Rodinal and HC-110

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ymc226, May 14, 2009.

  1. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    For films like Kodak Plus X, Neopan 400 or Kodak Tri-X, what would be the differences when using one or the other of the above developers?

    Started B&W recently and plan on using a 100 and 400 ASA film and want to limit my developers to the 2 above as they store well and are easily mixed.
     
  2. Carter john

    Carter john Member

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    One difference is; with Rodinal I lose more speed than with HC-110. I just did a roll of PlusX and I think next time I will rate it at 50 with Rodinal: HC-110, 64-80 EI. I have some other observations, but I'll wait for people that know much more about than I do to post.
     
  3. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    About the only things the two developers have in common is that they are both highly concentrated developers that have very long shelf lives, and that they will both develop an image. Outside of that, they are very different developers indeed.

    Rodinal is VERY old school style stuff. It will not do anything to ameliorate grain, nor will it allow you to exploit full emulsion speed from any film. It is good with slow to moderate speed films, but not the best by any stretch of the imagination in my opinion, despite the rabid proselytizing from the true and unquestioning believers of "Church of Rodinal." Do I have some in my darkroom? You bet. There are a few times when I want to exploit its unique character. Do I use it as a general purpose developer? Not a chance. Foma 100 is nice in Rodinal, but still nothing to write home about. I've read a lot about the wonderful results some folks have with PanF+ in Rodinal. I do better following Ilford's instructions to the tee using D-76 1+3.

    HC-110 is, all things considered, a much better match for modern films; and these are the films that I use most. While not as good in terms of grain suppression, and exploiting full film speed as XTOL or D-76; it is a perfectly serviceable general purpose developer. If I had to live with only one film developer, I could do so happily with HC-110.
     
  4. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    Frank,

    Interesting that you mention that D-76 allows for full film speed than HC-110. Does that mean that if you set your automatic camera on the box speed, and develop with D-76, exposures on the whole will be correct more often than if using HC-110, and the negative will be easier to print (attaining a good tonal range)? Conversely, using Rodinol, would you have to set the EI significantly less because it doesn't allow the full film speed to be realized otherwise?

    This is for a beginner that just does test strips with one set contrast setting, varying exposure times. I don't want to get into split grade printing or other more involved techniques just yet.
     
  5. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    That's just about it. The differences between HC-110 and D-76 are often subtle, and not much to be concerned about. It's just something to keep in mind. D-76 will give you a little more detail in the lower values of the negative, and that can translate into an easier to print negative.
     
  6. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    acros and rodinal

    I have no problem exposing acros at 100/box speed and developing in dilute rodinal...although where I live the sun shines most of the time
    Best, Peter
     
  7. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    You're missing the point Peter. When the sun shines brightly there can be a very large difference in brightness between shadow and light, far greater than the difference when there is an overcast. Rodinal will leave the very darkest areas without detail and void; The middle tones will render normally, but with a steeper slope on the contrast curve. A different developer, one that provides better true film speed, will render the middle tones normally on a more gradual slope, and render darker areas with more detail. It's all up to the lighting, of course. If there are no deep shadows, the argument is moot. But if there are, then I can make the argument that capturing the lower values is useful. It is easy enough to eliminate them when printing or any other sort of post processing. It is also easy enough to boost contrast through the middle values by simply picking a slightly harder contrast filter or paper grade while printing, or by moving a few sliders around in the editing software of your choice. It is not as easy to compensate for a negative that has too much contrast. Printing down on a lower grade of paper isn't nearly as easy or successful as boosting the contrast of a print.
     
  8. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Some of the nicest negatives I've ever made was with Tmax 100 and Rodinal. Granted, I had to rate the film at EI80, losing a 1/3 stop, but I never considered that to be a problem. A friend of mine, also APUG member, is very happy with Neopan Acros in Rodinal, and gets some stunning results from that combination.

    What you may like about Rodinal is an apparent sharpness that is very high. I like sharpness. I don't care much about grain, to me it doesn't make or break a photograph, but one thing is sure, Rodinal will give negatives with fairly apparent grain. Sometimes grain can look wonderful, other times not. Good or bad? Who's to say?! It's all a matter of opinion.

    HC-110? I know other people have great results with it, but it doesn't suit my style. To me I get results with somewhat depressed midtones and higher density in the highlights than I would like. But others might find those characteristics very nice!

    Out of the two I prefer Rodinal for its sharpness and a wonderful tonality that suits my printing style.

    To the original poster: The best thing to do is to try for yourself, and since you have both on hand, it would make sense to do so. Everybody else's opinion of what looks nice and is 'good' isn't going to change how you like it in the end.

    I attached a photograph, printed on Foma Fomatone Classic 132 and selenium toned. 35mm negative from Tmax 100, developed in Rodinal 1+50.
     

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  9. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    I guess I'm in that Church of Rodinal (thanks, Thomas!)

    It works for me, and that advice is really the best anyone can give you. As Thomas said, you have both and I advise you to invest the time and expose 2 of the same film and develop one in each.
    Do it now, at the outset of your film endeavours, and make your decision. After all, your choice of subject, how you develop your negs, what you print them on, and how your sensibilities views the results, makes the choice intensely personal.

    I agree with Thomas - Rodinal makes sharp negs and is a great match with TMX. I've had wonderful results with PanF-Plus, too. They print wonderfully, even enlarged quite a lot. From my experience thus far, it strikes me that it's a good match with slow, fine-grained films.
    The fact it has a long shelf life, is well-suited to semi-stand processing and is cheap is a bonus.
     
  10. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    shadows

    Frank- I have been processing with the rodinal and acros on a beseler base at 75 degrees for several years now...you are right about the shadows but I don't look at curves I look at prints and mine work...and I have reached for a grade 3 development to boot...using a water bath for graded and straight filtration for VC papers..this has been by far the most successful combo I have ever had...and I've tried many over the years...what I have come to realize is that the effectiveness of the sun is what makes the prints shine;it always penetrates the shadows so I have no worries....look at the weston prints...it was the california sunshine that made them so effective...not the paper or the developer...
    Best, Peter
     
  11. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    Rodinal can give you much different results with various dilutions & times, than HC-110. I've used Rodinal from 1:25 to 1:100, and find I prefer the results of Neopan 400 & Acros in 1:50. Also the Efke 25, 100, and Rollei Ortho25 produce AMAZING results in Rodinal 1:50 as well.

    When using HC-110 with Tri-X, the results are quite pleasant. Under the proper lighting even Plus-X comes out great (more like a finer-grained Tri-X, which was agreed with by an EK tech). But when shooting in Vegas, the Plus-X gave less than promising results, would most likely use Rodinal next time around there.

    HC-110 1:50 is what I use for portraits in Tri-X and Efke 100. It gives an overall smoothing effect to the grain, while Rodinal is fantastic for architecture, landscape, and image study. However, if you dilute it 1:100, it can give quite a nice look with Acros.
     
  12. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony Member

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    For me Rodinal at 1:25 gives similar grain to D76 with the formats I use (120 mainly) and the print sizes I print at. As you dilute Rodinal you lose film speed and gain both compensating effect and grain appearance.
    At the moment I use Acros at EI80 with Rodinal 1:100 for 18 mins Neopan 400 at 320 with 1:50 I'm really liking HP5 Rated EI 200 1:100 on sunny days. Faster films I normally process in Microphen if I'm pushing, saying that I have used Rodinal to push delta 3200 in 120 and really loved the results.
    I guess that puts me in the 'church of Rodinal' its not the only developer but I like what it does, its flexible nature and shelf life.
    Give it a try, see how you like it with your photographic style-what have you got to lose?
    Mark
     
  13. RobertV

    RobertV Member

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    I use Rodinal also in 35mm for slow- and medium speed film.
    1+25 - 1+100.
    It works nice on Efke 25 and Rollei Pan 25. Further APX100/Rollei Retro 100 on E.I. 80 and 1+50 is my favorite Rodinal combination. Acros 100 on E.I. 64 too.
    The above mentioned Rollei Ortho 25 in 1+50 -1+100 or in the Rollei Low Contrast document developer.

    Welcome in the church of Rodinal :D

    Here my favorit combo APX 100 - Rodinal 1+50. M7 + Summicron 2,0/50mm.

    [​IMG]

    The stuff last forever :wink:
     
  14. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    I'm pretty agnostic, but I love the combinations of pan f+ and rodinal 1:50 -- just agitate gently and slowly; tri-x and hc-110 dil. b; neopan 400 and DD-X.
     
  15. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I would like to explore this discussion further, if I may:

    What are the actual differences you see, by using either HC-110 or Rodinal, regarding:
    1. Tonality (mid-tones, highlights)
    2. Separation
    3. Grain
    4. Speed (shadow detail)

    I see a lot of this is nice, and that is not so nice, love this, love that, but without any specific information about WHAT it is that makes it so. Try to be descriptive, try to illustrate just what it is that you like, especially using the same film with either developer.

    For me, I already mentioned it. I think Rodinal is sharper, gives larger grain, has great mid-tone tonality and separation capability if you agitate gently. HC-110 exhibits more film speed, has finer grain (that appears coarse in my prints, though), compresses the mid-tones to feature less separation and depresses the midtones downward, while maintaining really brilliant highlights that can be difficult to handle (with regular printing, it's great for lith printing). I've done this with Kodak Plus-X and Kodak Tri-X as films, mainly.

    - Thomas
     
  16. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    hc1110 vs rodinal

    all I know is that I used a lot of hc110(1:31) back in the day...with tri-x and looking back I find it to be one of the worst combos...now more diluted hc110 and tri-x might be better but hp5 and diluted hc110 is very nice...
    I now shoot 120 acros at box speed with rodinal 1:100 and lose nothing; but I am also in the bright florida sunshine so it does make a difference
    went recently from using diffuse lightsource to a halogen enlarger and the negatives print the same...usually on the 00 setting...
    all I can say is show me prints and then we can discuss it...differences may be more subtle than radical but to me it just works...I guess this puts me in the church of Rodinal!!
    Best, Peter
     
  17. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Peter,

    Have Faith in the Rodinal! :smile:

    - Thomas
     
  18. tom_bw

    tom_bw Member

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    In all honesty, you will get lots of opinions in either direction. Fortunately, it is cheap to try both and compare yourself.

    As with yourself, I went through the excercise of settling on a single developer. Based on shelf life, price and availability, I came up with Rodinal and HC-110. But for the films I use, I liked the way Rodinal looked. Once that was settled, I went through films that are nice in Rodinal. For example, with 400 speed film, HP5 is quite nice, but I actually prefer TMY2 in Rodinal. I do not use Tri X with Rodinal, as I find the grain too large. So, for high speed film, it is Rodinal + TMY2.

    Irrespective of the developer, I typically cut the film speed in half. I do not believe one developer is significantly faster than another (perhaps a 1/3 of a stop).
     
  19. GraemeMitchell

    GraemeMitchell Member

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    Rodinal and HC-110 are my two developers, w/ Tri-x, a combo used for 98% of my work. I keep both on the shelf, b/c they're both incredibly flexible (Rodinal more so), but they're also extremely different from on another. Also, I use both 1+50.

    1) Rodinal is all about the mid-tones. HC-110 is the opposite of this, all about the highs and the lows...but mainly the highs.

    2) As above Rodinal has separation in the midtones, but uninspiring highlights. HC-110 has highlight seperation unlike any other developer I've used, sparkly.

    3) Rodinal is incredibly sharp, and once you get used to it everything else looks funny/soft afterward. Grain is there, but grain is controllable, and can be sharp and gorgeous once you learn the developer. I actually can get the grain pretty darn tight in Rodinal with the right mix of agitation and dilution. HC-110 isn't a low grain developer by any means imo. but less so than Rodinal, and moreover, simply, different. HC-110 can also build edge effects and accutance, but I don't think the sharpness there is as pretty as w/ rodinal...it has something to do w/ how it mixes with the other characteristics of the developer.

    4)Say at box speed, on the neg, I actually get more shadow detail with Rodinal than with HC-110. But this seems to go against what other say, and I don't have a densomiter or anything, so I'm likely not correct by the #s here. I do think HC-110 looks better at 800 and above. Rodinal can be interesting, but it get's a chalky graphic feel when I've pushed it. HC-110 really holds up and has less base fog.

    I really love both. I think Rodinal took me longer to learn what I wanted to do with b/c it's so transformable and is a developer that can be pushed to extremes w/ great effects.

    HC-110 has much much shorter dev times for my regimen, which is good thing if controlled, keeps the wet time to a minimum. This can make a subtle difference, but I believe it's there.

    In general, I look at it this way: HC-110 gives me a really great neg that I can pretty much take straight to print. Just looking at the negs, the shadows are already deep and the highlight already bright. Clean and easy, but it also takes on a delicate nature b/c of this (hard to put in words) and doesn't (for my work) hold up to any heavy handedness in the print. Rodinal is the very opposite. It gives me a really meaty neg that I almost never print straight, but there's so much there tonally that I can push the neg extremely far in the print, be heavy handed, and the further I go the better it looks.

    I wrote this all up quickly, but hopefully it helps!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2009
  20. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Excellent descriptive reply, Graeme! Thanks. I'm glad we agree on most of it.
     
  21. GraemeMitchell

    GraemeMitchell Member

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    no prob.

    to clarify, I meant "pushed to extremes" not in the sense of pushing film, but in the sense of taking a piece of film to it's maximum