Rodinal & FP4+

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So, I finally developed my first roll of FP4 with Rodinal 1+25, and it came out super overcooked.
The negative looks very high contrast, but the scanner saved me - I was able to recover details.

Even with the overcooking, I must admit, I really like this combo of FP4 and Rodinal.

Help me figure out what I did wrong:

The film was shot at 200 ISO. I used 20 ml for 500 ml of water for 13 minutes. I always used a stick to agitate - so I twisted the stick (with normal speed, not too fast and not too slow) for the first 30 seconds, and then I agitated for 20 seconds every 2 minutes. Usually, with HP5 and HC-110, I agitate every minute for 10 seconds, but I decided to save myself a little time.

The issue for sure could be that I agitated too much, but I never thought that it would affect it so much.

Maybe I developed it for too long and need to reduce the time?

I did some research and realized that since I'm mostly shooting high-contrast scenes, I want to use a 1+50 or even 1+100 dilution. Could anybody tell me, if I use these dilutions, how long I'll need to agitate? Or maybe with a 1+100 dilution, it makes sense to use stand development? In this case, I'll need to agitate (or use the stick) for the first minute, and then leave the tank for an hour.

For starters, your development time for 1:25 dilution should have been about 9 minutes, assuming you exposed at 125 ASA.
 

npl

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OP shot the film at 200, 13min is the time given in the datasheet for this EI.

"I'm mostly shooting high contrast scenes [..]"-> answer's probably there..
 

Alex Benjamin

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he negative looks very high contrast, but the scanner saved me - I was able to recover details.

Contrast and shadow detail aren't the same thing. You can have high contrast with lots of shadow detail. Pushing or pulling film, agitation, development time will have an impact on contrast. Shadow detail will depend on how you've metered the scene.

That said, you're getting exactly what you should be getting if you use FP4+ @ 200 in Rodinal 1+25 : high contrast with little shadow detail, especially if you didn't meter for the shadows. Your agitation scheme has nothing to do with your results.

Which brings me to the part that is confusing me. You said you wanted to emulate Trent Parke's style. High contrast with little or no shadow detail is a huge part of that style, from what I can tell. That said, no way of knowing how much of it is the negative, and how much is the darkroom work.
 
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Every generation, it seems, becomes attracted to some sort of high-contrast style. Instead, why not try to make excellent, full-toned prints first? I have found that T-Max 400 developed in FX-21 (formula available above) gives beautiful sharpness and great shadow detail. The key is to use or find or create sharp shadows. I rarely shoot B&W in soft light.

Look at the work of the cinematographer Karl Struss in The Story of Temple Drake. He uses flat light in some scenes, but in many others, he uses harsh lighting. It depends on what the scene is about. You should find this much more interesting than the photographer whose work you are trying to copy. None of this involved contrast manipulation, as it wasn't feasible to do with motion picture film. It would increase the grain considerably, and would ruin the images. Remember, in 1933 films were grainier than they are today, so that was not done. The technique was used to underline the story, not just to show off. Not technique for its own sake. Try to get a blu-ray copy of the film. Your jaw will drop at the photography, I assure you!


 
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thesooth

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Contrast and shadow detail aren't the same thing. You can have high contrast with lots of shadow detail. Pushing or pulling film, agitation, development time will have an impact on contrast. Shadow detail will depend on how you've metered the scene.

That said, you're getting exactly what you should be getting if you use FP4+ @ 200 in Rodinal 1+25 : high contrast with little shadow detail, especially if you didn't meter for the shadows. Your agitation scheme has nothing to do with your results.

Which brings me to the part that is confusing me. You said you wanted to emulate Trent Parke's style. High contrast with little or no shadow detail is a huge part of that style, from what I can tell. That said, no way of knowing how much of it is the negative, and how much is the darkroom work.

You're right, anyway I got the usable results after scanning, and I guess I just freak out after seeing the negative itself.

I'll continue testing, but I liked so much what I got after editing, probably it is how it should be.

Thanks for all replies :smile:
 

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Just a note to say that I enjoyed reading along on this thread. I'm new here and always learning something new. I appreciate the sharing of knowledge.
 
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thesooth

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could please someone point me,

I tried to develop a roll of FP4 that was shot @ 64 in stand development, 1:100, agitated for the first minute and then left the tank for 1 hour.

What I expected - was to have a lot of acutance (glow) in areas with a lot of highlights, but as you probably already guessed - I didn't get it, and I don't why...

Isn't it supposed to be the opposite?
 

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Acutance isn't glow.
Acutance is sharp edges on small details - and not necessarily natural and accurate to real life sharp edges on small details.
 

pentaxuser

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Acutance isn't glow.
Acutance is sharp edges on small details - and not necessarily natural and accurate to real life sharp edges on small details.

You're right but I wonder if the OP's glow isn't a form of Mackie lines which might be described as a form of glow around the edges where light meets dark at sharp edges. It certainly isn't what most recognise as "glow" and I have always found that I have had to really examine a print closely to even detect this effect

OP, can you show us a print of a neg or print which have been stand-developed and which shows the glow to which you refer?

Thanks

pentaxuser
 
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thesooth

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You're right but I wonder if the OP's glow isn't a form of Mackie lines which might be described as a form of glow around the edges where light meets dark at sharp edges. It certainly isn't what most recognise as "glow" and I have always found that I have had to really examine a print closely to even detect this effect

OP, can you show us a print of a neg or print which have been stand-developed and which shows the glow to which you refer?

Thanks

pentaxuser

You're right, I didn't know what it's called, but this is what I meant.

The first photo is developed in 1:25, 13 mins @200
_FULL000000120000.jpg

and the second in 1:100, 60mins, @64

_20241002B0114.jpg



As you can see on the first photo has a lot more 'glow' than the second one, however, conditions was almost similar in terms of light.
 

Alex Benjamin

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You're right, I didn't know what it's called, but this is what I meant.

The first photo is developed in 1:25, 13 mins @200
View attachment 362902

and the second in 1:100, 60mins, @64

View attachment 362901



As you can see on the first photo has a lot more 'glow' than the second one, however, conditions was almost similar in terms of light.

You're expecting the developer to correct problems you've created when taking the shot. Problem here is not development. Problem here is metering. Both shots are overexposed. You metered in order to get maximum info in the dark areas without taking into account the brightness range between these shadows and the highlights. Hence, blown highlights. Rodinal can't help you there with either "glow"or acutance. It's too late.

Second shot also has the problem that nothing in it is in focus. That, also, helps neither acutance nor "glow".
 

MattKing

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FWIW, "glow" usually is a result of how the highlights render and is more often than not evidence of good highlight contrast.
And in my experience, reduced agitation development schemes like stand development compress the range in the highlights - they are exactly the opposite of what you need in order to achieve "glow".
For "glow", you need the right sort of light, and you want to use the right combination of agitation and development time to achieve full highlight density, without excess highlight density - i.e. you don't want to over-develop.
 

MattKing

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Out of curiosity, is this an example of something that you think has "glow"?
1707712168234.png
 
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thesooth

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FWIW, "glow" usually is a result of how the highlights render and is more often than not evidence of good highlight contrast.
And in my experience, reduced agitation development schemes like stand development compress the range in the highlights - they are exactly the opposite of what you need in order to achieve "glow".
For "glow", you need the right sort of light, and you want to use the right combination of agitation and development time to achieve full highlight density, without excess highlight density - i.e. you don't want to over-develop.

I was wrong to say 'glow'; I meant the halation. And you're right—I messed with everything since stand development compresses the curve, and I would not get a halation on the overexposed object.

Could you please explain how to achieve the full highlight density without over-developing it?

In your example, it isn't what I meant, but I get where you're leaning. This is what you're getting with stand development: this play between dark and bright areas, not the halation.
 

MattKing

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In your example, it isn't what I meant, but I get where you're leaning. This is what you're getting with stand development: this play between dark and bright areas, not the halation.

No stand development here - I'm the opposite of a fan.
That one is just an example of mostly intentional expansion ("push") development and a subject with a fairly large SLR (often referred to as SBR).
Plus some fortunate choices about exposure.
 
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If it's halation you want, why not use a film with bad or no anti-halation tech? Aviphot, Foma... Kentmere is also a little worse than Ilford.
 

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I shoot a lot of HP5+ and FP4+ (in 35mm, 120, and 4x5). For a long time, I developed HP5+ only in HC-110, and FP4+ only in Rodinal. I still use those developers in medium and large format where the grain is basically a nonissue. I stopped using FP4+ in Rodinal with 35mm film because I found it too grainy, and with a harsh and unpleasing grain to my eye.

HP5+ in HC-110 (in 35mm format) gives a somewhat soft image with definite grain, but it's a smooth, pleasing grain that works well with many of the types of photos I like to shoot. FP4+ in Rodinal (in 35mm format) gives a very crunchy, sharp, salt-and-pepper grain that is significantly more noticeable than HP5+ in HC-110, despite the film being slower.

With Rodinal, it seems agitation has a lot to do with grain formation. I meter at EI 64, and develop in 1:100 Rodinal with constant rotary agitation for 7 minutes to get negatives of a normal contrast, which print well at Grade 2. For medium format and up, the grain is basically not noticeable at the normal print sizes I do (generally 8x10, 11x14, sometimes as large as 16x20). With 35mm film, the grain is readily apparent even with a 5x7 print, and downright distracting IMO in an 8x10 print.
 
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thesooth

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If it's halation you want, why not use a film with bad or no anti-halation tech? Aviphot, Foma... Kentmere is also a little worse than Ilford.

I would like to know how to do it and control it.
I shoot a lot of HP5+ and FP4+ (in 35mm, 120, and 4x5). For a long time, I developed HP5+ only in HC-110, and FP4+ only in Rodinal. I still use those developers in medium and large format where the grain is basically a nonissue. I stopped using FP4+ in Rodinal with 35mm film because I found it too grainy, and with a harsh and unpleasing grain to my eye.

HP5+ in HC-110 (in 35mm format) gives a somewhat soft image with definite grain, but it's a smooth, pleasing grain that works well with many of the types of photos I like to shoot. FP4+ in Rodinal (in 35mm format) gives a very crunchy, sharp, salt-and-pepper grain that is significantly more noticeable than HP5+ in HC-110, despite the film being slower.

With Rodinal, it seems agitation has a lot to do with grain formation. I meter at EI 64, and develop in 1:100 Rodinal with constant rotary agitation for 7 minutes to get negatives of a normal contrast, which print well at Grade 2. For medium format and up, the grain is basically not noticeable at the normal print sizes I do (generally 8x10, 11x14, sometimes as large as 16x20). With 35mm film, the grain is readily apparent even with a 5x7 print, and downright distracting IMO in an 8x10 print.

For HP5 - I also use only HC-110, for me they match that made in heaven, hehe.


As I understand highlight development is affected by agitation, the harder you agitate - the more highlights will be developed, and you could block highlights, so you need to find a balance.

Regarding stand development - it needs to be used when you want to get a flat negative with compressed contrast.
 

Alex Benjamin

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As I understand highlight development is affected by agitation, the harder you agitate - the more highlights will be developed, and you could block highlights

This is not quite how it works. The essential purpose of agitation is to provide even development. Agitation will have an impact on contrast, development time, film speed. Development time will have a much greater impact on highlight development. As does dilution in the case of developers who become compensating developers when used at high dilution (D-23 at 1:3, for example).

In other words, all parameters are related. If you do a lot of agitation but develop less time than normal, you will not get blocked highlights. And by "lot of agitation", I don't mean "agitating harder", as you wrote. I mean developing longer, i.e., more inversions at each cycle. Strength of agitation doesn't have that much impact.

That said, all this, as I mentioned before, is dependent on exposure. Blocked highlights — i.e., dense negs — come from overexposure, and the "blocked" part will be accentuated by overdevelopment. Check Ralph Gibson's photographs if you want to see examples of this done on purpose.

Problem with the photos you've posted — sorry to repeat myself — are that they are overexposed.

Regarding stand development - it needs to be used when you want to get a flat negative with compressed contrast.

Normally with minimal agitation or stand development, you do get compression in the highlights, as you mention (your highlights are still blocked, which, again, points to overexposure). This, however, doesn't mean getting a "flat negative". The shoulder will be flattened, because the developer will stop working earlier in the denser areas, but the high dilution will have a positive impact on local contrast in the other areas.

Pictorial Planet has a good video on this. Explains edge effect very well starting at 7:20.

 

pentaxuser

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"Pictorial Planet has a good video on this. Explains edge effect very well starting at 7:20." - Alex Benjamin

Yes one of the thing I like about most of his longer videos is that he spots the kind of things that he realises viewers want an explanation of and then gives such an explanation in an understandable way

pentaxuser
 
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thesooth

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This is not quite how it works. The essential purpose of agitation is to provide even development. Agitation will have an impact on contrast, development time, film speed. Development time will have a much greater impact on highlight development. As does dilution in the case of developers who become compensating developers when used at high dilution (D-23 at 1:3, for example).

In other words, all parameters are related. If you do a lot of agitation but develop less time than normal, you will not get blocked highlights. And by "lot of agitation", I don't mean "agitating harder", as you wrote. I mean developing longer, i.e., more inversions at each cycle. Strength of agitation doesn't have that much impact.

That said, all this, as I mentioned before, is dependent on exposure. Blocked highlights — i.e., dense negs — come from overexposure, and the "blocked" part will be accentuated by overdevelopment. Check Ralph Gibson's photographs if you want to see examples of this done on purpose.

Problem with the photos you've posted — sorry to repeat myself — are that they are overexposed.



Normally with minimal agitation or stand development, you do get compression in the highlights, as you mention (your highlights are still blocked, which, again, points to overexposure). This, however, doesn't mean getting a "flat negative". The shoulder will be flattened, because the developer will stop working earlier in the denser areas, but the high dilution will have a positive impact on local contrast in the other areas.

Thank you for your input; I understand what you mean, but it's not what I want to achieve.

I checked Ralph's photos, and it is exactly as you said about blocked highlights. However, for now (at least 😄), I'm trying to achieve something different.
What I want is to purposefully overexpose to create halation around the object, as you can see in the photos I've posted.
This is the effect I'm aiming for, but I also want to be able to control this halation during development.

If you look at Trent Parke's photos from the Dream/Life book by googling, you'll find a few examples of what I'm talking about.

I messed up when mentioned "glow" because, as I can see, there are a few definitions of it when using Rodinal.
Certainly, as you mentioned, I need to have good exposure first to achieve proper gradation between dark and white areas in order to get that "glow" mentioned in the video or in the examples provided by Matt.

I really appreciate your help, thank you.
 

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If you look at Trent Parke's photos from the Dream/Life book by googling, you'll find a few examples of what I'm talking about.

 
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thesooth

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Honestly, I thought that FP4 had a good anti-halation layer, but probably if overexpose it for a few stops - then the film will show that halation.

What you seek is achieved through the skill of the photographer, knowing what he wants and how to "see" it in a scene.
sure, but as I said, rn I just trying to understand how to get halation on purpose.

Anyway, thanks again everyone for input.
 

pentaxuser

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Isn't the simplest, least time consuming way to start with a film that has as little anti-halation as possible? I am not sure that what Trent Parke achieves in the video is obtained by halation and it didn't strike me as being particularly easy or quick either. Still if that's your goal then time and cost may be immaterial

pentaxuser
 
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