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  1. #1
    sterioma's Avatar
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    What factors affect grain?

    I have just completed developing two rolls of Tri-X (35mm) + Rodinal. In both cases the E.I. has been 400. First time the dilution has been 1:50 (14 min), second time 1:25 (7min).

    I was expecting to see some less grain in the second roll (since developing time has been decreased), but I virtually couldn't see any difference. On the other hand, I can see a great variance in graininess amongst different pictures from the same roll, but I couldn't quite figure out what to attribute the difference to.

    I should add that I have assessed the grain by evaluating scans from the neg (at 3200 DPI) and trying to use the 50mm as a loupe to read the negative itself. Will bring the negatives to the lab soon to have some sample prints.


    So, given a film/developer combo, which are the factors that affect the graininess of the negative?

    Exposure?
    Developing time?
    Agitation?
    ...
    others?


    P.S. I've read that a sudden change in temperature between developer/stop-bath/fixer/wash can cause the grain to cluster, but I would exclude that since I carefully tested my temperatures throughout the process.

  2. #2
    clogz's Avatar
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    Comments on the possible factors I will leave to the more technical minded people here. However, one thing is very important: subject matter. A picture with lots of highlights and middle greys will show more graininess.
    Hans
    Digital is best taken with a grain of silver.

  3. #3

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    With 35mm the difference between the grain on Rodinal 1+25 and 1+50 is very very slight. I'd also go with Hans here on subject matter.

    The way I test (which is why I don't often) is shoot a whole roll of the same picture and chop up the roll to develop in different soups / dilutions.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by sterioma
    Exposure?
    Developing time?
    Agitation?
    ...
    others?
    The more you underexpose and overdevelop the film, the more evident the grain will become. If you rate the film (Tri-X) at ISO 400 and develop for the suiting time it will be more grainy that if you rated it 320 or 250 (and develops for the suiting time).
    Also, if you agitate too much it will lead to overdevelopment and, therefore, also to more grain.
    Last I will comment on the use of Rodinal with Tri-X. This combo is GREAT, but it is a good thing to experiment with rating the film 250-320 instead of the 400 it says on the box. The reason is, that Rodinal decreases the speed a bit.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but this what I have been told and experienced.

  5. #5
    sparx's Avatar
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    I would have thought pushing the film would have more effect than different dev dilutions. Don't dilutions affect contrast more than grain?
    [size=1]the all new darkplanet photoblog[/size][size=1]
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  6. #6
    sparx's Avatar
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    Thankyou Morten for beating me to it
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  7. #7

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    Yep Pushing the film boosts the grain beautifully if that's what your after. But as both films where shot at the same speed it shouldn't be a factor here for the comparison. On some frames your errrrm exposure might be a bit off but I didn't want to mention that (where's the blushing emoticon on here?).

  8. #8
    sterioma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TPPhotog
    On some frames your errrrm exposure might be a bit off but I didn't want to mention that (where's the blushing emoticon on here?).
    No need to blush

    I am here to learn and therefore if also an exposure problem is (perhaps) to be blamed, I need to know about it!

    Tonight I will try to post some sample from the scans, so that maybe the diffrerence in grain is easier to spot for you guys. I have found that resizing the scan removes most of the grain (and sharpness for that matter), so maybe I will post some small crop at 100%.

  9. #9
    ThomHarrop's Avatar
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    Another factor in grain is wet time. Overly long fixing or washing times can also cause migration of silver grains and add to clumping (which is what we see as excessive grain).

  10. #10
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    Years ago, I worked as a B&W printer in a Lab over in White Plains. One day the guy that processes the B&W film came into the printing room with a roll that was about as reticulated as any that I've ever seen. It was was first thing in the AM and in his pre-coffee condition, apparently didn't notice that his wash water was coming in at 150 degrees F. The effect was quite interesting,although not exactly what he client was going for. We gave him back his roll along with an admonishment not to leave his camera in his glove compartment on a sunny Summer day
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

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