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  1. #1

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    More contrasty Tri-x, Rodinal with mid tone "pop"?

    Hi all,

    I've been reading a lot of excellent threads in this forum, but this is the first time I post. My companions are a Nikon Fm2 with a VC Ultron 40mm 2.0 lens, and sometimes a Holga (when I feel like escaping perfection).

    I still consider myself quite a beginner when it come to film, and following some advice on this forum I decided to start focusing on one film and one developer, and since I don't mind grain I did chose Tri-X and Rodinal (R09 One shot)
    I've been getting some ok results by using a semi-stand method (1:100, 1 hour, slow agitation for 1st minute, one invert and twist at 30min), but the contrast is lacking.
    So, I'm looking for some guidance in finding a method for maintaining the "pop" (I guess some call it micro-contrast?), and still get a high contrast negative with darker (almost black) shadows and more pronounced whites.

    If I understand things somewhat correctly:
    Overexpose and under develop seems to be a solution for getting darker shadows, and not necessarily blowing the highlights? But then I suppose the "pop" I get in the mid-tones from the high diluted semi/stand would suffer?

    I suppose I could shoot at box speed and start experimenting with the directions given by the massive dev chart. But I fear that they are optimized for a more balanced look than the one I'm looking for (with the higher contrast and mid tone "pop"), and I really would like it if I could start with a recipe closer to my end goal and start experimenting from there.

    Any advice is more than welcome

    Have an excellent day/night
    /Rikard

  2. #2
    Tom1956's Avatar
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    You DID say any advice is more than welcome. I'm going to get another chewing out for saying too much, but if you chose 35mm Tri-X and Rodinal as your staple, you couldn't have picked a grainier combo. Not a lot you can do but go with the standard dilution and learn to love grain. With that, you'll get the contrast, if you're willing to pay the price. But then if you plan to do photography only a couple time a year or decade, the Rodinal will be there without having to buy more of the other developers every year or 2 when they go rancid.

  3. #3
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rikard_L View Post
    Hi all,

    I still consider myself quite a beginner when it come to film, and following some advice on this forum I decided to start focusing on one film and one developer, and since I don't mind grain I did chose Tri-X and Rodinal (R09 One shot)
    I've been getting some ok results by using a semi-stand method (1:100, 1 hour, slow agitation for 1st minute, one invert and twist at 30min), but the contrast is lacking.
    Any advice is more than welcome

    Have an excellent day/night
    /Rikard
    Forget about semi-stand and just develop as normal at about 1:50. See what this looks like and then adjust development time/temperature to get the contrast you want.

    ďThe contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of inventionĒ

    Francis Bacon

  4. #4
    Fixcinater's Avatar
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    Do you have any examples of what you have and where you would like to be? Surely somebody has hit upon the "look" you are seeking.

    Part of me wants to say use a slower/less inherently grainy film (more inherent contrast, probably more "mid tone pop/micro-contrast") and/or increase agitation to increase contrast.

  5. #5
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    I'm guessing (from the stand development) that you have shadow detail; your lack of contrast is due to insufficient agitation. In other words, you're using the developer in a compensating way, and compensating too much. It causes flat images.

    Compensating (stand) development gives you more shadow detail without blowing highlights but it is an approach fundamentally in opposition to also obtaining sparkly midtones and highlights. Your highlights will be easily printable, but they will have lower contrast. They will not have "pop". Or if you do traditional agitation with Rodinal, you're likely to get good midtone+highlight contrast, but you will not get as much speed.

    Picking one of each is a good thing, though it's a grainy combination it's a good one. I would suggest ditching stand development and doing normal development with about 5s of agitation every minute, Rodinal 1+50. You will get less film speed (200 or 320 probably) that way, but the images will definitely pop.

  6. #6

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    Tri-X shot a 320 or box speed, develop in D76 full strength for 7 minutes at 70 degrees. Works for me. Your water/agitation/thermometer are all probably a little different than mine, but this will get you in the ball park.

  7. #7
    Shawn Dougherty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    Forget about semi-stand and just develop as normal at about 1:50. See what this looks like and then adjust development time/temperature to get the contrast you want.
    This is the simple version. ^


    Quote Originally Posted by polyglot View Post
    I'm guessing (from the stand development) that you have shadow detail; your lack of contrast is due to insufficient agitation. In other words, you're using the developer in a compensating way, and compensating too much. It causes flat images.

    Compensating (stand) development gives you more shadow detail without blowing highlights but it is an approach fundamentally in opposition to also obtaining sparkly midtones and highlights. Your highlights will be easily printable, but they will have lower contrast. They will not have "pop". Or if you do traditional agitation with Rodinal, you're likely to get good midtone+highlight contrast, but you will not get as much speed.

    Picking one of each is a good thing, though it's a grainy combination it's a good one. I would suggest ditching stand development and doing normal development with about 5s of agitation every minute, Rodinal 1+50. You will get less film speed (200 or 320 probably) that way, but the images will definitely pop.
    This is the explanation. ^

    Stand is doing the opposite of what you are trying to achieve. Develop at 1:50 for the recommended times, if the negatives are too contrasty develop for less time. If they are not contrasty enough develop for a longer time.

    Best of luck.

  8. #8
    MDR
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    Rodinal is easy the higher the dilution the higher the compensation effect. 1:25 little compensation lots of pop, 1:50 a little more compensation a bit less contrast than 1:25, 1:100 lots of compensation little pop. Agfa usually advises the 1:50 dilution. On Overcast days I would prefer the 1:25 dilution as it adds some significant snap to the picture for general use 1:50.

  9. #9
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    How are these being printed?
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." AnaÔs Nin

  10. #10

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    Wow. Thanks for all the helpful suggestions and information. I tried to post yesterday, but when I pressed submit I got a message that the post needed to be checked by an administrator. But, since the post still doesnít show up in the thread Iíll post anew.


    Trying to summarize what I think I learned and understand so far:

    1. The higher the dilution the lower the overall contrast (all other things equal of course)
    -- 1:25 or 1:50 will give me a higher global contrast than the one I get from stand dev at 1:100.

    2. I donít mind grain, but I donít want the grain to dominate too much.

    -- The higher the agitation frequency the more grain.
    -- 1:25 will yield sharper grain than 1:50.


    3. Resting time between agitation will mostly affect the shadows.
    -- An interval of 2 minutes will push the shadows more than one of 1 minute.


    Since Iím looking to have more global contrast, but still keep the look of the edge transitions I get from stand development, I need to find some sort of compromise. Iíve been looking over at filmdev for some examples. And, I think I found one which seem to offer similar characteristics.


    20C, 1:60, 17min
    Through first minute constant agitation, then every 3rd minute for 5-6 seconds


    And, If things donít look the way I like Iíll adjust the method.
    If the highlights donít get developed enough, I will add one more agitation action.

    If the shadows arenít black enough Iíll shorten the development time with 1 minute.

    Feel free to school me if you see fit

    /Rikard

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