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  1. #1
    Klainmeister's Avatar
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    Changing films and development--Microdol, Pyrocat Tri-x 400 and Ilford Pan-f!

    I felt like posting this for a little guidance on these films and developers. As many of you know, I currently use Acros 100 and Pyrocat-hd 1:1:100 for most of my work. It's been great, but I'm having little luck accomplishing the contrast in the negs that I like and (even with filters) and after a few years, want to switch to Ilford since they have been such amazing promoters of film. Also, since the demise of Neopan 400 in 120, I've been running low on my stash and need something with more market permanence. I played with a few films and found that Pan-F is giving me what I like in terms of truly outstanding image quality and easier to work with negs.

    Currently I develop Pan-F in Pyrocat for 15 minutes at 1:1:100 72f. These seem a little bit thin and was wondering if people up the dilution or extend developing times, or maybe I should be shooting at IE 25? Also, how long do I need to wash this stinking film?! Still getting pinks!

    Secondly, my girlfriend really enjoys shooting still life which is way outside of my knowledge, and going through some research I think I settled to experiment with Tri-x 400 (since we're using natural light and handholding sometimes) and Microdol 1:3 at 18 minutes. Does this sound about right? Looking for some creaminess but also just a hint of grain--why else shoot film?!

    Someone correct me if I am way off with these or please provide some feedback on procedures, etc.

    Thanks!
    K.S. Klain

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    I find Microdol an odd choice with Tri-X for your purposes (assuming you will be using Ilford's Perceptol). If you are using that developer for its extra fine grain, note that even at 1+3 you need to accept a speed loss of at least one stop to maintain that characteristic. If you increase development times to get closer to box speed you will find graininess quickly increases to levels comparable to general purpose developers that will give you better speed and higher sharpness. So if you want good speed out of Tri-X, with very fine grain, I'd actually suggest XTOL. You could also use ID-11/D76.

    Pan-F is a wonderful film but tends to be somewhat contrasty. People will often downrate it with softer development for more shadow detail and highlight control. I don't use the Pyrocat formula so I can't comment on it. It should not be pink. Most of the Ilford films will have a slight bluish cast which is normal. They also have a higher base+fog density than some other films (Acros or TMX for example) so that is normal too.

  3. #3
    Klainmeister's Avatar
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    I did a lot of reading and it seemed like users experienced 'mushy' negatives with 1:1 microdol with Tri-x, and found that 1:3 was a sweet spot for reducing grain and maintaining speed. Crap, just placed an order. Either way, at least I can experiment and see what happens and report back for other users.

    I like that aspect of Pan F+ and I have shot a handful of rolls and developed in Pyrocat with excellent results. I mean, some of the best prints I've made.
    K.S. Klain

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klainmeister View Post
    I did a lot of reading and it seemed like users experienced 'mushy' negatives with 1:1 microdol with Tri-x, and found that 1:3 was a sweet spot for reducing grain and maintaining speed. Crap, just placed an order. Either way, at least I can experiment and see what happens and report back for other users.

    I like that aspect of Pan F+ and I have shot a handful of rolls and developed in Pyrocat with excellent results. I mean, some of the best prints I've made.

    I don't use Microdol, but have used Ilford Perceptol. I'VE BEEN TOLD THE TWO ARE ABOUT THE SAME! I always use it at 1:3 and really like the rersults with everything from Fuji Acros to HP5+, but I never rate my film at box speed when I use it. Tri-X would be ISO160 or no higher than ISO200. That's for me and a condenser light source. PanF+ is really, really nice in Perceptol also, but again you have to cut your speed in about half. Ilford DD-X works perfect with Tri-X at 1:7 and the speed is right on the box. That being said, I've been using Xtol replenished for all my film as of late and have no complaints at all. So many good things out there yet, so just pick it and work with it 'til ya get what ya like. Still fun at 62!

  5. #5

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    Well, you may find you like the results you get with Microdol 1+3 so don't feel bad about ordering it. I'm just giving you my two cents based on the testing I've done with it. The conventional wisdom is that as you dilute Microdol you get better speed more or less through compensating action. I have not found this to be the case, and it makes sense to me.

  6. #6
    Klainmeister's Avatar
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    Even if it cuts film speed, it at least makes me more confident in the combo since if I had stuck with a 100 speed film (not many 400, 800 or 1600 choices out there), then she'd be SOL for handholding. 200 and 100 is sufficient for most things.
    K.S. Klain

  7. #7
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    Do you print or scan the negs? IME, Pyrocat-HD negatives almost always appear thin, but print very easily. My experience with Microdol-X is that it cuts film speed worse than Rodinal, and difficult to obtain decent contrast(TX/MicroX). If you want consistantly more contrast, extend the dev time in PC-HD, or same time and warmer temp. Either way, you need to up the agitation as well. Vigorous agitation and more often rather than lazy inversions . One full minute of vigorous inversions followed by two rapid inverts every 30 seconds or even 15 secs. You can even change your dilution ratio, and will get different results, no need to get locked down on one dilution. Experiment with what you already have before investing in new.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  8. #8
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    Thanks Rick. I do both. I tend to scan most of my images and print the ones I like (I'm guessing that's fairly normal around here). The two different films and development are for different purposes. One for still life and the other for more landscape/architecture shots. I agree, I have had thin Pyro negs and they printed beautifully, but I guess I am just done with Fuji for now and feel I need to throw my allegiance behind Ilford, especially considering I just shot a Pan F + roll I had lying around last weekend, developed it, and it instantly reminded me that yes...this is THE film I should be using and stop being cheap.
    K.S. Klain

  9. #9
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    Note: I received a notice from Freestyle that the Mic-x is out of stock so I decided to replace it with their Xtol equivalent developer. Never used Xtol, so I am excited to see what it's capable of.
    K.S. Klain

  10. #10

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    Fine grain, good speed and good highlight control.



 

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