How to get and control grain?

Kodachrome Skies

A
Kodachrome Skies

  • 1
  • 0
  • 95
The Dive

A
The Dive

  • 4
  • 2
  • 124
Edinburgh nights

Edinburgh nights

  • 1
  • 6
  • 180

Recent Classifieds

Forum statistics

Threads
178,730
Messages
2,458,794
Members
94,629
Latest member
swededreams
Recent bookmarks
0

stradibarrius

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
1,452
Location
Monroe, GA
Shooter
Medium Format
I have post many threads here discussing how to get the finest grain possible.
But now I have a project where grain would add to the feel and texture.
How do I get grain? Film and developer?
Also I would like to have awarmer tone to the shot. Is that accomplished with paper selection?
 

glbeas

Subscriber
Joined
Sep 25, 2002
Messages
3,845
Location
Marietta, Ga. USA
Shooter
Multi Format
You are on the right track. Best grain I've seen has been a high speed film in Rodinal. For the warmer tone experiment with toning.
 

AgX

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2007
Messages
29,291
Location
Germany
Shooter
Multi Format
Have a look at this (not on the market, just a project):

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

mattmoy_2000

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2009
Messages
74
Shooter
35mm
Use low dilution Rodinal and treat your developing tank like a cocktail shaker.
 

edtbjon

Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2004
Messages
393
Shooter
Medium Format
You will definitely get grain with e.g. TMax 3200 or Delta 3200, but that grain is only dull in my opinion. Rather try either some Foma 400 (or TriX or HP5, but these films have smaller grain). Develop in Rodinal with maybe 30% overdevelopment, but be careful about subject lightning, as overdevelopment needs low contrast to begin with. Oh yeah, going for coarse visible grain is almost pointless with medium or large format. You will need 35mm for this.
Next and quite important is how to enlarge. Cold light/diffused light supresses grain (and dust etc.) so that will work against you. If you already are using a condenser light enlarger, you're fine, else try to lend or buy one. (Enlargers are cheap nowadays.) It will make a world of difference. While you will have to fight dust etc, your prints will be sharper with more visible grain if you develop for coarser grain. (Else they will just be sharper.)

There is still a selection of warm tone paper on the market. While e.g. Ilford is of very high and consistent quality, it is also very hard to manipulate with different toners. I recon Freestyle have a selection of Foma and Adox papers which are all much more sensible to toners.

//Björn
 

Mike1234

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2009
Messages
1,908
Location
South Texas,
Shooter
4x5 Format
Shoot OLD TECHNOLOGY FAST FILM (and outdated) and process in HIGH SPEED DEVELOPER highly diluted for a LONG TIME. Just beat the sh*t out of the film. You might even consider a bit of temperature-induced grain clumping... slightly cool pre-soak... slightly warm developer... slightly cool SB... slightly warm fix... slightly cool wash... slightly warm final rinse...
 

fschifano

Member
Joined
May 12, 2003
Messages
3,201
Location
Valley Strea
Shooter
Multi Format
You don't need to go to any extremes to get a lot of grain in the print. You should avoid fine grain developers like Microdol-X, Perceptol, or even XTOL; but you needn't do anything as drastic as overdeveloping the film in Rodinal either. Whatever the developer, over development will increase contrast possibly more than you want. Normal development will give you more tonal information to work with, and controlling contrast at the printing stage is not difficult with modern variable contrast papers. The easiest way to produce noticeable grain is to use a 400 speed film at box speed and develop to a normal contrast index in dilute D-76 or HC-110 Dilution B. Tri-X, HP5+, and Neopan 400 are good choices, but Foma 400 is definitely more grainy. If that's not enough, then try a super speed film like TMax P3200 (TMZ) or Delta 3200. Avoid TMax 400 and Delta 400, because these two films are naturally too fine grained. The trick of course, is to frame the subject loosely in camera, then crop aggressively when enlarging. Use only a small portion of the film to capture the image you want and leave out the rest when printing. It's simple really, more enlargement = more pronounced grain. How muuch you say? I can't answer that since only you know the look you have in mind. It will take some experimentation to get what you want.

A warm tone to the final image is most definitely handled at the printing stage. The choice of paper and developer is key here. Ilford makes a very nice warm tone paper, and it is worth a try. The Arista.EDU Ultra (rebadged Foma) papers from Freestyle will develop to a slightly warm tone naturally, and this effect is enhanced if you develop it in well diluted (1+3 or 1+4) Dektol. I believe Ilford makes a warmtone developer that should be a good match for your needs, or you could hunt up some Kodak Selectol or Selectol Soft. For extra warmth, you can tone it in selenium toner or by a very light application of bleach, then redevelop in sepia toner.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Donmck

Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
104
Shooter
35mm
The easiest way to get large grain(with a warm tone) is to lith print----and you'll be left with a usable neg for a normal print.
 

removed account4

Subscriber
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Messages
29,853
Shooter
Hybrid
hi barry

probably the most beautiful grain i have ever been able to extract out of any film
has been through the use of a coffee based developer, i am sure you don't want to hear that
because people tend to have a fear of the unknown, especially something like
a home made developer, but it might be something to think about.
there are many recipes for coffee developers out there ... i use the one for caffenol C ...
contrast is beautiful and the grain is sweet and the film is very easy to print ..
 

Hamster

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2006
Messages
202
Shooter
Med. Format Pan
Cut a strip of film about 5 frames in length, develop unexposed at 30-40 degrees C, you will have a plain negative with lots of base fog.

Not stack the foggy negative on your normal negative when printing, and you might achieve the effect you want. This is quick and dirty but perhaps the cheapest and safest way to get what you want.
 

nworth

Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2005
Messages
2,229
Location
Los Alamos,
Shooter
Multi Format
The basic answer is that you can't. I did a series of experiments a whle back trying to find a developer and technique that would enhance grain. Everything I tried failed. Most current films are designed for fine grain, and they deliver it in any developer. However, you can do things that will not hide the inherent grain. Rodinal is a good example. It does not increase grain, but it makes the inherent grain visible, and gives some nice tonal values at the same time. In general, avoid "fine grain" developers like Microdol and D-76 (undiluted) which tend to hide the grain. High speed film has bigger grain than low and medium speed stuff, so that can help a little bit. Regular film is grainier than T-grain or delta films. Gadget Gainer gave the best advise a while back: use a wide angle lens, stand back, and enlarge a lot. That will make the grain bigger in the final picture, although you may lose some sharpness due to the increased enlargement.
 

polyglot

Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2009
Messages
3,454
Location
South Australia
Shooter
Medium Format
My impression is that developers mostly affect how sharp the grain is and the magnitude (variation in density) of the grain, but not so much the grain size because that's controlled by the emulsion and enlargement factor. D-76 stock will dissolve the grain a bit, making it look smooth. 1+1 gives less solvent action and 1+3 gives almost none (very nice for Pan-F). Rodinal will give you nice sharp, strong grain (no solvent effect) but it won't make the grain bigger.

Printing with a harder contrast filter will enhance the magnitude of grain. So if you shoot a very flat scene and boost contrast with a combination of longer development and harder printing filter, you will get more grain compared to the scene's dynamic range.

Delta 3200 can give you large grain but it tends to be a bit mushy. If you want a very fine, sharp, 1000-grit sandpaper grain, try Pan-F+ in Rodinal. Grain is decent from 35mm enlarged to even 11x14 yet still visible if you look closely printed at 5x7; it's very fine but very sharp and distinct.

If you want larger grain, try a traditional 400-speed film like HP5 or TriX. If you want the grain to look even larger, shoot with a wider lens and then crop, i.e. treat your film as a smaller format and then print a crop from a bigger enlargement. More enlargement = larger grain.
 
OP
OP
stradibarrius

stradibarrius

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
1,452
Location
Monroe, GA
Shooter
Medium Format
Cut a strip of film about 5 frames in length, develop unexposed at 30-40 degrees C, you will have a plain negative with lots of base fog.

Not stack the foggy negative on your normal negative when printing, and you might achieve the effect you want. This is quick and dirty but perhaps the cheapest and safest way to get what you want.

This sounds like a fun experiment and something that might work.
jnanian's idea about the coffe developer is something I have also been interested in trying. That is the type of toning I am looking for.
If you look in the "Gallery" you will see several photos by Mayfair710. the grain and toning in those shts are what my minds eye was envisioning. and unfortunately one of the shots, the shell photo, is one of the shots was planning. I am trying to reproduce something from a "Master" artist other than photography. Rembrandt has a sketch that is very similar to the the shot displayed!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Martin Aislabie

Subscriber
Joined
Nov 17, 2007
Messages
1,410
Location
Stratford-up
Shooter
4x5 Format
You could try to induce Reticulation into the emulsion - which quite a number of people mistake for grain

Thermal shock of a sudden and large temperature change (greater than 5C is an often quoted figure) can cause the emulsion to fracture/craze

A bit of experimentation with short strips of film in ever increasing temperature changes of wash water might be worth investigating.

The effect of Reticulation has always been indicated to me as a warm to cold effect - but this might just be the most likely scenario - that of plunging temperate film into icy cold mains tap water.

It sounds like you could have a lot of fun finding out :D

Martin
 

erikg

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2003
Messages
1,445
Location
pawtucket rh
Shooter
Multi Format
One more angle: Fomapan 400 developed in a print developer such as Dektol or Sprint. 2-3 minutes, agitate the whole time. As others have said it helps to shoot loose and crop heavily. You can have success with 120 film, look at Michael Kenna's work, grain adds a lot to the atmosphere he creates. His work also shows another aspect of grain: it shows up best in areas of smooth tone. Kenna's minimalist style often features broad areas of near single tonality and so the grain sings out. Ralph Gibson of course is an other master of film grain, he used (uses?) heavy exposure and Rodinal to great effect.
 

Mark Fisher

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2003
Messages
1,691
Location
Chicago
Shooter
Medium Format
To amplify what a couple of people have said.....either lith print or simply crop the heck out of an image (or use a half frame camera...same idea). Lith can be very gritty depending on the paper with warm tones as a bonus. It is also not a traditional BW look which may or may not be appropriate for your project. I have a fair number of different papers printed as lith in my gallery that show what to expect.
The simplest is to simply crop in 35mm. This way you aren't compromising anything else like tonality or highlight detail to get your large grain. The folks recommending tri-x know what they are talking about (or at least they agree with me!). Use whatever developer you prefer as cropping and film choice is the biggest determinant of your grain. That said Rodinal does give a nice, gritty look.
Lastly, reticulation is interesting and very hard to induce. Here is an experiment I've wanted to try, but haven't got around to. Take a previously developed negative that was fixed in non-hardening fixer (rapid fix) and soak it in a hot, low ph solution to first swell the emulsion then shrink it. I'm thinking that the the ph of the solution may be more effective than temperature. Then, one the other and I am not a chemist so I could be completely wrong! I'd also guess that a film like Fomapan or Lucky might be more susceptible to reticulation. I have one image in the gallery that has (there was a url link here which no longer exists) that was induced by accident.
 

removed account4

Subscriber
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Messages
29,853
Shooter
Hybrid
This sounds like a fun experiment and something that might work.
jnanian's idea about the coffe developer is something I have also been interested in trying. That is the type of toning I am looking for.
If you look in the "Gallery" you will see several photos by Mayfair710. the grain and toning in those shts are what my minds eye was envisioning. and unfortunately one of the shots, the shell photo, is one of the shots was planning. I am trying to reproduce something from a "Master" artist other than photography. Rembrandt has a sketch that is very similar to the the shot displayed!

barry,
i add a few oz of straight print developer to
boost my contrast a little bit. if you find just the
coffee is grain like you like, but the film lacks "pop"
try it with a little of whatever print developer you have handy
and see how you like it ... it is just like adding water to tea
that has brewed in a samovar - you add "just enough" ..
it may take a little experimenting to see how much "just enough" happens to be :wink:

john
 

glbeas

Subscriber
Joined
Sep 25, 2002
Messages
3,845
Location
Marietta, Ga. USA
Shooter
Multi Format
One of the prettiest grainy films I've shot is no longer available, 2475 recording film. It doesn't keep well so all the old stock is pretty well useless. I would develop in Dektol and do straight prints. You might try another brand of high speed surviellance film and use it in a similar fashion. Infrared film is also pretty good for grain in 35mm.
Another way I've got grainy looking shots is to underdevelop for a flat neg and print with very high contrast paper, lith prints go this way too. The flat neg helps hold the tones at both ends of the scale when using the contrasty print material. The grain effect is different from using really grainy film and normal print paper though.
 

2F/2F

Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2008
Messages
8,034
Location
Los Angeles,
Shooter
Multi Format
Overexposure (often followed by bleaching of the neg) and/or long developing times are what I do to exaggerate grain. To get long developing times without sending contrast through the roof, you can use high dilutions. The T-grained films have a neat-looking grain "wash" over them, and the others are more gritty and clumpy and random looking. Rodinal at higher dilutions is a sure bet as well, with or without the above-mentioned techniques. I am just starting to experiment with it. I like it 1:100 and 1:200, which is all that I have tried so far.

A student in the experimental photography class I am tutoring tried Pan F in 6x4.5 with Rodinal 1:200 and an hour of standing development, and got healthy grain...though the negs were thin. VERY hard to coax grain out of Pan F, especially in medium format..but that did it!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Jim Noel

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Messages
2,264
Shooter
Large Format
I have some TriX and can use my 35mm. Currently I only have fine grain developers like D-76 and XTOL. I have wanted to try some Rodinal
Use paper developer on the film. Automatic multiplication of grain clumping. The clumps are what you see anyway, not individual grains.
 

fschifano

Member
Joined
May 12, 2003
Messages
3,201
Location
Valley Strea
Shooter
Multi Format
Yes, Dektol will develop film. Being an MQ developer it is not unlike D-76 or many other similar film developers. The developing agents are the same, but in different proportions, and the alkali is stronger. It is more active than many film developers though and will develop your film to a high contrast index in short order. It can be diluted far more than "standard" working strength for paper to slow it down, just like you can do with HC-110, and you again run into the same problem that you do with "non-standard" dilution ratios for that developer. There is precious little supporting documentation for the application and you're pretty much on your own for determining development times and dilutions.
 
Photrio.com contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
To read our full affiliate disclosure statement please click Here.

PHOTRIO PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Ilford ADOX Freestyle Photographic Stearman Press Weldon Color Lab
Top Bottom