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  1. #21
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    I agree with points 2 and 3. It definitely has a distinctive look. Point 1 is tricky because very similar things happen when HC110 (and most general purpose developers) is used highly diluted and with reduced agitation - ie shadows boosted and malleable highlights. Ansel made dilute/reduced agitation HC110 techniques famous. What I would say though, is dilute Rodinal might be better suited to severely reduced (ie semi-stand) or stand development than most general purpose MQ/PQ developers. Many people use it that way with good results, and it appears to be less prone to stand development artifacts.
    Yes indeed, I agree with you that HC-110 does yield similar effects as Rodinal when reducing agitation. I remember doing a few rolls of that back in 2007 with Foma 100 and Plus-X and it worked really well. Thanks for reminding me.

    Rodinal is indeed very good for standing development. It's yet another reason to use it. And what I found interesting is that if you're interested in grain it became a lot less prominant at 1+200 and standing development than with regular agitation.

    Both developers can yield amazing results. I confess that I'm not a huge HC-110 fan, but have tried to remain unbiased (to some degree of success). But just look at someone like Bill Schwab who uses nothing but it, and whether you like his subject matter or not, he makes some pretty damned beautiful prints that have wonderful texture and beautiful tonality - sometimes delicate and other times dramatic. I'm lucky to have a few of them and to have seen quite a few of them in person. Neither Rodinal, nor HC-110 is magic potion. They are different, and after trying each of them for a while it should be entirely possible to discern which one works best for every user.
    Last edited by Thomas Bertilsson; 10-11-2011 at 09:49 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    "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

  2. #22
    Jerevan's Avatar
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    Acutance is one thing and fine grain is another. Rodinal is an acutance developer and FX-2 may be a fine grain developer, (meaning the metol and glycin dissolves the grain) while Pyro developers masks grain.
    Last edited by Jerevan; 10-11-2011 at 12:55 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: A better phrasing, hopefully
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  3. #23

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    With the advent of XTOL, TMAX, and modern staining formulas, many people started to look at HC110 as kind of ho hum. But it is most certainly capable of producing exquisite negatives. Particularly in large format, Tri-X/HC110 was a classic combo used by many of the big names. Earlier in their careers people like John Sexton used it (probably at least in part due to having worked with Adams). Brett Weston used HC110 for a while. I believe Barnbaum still uses it almost exclusively. Many others. Rodinal (and Rodinal-type) is also a classic tool used by many, many fine artists, for over a hundred years. Most, if not all well formulated developers can produce excellent results. They just have different looks. That's why in my original post to this thread I advised not "comparing" Rodinal and HC-110. They are in different developer families.

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerevan View Post
    Acutance is one thing and fine grain is another. You go ahead guys, but for me Rodinal is an acutance developer and FX-2 may be a fine grain developer, (meaning the metol and glycin dissolves the grain) while Pyro developers masks grain. If you have another opinion, let's just agree to disagree.
    Not everything is merely an opinion. There are some facts, and sources. FX-2 is an example of a true acutance formula - ie compensating, with almost no solvent effect. Rodinal is sharper than most solvent developers, and grainier too. Staining developers are typically acutance developers, through minimal solvent action and tanning, but the stain masks the grain to some extent, making them finer grained than non-staining acutance formulas, although not as fine grained as solvent developers.

    Curiously, Rodinal-users are nearly always the most defensive group when it comes to materials. Perhaps the other recent thread regarding the "Church of Rodinal" was on to something.

    I am not downplaying Rodinal at all. It is a wonderful developer. Many have used it to do work of the highest caliber. It has been around for over a hundred years in various forms, and is a proven tool with unique characteristics that cannot be duplicated.

  5. #25
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    A Pyro developer might mask grain. I honestly don't know much about that, but think it's mostly to do with printing on graded paper, which has different color sensitivity than multigrade paper.
    My reason for using Pyro is to use in split grade printing. I just started dabbling with PMK after three years of Xtol and it presents some unique possibilities with split grade printing. When you slap on the Grade 5 filter you'll see what I'm talking about.

    I don't care about acutance, grain, and all that stuff. I care about tonality.
    "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

  6. #26

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    Agree for the most part, except in small format when grain is a concern for me. But yes, always tonality. My work typically involves very long subject luminance ranges so I need certain things out of my tools. In the end it's always about how you use them anyway.

    I didn't know you were starting to fiddle with PMK. Are you using it for your rangefinder year?

  7. #27
    Jerevan's Avatar
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    Okay, I'll just leave it there. Thanks.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  8. #28
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    I didn't know you were starting to fiddle with PMK. Are you using it for your rangefinder year?
    Yep. Shaking it up a little. Not giving up on Xtol, most likely, but it should be allowed to try something new every three years or so...
    I was curious about what it'd do for the highlights mostly. And while I haven't perfectly dialed in the negatives for printing yet, I can see the benefits. I used Pyrocat a lot a few years ago, which has less of an image stain.
    PMK so far seems to yield great punch in the highlights, with an intensity that I am thoroughly enojoying.
    "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

  9. #29

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    I've been kind of the opposite. Too much experimenting/testing lately. I go through phases now and then when I'll have an idea and then spend way too much time on it. I haven't used Pyro for quite a while as I've mostly been doing 35mm lately for some reason.

  10. #30
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    I've been kind of the opposite. Too much experimenting/testing lately. I go through phases now and then when I'll have an idea and then spend way too much time on it. I haven't used Pyro for quite a while as I've mostly been doing 35mm lately for some reason.
    Excellent. All this would be in vain if we didn't put it into play and go shooting a lot. I do think that the process serves the pictures, but trying something new it takes a while to get comfortable again. Hopefully there is a benefit...

    So, to go back to the OP - there are lots of things you can do with different developers, but for the most part we end up making prints with our negatives that we are either happy with or we are not. Usually the reason our prints sometimes suck isn't because there was a problem with our materials, but a lack of skill in using them. That's most certainly true for me as well, but we work with it until we get it right.

    Both developers will give great results. Pick one of them, use it until you're comfortable using it in all sorts of lighting scenarios. It isn't really until you are capable of eking the maximum out of your materials that you can start to fully appreciate something that is different anyway.

    Have fun!
    "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

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