I will try another print tonight but from a film called efke since the hp5 and rodinal is mentioned as not a good combo. I will post the print if its not horrible. I hope to have this done in one hour sine i can dry the print on my radiator.
Originally Posted by jeroldharter
It's not a combination I use, but I'd expect a lot of grain with a film like HP5 processed in Rodinal. FWIW, I gave up on Rodinal long ago because of grain in 35mm, but lots of people like it. Since the grain is in the negative, you can't do much about it in printing. You can mask it some if you use a diffusion light source enlarger, but basically, what's there is there.
From the scan, the negative doesn't look too bad, it doesn't look thin enough to go black at 3 seconds at least for an 8x10. Unless you are making very small prints, it's possible that your enlarger has a bulb that is too bright.
In any case, stopping down to f/11 or f/16 isn't going to affect sharpness enough for you to worry about. Even without filtration, it will be easier to fine-tune your exposure, if you're exposing for 12 seconds at f/16 instead of 3 at f/8, for example.
If you are using a variable contrast paper, such as Ilford Multigrade, you can change the contrast by using filters.
What kind of paper are you using, and what sort of enlarger, what size prints are you making?
In addition to asking questions here, Ilford has some tutorial information on their website that may help; http://www.ilfordphoto.com/applications/page.asp?n=27
The advice you received on the filters is backwards, (you need them for contrast control on VC paper) as is my advice about exposing the 1/4 test strip you quoted above, as I wrote it totally bassackwards. A corrected version follow. Tequila!
Originally Posted by R Smith
Last edited by JBrunner; 10-20-2008 at 09:24 PM. Click to view previous post history.
If your printing black with a 3 second exposure your negative likely isn't overly thick, as a matter of fact it sounds thin. Stop down for longer printing times, you need time for dodging and burning, so get used to it now. My exposures for 8x10 average about 15 seconds. HP5+ Rodinal will have a tendency to be grainy. My advice is to leave split printing alone until you master the basic concepts. A safe light test as Jerold suggested is also in order.
What is your paper? If you are using variable contrast paper you need a filter set to control contrast.You can't really do much without them. The basic premise is to do a test strip of different exposures on the same piece of paper with a grade 2 filter (the "middle" of the filter range) to establish an exposure time. You can do this by first exposing a whole paper for a set amount of time. You then cover 1/4 and make another exposure for the same amount of time. This doubles the exposure for the newly exposed portion. This equals 1 stop difference of exposure between the two. Cover another 1/4, and expose for double the time of the first two exposures, then cover to 3/4 and double again for the last 1/4. (1+1+2+4 or whatever the multiple is for your start time, like 2+2+4+8 or 3+3+6+12) After you soup it you will have a four stop test print. You should be able to see the stop where the correct exposure lies. Go back and make another test strip, but break that print into slivers of time that cover across the time you judged from the four stop test. At that point you should be able to find a pretty good exposure. It should be noted that ten 1 second exposures may not exactly match the result of a solid 10 second exposure, but it will get you close enough to extrapolate. Make a print at the closest to correct exposure from the second test and judge the contrast. Move up in filter # to harden contrast, and down to soften. You may need to adjust your exposure time a bit if you move a lot in contrast grade, but it won't be a whole lot. After a while you won't need to do the four stop test because you'll know about where a negative will print with your set up, so you'll be able to go right to the fine tuning. Hope this helps.
Welcome to APUG. It gets easier, and we are glad to have you here.
Last edited by JBrunner; 10-20-2008 at 10:19 PM. Click to view previous post history.
You're getting excellent advice here, but you really need some education on printing. If you don't have an understanding of the basics, you will burn through a huge amount of paper, chemistry and labor to get a good print. And then if you didn't keep good records of what you did, you will go through the whole ordeal every time you print a different negative. You may "figure out" a way to do something, only to find out much later that there was a better/simpler way to do it.
A good book or perhaps a workshop with good note taking is in order in my opinion. This will get you going with a good foundation, and allow you to "take the ball and run".
Please stick with APUG for advice and support. There are a great bunch of folks here who can give you invaluable advice on the many nuances of printing. But get the basics from a book you can have with you always and can refer to at will.
I went to art school for 3 years off and on. It was fantastic and got me going in the right direction. It gave me the luxury of getting advice from an excellent photographer on the faculty as well as my fellow students. But in the quiet of the darkroom, having a constant reference source in the form of Tim Rudman's book was invaluable to my success.
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Rodinal is generally not recommended for any fast film ("fast" being somewhat subjective, but usually ISO 200 or faster), particularly in 35mm format. Efke sells films ranging from ISO 25 to ISO 400, although the 400 product is reportedly rebadged Agfa material.
Originally Posted by R Smith
To minimize grain in a fast film, you'll need a fine-grain developer. Developers can be classified by their effects on three characteristics: Grain, film speed, and acutance (apparent sharpness). Developers can improve one or sometimes two of those features at the expense of another one or two, so if you want a truly fine-grain developer, you'll have to give up film speed and/or acutance. At that point, you might consider shooting a nominally slower film (say, ISO 100 instead of ISO 400) and developing in a middle-of-the-road developer like D-76. Rodinal has a reputation for good acutance but less-than-ideal grain.
If you're new to it all, I'd suggest you step back just for a moment and reflect that you got a decent image. It's not a bad result for a start. It will print a bit easier when you stop down, if for no other reason than you will have a finer increment of control when your exposure is 15 or 20 seconds. So ... You're doing fine.
There's quite a few variables here and it takes a long time to get a handle on the primary ones - so you might as well enjoy the ride.
Rodinal is a good developer and HP5 is a good film, but the combination will show grain.
If grain is objectionable, then maybe a finer grained - slower speed - film may be something for you to try. Fine grain developers do lessen the look of grain, but they also lessen the impression of sharpness. Slower, finer grained films will get you a less grainy image automatically. Developers like Rodinal tend to show the grain inherent in a film, but also to reveal image detail too. They are very revealing. Which can be a good thing for many people.
I guess it's just that I'm trying to say maybe it's time to try out a couple of medium speed films - maybe FP4 - or TMax. Once you find one that looks promising -and this is important - stay with it for a long while. Get to know one film, one developer, one basic technique ... Once you really get a handle on the essentials, you'll be in a very good place to more knowingly explore other options. If you take your time and plan for a learning curve, you'll learn faster.
I certainly agree that this isn't bad for starting out. After all nobody is born knowing this stuff. You learn it as you go along, and you learn far more from your mistakes than from accidental successes (he sez remembering trashcans full of prints he threw out himself.)
Originally Posted by CBG
As others have said, you may have a problem with that safelight, and if you only have a 3 sec exposure on the paper you have far too big an aperture on the enlarger lens.
Keep at it. This stuff isn't magic. It may seem like it sometimes, but it's not. Trust me, if *I* can learn this stuff, you can learn it.
I know there are real experts out there who are going to jump all over me for this. But I was taught by a bunch of old lab rats who did down and dirty production printing without a whole lot of analyzers, timers, etc. etc. They learned their craft in the 1930s and 1940s and taught me in the 1960s.
Put your negative strip in the carrier with a stripe of the clear film between frames in the center of the easel.
Stop your enlarger lens down to f11.
Make a test strip of the clear film, using three second intervals.
Develop the strip normally; fix. Wash. Dry.
Now find the first exposure patch that is as black as the remainder. That is your baseline exposure. Any part of your actual negative which is clear film will print as black in your print. Make the exposure of your neg at that time and f stop and let us know what you see. KISS.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA