Question about agitation

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Anon Ymous, May 6, 2008.

  1. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Hello everybody! I recently started developing B&W films and I've got a question that is puzzling me. I have the data sheets for the films I use and they mention the agitation that I should do during development. For instance, 5 secs every 30 secs etc. On the other hand, the bottle of rodinal I bought (by A&O imaging IIRC) says something tragically different.

    So, what should I do? Follow the developer's instructions or do what the film manufacturer says? So far, I have only processed 2 films (TriX, Delta 100) and I followed the film manufacturer's instructions. The TriX was easy to print, but the Delta 100 seemed to have a bit too much contrast.

    And the second question is what changes when you use a different agitation method? Development rate? Is there a risk to get too "dense" negatives, even if you develop for the recommended time?
     
  2. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    There is no ONE RIGHT way to do agitation. In general, increasing agitation will increase contrast up to the point that continuous agitation like the Jobo rotary system means you have to decrease the developing time to maintain the same gamma.

    Pick a method you can live with, say the instructions on your bottle of Rodinal. Develop your film and keep good notes about what does and doesn't work. Remember that concentration and temperature also affect the final result.

    Since you liked the results you got for your TriX, stick with that (or experiment in a narrower range of variables) but for the Delta 100, maybe you need to agitate less (or more) or consider semi-stand or stand developing (minimal agitation). Try another roll or Delta 100 with as close to the same exposure range as you had before but back off your agitation by a factor of 2 (if you did 5 every 30, try 5 every minute instead).

    Also remember that the ISO on the box is a starting point, not the be-all-end-all for setting your meter and exposures.

    Just remember, keep good notes. Invest a little money in a notebook. If you don't write it down, it didn't happen!
     
  3. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    The most important thing is to be consistent. Increasing agitation generally increases contrast.
     
  4. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    The film data sheets are a good starting point. That said, there are developers which produce more generally pleasing negatives using a different method.
    Choose one method and stick with it for a time until you learn more about the process and the final results you desire.

    Delta 100, or any other 100 speed film, will be more contrasty than Tri-X, or other 400 speed films. This contrast differential is to be expected as slow films a inherently more contrasty. The secret is to alter development procedures ti get what you want.
    More agitation, longer developing time and higher temperatures will each produce more contrast. The opposite is also true.
    Is there a danger of getting too much negative contrast? Yes, but each printing process needs a different contrast range.
    Gelatin silver prints can be mde from a wide range of contrasts especially when using variable contrast paper.
    Alternative processes usually require greater negative contrast than gelatin silver.

    AS you can see, I have not answered many of your questions but hopefully have started you along the trail of continuing to study and investigate the many possibilities in producing photographic images.

    Good luck, and above all else, HAVE FUN!
     
  5. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I'd like to second Dave's recommendation: Be consistent. In fact, when starting out, it's best to pick one developer, along with one or two films, and use only those products for a while. Delta 100 and Tri-X 400 are fine for this purpose, but don't start adding new films until you're comfortable with these two. Rodinal is not usually considered an optimal developer for fast films (such as Tri-X), but in my limited experience with such combinations, it's not so bad as to be unusable. (Rodinal produces bigger grain than many other developers, so a fast film in Rodinal may produce objectionably big grain, particularly with 35mm or smaller film.) If you decide to switch from the Rodinal, do it now. Note that Rodinal lasts a long time on the shelf, so you should be able to come back to it in a few months with no loss of quality.

    Personally, I use one agitation method: 5s every 30s. I use this with every film and developer I use, without deviation. The reason is that I don't want to use custom agitation methods for each film and then get confused and use the wrong one at some point. I adjust my development time to suit the film using this method.

    Of course, others like to experiment with agitation style or customize it for particular films, but as a beginner, it's best to stick to one method and, if necessary, adjust the development time to get the right density. If you play with other variables, it'll be harder to figure out what's going on when you get results you don't (or do) like.
     
  6. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    So, I guess the correct answer is be consistent if you like the result and experiment if not. One less thing to worry about then...

    Thanks for the advice :smile:

    PS Don't you just love it when you get your answers that soon... This place is just great.
     
  7. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    I guess it's all relative. The grain I got from Tri-X & Rodinal at 13x18 (5x7 in) looked good to me. I haven't tried bigger enlargements so far. One of the reasons for using Rodinal is shelf life. I don't shoot many films (don't have my own dark room) so rodinal seems ideal. Few months seems rather pessimistic; others say it lives a lot longer after it has been opened.
     
  8. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    I like to agitate once/minute. My mind can't handle it if I do it twice every 30 secs.

    Yogi Berra orders a pizza and the waitress aks if he would like it cut into 6 or 8 pieces. Yogi responds by saying "6, I don't think I could eat 8!"
     
  9. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Use what pleases you. It always amuses me when I read a post that asks (or asserts) about some combination producing "acceptable" grain, since that's such an incredibly subjective judgement.

    That said, my own subjective judgement is that grain seems to get worse faster than the final enlargement size goes up. Grain that seems OK in a 5x7-inch print may seem objectionable at 8x10-inch, even though the grain size relative to the image as a whole stays the same. I don't know if that's just me, though.

    My "few months" comment was based on an estimate of when you might want to start experimenting with other developers, not as an upper limit on how long Rodinal will last. As you say, most people claim Rodinal lasts for years. I've got a bottle that I bought about 3 or 4 years ago, and it still works fine. Some of the Rodinal "clones" (Calbe R09, etc.) are reputed to have shorter shelf lives, though. Another commercial developer with a reputation for excellent shelf life is Kodak HC-110. Among mix-it-yourself formulas, PC-Glycol and PC-TEA are both reputed to last a long time. (I've got some 3-year-old PC-Glycol that's still going strong.)
     
  10. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Clean Up and Preperation

    Agitation intervals of two or three minutes allows
    for clean up and prep chores. The more dilute the
    chemistry the longer can be those intervals. Spend
    less time attending the film. Dan
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    exactly!

    it is hard enough remembering 10seconds every minute.

    john
     
  12. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    I guess longer development times can be more comfortable generally, but what happens if the room temperature is high? Wouldn't 30 degrees C be a problem for say 15 minutes development time or more? Some places can get very hot in the summer, even in the night. Maintaining a reasonable temperature in the tank must be tricky.
     
  13. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    You can make a water bath to rest your tank between agitations. The sink or even just a large tub or photo tray of water can help. Plastic tanks are a little harder to heat and cool quickly as the transfer coefficient is lower than for a stainless steel tank.

    Don't make your bath so deep it can submerge the tank though.

    If your tap water is too warm for the bath, add some ice. Either directly or by putting the ice in a plastic bag you can add and remove as needed. Or get a re-freezable ice pack or two. And keep your eye on the water bath temp with a thermometer. You can raise the temp with hot water or a simple fishtank heater but it can be a bit slow.

    There are also commercial units to do exactly this but a sink or plastic dish tub works great.
     
  14. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Another option in high temperatures is to use a "tropical" developer. This is a developer that's formulated for use in high temperatures. IIRC, Anchell's Darkroom Cookbook has some information on them, including descriptions of what to add to a commercial developer to turn it into a tropical one. (I might be mistaken about the latter, though, and my copy's not handy to check.)
     
  15. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    As long as the dev is the right temp(say 20C) going in to the tank, I'd be surprised if standing it in a room at 30C even for 15 mins alters the temp much but this is an assumption on my part. Try plain water at 20C in a room which is say 10C warmer for 15 mins and then check temp say every 5 mins to see the effect. If temp changes quite quickly and substantially as opposed to a small change slowly, say 1C taking effect after say 12 mins then try a correct temp water bath for the tank. That will certainly nail the temp down to the correct dev temp even in a very hot room.

    pentaxuser
     
  16. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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  17. j4425

    j4425 Member

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    I agree 100% . For years I went from film to film, developer to developer and wondered why the results were never the same. Stick with one film and developer combo until you truly understand the tolerances. I agitate mildly for 10 seconds every minute using a twisting motion. Just be consistent and you'll be fine. Use the same technique at all times and you'll soon be on your way to reliable and predictable results.

     
  18. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I maintain a well tempered impatientness and/or
    keep, while not agitating, the metal tank in water.
    Often I track the in and out temperature of the
    developer. Start with the temperature a little
    low, use as much solution volume as possible,
    and keep those 98.6 fahrenheit hands away
    save for when needed. Dan
     
  19. Paul Cocklin

    Paul Cocklin Member

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    Jim, Yogi doesn't eat there anymore. No one does...it's too crowded.

    I wholeheartedly support sticking with one developer/film/paper combination until you learn what each does with each other. Then, when you want to experiment and change, change only 1 at a time, that way you can tell what's doing what.
     
  20. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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  21. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Nice! It must be very efficient. And I guess you meant you fill them with water.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 9, 2008
  22. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Yes! It works much better that way! :D