ABC pyro for rollfilm

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David A. Goldfarb

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I've been following the conventional wisdom using PMK for 4x5" and rollfilm because of the combination of highlight detail and grain masking, using ABC only for 8x10" and 11x14", which I contact print, making grain a non-issue.

Recently I tested the new Classic 400 120 in ABC just to see how it looked before ordering a box in sheet size, and after having switched to cold light for the smaller formats, I've decided the grain's not that bad for the kinds of enlargements I usually make from 6x9, and with a little tweaking I can probably improve it (the negs could stand to be a shade thinner), and I *really* like the tonality. I posted a scan in the Standard Gallery from this test, but it's kind of dull compared to even the proof print I made on Ilford MGRC (at grade 1.5), which has a nice 3-D quality.

(there was a url link here which no longer exists)

So I tried TX400 rated at EI 200 in ABC 1+1+1+11 for 10 minutes, and I like that too (but I'll probably back it off to 8 or 9 min. in the future). I've attached a scan from a 6x9 neg, Voigtlander Bessa II/105mm Color-Heliar probably around f:8, light yellow filter.

I haven't decided yet with the cold light head how small I can go in format when the grain penalty of ABC will make it worthwhile to switch back to PMK, but I'll try 6x7 and 6x6 next.

Anyone else using ABC for negs to be enlarged?
 

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Alex Hawley

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David, I've used ABC on 4x5 for enlargements. In fact, these 4x5 negs are what showed me the advantages of ABC over the other developers I was using, Rodinal, Xtol, and HC110.

I did experience the blown highlights using it with Tri-X TXP, particularly with clouds or other bright white areas. This characteristic, I learned, was well known. Didn't experience it with APX 100 nor J&C 200. There was no visible grain in any of the prints I made, but again, this was in 4x5.

Haven't tried it with roll film simply because I've shot only one roll in the last 18 months. However, from what I've seen in the grain focuser under the enlarger, I don't think ABC produces any larger grain than does HC110 or Rodinal.
 

Donald Miller

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I've used ABC on 4X5 negs for enlarging in the past. The prints exhibited a nice tonal scale and sharpness but grain became objectionable for me above 11X14 when enlarged with a condensor enlarger. The diffusion source of my 4550 XLG does a nicer job in this regard but at the sacrifice of some local contrast and sharpness.

I think that if I were going to try it with roll film then I would use one of the slower films like Efke.
 

c6h6o3

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I've used it on 6 x 6 TMax negatives and enlarged them to 8" x 8" with no visible grain. The tonality was perfect, although I had to go to Grade 0 on the Saunders. I showed them alongside Azo contact prints to Michael Smith and he seemed to prefer the enlargements.
 
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David A. Goldfarb

David A. Goldfarb

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Coming back to this after a few years of trying other things, balancing the issue of what I can get in Hawai’i vs. how well does it hold up in the climate, not to mention whether I like the look and whether it gives me enough control to do what I want. It seems that ABC holds up quite well in our subtropical climate, so long as I make the B solution (sulfite) in small quantities as needed. The A and C solutions are quite stable in the heat. I just tried some a few days ago that must have been 2 or 3 years old, with a fresh sulfite solution and the negs are perfect.

I’ve got enough pyrogallol on hand to last me a few years while I sort out the supply issue.
 

Alan9940

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Hi David,

I've never used ABC for roll film, but I have used it for 8x10 when doing DBI. I'm curious...Are you developing in a standard roll film tank? How do you agitate? Is oxidation of the developer any issue?

Thanks!
 
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David A. Goldfarb

David A. Goldfarb

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Standard rollfilm tank, currently using 1+1+1+12 for Adox CHS 100, agitating 10 sec at the beginning, then 4 inversions every 15 sec. Seems to hold up just fine on one use. Haven’t tried two batches in the same developer. 3’49” at 78F (yeah, that’s how it comes out of the cold tap here in the dead of winter), which converts to 6’ at 68F. If it’s a larger batch, I usually fill the tank and lower the film on a rod to avoid uneven development.
 
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