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.
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?
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.
I didn't quite understand what you mean, could you please explain what you wrote? Cheers,
Close your eyes to see. This will take a while.
According to Michael Briggs, Here is the formula for Edwal-20
Originally Posted by Paul Howell
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
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 Crawleys FX-2 instead
Everything is analog - even digital :D
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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,
Originally Posted by rob champagne
"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
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.
Originally Posted by Sino
These photos pack a wallop of emotion...
Originally Posted by dpurdy
Originally Posted by Paul Howell
Last edited by pierods; 04-10-2008 at 12:43 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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.