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Thread: At last! It's only taken me four years...

  1. #1

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    At last! It's only taken me four years...

    ...but I've finally started getting consistent, well developed negatives!

    I've been developing negatives in the past that are "alright" and definitely useable but mostly fixed when scanned and Photoshopped (which has been worked fine for me in the past). The four or five few negatives I've been developing have finally got a lovely range of tones and don't look either thin or thick but just right.

    My film/developer combination is TMax 400 in R09 (1/25) for 6 minutes 30. I need to get them on my scanner or into a darkroom so I can check them properly but they look lovely and full now. But most importantly, I'm able to repeat it and get great results, which I suppose is the thing.

    My only concern is Rodinal might end up being a bit grainy when I start printing my negatives as I'm using a continuous agitation method manually in a Paterson Orbital. That remains to be seen though. As I'm currently living on boat, I'm limited to what developing methods I can use and so the Orbital is working pretty well given the restrictions - ie. limited water supply, limited heating control, limited electricity supply and a lack of space!

    I've got a bottle of Tetenal Ultrafin which I'm tempted to spend a little bit of time to see if I can get similar results from but if anyone might be able to suggest a developer that would work well for continuous agitation with TMax, that would be welcome!

    Cheers

    welly

  2. #2

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    Re: At last! It's only taken me four years...

    anything other than rodinal.

  3. #3

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    Re: At last! It's only taken me four years...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dakotah Jackson View Post
    If Rodinal grain is a concern try the addition of some Sodium Ascorbate. A search on this site should produce some old posts on its use. Works well.
    Cheers!

  4. #4

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    Re: At last! It's only taken me four years...

    Years ago I had great success adding a 10 percent sodium sulfate solution to rodinal to break up the grain.

  5. #5
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Re: At last! It's only taken me four years...

    Quote Originally Posted by welly View Post
    I've finally started getting consistent, well developed negatives!
    Producing negatives that achieve your visualization – consistently!

    Congrats, I'd call it a key milestone for the serious darkroom worker, and it doesn't always come quickly.

    To be sure, I'd have to go back to childhood for an experience w/ the same sense of achievement – the moment I learned how to tie my own shoelaces. A very similar thrill.

  6. #6

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    Re: At last! It's only taken me four years...

    Quote Originally Posted by vinny View Post
    anything other than rodinal.
    I fuly agree. If grain bothers you Rodinal is not for you. Try something simple and less grainy like HC110.

  7. #7

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    Re: At last! It's only taken me four years...

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Opheim View Post
    Years ago I had great success adding a 10 percent sodium sulfate solution to rodinal to break up the grain.
    Sulfate or sulfite? big difference.

  8. #8

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    Re: At last! It's only taken me four years...

    Quote Originally Posted by Heroique View Post
    Producing negatives that achieve your visualization – consistently!

    Congrats, I'd call it a key milestone for the serious darkroom worker, and it doesn't always come quickly.

    To be sure, I'd have to go back to childhood for an experience w/ the same sense of achievement – the moment I learned how to tie my own shoelaces. A very similar thrill.
    Thank you! I've got to confess I've been a bit lazy in the past mainly because I've been printing digitally and, much that I hate to say it, it hasn't been essential my negatives have been perfect. But there has always been this niggle in the back of my mind that I would rather do it properly and recently I feel like I've got my workflow just right and it's all come together. I'm very happy! There is something very lovely about looking at a well exposed and developed 8x10 negative.

  9. #9

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    Re: At last! It's only taken me four years...

    I am really happy for you that you have learned to control your processes. It's a great accomplishment. However, I am scanning a lot of Rodinal-developed film right now and cursing. I understand its usefulness for a certain kind of printing. However, it isn't for me...

    It's one of things that is thought of as "cool" or "you gotta do it this way" and I don't think it earns its rep. The other is shooting close to open with large format. Diffraction is too minimal to care about... the word on the street and the real world use don't match.

    Just my opinion,


    Lenny
    EigerStudios
    Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing

  10. #10
    ROL's Avatar
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    Re: At last! It's only taken me four years...

    I am weighing in here, because I was chastised (by the ignorant) in another thread when I asked how people were using Rodinal with LF – and am still recovering emotionally (…ahhhhhhhhhhh! ).

    You are using a standard straight grain developer with a T-grain film. Why not use the t-max developers intended specifically for use with these films, or Kodak's XTOL, also a very good, safe, and easy to use developer.

    I always seem to piss off someone when I say this, but all developers and panchro films are capable of outstanding results, if exposed and managed correctly (e.g., by using a zone system of exposure and development). Good light equals good pictures (contrast). If you're not already using a structured, managed approach to shooting and development, with an eye on your final result, be it scan or wet print, you can save yourself more years of heartache and disappointment by investing time in learning one, rather than in chasing magic bullet developers.

    I did quite a few comparative film tests many years ago with every 5x7 film and developer available to me at the time. Although I loved Rodinal for 120, despite its grain in some eventual enlargements, I discovered that I had no particular use for it in LF. It's still a great developer, all are actually, depending on your end point. Unless you want, or don't mind grain, I found the only other plus to Rodinal to be its ease of use. I never looked back, and that includes 120 as well these days.

    I determined that for all tested films (ASA 25 – 400), I attained fine grain, superior acutance, contrast, reliability, and general enlarge-ability with PMK Pyro, for my uses. I have converted to its use on fine grain 120 films as well. You may want to consider other, straight grain films, if you now believe you have your Tmax 400 licked, if they are available to you. You can't go wrong with Ilford's 125 and 400 offerings. But, again all developers, and most films, are capable of outstanding results with the right light and subject matter.

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