why do the test sheets never show the problems?).

    I now won't go with less than 10sec/min of agitation, and I have mostly gone back to the Jobo with continuous agitation for all films.I may try stand again, but only if I have taken a backup sheet of film.
     
  15. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

    Messages:
    6,239
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    Southern USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Stand development is useful in certain high contrast siluations but it was never intended to be a general purpose development method. This has been discussed many times before.
     
  16. Bertil

    Bertil Subscriber

    Messages:
    183
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Location:
    Northern Sweden
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I think I get nice Acros 120 film negatives, both for scan and enlarger, e.i. 50-100 iso, with Rodinal 1+50 (18-20° C) some 7-10 minutes, agitation first minute and 10-20 second each second and third minute (or 3-4 good agitations during the total developing time).
    Scanning in 16 bits and expanding (perhaps narrow) indata to max utdata: 0-255, will handle also very contrasty highlights, according to my experience at least.
    /Bertil