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Thread: Fuji HR-U X-Ray Film Developer Test: 510 Pyro, Rodinal, PaRodinal, D-23

  1. #1

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    Fuji HR-U X-Ray Film Developer Test: 510 Pyro, Rodinal, PaRodinal, D-23

    Now that I have my 8x10 gas burst system working, I decided to see which developers work the best with it and Fuji HR-U x-ray film.

    I think I still like 510 Pyro the best but the others I tested have their strong points.

    510 Pyro

    510 Pyro delivered the most middle-ground negative. It is contrasty but not overly so. The grain is sharp but not too sharp. It stains the negative, which I appreciate for my alternative process printing, and it tans the very delicate x-ray film. It is also one of the cheapest at $1.44/gallon at 1:100 dilution and has a fast development time of 6 minutes.

    On the bad side, it was the most finicky. It required the most perfect agitation (I built a gas burst system) and modifications to my 8x10 hangers to avoid surge marks. At dilutions dilutions over 1:100 I saw both bromide drag and surge marks at the same time (too much and not enough agitation concurrently).

    510 Pyro Negative (yellow stain):
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    510 Pyro Scan:
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    Face Detail:
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    Grain Detail:
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  2. #2

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    Re: Fuji HR-U X-Ray Film Developer Test: 510 Pyro, Rodinal, PaRodinal, D-23

    R09 One Shot Rodinal

    R09 Rodinal delivered a contrasty and noticeably sharper (higher acutance) negative than 510 Pyro. Dense (white) background areas were smoother and it masked uneven agitation exceptionally well. Shadows from the hangers were virtually eliminated. It is similarly economical to 510 Pyro at $1.44 per gallon at 1:100 dilution.

    Negatives: I got pepper-like black specs covering denser areas. These were persistent across multiple tests and I don't know what caused them. This was a deal breaker for me, though if you're only doing contact prints you might not care. These negatives also have less shadow detail than the other developers and I felt like they were a little too sharp for portraits done with modern lenses.

    Here are the black spots:
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    510 Pyro (left) vs. Rodinal (right):
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    Rodinal Scan:
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    Face detail:
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  3. #3

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    Re: Fuji HR-U X-Ray Film Developer Test: 510 Pyro, Rodinal, PaRodinal, D-23

    PaRodinal (Tylenol developer)

    After seeing the smooth dense areas that Rodinal delivered, I decided to try making it. PaRodinal isn't Rodinal but it has the same developer (p-aminophenol). You make it by grinding up Tylenol tablets, adding drain cleaner and a bit of sodium sulfite and waiting a few days. The sodium hydroxide synthesizes the tylenol into p-aminophenol. Cost is an impressive $0.17/gal at 1:100.

    https://www.thorleyphotographics.com/?page_id=271
    https://www.brodie-tyrrell.org/wiki/index.php?Parodinal

    The negatives I got from PaRodinal are nearly indistinguishable from rodinal, but without the black spots.

    Downside: in addition to the thin shadows and overly sharp faces, this developer dies fast and hard after only about 6 minutes in my (air) gas burst system. It has very little sodium sulfite preservative in it, and possibly the sulfite precipitates out of the solution (I have read conflicting reports of what the precipitate is). The instructions for use mention scooping some of it into your dilution, but this obviously not going to get you consistent results. I did a second test where I didn't scoop any out but instead added fresh sodium sulfite to the developer bath in the amount that would be present had it not precipitated out. This improved developer life and the negatives continued to add density until at least 7 minutes (the end of my test).

    This was a fun project and would be appealing for ULF where you need multiple gallons of developer but I think it's a little too funky for my use.

    Rodinal (left); PaRodinal (right):
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    PaRodinal scan:
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    PaRodinal face detail (sharp!):
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    Grain detail (no pepper):
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  4. #4

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    Re: Fuji HR-U X-Ray Film Developer Test: 510 Pyro, Rodinal, PaRodinal, D-23

    D-23

    D-23 produced dramatically softer negatives than the other developers tested and it was the most well behaved. Shadow detail was dramatically better than the other three. However, I can't say I like the character of the grain and softness of the detail.

    I used D-23 at 1:3 dilution. 8 minutes was a bit thin, 10 minutes was a bit dense, so I think 9 min would be good for HR-U. It was the most expensive at about $2.20/gal.

    Maybe a reduced sodium sulfite version would be better -- less expensive and sharper?

    PaRodinal (left); D-23 @ 10 min (right). The D-23 is has much lower contrast and better shadow detail:
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    D-23 Scan (much more detail in black jacket and pants):
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    Face detail (mushy soft):
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    Grain detail:
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