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  1. #1
    Andy K's Avatar
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    Lack of contrast: How to avoid?

    Although I have been photographing for thirty years or so, I have only been developing my own film for a few months. Recently I have noticed a lot of my negatives seem to lack contrast.

    My usual method is to follow the film makers directions regarding agitation ie. for Ilford films agitate for the first minute and then ten seconds a minute thereafter and because I use Rodinal I follow Agfa's recommended development times for various film speeds.

    I always have developer, stop, fixer and rinse washes at exactly 68 degrees. I use Rodinal 1+50, Jessops Econostop stop bath at 1+4 and Jessops Econofix also at 1+4. Recently I have been using Ilford Rapid Fixer. With the same slightly 'muddy' results.

    However, after my recent foray into night photography and using a partial stand development technique I have noticed those negs have fantastic contrast. (developed for 15 minutes, agitated the first minute then 10 seconds a minute for six minutes then stood for eight minutes).

    So where am I going wrong with the other negs? Am I agitating too much or too little? Or could it be something else i am doing? (by agitation I mean tilting the tank at about a 60degree tilt in a circular rotation, put a desert spoon in a coffee mug and run its stem round the rim and you'll get the motion I mean)

    It is also a possibility the metering is off in my camera, but I have had the same muddy look (see attachment for what I mean by 'muddy') from my Praktica BX20, Olympus OM10 and Voigtlander Vito CLR, so I figure the problem must be somewhere in my developing technique.


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  2. #2

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    My agitation technique is slightly different:

    I help my tank to make salto, 4 times in 10 secs. i.e. I turn is completely upside down and my negatives are rather good
    Maybe your running a spoon in the coffee mug is inadequate?

    G

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy K
    However, after my recent foray into night photography and using a partial stand development technique I have noticed those negs have fantastic contrast. (developed for 15 minutes, agitated the first minute then 10 seconds a minute for six minutes then stood for eight minutes).
    For day shots I wouldn't use semi-stand development. Develop the ordinary way is my advice

  4. #4
    Andy K's Avatar
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    Thanks guys.

    I tried inverting the tank but I usually only develop one film at a time, according to the tank instructions I should only use 350ml if developing one 35mm film which means the tank is only half full, and it seems strange to invert because i would effectively be removing the film from the developer? My negs came out with what looked like 'tide marks' or water marks along the length of the film when using inversion. (see attachment)


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  5. #5

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    Andy I always mix enough soup to fill the tank, even though mine will take two rolls and I usually only put one in at a time. That way I know the dilution is the same every time and also my negs are always in contact will the solution. I know that wastes a little but the negs are the most important for me.

    My invertion is the full 180 degs and then back to vertical. Invert for full 30 seconds or even the first minute depending on the contrast I want, followed by one invertion every 30 seconds.

  6. #6
    Andy K's Avatar
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    Thanks Tony. Do you mean 'full to the brim' or full to tank instructions, ie enough to submerge both reels?


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  7. #7

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    Andy yes enough to fill to overflow and a little left in the jug.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by TPPhotog
    Andy I always mix enough soup to fill the tank, even though mine will take two rolls and I usually only put one in at a time. That way I know the dilution is the same every time and also my negs are always in contact will the solution. I know that wastes a little but the negs are the most important for me.

    My invertion is the full 180 degs and then back to vertical. Invert for full 30 seconds or even the first minute depending on the contrast I want, followed by one invertion every 30 seconds.
    I do it the same way...and you do not waste anything if it gives you great negs
    I do not fill the tank btw, but use the suggested amount.
    Last edited by modafoto; 01-19-2005 at 07:09 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #9

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    Andy I've just had a look at my tank and for 35mm it says 375cc for one roll or 650cc for two rolls - I alway mix the dilution for 1000ml of water and that fills the tank, with as I say just a tad left in the jug.

  10. #10
    Andy K's Avatar
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    Ok, I think I'm almost there! So far we have:

    When shooting, reduce exposure for better contrast.
    Invert when developing instead of tilting.

    One last thing (and this may be a total bozo question but please bear with me!)

    less agitation = less contrast and more agitation = more contrast?
    less development time = less contrast and more development time = more contrast?

    I know these are basic things, I just need the clarification!


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