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  1. #21

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    For side by side comparsions you may want to read Thortons' Edge of Darkness. I just bought a copy, and although not my style, a very good read with examples. I tired Dixactol which is based on his formula but found it to have too much gain for my tast. The only developers that I know that has both very fine grain and sharpness are Edwal 12 and 20. Edwal 20 has been off the market for many years and I have not found an exact formula.

  2. #22
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    You might also want to read Anchell and Troop's Film Development Cookbook. This is an excellent book that will teach you about the trade-offs inherent in black-and-white film development.

    Essentially you are developing for some compromise of acutance, definition, and gradation. Acutance is the appearance of sharpness. Acutance gives more obvious grain but sharper-looking images. Definition is also known as resolution. Surprisingly, resolution and acutance do not go together. You can have high resolution and poor sharpness, and vice versa.

    Gradation is the most difficult of the bunch (to me). It's the tonality of the negative - the relative differences in tones between black and white. The developers that maximize sharpness tend to do so at the expense of gradation (as well as grain, obviously).

    So... getting the best sharpness means you won't necessarily be getting the best gradation. This is why some suboptimal developers (sharpness-wise) can give you the best results - the gradation is improved more than enough to compensate for the loss of sharpness.

    Now, which developer and film should you use? That, my friend, is a question without an answer from us. You will have to find it for yourself. By starting in one place and slowly branching out into other films and developers, you will start to learn what you like.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  3. #23
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    There is a problem with the artificial edge effects that many photographers enjoy. The edge effects are not scaled with the size of the image. They are chemical, not optical, artifices.
    Gadget Gainer

  4. #24
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    Gainer,

    I didn't quite understand what you mean, could you please explain what you wrote? Cheers,

    -Sino.
    Close your eyes to see. This will take a while.

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Howell View Post
    For side by side comparsions you may want to read Thortons' Edge of Darkness. I just bought a copy, and although not my style, a very good read with examples. I tired Dixactol which is based on his formula but found it to have too much gain for my tast. The only developers that I know that has both very fine grain and sharpness are Edwal 12 and 20. Edwal 20 has been off the market for many years and I have not found an exact formula.
    According to Michael Briggs, Here is the formula for Edwal-20
    1 liter distilled water
    Gradol 5 grams derivative of para aminophenol
    Sodium Sulfite 90 grams anhydrous [sodium sulfite]
    Diamine-P 10 grams paraphenylenediamine
    Monazol 5 grams photographic glycin

    Source: http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0065dl

    For the Gradol you probably could substitute Rodinal (or 5 grams of p-aminophenol base)
    It appears that Edwal-20 is very heavily loaded with sulfite. D-23 should give a similar look to your negs.

    I suggest using Crawley’s FX-2 instead
    Tom Hoskinson
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    Everything is analog - even digital :D

  6. #26
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Rob has by far the best advice in this thread.

    Stop worrying about the grain so much. Small grain / large grain or low / high acutance is not going to make or break a good photograph. Just pick a film - I promise you that you can get outstanding results with damned near any combination of film and developer out there. If you learn how to use it.

    Just buy a load of film and a bottle of developer, and start shooting with it. I have prints from ISO 100 film that appear grainier than some from ISO 400 film - just because of how I shot and processed the film - in the same developer.

    Use the film / developer you buy in your first batch, try different things with overexposing the film, underexposing it, and see what the effect is. Make one change at a time. Then you can start experimenting with development times, let the film stay in longer, shorter, see what happens. Learn how to find the combination of shooting the film and developing it that works for you.
    But above all - print them, and print them often. There is no telling by looking at the negative how good the print will look. Print, print, print. It's not until you print a lot that the whole process will come full circle.
    I can tell you from experience that I farted around with different films and developers for years, only to become hung up on it and not growing my photography one single iota.
    I stopped, and settled down for one film with one single developer, learned those products well, and I printed them as often as I could. First then did I truly start seeing in my photography. Please learn from my mistakes. Don't worry so much about the grain and acutance. Just get out there and explore lighting, composition, rain, fog, texture, color. Those aspects are so much more important.

    With the best wishes,

    - Thomas


    Quote Originally Posted by rob champagne View Post
    All film has microscopic grain. It is the speed of the film combined with the developer which affects how the actual grain forms into grain clumps and it is the grain clumps that you see, not the grain. Slow film films tend not to clump so much. Faster films clump more. Fine grain developers tend not to clump grain so much. High activity developers clump grain more.
    Some people make the big mistake of judging how the print will look by looking at the grain in the negative. They tend to like to see an etched look in their negatives. Personally I think that makes the print look too harsh. But that is a subjective consideration so is infact a control for you to use.
    Acutance is the way in which the grain forms the transition from light to dark or dark to light areas. Some film developer combinations make this more pronounced than others. Again this a control for you to use. People worry that a print must have fine grain and good acutance for it to be a good print. But that means they are dictating what defines a good print which is pure nonsense. If you want a print with large grain and poor acutance because it suits your aesthetic, then who is to say that you are wrong.
    People get way to hung up on grain and acutance, especially when they are starting out. Just go with one film and a standard developer and learn it. Then later when you are proficient, experiment with same film and different developers, and then different film and original developer and then other developers. That way you get to learn the different look of the actual print and don't worry about how the neg looks. Follow your instincts and not other peoples and that way you won't turn out to be a clone.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  7. #27
    gainer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sino View Post
    Gainer,

    I didn't quite understand what you mean, could you please explain what you wrote? Cheers,

    -Sino.
    An edge on a 35 mm negative will have a Mackie line of about the same width as one on 8x10 film. The line on an 8x10 enlargement of the 35 will be much wider than the line on the 8x10 contact print.
    Gadget Gainer

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpurdy View Post
    There is another aspect of accutance developers to consider. To work it has to be a very dilute yet active developer so that it exhausts rapidly. An accutance developer doesn't develop the whole emulsion it developes just the top of it so that sharpness is increased just by the fact that light passing through it goes through a shallower layer of grain. And by agitating less combined with the exhaustion of the developer you get slight more density where areas of more exposure lie next to areas of less exposure and this is accentuated by adding potassium iodide to the developer. The edge affect causes the print to look sharper though in reality it doesn't actually have greater resolution. The dilute nature of an accutance developer causes it to be somewhat compensating.
    http://www.pbase.com/dpurdy/rollei_xenotar__pentax_67
    Every image on this page is processed in Beutlers mostly on Acros but some on Tmax 100

    Dennis
    These photos pack a wallop of emotion...

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Howell View Post
    For side by side comparsions you may want to read Thortons' Edge of Darkness. I just bought a copy, and although not my style, a very good read with examples. I tired Dixactol which is based on his formula but found it to have too much gain for my tast. The only developers that I know that has both very fine grain and sharpness are Edwal 12 and 20. Edwal 20 has been off the market for many years and I have not found an exact formula.
    Will read!
    Last edited by pierods; 04-10-2008 at 12:43 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: grammar

  10. #30

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    Gadget Gainer makes a very important point, namely, the magnification factor for negative to print is very important! What looks good at one size may look less desirable at a different one. So when Mary says, I love Super Y film in Realitol Developer, there is a lot if info left out! Mary may be making 5x7 enlargements from 35mm, whereas Phil might be interested in making 11x14's from 35mm, and so even if he matches Mary's negative densities and development method, he can get significantly different looking prints. In my experience, high adjacency effects images are more sensitive to magnification changes than low adjacency negatives.

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