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  1. #1
    kaiyen's Avatar
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    film recommendations for fx-39

    Hi all,
    So I've been playing with some fx-39 I got on sale at the local shop. Tried it with Delta 100 first, since it's supposedly designed for the tmax and delta lines. Sharpness is marginally better than with Rodinal, but grain is a lot more intense. Speed is very nice (I can get at least 125 if not 160 out of D100 - still testing). This is mostly in 35mm.

    I'm not sure I like the grain, so this combination might not play out for me in the end. Therefore, I'm looking for recommendations on what other films to try. I only have this one bottle, and I don't want to order another one just for more testing. The films I currently have are:

    35mm:
    pan f
    efke 25 & 50
    delta 100
    fp4 (though not much left)
    hp5 (barely any left)
    tri-x
    delta 3200

    120:
    efke 25, 50, & 100
    fp4
    tri-x
    fortepan 400
    konica ir 750

    I realize that I have a lot of traditional emulsions, and that fx-39 isn't designed for them. However, I have seen several recommendations to try it with traditional films, because there can be some really pleasant results. So...if you have a particular recommendation, let me know.

    thanks
    allan

  2. #2

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    Alan,
    all the Paterson developers are pretty good (i've used fx-39, aculux and acutol but settled on aculux for tonality) but one thing i find is that the times Paterson gives are much too long (and I even use a diffusion type enlarger which needs a bit more contrast) and as a consequence produces lots more grain than I like. Having played around with a few films I have found my personal development times that are giving really good results. So one thought is to try the delta 100 again with a shorter time. Also, my experience with Paterson is that the supposed increase in film speed and hence shadow detail does not emerge and I still rate my films at a lower EI. For example, I rate FP4+ at EI64 for aculux. The only real problem with FX-39 is, as you say, it has a short shelf life once open. Aculux I find can last up to 3 months.
    good luck
    Paul

  3. #3

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    strange how people have such differing results. I saw a review which stated that the tester got the equal finest grain from FX-39 with Delta100, as fine as ID11, but with far better sharpness. I am amazed that grain is more than Rodinal. That seems odd. I am currently using it (early days) with 10x8 negs so grain does not come into it. Gives great speed and I am happy with that.

    Have you done a few rolls or just one? If just one, might be worth running another thru.

    FX-39 is good for the fine grained films, esp modern ones. Acros is reportedly good in it, as is Pan-F, which you have.

    I am going to try TriX in it for good acutance, crisp grain with full speed (hopefully) for street stuff......when I get round to it.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by kaiyen
    Hi all,
    So I've been playing with some fx-39 I got on sale at the local shop. Tried it with Delta 100 first, since it's supposedly designed for the tmax and delta lines. Sharpness is marginally better than with Rodinal, but grain is a lot more intense. Speed is very nice (I can get at least 125 if not 160 out of D100 - still testing). This is mostly in 35mm.

    I'm not sure I like the grain, so this combination might not play out for me in the end. Therefore, I'm looking for recommendations on what other films to try. I only have this one bottle, and I don't want to order another one just for more testing. The films I currently have are:

    35mm:
    pan f
    efke 25 & 50
    delta 100
    fp4 (though not much left)
    hp5 (barely any left)
    tri-x
    delta 3200

    120:
    efke 25, 50, & 100
    fp4
    tri-x
    fortepan 400
    konica ir 750

    I realize that I have a lot of traditional emulsions, and that fx-39 isn't designed for them. However, I have seen several recommendations to try it with traditional films, because there can be some really pleasant results. So...if you have a particular recommendation, let me know.

    thanks
    allan
    Ilford Delta 100 and Paterson FX-39 is a very good combination and you shouln`t be getting the excessive grain that you desribe. It could be that you are developing the films longer than necessary. Try this link:
    http://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.html
    then click on the Revised Paterson Chart link.
    Bear in mind that Michael Scarpitti uses a condenser enlarger and prints onto Ilford Gallerie grade 3 rather than the more usual grade 2 papers.
    It is certainly worth a try.

  5. #5

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    I would suggest three things:

    First, if you are using the 1:9 dilution, try it at 1:14 and increase the time.

    See the instructions:

    http://www.patersonphotographic.com/...opers.html#one

    Weakening the dilution of developers like Rodinal and FX-39 tends to make the grain smaller but no less distinctive.

    Second, this is almost a special-effects developer in its sharpness. To maximize the effect, a normal-grain emulsion would react with more drama than Delta which has so little silver in its thin emulsion.

    Finally, if you dislike grain stay away from high acutance developers and the 35mm format. Both tend to maximize it.

  6. #6
    kaiyen's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips. I have tried this with 3 rolls of 35mm and 1 roll of 120. The grain in the 120 is fine, it's the 35mm that's too much. I did use the digitaltruth times but I will consult the information on the revised chart and on the 1+14 dilution.

    I don't dislike grain, but my results so far are excessive (even taking into account the usual grain increase from my methods - I don't wet print, so I have to *blank* the film).

    I'll give your suggestions a try. I got enough Delta 100, anyway, and I'd prefer to stick to the one film for the rest of this bottle, anyway.

    allan

  7. #7
    Kevin Caulfield's Avatar
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    I use it for Delta 3200 regularly, and have used it once or twice with Pan F. I agree with the others about the lack of grain, especially with the Pan F. I started using FX 39 when a review in Practical Photography rated it as the best fine grain developer.

  8. #8
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaiyen
    Th - I don't wet print, so I have to *blank* the film .

    --snip--
    allan
    Are you developing the film to scan ? Oh, dear. That changes things a lot.

    Even with a good film scanner ( minolta 5400 / nikon 8000 ) it doesn't really SEE the grain clearly enough to resolve it. Silverfast helps focus much better [COLOR=Blue](and now i guess we should go to the Grey Area room)[/COLOR].

    Your developer problems, I believe, are totally different than were you projecting the image onto paper. Abandon acutance developers until you get an enlarger or zillion dollar scanner.
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  9. #9
    kaiyen's Avatar
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    I'll keep this very restricted, as I don't want to actually go into Grey Area...area.

    I am quite happy with the results I am getting with acutance developers (note that happiness with my results doesn't depend on output media or methods in this context). So I don't think that using acutance developers is a bad idea, in and of itself. My results with Rodinal with FP4, for instance, look great to me.

    Now, that isn't to say that the combination of delta 100 and fx-39 isn't a good one for my methods. It just might be one of those bad combinations - there are a few of them.

    Regardless, I'll try the following:
    1 - less time with Delta 100
    2 - higher dilution with Delta 100
    3 - with Pan F
    4 - with Delta 3200

    assuming I haev enough developer, of course.

    thanks again. as always, it's worth the experiment.
    allan

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by kaiyen
    Now, that isn't to say that the combination of delta 100 and fx-39 isn't a good one for my methods. It just might be one of those bad combinations - there are a few of them.
    Again, this combo is recognised as one of the best by many people (Roger Hicks for one). Why it is not working for you does not sound like a matter of taste as the grain is relatively big and you can see this compared to other films/devs. It does not matter either. If it is not working for you, it is not working......

    Tom

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