Thanks for the feedback guys.

Quote Originally Posted by davido View Post
I've been thinking about this and wondering if this has more to do with your enlarged negatives? Holding detail in the shadows or highlights is tricky with enlarged negatives. If you're looking to hold detail of the grain in the shadows perhaps the enlarged neg doesn't even retain it? How are you making your enlarged negs?
I'm enlarging my 35mm TMX into a 4x5" inter-positive and then I enlarge the inter-positive into a 8x10 negative.
I use Rollei ATO 2.1 for the inter-positive, which retains a very sharp grain. I prefer a large format inter-positive to avoid "double grain" issues, where the grain from the inter-positive shows in the final print along with the original grain.

For the large negative I use Rollei Ortho 25 or Adox Ortho, both are lower contrast than the ATO and have a slight magenta base which detaches the minimum values of the image from the uncovered sensitive solution.

I clearly see grainy shadows in the negative. I pushed it until the shadows in the enlarged negative were close to step 3 in a Stouffer tablet, but in order to see the grain in a Pd it needs to be printed so that the shadows are in a zone 3-4, which looks pretty ugly.

I suspect the issue with printing this subject in Pd is the long shoulder of the Pd printing curve. Pd has a very slow curve at denser levels, so getting separation is hard. Also, even if I see the grain in the wet print, as soon as I blot the water off, the shadow details get lost. I had this problem before.

Bottom line is, IMHO, that every type of subject has its own ideal process, and for this specific one I should probably be looking for a process with a more linear curve. That's why, especially after looking at this graph on Unblinking Eye: http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Carbon/a_Chart1.gif , I think carbon would render shadow grain much better. I still think silver gives a too harsh effect. Too bad I couldn't find a comparative curve for gum.