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  1. #11

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    It was just a general question.

    There seems to be so many different opinions and concepts on grain/contrast/resolution/dilution so I thought I'd ask as straight as possible to see what people say.

    I myself use XTOL and Rodinal, but I'm learning about other developers as well, especially when reading here on APUG. I use XTOL at 1+1 mainly, and it has given me great results for many 135 films I think, but for medium format I find it too fine grained, especially on slow films. What I'm looking for when using slow films is "medium" contrast, and high sharpness. I find that at 10 by 10 inch enlargements, my MF pictures are totally grain free and almost "unsharp" when using acros or pan f. I was thinking that by using a grainier/sharper developer like Rodinal I would get that sharpness I'm looking for, even at 10 x 10. I will see when I slip into my darkroom tonight.

    Thanks for your time!

    *h

  2. #12
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    You've turned your initial question inside out. Asking if dilution increases grain is one thing. Assuming that it reduces grain is another. In particular, with a sulfite rich developer like d-76 or xtol, the stock solution tends toward less shadow speed and a less acute image. This is hair splitting, and with a film like Acros ot TMX, almost a pointless distinction. Reducing the amount of sulfite ( by dilution ) gives a slightly 'faster' film, and slightly more acute. With D-76 and Tri X, you'll see the difference in the print. With Acros, probably hard to discern.

    Rodinal is NOT a sulfite rich developer, so reducing the amount of sulfite by dilution will have no effect, because there is not enough to soften the grain in the first place.

    Using Xtol and Rodinal to compliment each other is a good plan. Be your own judge: but I'd suggest making your decisions based on real prints, at your normal sizes. Often folks go to extremes when discussing developers, willing to argue forever about PMK vs Rodinal vs FX2 with Tri X... and all the while glossing over the fact that you need a 16x enlargement and a strong magnifier to discern the difference.

    Make pictures, and don't get bogged down.

    .
    "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

  3. #13

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    I have not turned my initial question inside out. I did not know the difference in sulfite content between XTOL, D76 and Rodinal, and therefore used what you wrote to get further understanding. Now with your explanation I understand better about Rodinal and XTOL. Thank you.

    I agree that I must make my own decisions regarding what developer to use. It seems though that I had gotten it backwards, thinking that more diluted XTOL would give less grain, as it's "milder". Now I know better.

    Good thread, this one. Lots of great info.

    My aim right now is to get the slow films as sharp as possible, as I _like_ grain in my pictures, but also love the detail from MF. Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by timeUnit
    My aim right now is to get the slow films as sharp as possible, as I _like_ grain in my pictures, but also love the detail from MF. Any suggestions?
    DS-12 was made for that purpose. If DS-12 sounds too complicated, try DS-2. Both are published metol-ascorbate developer formulae. If you are developing Acros, I recommend to dilute either of these developers 2+1 (2 parts dev, 1 part water) or 1+1.

    The reason why D-76 stock gives less accutance than diluted solution has to do with antirestraining action of large amount of sulfite. Solvent action itself has little effect on the accutance, as it is occuring at the level of individual grains, which is too small to be resolved via enlarging system. (Most common AgX solvents have some antirestraining effects. Thiosulfate added to developer is particularly effective for this.)

    There are lots of myths about solvent developers, fine grain developers, physical development, accutance, etc. For example, if you don't do it carefully, solvent developers with significant physical development activity can only make your image look grainier. There are some formulators who claim sulfite in developer doesn't contribute to fine grain effect, etc. but it often happens that their development condition is not suitable for fine grain effects. For example, if you add sulfite to D-19, you're not going to get finer grain like you would see between D-76 with 50g/L and 100g/L sulfite (pH is to be held constant for this comparison).

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by timeUnit
    I use XTOL at 1+1 mainly, and it has given me great results for many 135 films I think, but for medium format I find it too fine grained, especially on slow films. What I'm looking for when using slow films is "medium" contrast, and high sharpness. I find that at 10 by 10 inch enlargements, my MF pictures are totally grain free and almost "unsharp" when using acros or pan f. I was thinking that by using a grainier/sharper developer like Rodinal I would get that sharpness I'm looking for, even at 10 x 10. I will see when I slip into my darkroom tonight.
    Accutance effect is amplified by enlargement. That is, given same film, development and print size, you'll get more accutance effect from smaller format films.

    I personally prefer DS-10 (not too dissimilar from XTOL) stock or 1+1 for most 35mm films, and DS-12 for landscape work on slow medium format films. The closest developer you can buy (to DS-12) is Ilfosol S, but this developer is notorious for short shelf life once opened. So you might want to try out Ilfosol S, and if you like it, you might want to mix DS-2 or DS-12 yourself.

    Contrast is a different matter. You can develop your MF films to the same contrast in your XTOL. You just have to adjust temp, agitation, time, or combination thereof. I generally develop 35mm and MF negatives to the same contrast. I enlarge 35mm films to 11x14, and MF films to 20 inch square in typical situations, so they are usually enlarged to about same magnification.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by fhovie
    That book(s) are really expensive - I saw a set on e-bay used for $600.
    You can buy a set of new copies directly from Grant Haist for the price you expect for new copies. PM me if you are interested. I won't post this info because I only have his home address, etc. (But if there are enough requests, I may call him and ask for his latest price and POBox so that I can post them...)


    Quote Originally Posted by fhovie
    The reason that with some developers, grain becomes more apparent when dilute is because of Soduim Sulfite. When the dilution of Sodium Sulfite drops below 80g per liter, it dissolves a lot less silver giving sharper grain. The reason XTOL doesn't give mushy grain full strength is because it has less sulfite than D76.
    This is not really the case as I posted previously. The reason XTOL doesn't give mushy grain full strength is not because of sulfite. You should add 20g sulfite to XTOL and see if you get grains like D-76. The reason certain ascorbate developers give finer grains is related to the electrochemical condition of development, and also the difference in the behavior of oxidized developing agents.

  7. #17
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Ryuji: cool, thanks
    "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

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryuji
    You can buy a set of new copies directly from Grant Haist for the price you expect for new copies. PM me if you are interested. I won't post this info because I only have his home address, etc. (But if there are enough requests, I may call him and ask for his latest price and POBox so that I can post them...)




    This is not really the case as I posted previously. The reason XTOL doesn't give mushy grain full strength is not because of sulfite. You should add 20g sulfite to XTOL and see if you get grains like D-76. The reason certain ascorbate developers give finer grains is related to the electrochemical condition of development, and also the difference in the behavior of oxidized developing agents.
    Hi Ryuji:

    I believe I read this response in "The Film Developers Cookbook" and it does seem to fit the observations. I am not a chemist and always apprediate your input. I would like to understand better some of this chemistry myself. Also, I had heard those books were out of print and were only available used. I would be interested in knowing what their availability is - they are listed as out of print at Amazon. Maybe there are others as well that would be interested in them.
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

  9. #19

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    I'm talking about Haist's two volume set that you can buy in new copies. He worked out with the publisher to print his own book after the book went out of print. He has a stock of new hard bound copies printed by a different printing firm available for sale. The books look identical to the original published form, except insertion of a page describing this reprint edition.

    It didn't come to my mind in my previous post, but I actually had DS-1, whose formula is: 2g metol, 5g ascorbic acid, 100g sodium sulfite, 12g borax in a liter of water. The pH is comparable to D-76 (8.5 to 8.6). You can use this developer just like D-76d. Develop a roll of Tri-X or whatever, split them, and develop them in D-76d and DS-1. Pick ones with same contrast, and check out the grain at 10x magnification. DS-1 doesn't have the mushy grain of D-76d stock strength. I did that comparison 4-5 years ago. Unfortunately DS-1 doesn't keep very well and can suffer from the same problems as XTOL.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryuji
    I'm talking about Haist's two volume set that you can buy in new copies. He worked out with the publisher to print his own book after the book went out of print. He has a stock of new hard bound copies printed by a different printing firm available for sale. The books look identical to the original published form, except insertion of a page describing this reprint edition.

    It didn't come to my mind in my previous post, but I actually had DS-1, whose formula is: 2g metol, 5g ascorbic acid, 100g sodium sulfite, 12g borax in a liter of water. The pH is comparable to D-76 (8.5 to 8.6). You can use this developer just like D-76d. Develop a roll of Tri-X or whatever, split them, and develop them in D-76d and DS-1. Pick ones with same contrast, and check out the grain at 10x magnification. DS-1 doesn't have the mushy grain of D-76d stock strength. I did that comparison 4-5 years ago. Unfortunately DS-1 doesn't keep very well and can suffer from the same problems as XTOL.

    How would you comapre DS1 to PC-TEA?
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

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