Neopan 400 and 1600 in Rodinal, Xtol, and FX-39
RECENT CONVERSATIONS ON NEOPAN ENCOURAGED ME TO SHARE SOME (FAIRLY RELIABLE) DATA.
Please see attachment.
Fuji Neopan 400 and 1600 can give very different highlight renderings, dependent upon the developer. I have only included a graph for 400, but 1600 is similar in results.
Depending on the kind of image you want to make, a film & developer combination will help you or hurt you with its highlight signature.
When we photograph a scene with wild highlights, we often prefer them to melt into a nice gray and not distract from the midtones. Using that same developer, however, when we want highlights to sparkle... and the image looks dead.
I formerly carried several films and used a single developer to get different results. Today, I use a single film and a couple developers to make shooting more consistent. Good testing is important, but Neopan is a superb film that encourages a little testing to give 'custom' results.
The attached graph shows simplified curves for Neopan 400 and Rodinal, FX-39, and Xtol. I did not draw a line for Aculux 2: it’s tonal performance is identical to Rodinal.
The curves are based on my own, idiosyncratic, lab technique. But the results are only subtley different from following manufacturers suggestions. My object is to convey a concept, rather than compose a treatise on sensitometry.
When each developer is corrected for midtone and shadow performance, a clear signature is determined by the high densities.
Each developer will make easy to print negatives of normal scale images.
Rodinal gives higher densities, however, making Neopan 400 capable of sparkling highlights, and brilliant separation. This will print best on normal grade fiber paper, in a developer without restrainer: home formulated. It will be difficult to print the full range of the negative on RC paper, and with most liquid concentrate developers. Over exposure has no practical effect on the image contrast. This is very useful for a picture whose 'whites' are important, when it is important to convey the difference between glowing light, radiant light, and brilliant light.
XTOL 1:2 has a shoulder that will compress Zones above VIII. Bright highlights will print easily on normal grade fiber paper, and standard developers. It may prove difficult to print the full range of tones on an RC paper using liquid concentrate developers. Zone IX will still be useful as an accent white. Over exposure has little effect on contrast. I use this combination for portraiture, weddings, and most circumstances.
FX-39 1+9 compresses the out-of-touch high tonalities to print as threshold gray. It will print easily on any normal paper and developer, but compared to XTOL has a slight tendency to “BLOCK”, in other words, to no longer deliver separated highlights. Over exposure will reduce overall contrast. I use this when I want to de-emphasise the bright tones of the picture.
Again, while not graphed, Aculux 2 gives results similar to Rodinal.
The points I hoped to make are:
- A film’s specific response is determined by the developer.
- The highlights response is the signature of the film and developer.
- Photography is systematic. How one likes prints to look, and the paper and developer combination in use, are the ultimate judge of a film and developer combination.
Finally, these are my own results. Yours will be different, but not wildly different. Rodinal will always give a longer useful scale with Neopan 400 and 1600. XTOL 1:2 will always give a well balanced, and easy to use, response. And so on.
comments from the previous article system:
By titrisol - 04:35 PM, 09-01-2005 Rating: None
Very interesrting, would you mind sharing the development procedures?