Pan F+ w Rodinal vs. Diafine

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by kq6up, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. kq6up

    kq6up Member

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    I have been looking at images shot w/ Pan F+ and Diafine. Amazing combo. It seems to give very consistent results w/ Diafine. Good tone -- sharp, smooth grain. I have been trying to work out Rodinal w/ Pan F+. It has been a bit of a challenge to try to nail down a good procedure to get good results with Rodinal and Pan F+. I would like to match the Diafine quality with this film using Rodinal for economic and practical reasons.

    I would like to try 1 hour stand developing with 1+100 Rodinal. The results look seem similar to that of Diafine, but I have read mixed opinions.

    I would also try a batch at 15 minutes with VERY minimal agitation (2 inversions every two minutes) @ 1+50.

    My research seems to consistently indicate that increased agitation increases grain w/ Rodinal.

    Someone also indicated that it is better to control contrast w/ solution strength instead of developing time (with Rodinal). I am of the opinion these two developing parameters form a reciprocal relationship whence either one could be adjust with consideration of the other without any difference in developing quality. Any one have an opinion here?

    If I can't get close to Diafine, I guess I will have to shell out for it. However, I was wondering if anyone has wondered down this path before and could spare me the test rolls and chemistry.

    Thanks,
    Chris Maness
     
  2. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    Chris, This is just my opinion, but I think every darkroom should have a container each of A and B Diafine. I tried it many years ago with Kodak TRI-X and found I could rate TRI-X at ASA1000 and it worked as good or better than anything I had used when rating TRI-X at asa400(320). I have also used it with Fuji Acros rated at asa160 and it is great with that. The stuff lasts forever and has almost no negative points to it. I also use it as a "go to" when testing a lens/camera combo to make sure everything is "cool" either before I sell one or before buy one. I have also used Rodinal 1:100 and 1:200 with Across and Foma 100 with very good results, but, like I said, it's just my opinion. JohnW
     
  3. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Are you shooting 4x5 or small format? Unless you are making extremely large prints even medium format PanF won't look materially different in Rodinal 1+25 or 1+50, particularly since PanF is inherently a fine-grained film. Rodinal is not a solvent developer, so with the right amount of extended time and increased agitation, 1+50 can look pretty much the same as 1+25, if that is your goal. If you wish to decrease macro contrast, or introduce a shoulder to control highlights, the more dilute the formulation, the easier it will be to accomplish. So if you are looking for the results of reduced agitation, 1+50 makes more sense than 1+25.
     
  4. kq6up

    kq6up Member

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    Thanks John. I have been restocking my darkroom, and I was one of those guys that always used D-76 and stuck to the same film. I was using HP5 w/ D-76, and I picked a winner from the first combo I ever used, and I did not change. I was shooting mostly 6x6cm w/ my Roleiflex, and not too worried about grain. I have some tonally beautiful negs w/ that combo.

    Now I am going on motorcycle trips, and I am going to pack minimal gear, but I don't want to sacrifice image quality. I am looking at Delta 100 in D-76 vs. Pan F+ in Diafine or Rodinal (if I can get it to behave). It looks like Pan F+ wins in Diafine. It has VERY nice tonality and has an edge in sharpness/clarity. However, I am not sure if I can say the same for Rodinal/Pan F+.

    Since I have the Rodinal, I looked for some films on flickr that played well with it. I think Fomapan 100 has BEAUTIFUL tonality in Rodinal, probably the best combo I have seen period. However, I think it is better suited for MF because grain is evident in small 35mm enlargements. However, it is not an unpleasant grain. I bought two 120 rolls to play with. I skipped the hardener in my current batch of fixer, so I am going to wait till I kill that bottle before I shoot it. I have some FP4 too, and it has a similar look to the Foma.

    Thanks,
    Chris Maness
     
  5. kq6up

    kq6up Member

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    Sorry, I should update my profile to include what I am shooting currently. I was only shooting digital and VERY occasionally shooting 4x5. However, I completely quit shooting digital except for weddings and portrait shoots. All of my personal work is now on film.

    I do like VERY large prints. I would print as large as the negative would allow. My first 35mm test w/ Pan F+ gave ugly tonality. The grain had a look to it that I am not used to. It has a very hard edge to the grain, it looked like salt in pepper at close inspection. I believe that might have been what contributed to a very unsmooth tonality in the macro scale. However, after looking at other people negs souped by stand development, I can see that stand development gives better tone and grain. However, I would also like to have a second option that affords me more control than stand developement (for low contrast scenes that need N+1). That is why I tossed in the every other minute agitation for you guys/gals to comment on as well.

    After reading the second post on this thread, I might just have to spring for the diafine. Especially since looking at what it can do for tri-x/arista premium, at VERY high speeds. I would not be enlarging these beyond 8x10", but @ei1600 it looks pretty good. W/ Pan F+ /w Diafine is beautiful and VERY high res. Just expensive. Oh well.

    Chris
     
  6. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    I must confess that I'm not a big fan of PanF, but that's probably because I don't shoot much, if any, 35mm. 6x6 is about as small as I go and I actually like Acros 100, Delta 100 for most everything on the slower side. This might sound strange, but I liked FP4+ in Perceptol 1:3 rated at ISO 50 much better than PanF rated at ISO 50 in D76, DD-X or Rodinal. Of course, that's just me, but it gave me some of the best, cleanest negatives.
    JohnW
     
  7. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I have not used Diafine myself but I would say if you like how it looks go with it even if it costs a little more.

    By the way regarding N+1 for 35mm, I suggest trying N development and then toning the negative in Selenium. With most films it effectively gives you an N+1 expansion without the increase in grain associated with N+1 development. It works very well in my experience.
     
  8. kq6up

    kq6up Member

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    Thanks John. I guess Pan F+ is just a no go w/ Rodinal save maybe stand development. I don't really care for it D-76 either. I gave the test roll to my son to shoot, and I would say that maybe two or three really came out nice. Albeit, a couple of frames were a little over exposed, but not by much. The strait part of the curve is very short, and rounds off to a very flat image if over exposed by one stop in D-76. Resolution was outstanding in D-76 though. Much better than Rodinal for this film so far. I could see the lug nuts on a car that was far away w/ a 50mm lens.

    After reading a little more about diafine on Flickr, it looks like I can just keep using the stuff over and over for a year. Pretty cool, I guess it is economical after all.

    Thanks,
    Chris Maness
     
  9. kq6up

    kq6up Member

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    I just found out you can just use the stock over and over again for a year even if it grows mold. Just filter the mold out, and keep rockin'

     
  10. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I agree with this assessment. In fact I'd add I now generally prefer FP4 in Perceptol 1+3 to Delta 100 in DDX, D76 or Perceptol. For a long time Delta 100 was my primary film but I'm now switching back to FP4, although I also use alot of Acros in Perceptol as well for its outstanding reciprocity characteristics for night/high contrast work.
     
  11. kq6up

    kq6up Member

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    p.s. The curve for Pan F+ and Diafine looks very smooth and long. Every image I have seen with this combo has been excellent. Pan F is a very picky film, but I could tell it had potential. I can't wait to get some diafine, but I have to wait until next month because I have blown through all of my darkroom budget.

    Thanks,
    Chris
     
  12. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    Well, I guess it's not just me! I was always told/under the impression that it(Perceptol) wouldn't give me the acutance/sharpness I was after. I always stayed away from Perceptol or Microdol-X because I thought I would suffer severe speed loss and get softer negatives than I wanted. I have heard that by going 1:3 in dilution one could shoot near box speed, but I like it at about half box speed. JohnW
     
  13. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I agree. In all my testing with Perceptol at various dilutions with various films I always found the best results were to test for film speed at 1+0, and then use that same speed when determining my various times and agitation methods at higher dilutions. I like the results much better this way. First, it ensures your shadows are on the straight line part of the curve at 1+3, so that I can get excellent highlight control without muddy low values. Second, it ensures you are not pushing speed at all - very important in my opinion because even minor expansions in Perceptol quickly reduce its fine grain characteristics.

    I would say even at 1+3 Perceptol is still not a really sharp developer (better than 1+0 though), although with reduced agitation you can get subtle edge effects that help increase apparent sharpness in enlargements from small negatives.
     
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  15. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    I've got nothing but praise for Rodinal with Pan-F+.

    I shoot it 120 but some of the best negs I have to print are with this combination. I use 1:50 with standard Ilford agitation (10sec./min.) -- very occasionally I'll have highlights a tad hot but nothing a small burn won't take care of.

    Grain is excellent, but this is just my experience. I think it's worth testing a roll with, and see for yourself...Rodinal is very economical and the results are consistently terrific.
     
  16. kq6up

    kq6up Member

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    Have any of you guys tried APX-25? I am thinking about souping it in Diafine. I have one roll only given to me by the film photography podcast for free. I want to make sure it comes out well because I would like to post the images in this podcast's flickr group. There is also some very high res films that seem to do well in Diafine like Rollei ATP V1.

    Thanks,
    Chris
     
  17. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    I have used it - also souped in Rodinal, as I've never tried Diafine. The tones and grain are like nothing else.
     
  18. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    APX25 was a brilliant film. Incredible in Rodinal. I have seen some extreme enlargements made from 35mm that blew me away.
    Imagine a studio portrait of a woman in profile, dimly lit with highlights on her face. Her whole figure was in the portrait, sitting on a stool. The photographer took this 35mm negative, enlarged it by raising the enlarger head as high as it would go and then put the easel on the floor. In the print, which ended up almost life size, a crop of her head revealed her details to the degree that I could count her eye lashes.

    It's an extreme film.

    Diafine is a good developer in that it's a two part soup. It will help you boost exposures on the thin side, and at the same time, even on the same roll of film, help you with taming crazy contrast.
    It is, to me, not the optimal developer, because you can't really alter you results with it much. I like more control. But Diafine does very little wrong, and is a really good all purpose developer.

    Pan-F+ isn't really difficult to get right in any developer. You just have to pay attention to what you're doing, develop a good process that is flexible with regard to lighting conditions, and make the most of it.
    If you ask here on APUG about specific combinations you will get as many replies as there are people responding. You still have to go out and try it for yourself, at the end of the day.

    One thing that you will want to consider when you make large prints is sharpness and resolution. Grain will always be there. It's film after all. Pan-F+ is a very fine grained film, but I know nothing about it resolution wise. You may find that a film like TMax 100 or Acros has higher resolution, while exhibiting the same amount of grain.
    If the print isn't sharp, then even the finest grained emulsion isn't going to look good. This is where Rodinal is so good. It gives a super sharp negative. Instead of considering Rodinal 1+25 with normal agitation or 1+100 standing development, why not consider something in between that capitalizes on the best of both worlds? Try 1+100 and agitate every three minutes. Make tests to determine how long you develop for. See how you like them apples. Rodinal doesn't have to be super grainy.

    - Thomas
     
  19. kq6up

    kq6up Member

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    I am sure it would be fine for MF sized negs, but I am currently in search of a very high resolution combo for 35mm. Pan F+/Rodinal does not seem to be it. The grain on a 35mm is acceptable, with the Ilford agitation scheme, but it is not really as good as an ISO50 speed film should be. Stand developing might be an exception. I have not tried it yet.

    Another issue with Pan F+ in Rodinal and D-76. I am getting a VERY short straight section on the contrast curve, and I am just not a fan of this type short tonal scale. If it is over by a half stop, the all of the mids and the highs are in the shoulder of the curve. It is not forgiving at all. This has been my experience as well as others. However, you might have something else to report. I want to give Rodinal a fair shake with this film. It is REALLY good with Fomapan 100, but I am loosing faith for Pan F+ ;o)
     
  20. kq6up

    kq6up Member

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    @Thomas. Thanks, my next roll I will try 1+50 agitating ever other minute for 15 minutes, and see if it is more to my liking. If that does not work I can try less and less agitation w/ increased dev time to compensate. I am out of play money for the month anyhow so I will have to wait to test the film in Diafine. I do agree, I like the ability to push and pull if I need to in the developing stage rather than compensating in the print or scanning stage. I do also understand that Diafine either works with a film or it does not. All the examples I have seen are really nice. It seems to lengthen the straight section of the HD curve significantly.

    I have been running out of stuff to shoot locally that make interesting test shots. I am about to go out in the back yard and take 36 shots of my dog or something. It takes so long to get through a 36 exposure roll. I don't want to buy a bulk roll yet, but it is WAY better to do tests with 12 frame strips rather than 36 exposure rolls. I guess I could just pull some off as I shoot it in a changing bag.

    Thanks,
    Chris
     
  21. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Sorry for the "necro posting" but I just found this thread because I was about to try PanF+ in Diafine. "Shell out for it" is a misnomer when it comes to Diafine. Though it's about $20+ a quart many places and $30 a gallon from Freestyle it lasts almost forever. I used to do upwards of 70 rolls in a quart. Just pour it back in the bottle and keep using it. As long as you keep part B out of part A (easy in practice - carryover the other way happens normally and causes no problems) it just keeps working. Eventually it starts to fade but it's actually a very, very economical developer on a per roll basis.

    So Chris, did you ever try out the combo with Pan F+?
    Tri-X in Diafine is one of my all time favorites for EI 1250 or so.
     
  22. kq6up

    kq6up Member

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    I have it in my freestyle basket. I will purchase it at the beginning of the month. I have since perfected my use with this film and Rodinal. I really like this combo in 120 roll film.

    Chris
     
  23. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Depending on the light over the next few days I may get to shoot some Pan F+ destined for Diafine. If I do, I'll try to remember to report back here.
     
  24. craigclu

    craigclu Subscriber

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    I just recently got some Rodinal and also have a freezer load of old PanF+ that I never seem to get to. What sort of EI were you using? I was expecting about 25 to be tops and was going to start there. I tried the soup 25+ years ago and the grittiness in 35mm at the time had me moving to other things (ended up with FG7 at the time for many years). I mainly work with MF and LF these days and don't worry so much about grain and am curious about the tonality that others trumpet about their Rodinal use.
     
  25. kq6up

    kq6up Member

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    Yes, if you agitate like normal you will get very harsh gritty looking negs. That was my first experience. However, on ALL Rodinal processing only gets one gentle inversion per minute, and this has reduced the grain across the board. For Pan F+ I took another member's suggestion and only agitate for the first 30" and two GENTLE inversions every 5 minutes. The result is BEAUTIFUL negs with very fine grain. This is all at 1:50 dilution. This agitation scheme has some compensation effect, so rating the film at EI50 is perfect. I have bracketed and found 25 too hot when agitating this way. If you agitate normally (which I don't recommend) I would rate it slower.

    Good Luck,
    Chris Maness
     
  26. matt nalley

    matt nalley Member

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    Looking at the massive dev chart I see only one entry for 1+50 at EI 50. Do you develop for 11 minutes? If so does that mean you have only 2 inversions at about 5 minutes and 10 minutes?