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  1. #1

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    Very grainy FP-4

    I developed a roll of 35mm FP-4 a while back, and yesterday I made some 10x15cm prints from the negatives, and it struck me that the results were very grainy.

    Here's a scan of one of the prints, and the grain is observable without a loupe. I realise that 35mm is grainy, but I didn't realise that a ASA125 film would be *this* grainy. Maybe with Rodinal, but this is in HC-110B, which I thought had at least some solvent action going on to reduce grain slightly.

    Have I done something wrong somewhere, or is FP-4 supposed to be this grainy? Maybe I've been spoilt by 120 and 4x5.
    "Art is is a picture of some dude I never met smoking under a lamppost at 6400 ISO and in BW."

  2. #2

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    Please try Formapan 400, HP5+ or Trix next...

  3. #3
    Rick A's Avatar
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    I think you have been spoiled by larger negatives. I like the grain in that photo, lends a certain quality that smacks of "this is real" just like life.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  4. #4

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    no grain, no pain

    Well, 35mm film is not grainy unless you do something wrong. I have used many combinations of film and developers over many decades and ended up with fabulous no-grain negatives from 35mm. The best was Panatomix-X and Rodinol. You have to experiment around to see what works for you. I might get great results and you might get bum ones, from the same film/developer combination, or the other way around. Your darkroom and quality of water and how accurate the thermometer is and a million other details like agitation can vary. Having said that, I am a very big fan of big negatives such as 120. When you get into the darkroom those big negs are hard to beat. Let's face it, it's easier to get non-grain prints from big negs. But not impossible from 35mm or even half frame 35mm.
    I knew professional photographers who shot portraits on Olympus Pen half frame cameras and got no-grain photos. The Pen is a great camera for portraits but I digress.

  5. #5
    cliveh's Avatar
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    I don't think FP4 should be that grainy and certainly not from that size of print. May I ask have you cropped into the image when enlarging? Perhaps you should also look at your development process in terms of time/temperature and dilution.

    “The 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 invention”

    Francis Bacon

  6. #6
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Did you underexpose perhaps? That bright background would "fool" any in-camera meter unless you compensated for the bright background or used a spot meter.
    -----------------------

    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

    Richard S.
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    I don't think FP4 should be that grainy and certainly not from that size of print. May I ask have you cropped into the image when enlarging? Perhaps you should also look at your development process in terms of time/temperature and dilution.
    Nope, no cropping to speak of. I figured that development could be the issue, but I was following recommendations (9 minutes at 20C). I exposed the film at EI 100 though, rather than 125, maybe I should have reduced my development time?

    Something that also struck me is that the roll has been lying around in my fridge for about a year, expiry date is March 2016, but could the long cold storage been affecting it somehow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Sintchak (rich815) View Post
    Did you underexpose perhaps? That bright background would "fool" any in-camera meter unless you compensated for the bright background or used a spot meter.
    Nope, the only fault I can find with the negatives (apart from the grain) is that they're a bit contrasty, but density is good (I used a flash meter to meter the background and subject independently).
    "Art is is a picture of some dude I never met smoking under a lamppost at 6400 ISO and in BW."

  8. #8

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    The grain should not be an issue on such a small print. You mention the negative is contrasty. This suggests some overdevelopment. Also check the film surface it is possible some type of micro-reticulation is happening which can look like bad grain. Cold storage should not affect the film. Exposing at EI 100 will only improve shadow detail by 1/3 stop. Developing time controls contrast, exposure controls shadows + highlights.

  9. #9

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    Your scan settings or post-processing may accentuate grain too, but that's really a Hybridphoto topic.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdial View Post
    Your scan settings or post-processing may accentuate grain too, but that's really a Hybridphoto topic.
    You see the same effect when looking at the print in daylight as well, so it's sure to be the film.
    "Art is is a picture of some dude I never met smoking under a lamppost at 6400 ISO and in BW."

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