This topic is a follow up to my WD2D+ thread about a month ago.
Then, I compared 5x7 Tri-x in WD2D+ and D76 1:1. Results - D76 did a credible job. it delivered an 11x14 print with better tonal range than WD2D+, but the WD2D+ print was sharper, if grainer in appearance.
I surmised that Rodinal might provide better sharpness and edge effect than D76 while being more suitable than a pyro developer in a rotary processor.
I shot several sheets of 5x7 of Tri-x of a high contrast scene (low reading of 9, high reading of 16 with a Zone VI meter) with a yellow/green filter (since I would normally use this filter for this type of scene). I exposed all sheets at 1/4 sec f22 1/2. I developed in D76 1:1, Rodinal 1:50 and Rollo Pyro. I developed single sheets at a time in a Jobo expert tank, in a liter of developer.
Best development times (as picked by me with all the usual disclaimers) were identical for both developers: 6 min at 68F. I used a 5 min presoak, processor speed of "3", and timed for a long 6 min, i.e., didn't start timing until the liter of developer had emptied into the drum. I started dumping the developer at minus 15 sec to completion.
Negs were printed on Bergger warm tone variable contrast paper. no dodging or burning. All negs were printed as optimally as I could and required minimal changes to the enlarger filtration (0 filtration for Rodinal neg up to 15Y for the pyro neg).
Little difference between D76 and Rodinal. From a normal viewing distance (2 feet) the D76 print looked slightly smoother and the Rodinal looked slightly harder (bad descriptive words, I know). Resolution (compared off small car license plates in the scene) was identical. For all practical purposes there was no discernable "edge effect" in the Rodinal print. In the Jobo, at least, there was no reason to pick one developer over the other.
Rollo Pyro: after all the bad things I said about it (mostly uneven staining), this was the big surprise. This print had better shadow detail, better highlight detail, better local contrast and was noticibly sharper than the D76 or Rodinal prints. The staining of the Tri-x negative looked very even, though I didn't have a large section of clear blue sky to examine closely. BTW, I also developed this for 6 min at 68F.
Tri-x should always be developed for 6 min in a jobo, no matter what developer you use (just kidding!
I normally expose 2 sheets of each scene I take so that I can develop longer/shorter if I've misjudged my development time. From now on I'll develop one sheet in D76 1:1 (as my safety shot) and one sheet in Rollo Pyro, until I'm sure that uneven staining is not a problem. Other than this remaining question, the Rollo Pyro yielded a superior print, in comparison to the other two. Haven't tried it yet, but based on experience, the pryo neg also looks like it would provide a beautiful print on AZO grade 2.
I also developed 1 sheet of EFKE 100 in Rodinal. My 7 min development time was a little long and the neg had a bit too much density in the whites of the scene. But, the detail resolution was better than the Tri-x pyro print. Does this mean that my LF lens, a 300mm Apo-Symmar, actually outresolves Tri-x? Doesn't seem possible, but I know I have to try the EFKE in pyro.
Another pleasant surprise was the nice print tones I achieved with Fuji Acros in Rodinal, better than I got with Agfa APX100 in Rodinal. This combination might be a good choice in smaller formats. I'm going to try it in 35mm.