Problems stand developing Tri-X at box speed.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by keyofnight, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. keyofnight

    keyofnight Member

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    I stand developed a roll of Tri-X shot at 1600, and all the shots came out amazing! Souped the roll for 1 hour in Rodinal diluted to 1:100. I inverted the tank repeatedly for the first 10 minutes, and then I inverted the tank three times at the 20 and 40 minute mark. The roll came out nice and contrasty. I didn't even have to adjust the levels much (if at all) when I scanned the pictures. Here's an example:


    [​IMG]


    I, confident as hell, went on to try stand developing another roll Tri-X shot at 400 with the same process, the same diluted developer from the same bottle. The roll came out underdeveloped: the emulsion was a lot thinner than it should be. I'm not sure why. I know temperature shouldn't effect development too much (at this dilution). Did I forget to shake my bottle of mixed Rodinal, and all of the developer settled to the bottom? Should I have agitated it more? I would've presumed a roll exposed at 400 would need less agitation, not more—but I'm new to all of this.


    Here's an unadjusted example of my failure:


    [​IMG]

    Any thoughts would be appreciated. :smile:
     
  2. Simonh82

    Simonh82 Member

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    You mentioned having a mixed bottle of Rodinal but this developer is normally used one shot. If you were reusing it, especially at high dilution like this, then it would be very exhausted after one use. Reusing it would not work well.
     
  3. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Higher speed films like Tri-X usually prefer a little more than 1 hour. Simon is also right Rodinal is one shot reuse won't work. Temp below 18°C reduces the developers activity. . With your inversion regime the film should be overdeveloped not underdeveloped. Furthermore what you did was not stand but semi stand (you inverted the film for the first 10 minutes and more often then the norm for stand, stand from 8sec - 1 minute max continous at the beginning, maybe 3 times at half time). Could you post a non inverted scan of the neg, maybe there is a problem with your scanner.

    Dominik
     
  4. keyofnight

    keyofnight Member

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    Whoops! I made a few mistakes in this post.

    (1) Yes, you're right…this is semi-stand, and I should've made that clear.

    (2) I didn't agitate for the first 10 minutes, I agitated for the first 10-12 seconds. Sorry about the typo. I do 10 agitations (inversions), tap the tank on a table (to get rid of air bubbles), walk away.

    (3) The scanner is fine. I use my university's Flextight X1, and I used it to scan a few other rolls the same day. The dark rolls came out dark, and the bright rolls came out bright. (; The big problem is that there is a lot less emulsion on the film than other rolls.

    (4) Also: I didn't reuse my developer. I mixed up a big accordion-style bottle of developer at 1:100—about 1500mL worth. Instead of mixing up a new batch before I develop, I just use some from my accordion bottle. And, of course, I dump what I use down the toilet. After two rolls, I'm down to 500mL of mixed developer.

    The problem is: I don't think I shook my accordion bottle last time I grabbed some, so I think all of the Rodinal settled at the bottom of the bottle. I think, then…that means there wasn't much Rodinal in the last tank. That also means there's a ton of Rodinal left in the accordion bottle. Maybe I should just mix up a new batch and just be more careful in the future?

    Does Rodinal (mixed in water) settle at the bottom of a bottle this easily? Or is there some other problem I'm overlooking?
     
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  5. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    Rodinal uses up the oxygen in the air and in the water, thus exhausting itself even if kept in an accordion bottle. As such, you should be using up what you mixed at the time - thus, mix up 500ml and use it and discard the rest. Mixing up 1500ml and using 500ml mean the 1000ml of the developer is rapidly losing strength, even sitting in an air tight bottle. This is unlike most standard developers - once the water is added, it should be used within hours, not days.

    The picture is under-developed because the Rodinal did not have enough strength left to fully develop it. The Rodinal does not settle to the bottom, it just exhausts itself.
     
  6. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    1) You have to mix Rodinal right before you use it, not ahead of time. If your mixed developer stood around, even in your accordion bottle, for more than a few hours it will go bad.

    2) Stand development is not a magical panacea. It can work fine on higher contrast subjects but when the contrast range of a neg is small it will look like crap. I really don't know why people keep trying to use these obscure methods when they don't work as well as the simple plain Jane ones. If you would have simply developed the film according to the instructions on the box bot negatives would have turned out fine.
     
  7. keyofnight

    keyofnight Member

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    Whoa! I had no idea! Thanks! I allowed my mixed batch of Rodinal to sit for a week before using it again. I guess I'm lucky I got any images at all!

    I'm going to ditch the accordion bottle, and I'm going to start mixing up batches of developer for each tank of film. This should give me the most consistent results possible.

    Should I be careful about how I store my Rodinal too? I was told that it's a good idea to put glass marbles in the bottle of Rodinal so that it's not exposed to so much air?
     
  8. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    well said.
     
  9. keyofnight

    keyofnight Member

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    I don't think it's a magical panacea, but I did shoot a lot of high contrast subjects: dark bus when it's bright outside, inside a museum with very bright lights hitting dark fossils, a few night shots, and so on. I picked a method that went along with things I typically shoot and my skill level—stand development is pretty low-stakes. My first roll was a smashing success, after all, so I think I made the right choice.

    If I developed the negatives according to the instructions on the box, I'm not sure it would've come out well. It wasn't stand development that got me into this, it was that I mixed the developer ahead of time and didn't know it was a problem. Either way, I'm developing my own film because I want to learn lots of different methods of making an image. What you take as an "obscure" method is just another method I want to master, and that's why I decided to shoot film in the first place. I could just as easily argue that we should shoot digital because it's—in a way—simpler and less obscure. We're all doing something obscure for the sake of the supposed benefits of obscure methods, joy from the sheer experience of them, the resultant understanding that comes from going through a new process, and so on. These reasons are justification enough, right?

    This is all, of course, off-topic.
     
  10. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    The accordion bottle has nothing to do with it, I use them for my fix/stop and they work well. Glass marbles are good and bad things - Rodinal will naturally turn more brown with age and it is amazing how dark it gets before it stops working (mine looks like weak coffee and works wonderfully). As long as the bottle it comes in is sealed properly, I don't think you have to worry about the minute amount of air in the bottle making a difference. The most consistent results I get are from pouring water into my mixing container, letting the water sit for 2-3 hours and then adding Rodinal and stirring briefly a couple of minutes before adding to the film for developing. (My brother works at a water plant and explained to me they inject air into the water in order to lower the density of the water and have it move more freely through the pipes; letting it sit for a couple of hours allows the air to dissipate.)

    I am not a big fan of glass marbles (over stainless steel ball bearings) since I had a marble break once and some glass shards scratched the film to pieces - I didn't know the marble was broken until later. Alternatively, use an accordion bottle which is easier.
     
  11. keyofnight

    keyofnight Member

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    I didn't mean to imply that the accordion bottle is somehow causing problems in itself. I only meant that I'm gonna stop mixing up lots of developer in advance. Sorry. (I'm trying very hard not to sound stupid…I swear that I am not.)

    Excellent tip. I'm going to try that tonight.

    This all brings back fond memories. I remember—when I was a kid—my mother and I would aerate buckets of water for salt water fish tanks. That would insure that the oxygen levels were high enough in the tank, and it would also insure that the salt we would add to the water is well-mixed. I guess all of my hobbies will require passing knowledge of chemistry. (;
     
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  12. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Ditto! Stand development was never intended as a general purpose method. I wish that people who want to do this would first thoroughly read a book on the Zone System for a description of its intended purpose. That is contrast reduction of a contrastly subject.
     
  13. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    For example, if you are trying to copy lithographic prints that have high contrast and very fine detail, then stand development may prove advantageous in the latter part of the development cycle. However, for standard shots on panchromatic film leave alone.
     
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  15. keyofnight

    keyofnight Member

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    So there are no possible advantages to semi-stand developing high contrast subjects on panchromatic film? None at all? Not even… avoiding blown highlights? The supposed shadow detail you gain? The ability to control the contrast you get when you push? The convenience of not having to worry too much about temperature, time, etc.? Practice for other processes that require it (lithographic prints, I guess)? The fun of trying something different?

    Either way I don't understand why people care about this issue so much, what supposed rule I'm breaking, what the stakes are, what nerve I (accidentally) pinched, and so on.

    I'll be honest, though: this argument is taking the fun out of the process. I'll respectfully withdraw. :/ And with that…that thanks for all the help.
     
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  16. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    the best advantage that stand development has
    is that you don't have to breath in the stink of
    the developer you use ...
    i use a strange brew of coffee and print developer
    and it stinks ... i leave the room, come back in 26-30 mins
    and my film is don't .. no problem ...

    good luck with your problem keyofnight.
    - john
     
  17. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    And in fact, disregarding the obvious potential problems which have been talked about many times, stand development does not typically produce as much contrast reduction as people think it will. It depends a great deal on the chosen developer. Further, people need to think about what sort of contrast reduction they are looking for, depending on how they will print and what kind of detail they want. Using extreme compensating development procedures in an attempt to compress a long luminance range into the "paper range" can often result in more loss than gain in terms of the printable information in the negative. You can, for example, end up blowing the highlights with too much compression - as counterintuitive as that may sound.

    I'm not "against" stand development. It's just that people need to know what they're really getting.
     
  18. keyofnight

    keyofnight Member

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    So, I've thought about this a bunch…and now I'm re-reading Ansel Adams' The Negative on the positives of the process. He writes that compensating development will bring up the shadows up a zone, but he doesn't say much about the problems. I'll keep reading.

    Either way, I chose the process because of it's insensitivity to error—because I'm new to development. Even still, I shoot in places where I do want to bring the shadows up a zone, even if it costs me a little in the highlights. I also know that I like the way Tri-X looks pushed, and I like having an extra two stops to work with, but I also loses some shadow detail when I push it that far. I love grain, so I don't mind Rodinal's high acutance. Printing isn't an issue yet—I scan everything on my university's Imacon Flextight X1. So…I'm shooting for negatives that scan well. I'm going to sign up for time at a high school's darkroom next quarter…they also have night classes on wet printing. I'll start thinking more about what effects compression will have on prints soon enough.

    Honestly, I'm just playing around with the process to see what I like and what I don't. (I'm not sure why I'm trying to justify my decision here. Again, it's not clear why anyone is questioning my choice to stand develop. (;
     
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  19. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    keyofnight - I don't mean to discourage people from using stand development. By all means if it gives you the negatives you want, keep doing it. It can yield a unique tonality and sometimes pronounced edge effects, so it is certainly a viable method (although a method one needs to be careful with since there are potential problems which can ruin negatives with certain film/developer combinations).

    I think the point everyone is trying to get across is simply that it is an additional method/tool, not a substitute for time/temperature/agitation controlled development. This tends to get people fired up. I view stand development as an alternative process which produces its own unique type of tonality, rather than a way to get massive contrast reduction. That's the basic point I'm making. If it is contrast reduction people are after, there are more controlled, more effective, less risky ways of doing that.

    Best of luck

    Michael
     
  20. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    Stand development with highly dilute Rodinal will indeed tame excessive contrast, as long as you agitate ONLY at the beginning - maybe lightly halfway through would also be fine. Agitating any more makes the process semi-stand, which won't get you a massive reduction in contrast, but only gives you that "walk away" convenience factor.

    As for developers exhausting in solution, a good general rule to follow is that while liquid concentrates have in indefinite shelf life, diluted liquid developers must be mixed up right before use and used one-shot. Powdered developers mixed to full stock strength (e.g., D-76, XTOL) aren't quite indefinite, but last roughly a good six months or possibly more; but any diluted to a working strength (1+1, 1+3, etc.) must also be used one-shot.
     
  21. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    keyofnight - I was hoping you weren't writing off APUG completely but as you can see, there are some strong opinions here. Generally, if it works for you, do it! The difficulty most people have is that they see fads (stand development, water baths, obscure developers, etc.) that somebody uses successfully and then everybody copies, thinking they will have the same success. You see this in people following Ansel Adam's developer/develop times slavishly and then being disappointed their pictures don't look like his - you don't just find this in developers, when I was working in a camera store, I sold a $6k lens to a new photographer because he wanted his pictures to look like the one in the magazine and this is the lens they were using (I tried for 2 hours to talk him out of it, with no luck - it's currently for sale on Craigslist). I have done stand development, it doesn't work for me but I was glad I did it, if nothing else I now know what it does and what I do/don't like about it.

    If it works for you (and you seem to think so), keep at it!
     
  22. keyofnight

    keyofnight Member

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    I haven't written off APUG. Most web forums are like this: tempers run high when some newb comes in asking questions about something unpopular in the first place. This isn't the first time, and it certainly won't be the last. I try to do as much research/experimentation as I can before posting these things…but you can never research enough to avoid heated tempers.

    You're right—people do copy one another blindly, and they have no idea what they're getting themselves into. I think Caffenol is one of those trends that doesn't make a lot of practical sense, but it sounds like fun none the less. I can imagine it has it's place too, though. By the way: it's great that you were one of the camera store salespeople who tried to do good things! Most would've swindled that guy for even more money. (;

    Alright! I mixed up some Rodinal the way you suggested before souping a roll. The roll came out pretty consistent and thick, like my first roll. Thanks for the help. :smile:
     
  23. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    its funny that you say that about caffenol
    i have been using it in one form or another since may 2006.
    i strayed from the pack pretty quickly, stopped measuring anything
    stopped doing the times / temps they said ..
    and now roast my own coffeebeans for my developer
    and add a wee bit of print developer ( ansco 130 ) to boost the contrast
    and smooth things out. ( it costs me about 4¢ / roll to process )
    heck, i was using ansco 130 as a film developer before 2000 ...
    the thing about developers and photography in general
    is there are a zillion people all telling you you should be doing " this and that "
    because it is what they are used to, it is what they like to do and it allegedly works for them.

    just experiment with your developer, and film and figure out what works best for YOU.
    it might even mean you over expose your film a little bit and use a stronger concentration of your developer
    if you stand develop, or leave at box speed, and agitate a little bit at the begining, or middle or end just to
    boost your contrast.
    the hardest thing todo, especially with website forums
    is turn up the squelch and only do what you want, without the rest of the people telling you how wrong you are
    and not listen to how all your film and prints will look terrible because you are doing it all wrong ...

    good luck figuring it out !
    john
     
  24. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I keep hearing about coffee developer, but I can't find a simple mix explanation, everyone says try this or mix that, I just want instructions and then I can experiment from there, can you provide basic how to?

    It's sorta on topic right? Coffee is a stand process right?


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

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  25. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    sorry to hijack your thread !!



    the easiest recipe for caffenol is this

    Caffenol C

    8 oz. water
    4 slightly rounded tsp. instant coffee
    2 tsp. washing soda
    1000 mg Vitamin C (1/4 tsp powder)

    it has to be cheap rot gut instant coffee
    if you can't find washing soda ( sodium carbonate )
    take BAKING SODA spread it on a cookie sheet and put in an oven
    at low heat to purge the moisture from it and convert it to washing soda
    vit c, well health food stores, ebay, photographers formulary, pharmacies &c can get it for you

    i stand develop, and mix it strong ...
    most people do normal agitation schemes ...

    if you have a scale go to reinhold's blog
    ( http://caffenol.blogspot.com/ )
    there, he has TONS of info, precise recipes and tips to make it all work

    there are even people that just make the coffee ( as if they were going to drink it )
    and don't use the sodium carbonate or vit c
    and stand develop the film for a while ..

    caffenol negatives tend to LOOK thin, but they print and numericalize beautifully ...

    good luck !
    john
     
  26. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Thanks!

    (ALSO sorry to hijack the thread)


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

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