Thank you all for the great replies. As I hoped, you are pointing out different options and each and everyone is worth to consider. I am not so familiar with the pyro developers (just read an article in Black & White Photography, that's all) so I definately need to take a closer look at them, seems to be very interesting developers.
It was some time ago I used PanF, these days APX100, Delta 100, HP5, Delta 3200 and FPAN 100/400 are in my camera bag. For the T-grain films I use TMAX-dev and for the HP5, the D-76. For the APX100, I find Rodinal in a 1+50 dilution to be an excellent combination. When I tried Rodinal and FPAN films, I wasn't too happy with the grain (when using condensor light) even in the 120-format, so that's why I changed to Perceptol and ended up with beautiful negatives.
OP: Grain is NOTyour enemy. Some subjects actually gain accutance (the illusion of sharpness) through grain. If you find grain objectionable there are only three paths: mushy, low-accutance images using developers that make the grain so, or move to a larger format using unappologetic, grain-faithfull forumulas. The third is pure tragedy: join the futile path of the cultists who use gigabitfilm and then struggle with the impossibilities of making full-tonal images to exploit 400lpmm film potential of which there are no lens/enlarger combinations on earth to bring it to the print - and no scanners, either. Gigabit makes no sense except to lens manufacturers seeking lp/mm metric proof of what their lenses can do, while none of "the rest of us" can accomodate the compromises that make it work because it limits our subject opportunities. You won't find many military resolution charts on gallery walls.
Grain is your friend.
Spelling aside, that's my solution.
Originally Posted by jjstafford
Spot on! Certain images requires half format (18x24) and Rodinal, others a classic combo like HP5/D-76 or Delta/TMAXdev. It's also the matter to have a certain reportoire you feel comfortable with and know how to handle in order to be able to visualise your idea.
Originally Posted by jjstafford
An article in Photo Techniques by Otis Sprow backs that up.
Originally Posted by Claire Senft
He tested six films in eight developers and found that "With low
speed films, developer choice seems to make very little
I've been using FX-1 for Pan F; an easy homebrew. R. Suzuki
has varied the sulfite in that for, at least in his mind, an
improvement in gradation. The OP would also have a
good print developer of the Ansco 120 type were
he to brew FX-1.
Or vice versa. Ansco 120 for prints and film. Dan
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Two things...Perceptol at 1+3 doesn't soften grain like Perceptol does straight. Barry Thornton recommendeds Perceptol 1+3 very highly in "Edge of Darkness" for the sharpness of the negatives it produces.
Second, Perceptol should be available again from Ilford in the not-too-distant future. It's one of the powdered chemicals that they dropped during their restructuring but that they're bringing back over the next few months. So, if you like Perceptol, it'll be back soon. (Assuming, of course, that Ilford's sticking around this time.)
Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.
I recently did a roll of PanF in Rodinal 1:50. I can't see the grain on 8x10 from a 35mm neg printed on a condenser. As usual for Rodinal, the sharpness was exceptional. Maybe my eyes need checking, but they seem to see other stuff, like bills, etc. just fine...
I wasn't too happy with other aspects of the final product, but I think the issue was the photographer (me!) and not the developer. I find PanF is soemthing of an enigma to me... I have to shoot many more rolls to see if I even like in the first place.
And please remember, Rodinal - I use it on cuts, mosquito bites, to prevent colds and add some to the oil in my cars - I get better fuel mileage. Apparently, members of warring factions in the Middle East were accidently dipped in Rodinal and proceeded to start a hippie commune together preaching peace and love for your neighbour. Cheers
Pan F and rodinal at 1-100 has always been a greeat combination for me. Excellent sharpness in prints up to 11x14. Depending on the subject it can get a bit contrasty, but that is one of the reasons I like that combination. Someone else mentioned XTOL. I concur that it will give very sharp negs and help control the highlights at a 1-2 or 1-3 dillution.
One thing to remeber about grain in an image is you need to evaluate the print from a reasonable viewing distance for the size of the print. Only other photographers get their nose 6 inches from a 11x14 print to look at the grain. What is to much grain for a photographer is what gives an image sharpness and snap at normal viewing distances.
"Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
What kind of paper surface? Was the negative properly focused and the lens a good one at optimum aperture?
Originally Posted by gnashings
Pan F+ is amazing i Rodinal. Not much grain, but pure sharpness and tonality.
Originally Posted by KenR