The TriX+Rodinal Adventure

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by arigram, Oct 21, 2004.

  1. arigram

    arigram Member

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    Some time ago I posted asking for advice on the combination of Kodak Tri-X 320 and Rodinal. Well, it took me a while but I have my first results and I am amazed!

    It took me a while because:
    1) I had to special order Rodinal from the local bulk photography store. It took them two weeks.
    2) I had an old health problem revisit me, which grounded me for ten days.
    3) Had to get some shots.
    4) I had to plan ahead. After asking three-four Internet forums, I still didn’t have any safe times to go by. The Ilford table of dilutions didn’t include the Rodinal ones, so I had to calculate a new table up to 1-100.

    In any case. I got a film which I shot for tests, calculated everything and did the cooking. I must say I felt very nervous about going from a D-76 1+1 soup to a Rodinal 1-50 which was more like Lipton tea! I didn’t really trust that so high a dilution could do anything!
    But it did! The images jumped out from the negatives! The grain under the grain focuser is just gorgeous! And the whole detail and life of the final print is astonishing!

    I include a test shot.
    (Back a few years ago, I had a dream that involved an old WWII BMW bike and a trip around the Mediterranean, not unlike Che Guevara’s South American one. This one belongs to a neighbor, lucky guy)

    It was made with a Hasselblad 501CM and the 80 Planar lens.
    I exposed for the shadows and metered at “straight” 320 asa.
    The film was the new Kodak Tri-X 320 in 120 format.
    I presoaked for about three minutes with tap water.
    Rodinal 1-50, Temperature of 21 C, at 11 minutes, with an agitation at the beginning of 30” and then 10” every 1’, rotating the 800ml single 120 roll tank around by hand.
    Stop bath by Ilford for a minute and fixed with Ilford Rapid for 12 minutes.
    I also used Hypo Clear and Ilfotol for the final rinse after washing for ten minutes.
    The print was made on a condenser 6x7 Kaiser System V enlarger with a Multigrade head at grade 2, on Ilford 20x25cm Multigrade IV RC satin paper.
    (The print needs some work but this was a test)
    Anything else I forget?
    Oh, yes the scanner was an HP Scanjet 4570c.

    There are some things to ask you.
    1) The development time looks great, but since I lack the sophisticated densitometer I cannot really offer a scientific opinion if I should develop at a different time next batch. Should I go high a minute or two? Would that really help the image or just kill some highlights? It prints well on grade 2, but I could go grade 3.
    2) What is the effect of dilution of Rodinal? How does 1-25,50,75,100 changes sharpness, contrast and such?
    3) How long does Rodinal keep in concentrate after the bottle has been opened?
    4) Should I have metered at a different speed? All speeds I found on any dev charts where either 400 or 200 asa.
    5) About the fixing temp. The fixer wasn’t new, but I tested it with the Hypo Check. It really surprised me because I lifted the film out at five minutes and was still quite purple. At ten it didn’t look any less purple, but I continued at 12 minutes anyway. What’s up with that? The temp of the fixer must have been about 22 degrees Celcius.

    So, what do you think?
    I know now my favorite film and developer!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2008
  2. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    For zillions of developer/film combinations go to the Massive Developent Chart on www.digitaltruth.com.
    Rodinal keeps a very long time, don't worry.
     
  3. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    looking at the contrast on the negative, I would go and reshoot and develop at a -1 time. That is approx. 20% off the developing time. This will lowerer the over all long contrast range. When you print it it will print with more of the background information. Stick with the rodinal and keep up the good work. This is just what I would do, others may do differently. Do you have a spot meter? That would help you more than a desitometer.
     
  4. bmac

    bmac Member

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    I'll second that. I've found their data to be pretty spot on for my unscientific approach.
     
  5. arigram

    arigram Member

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    The Massive Dev chart does not have times for the -new- Tri-X 320 and Rodinal, so I was not feeling very safe using the relative 400 asa ones.
    Atleast it worked.
    As far as the losing the highlights, I think it is mostly due to metering the black BMW body and not really changing the fstop as I hand held and I was afraid more of blur.
    I can live with the background washed out but I hope I can burn some detail on the BMW logo and chrome handles and parts.
     
  6. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    OK here's my effort and hoefully someone will correct any errors I make, but the way I soup is correct for my technique.

    1) The development time looks great, but since I lack the sophisticated densitometer I cannot really offer a scientific opinion if I should develop at a different time next batch. Should I go high a minute or two? Would that really help the image or just kill some highlights? It prints well on grade 2, but I could go grade 3.

    Densitometer? Never owned one and wouldn't know how to use it if I did. LOL - I fill, twist and inverted during the first 60 seconds and then one twist and inversion every 30 seconds. I'd suggest dropping the temp down to 20°C or try dropping 1 to 2 minute(s) from your timing.

    2) What is the effect of dilution of Rodinal? How does 1-25,50,75,100 changes sharpness, contrast and such?

    Lower dilution does increase the contrast a little. I find 1+50 or 1+100 means that any differences I accidentally introduce to the timings is a lower percentage error giving me more control over the process.

    3) How long does Rodinal keep in concentrate after the bottle has been opened?

    Absolutely ages even as it turns from straw to very strong "black" coffee.

    4) Should I have metered at a different speed? All speeds I found on any dev charts where either 400 or 200 asa.

    I've tried HP5+ rated at 200 and liked the look as the grain although still beautiful seems tighter.

    5) About the fixing temp. The fixer wasn’t new, but I tested it with the Hypo Check. It really surprised me because I lifted the film out at five minutes and was still quite purple. At ten it didn’t look any less purple, but I continued at 12 minutes anyway. What’s up with that? The temp of the fixer must have been about 22 degrees Celcius.

    Not tried this combo so not sure if the colour is significant. I always fix at 20°C but the Rodinal usually clears the base before I fix even when it pours out like grape juice with some films. The Ilford Delta's take about 6 minutes to clear I find at that temp with Ilford Rapidfix 1+4.

    Welcome to the Rodinal addiction and many thanks for your detailed testing.

    Tony
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2004
  7. rjr

    rjr Member

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    2) What is the effect of dilution of Rodinal? How does 1-25,50,75,100 changes sharpness, >contrast
    and such?

    The higher dilute you use it, the higher the sharpness and the lower the contrast will be.

    3) How long does Rodinal keep in concentrate after the bottle has been opened?

    Forever. Not virtually, but actually. The bottle will be rotten away before the content goes bad.


    In the old times Agfa used glas bottles - I have a scan of an article going back to 1961. An
    englishman (or was is a scot? ,-) found a bottle in his attic and sent it to Agfa - it was from
    1911. They ran a few strips and compared it with fresh Rodinal and could find no practical
    differences.

    Today they are using HDPE instead of glass - it allows more air to pass than glass. But Agfa fills
    them under a protective atmosphere, the fluid doesn´t oxidize that much as long as the bottle hasn
    ´t been opened.

    If you compare fresh R09/F09 with Rodinal you´ll notice the color difference - the first two look
    like year old Rodinal even when coming fresh from the factory.

    Color won´t influence activity. But be careful when emptying the bottle, there are crystals on the
    bottom of the bottle which are insoluble and which might scratch your emulsion if you allow them in
    your tank.

    4) Should I have metered at a different speed? All speeds I found on any dev charts >where either
    400 or 200 asa.

    Most producers ratings are overly optimistic (for marketing reasons) - 400 ASA films usually end up
    at 320ASA and any film will loose speed with Rodinal.

    The only films coming close to the producers rating I have used are the Fotokemika emulsions (Efke)
    - they are faster than the printing on the boxes.

    5) About the fixing temp. The fixer wasn’t new, but I tested it with the Hypo Check.

    Use a two step fixage, thus you´ll be safe anytime _and_ economic.
    Temperature should be close to developing temperature.

    It really surprised me because I lifted the film out at five minutes and was still quite >purple.
    At ten it didn’t look any less purple, but I continued at 12 minutes anyway.

    Way too long. Fix strong and short. Make a clearing test (put a piece of undeveloped film in the
    fix and watch it clear out. Make that time doubled (conventional emulsions) or tripled (t-grain/
    delta grain) your actual fixing time.

    What’s up with that?

    The purple stain are leftover sensibilisation dies, making the emulsion respond panchromatic. You
    can wash them out with a soda bath (20g of sodium carbonate per liter), with a two step fixing and
    with sunlight - 2h on the window will bleach it out.

    I know now my favorite film and developer!

    Excellent.
     
  8. david b

    david b Member

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    I've been using 400TX for a few months now and it never fully clears. All of my negs are a shade of purple.
     
  9. arigram

    arigram Member

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    I have removed the image to save space.
    I apologise but it will be either featured in my APUG gallery or on a web site when I have it up and running.
     
  10. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Make it a third vote for less time

    For the contrasty light that the bike is photographed under I would concur that a reduction in development time would give more printable highlights. If fact, cutting the contrast even more, by dilution or time and aiming for grade 3 or even a bit higher would give more local contrast and and a more pronounced impression of sharpness...perhaps you would want to try 1/4 to 1/2 stop more exposure if you do this.

    If you like Rodinal and really wnat to maximize the sense of sharpness, and with a reduction of grain try Pyrocat HD used as a semi-stand developer.

    I cannot reccomnend any developer time for Trix Professional with {yrocat HD.