Tech Pan issues - grain, mucky help! - Technical Pan

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StoneNYC

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Hey guys, I searched the forums but couldn't find any recent threads pertaining to my questions.

SO

I've had a stash of tech pan for a while now, frozen in my freezer, and packets of Technidol. So I finally got around to developing one of the rolls I shot at Acadia National Park. Problem is, it doesn't seem sharp/fine grained at all, it's kind of ... "mucky"

Here's an example...

Regular image

TechPan-TechnidolLiquidDev-9min-3200-02.jpg

100% crop at 3200 dpi

TechPan-TechnidolLiquidDev-9min-3200-02-2.jpg

Now, as a comparison of something that is fine grained TMX (Tmax100) and developed in Rodinal 1:50 which though fine grained film, the developer shouldn't look finer than the tech pan...

full image...

TMX-Rodinal50-11min-3200-01.jpg

100% crop at 3200 dpi

TMX-Rodinal50-11min-3200-01-2.jpg

So as you can see, even the stuff souped in Rodinal is much less mucky..... same scanner, same film holder etc.

I know what you're going to say "print it" but I can't, and still, it should be at least sharper than that even scanned no?

I followed all the instructions for the tech pan and technidol to the letter except ONE thing, and that's that I couldn't DROP the tech pan in because I only have a daylight tank, but it was only 1 roll so the 250ml of dev all went in within 2 seconds and I shook vigorously immediately like it says, then every 30 seconds.

Anyway, the agitation scheme seems crazy to me because it goes against everything I've learned about NOT having grain, but I followed it anyway.

So... what did I do wrong?
 

Murray Kelly

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Just to be clear - is the Technidol the powder or the syrup? It must be pretty hard to get that grain from almost any developer w TP. Microfilms are a pain in the neck whatever technique you use so I sympathise.

I ask because if your freezer is other than a 'blue ribbon' model it's pretty hard to freeze anti-freeze. TP syrup seems to be made up in one of the higher alcohols and that stuff is anti-freeze. But --- if you did manage that it could conceivably have separated out and that might require that you let it get to room temp over night.

Otherwise I can't think of any thing that could go wrong.

As an afterthought - what about temperature reticulation?
 
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StoneNYC

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Just to be clear - is the Technidol the powder or the syrup? It must be pretty hard to get that grain from almost any developer w TP. Microfilms are a pain in the neck whatever technique you use so I sympathise.

I ask because if your freezer is other than a 'blue ribbon' model it's pretty hard to freeze anti-freeze. TP syrup seems to be made up in one of the higher alcohols and that stuff is anti-freeze. But --- if you did manage that it could conceivably have separated out and that might require that you let it get to room temp over night.

Otherwise I can't think of any thing that could go wrong.

As an afterthought - what about temperature reticulation?

It's LIQUID Developer not the LC stuff, it is stored in my constant 55 degree basement. The FILM is stored frozen but was taken out about a week before it was shot.
 

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This is not good result. I had made 50x60 cm prints from 35mm TP developed in liquid Technidol, and it was grainless (for example Dead Link Removed ).

Not much help, I know - but I would stick to Rodinal if it gives you better results (I got better results with Technidol and Adotech developer than with Rodinal, but whateer it is a problem at you - it will be hard to detect it).
 
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StoneNYC

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This is not good result. I had made 50x60 cm prints from 35mm TP developed in liquid Technidol, and it was grainless (for example Dead Link Removed ).

Not much help, I know - but I would stick to Rodinal if it gives you better results (I got better results with Technidol and Adotech developer than with Rodinal, but whateer it is a problem at you - it will be hard to detect it).

Well the Rodinal was used on TMX not Tech Pan... I once used DD-X on tech pan, but that was too contrasty.
 

darkosaric

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Well the Rodinal was used on TMX not Tech Pan... I once used DD-X on tech pan, but that was too contrasty.

Now I see that Rodinal was with TMX :smile:. I also got too contrasty results with Rodinal and TP. But in comparison with Tmax 100 and Tmax developer (that I used) - TP in technidol is much more fine grained.
It depends how much TP films you have: maybe give a test with Rodinal, to see if your technidol is bad, or try to get some more technidol from another source if possible. Can you buy Adotech developer (that is designed for Adox CMS 20, but works good on TP, I tried it more than once)?
 

Ian Grant

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Technical Pan wasn't really designed for continuous tone work like this but it gained popularity because of it's use by some photographers in the New Topographic movement of the 1970's. Their work was the antipathic to that of the F64 movement and the work of Adams (Ansel), Weston, Minor White etc, they used Technical Pan because it held all the detail in a very under-stated way.

It's not a film (and developer combination) that exhibits the same edge effects that you get with conventional films and developers and so images do appear less sharp.

The graininess you're seeing is more likely an artefact of the scanning and the surface of the emulsion layer. I have used Tech Pan in 35mm & %x4 and it's grain even with 35mm is exceptionally fine.

Ian
 

polyglot

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Yeah, print it. You might be looking at grain aliasing, which is an effect that occurs when there is significant image information at frequencies higher than the scanner's sample-pitch and the scanner lacks a low-pass filter. It's unlikely to be a problem with a flatbed since they're so soft, but some (usually) better scanners can show the effect.

More likely I think is reticulation. What's your temperature control like? Is it possible you overdeveloped?

I've attached a 4000dpi scan (Nikon 8000) of ancient TP developed in C41 at 20C. It's soft because the image is soft anyway (1:1 macro, not enough DOF, a bit of camera shake, low contrast scene and development, etc), but it doesn't have the crazy grain you're seeing. A definite speckle that I put down to the film being ancient and/or dirty, but not reticulated or anything.
 

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David Lyga

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Stone, I process Tech Pan (for continuous tone) in regular developer for about 3/4 the time allotted for Pan F+ or about half the time allotted for TMX. Try that with a clip test. I rate Tech Pan at about 16, the same that I rate Pan F+. Shadow detail and grain should be excellent. -David Lyga
 

Jim Jones

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The examples are of different subjects in different light, which might account for much of the different appearance. The few untextured medium grey areas in each example look much alike. Also, scanning at a mere 3200 ppi shouldn't bring out the best in Tech Pan.
 

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I agree with Jim - you're comparing a very low contrast shot to a much higher contrast one here. I honestly don't see horrible grain in the tech pan one - it looks more like the scanner blobbed grains together than like the film itself is grainy. Does that make sense? And, to me, the TMax one looks grainier.
I really wish I was in PA and could print this for you to see how it looks "for real."
FWIW, I like the harbor shot.
 
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StoneNYC

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I agree with Jim - you're comparing a very low contrast shot to a much higher contrast one here. I honestly don't see horrible grain in the tech pan one - it looks more like the scanner blobbed grains together than like the film itself is grainy. Does that make sense? And, to me, the TMax one looks grainier.
I really wish I was in PA and could print this for you to see how it looks "for real."
FWIW, I like the harbor shot.

Thanks guys, I guess I'll just have to wait until someone can print it for me, some of the images were denser than I had expected, but I was very specific about temperature and agitation because of the instruction. There's one image in particular that looks as if it was not properly developed and yet all the other ones look fine, and what I mean by that is that the sky and all of the fog is on even in a very extreme "streaky-ish" way, but all the other fog images look fine, so it is possible that the sun broke through and was actually just causing some brighter and darker spots it was a really intense day, and since it's only on that one image, I hesitate to think that I had uneven development or anything like that,

I suppose I could mail the negatives to someone and they can print them at a very high enlargement. My understanding is that a 35mm image on tech pan could be printed as large as a 4 x 5 and still actually retain more detail. Not sure if that made sense what I mean is that if you used a 4 x 5 of regular film, and a 35mm of Tech Pan, you could print both at say 4' x 5' image and the tech pan would have more detail than the 4 x 5. So I guess I was surprised at all the Mc, it is possible that like you said the green is being grouped together and causing it to look like muck in the scanner, I use the Epson V750 Pro. For the 35mm I use the standard holders, I never invested in the better scanning holders, however I've basically dialed in the 35mm to the right height for the scanner and all the other stuff comes out decently.

Of course I also did check to see that the film was flat enough etc. it's not really that curly of a film so it's at the same height as everything else and also the base is completely clear, it's as if it's brand new tech pan, I've never seen anything quite as clear in older film, it kind of amazes me.

As far as quantities, I probably have about 10 rolls in 35mm, 2 rolls of 120 and I also have four rolls of 70mm that are of 20 foot lengths.

I only have enough technidol to develop the 35mm rolls unfortunately. The instructions say you can use it twice as long as you stand the development time by one minute, and use it within a week, however I don't know if I'll be able to shoot another 35mm role in the next week, but I will try.

I've also debated selling the tech pan because I just don't need all of this complication, trying to find developers etc., I thought it would be fun and exciting and it's just turned into a hassle, and rather just shoot some PanF+ haha!

I think it's also the name that's exciting, something about using something so well-known and it has a nice ring to it, "oh this was shot on tech pan!" Then if I make a nice print, I can sell it for more money because he was shot on tech pan, I know that sounds ridiculous, but in reality it's actually true people are suckers for that kind of stuff. And I don't mean it in a, I'm taking advantage of people way, it's just that the reality is situation is when you sell a product for example, I have better shots that are shot on Fuji Provia100f, but I have lesser shots shot on Kodachrome, and if I went to sell the two prints even though the Fuji print would look nicer, the Kodachrome shot would probably sell for more money simply because of its name.

So as I said people are suckers for that stuff. What to put it in an elegant way, "people seem to appreciate the nostalgia of certain products despite their quality." :wink:
 

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Stone, the Film Developing Cookbook [Anchell and Troop] is very helpful if you don't already own a copy.
 
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StoneNYC

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Stone, the Film Developing Cookbook [Anchell and Troop] is very helpful if you don't already own a copy.

I just got it actually, my father purchased it for me, actually no, I think it's the darkroom cookbook version but that also has recipes I'm not actually sure of the difference between the two books, mine is the third edition version of the darkroom cookbook I just looked, I was told that at one point some of the formulas for tech pan were taken out of the leader additions, so I'm not sure if it's in this one or not.

I haven't finished reading it yet, so I haven't gotten to the formulas I'm still sort of absorbing it all it's a lot of information for someone who isn't up on his chemistry. :wink:
 
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StoneNYC

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Darkroom Cookbook is Anchell's, Film Developing Cookbook is Anchell/Troop.

The third edition of Darkroom Cookbook is the latest one. It is the most accurate of the three versions when it comes to formulae. There is not a whole lot about document films (ie Tech Pan etc.) in it. The Darkroom Cookbook is a good formula book particularly when it comes to print developers and toners.

So then what reasons should I have for purchasing the other book, the film developing cookbook? Is it the same information? Or different information?
 
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StoneNYC

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They are two different kinds of books.

The Darkroom Cookbook is more of a general compendium of formulas for the darkroom, and much of it is for printing, including a few introductory things on some alt processes.

The Film Developing Cookbook is focused only on film processing and gets into the how/why things work. It is therefore a more "technical" book but still easy to read for a beginner. You don't need to know any chemistry etc. There are a lot more film developer formulas than in the other book, but quite a number of them are of more historical than practical interest, and are discussed to illustrate how the field evolved over time.

The Darkroom Cookbook does include some high level summaries of info/conclusions found in The Film Developing Cookbook, so there is definitely some overlap.

Thanks, when I'm done with this one I'll get the other perhaps :smile:
 
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Stone, if you say your negatives were dense, that will also contribute to scanner artifacts that makes pictures seem very grainy. It looks to me as if you're using a flatbed scanner, and honestly it doesn't have near the resolution to show what the Tech Pan (or any other film) actually looks like. Some estimate that the true native resolution of the V700 (which I own) is closer to about 1,500 dpi. You need something like a true 4,800 to truly resolve grain.

I hope you some day can or will build a small darkroom and make prints to see for yourself. A lot of the questions you have would probably end up being light bulb moments.
 

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damonff, that is a beautiful portrait but the title says something about diafine, not rodinal. Some folk think diafine is great for TP but then others praise rodinal for the same film. Could it have been diafine?
 
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StoneNYC

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Stone, if you say your negatives were dense, that will also contribute to scanner artifacts that makes pictures seem very grainy. It looks to me as if you're using a flatbed scanner, and honestly it doesn't have near the resolution to show what the Tech Pan (or any other film) actually looks like. Some estimate that the true native resolution of the V700 (which I own) is closer to about 1,500 dpi. You need something like a true 4,800 to truly resolve grain.

I hope you some day can or will build a small darkroom and make prints to see for yourself. A lot of the questions you have would probably end up being light bulb moments.

Thomas I have the V750 pro, I'm able to get up to 3200 with SOME films and certainly 2400 with others. I've never had to out it to 1200 for a scan in order to get sharp edges.

I know the sensor does 4800 but the lens is so crappy no one can actually get that but at 3200 again with some I can get it without interpolation.

Thanks and pleases correct me if I'm wrong.
 

EdSawyer

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how about looking at it with a high-powered loupe or microscope? I agree with Thomas, the scanner is just adding confusion to the whole process.
 
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Thomas I have the V750 pro, I'm able to get up to 3200 with SOME films and certainly 2400 with others. I've never had to out it to 1200 for a scan in order to get sharp edges.

I know the sensor does 4800 but the lens is so crappy no one can actually get that but at 3200 again with some I can get it without interpolation.

Thanks and pleases correct me if I'm wrong.

Why would you get different resolution based on what film you use? That makes no sense at all.

Either way, just because you can't resolve grain doesn't mean you can't make nice photographs. Get the wet mount kit for your really important scans, which makes a world of difference.

I still hope you get to have a darkroom some time. :smile:
 
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StoneNYC

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Why would you get different resolution based on what film you use? That makes no sense at all.

Either way, just because you can't resolve grain doesn't mean you can't make nice photographs. Get the wet mount kit for your really important scans, which makes a world of difference.

I still hope you get to have a darkroom some time. :smile:

For the most part, what I meant was that I use 3200 on 120 scans, but only 2400 on 35mm scans because with 120 I use the betterscanning holders, which are significantly more precise about keeping the film flat as well as at the proper height, when dialed in I can get 3200 usually.

There's also some things that you've mentioned are others have mentioned before about the way scanners handle grain, sometimes a less fine grain film will scan with what appears to be a higher grain because the pixels in the scanner's tend to line up with the grain in the film, whereas other films may have better grain by optical printing, but as someone mentioned with tech pan it's possible that the scanner because of the grain being so fine actually clumps groups of grains together into one but the way that it interprets that it looks mushy.

I just never seen it quite as mushy as with this, however that also could be because it's so fine-grained, that said the images of tech pan that were developed in DD-X don't look that mushy at all and look much finer.

Anyway everyone's right in that it could just be the scanner and I won't know about the grain and less I look under a microscope, the irony is that in a sense sometimes especially with the newer films they are actually designed to be better at scanning them printing and so is scanner might actually get a higher resolution image than printing. This was not me who originally stated this but someone else I'm just pulling information from what I've read.

Anyway, I'm going to send off some stuff to some people who are much smarter than I am :wink:
 
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