Ilford FP4+ vs my tiny arsenal of developers
I am about to develop a roll of 35mm FP4+ that I rated at box speed. Up to this point, I have been souping it in Rodinal 1:50. I love the way it looks, although some would say there is more grain than they like. I was about to throw this roll into the same soup when I thought:"Hmmm, lets see what the good folks of APUG can share with me!"
Here is my very humble arsenal: Rodinal (of course!), Microphen, Acufine, and D76.
Now, am I correct in thinking that Microphen and Acufine will give me a undesired (in this case) push, therefore falling out of contention here?
If its down to the Lord's Own Developer or D76 - what are your thoughts and suggestions of best approach with either? I think I will have normal to somewhat contrasty pictures on this roll and usually like to have a punchy print on Gr3 paper from my negs. Normally, they will not be enlarged past 8x10 (unless I have something marvelous there, which I doubt ). I know all the combinations from the various dev charts - but I think I could benefit from the wealth of experience of all the APUG'ers in getting the best "look"!
Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions
You can use Microphen at box speed stock, 1:1 or 1:3, D76 is always a good choice for Fp4 or Plus X stock or 1:1. Acuifne can be used if you dilute it and determine the correct time. Of the 3 possiblities, if you are shooting in flat low contrast lighting I would try the microphen, for average conditions the D76.
Just some random thoughts.
How did you meter? If you had it at 125 but _didn't_ meter the shadows, then the increased film speed of Microphen (I've never used Acufine), which should give you about 1/3-2/3 of a stop increase, will actually be helpful. Plus, it's pretty good at controlling contrast, too.
If you like the acutance of Rodinal, try D76 1+3 as a comparison. Grain won't be any less than Rodinal, though, very likely (dang, still gotta go look at those test negatives I ran comparing Rodinal 1+50, D76 1+0, 1+1, and 1+3...). But it would be interesting to compare. Otherwise I've always liked 1+1.
Hmmm, so it seems like Rodinal is the odd man out!
These negs are of architecture, old trains and people - not spot metered or anything - but with the center weighted meter's advice and + usually one stop of over exposure to get nice shadow detail and some detail on the faces, which are often somewhat in shadow. The light was ranging from average to somewhat contrasty. This was all done very much "from the hip" - so it will not have any semblence of Ansel Adam's like zone control or anything
Thanks for the advice thus far -I much appreciate it!
Don't throw anything heavy at me, but I would suggest a developer you don't have:
Ilford's own Ilfosol-S.
It's a tiny little 250ml bottle, it keeps fresh for very little but I've got my best results with FP4+ so far, especially if rated at 80 iso.
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no digital additives and shit
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If you expose + 1, I would recommend D76 1:1 with 10 to 20% less time than recommended on the data sheet to keep from blowing out the highlights. The general rule is that exposure sets the shadow details, development time the highlights. But you need to look at your negatives (the ones you already developed) to see how your past exposures have handled both shadow and highlights and what kind of burning and dodging did you need to do to get the prints you wanted. This may give you a ball park idea of what your true EI is and how to adjust your development time to best fit your paper.
You can always develop the film in Rodinal plus sulfite. This will decrease the grain size and produces very nice negatives. Use your usual dilution but dilute with a 9% solution (90 grams per liter) of sodium sufite. With this modification development is a bit faster so use a shorter development time say about 0.85 times normal.
This method was popular some years ago. With this method it's also possible to use Rodinal as a replenished system by adding a small amount of concentrate to the Rpdinal-sulfite developer as a replenisher. Before using a new development method it's always good to run a test roll.
The venerable D-76 will not disappoint.
I certainly wasn't implying that. You asked for suggestions for other developers. I routinely use Rodinal 1+50 for FP4.
Originally Posted by gnashings
Ilfosol is available to me - I may pick up a batch.
Sorry if I misunderstood you - I thought you meant that you would prefer the others. I lovethe way Rodinal(1:50) does FP4+ in 120 - not as much in 35mm, in some cases. Its strange, it just seems that some frames (off the same roll!) seem to suit the look, others do not.
Questio on sodium sulfite - is it available anywhere other than chemistry supply outlets? I think I would like to try some "perverted rodinal" some day, perhaps not here necessarily, but its something that I think I would love to have up my sleeve
Thanks to all for your responses and suggestions, they really made me look more closely at how I go about my developing. I guess in retrospective, I rate it at box speed, but in reality tend to overexpose most of the time compared to my meter readings. When a scene seems like something the meter will understand, I usually take its word for it - but when I have faces in shadows, back lights and so on, I tend to compensate a bit when shooting hand held, quick shots type stuff.