one day at a time


© Verena Fischer 2012

Berlin | © Verena Fischer 2012

© Verena Fischer 2012

Berlin | © Verena Fischer 2012

© Verena Fischer 2012

Berlin | © Verena Fischer 2012

All pictures taken with: Zorki 3C and Jupiter 8 50mm f/2.0.
Ilford HP5+ souped in Rodinal, 1:100 stand development

The other day I developed a roll of film at home. It was a roll from last year that I somehow didn’t get round to bringing to the lab. I managed to get the roll into the tank in my dark bathroom and then I started messing about with chemicals. I used Rodinal (actually the Adox equivalent Adonal) in 1:100 solution and stand development.

I ordered the Rodinal out of lack of knowledge. I wanted a liquid developer, preferably one shot, so that I won’t have to mess around with powder developer that only keeps for a limited amount of time. I had heard of Rodinal, so I just went with that, because this is just a very classic developer. Then after I ordered it I saw examples online of ISO 400 film developed in Rodinal, and boy did they have grain! Since Rodinal has some sharpening magic going on this sharpens the grain as well. In fact, this is why a lot of people agree that Rodinal is a bad idea for ISO 400 film. Well, at that point I was a bit thrown. Did I order the wrong thing? Should I have gone with Ultrafin? Still, I didn’t want to have spent 10€ on nothing, so I decided to try it out anyway. I researched it a bit more and well, all these people aren’t entirely wrong, but apparently this is more true for normal high agitation development in a strong solution (1:25 or 1:50). Normally, when you develop a roll of film you agitate the tank every minute and you have to be precise with your timing and the temperature of the solution. The timing depends on the type of film, on the ISO, whether you pushed it and so on. It’s a very unforgiving process and if you do something wrong, you ruin the roll. And well, you get grain like gravel on ISO 400 film, especially with Tri-X, which is most of the film I have still lying around here.

The alternative I wanted to try out was stand development. This is done with a weak solution (1:100) and surprisingly neither precise temperature nor timing is important. As long as the temperature is between 16 and 25°C and the development time above 1 hour you’ll be fine. You put the solution into the tank, agitate well for a minute, let it sit for half an hour, agitate slowly for 5 inversions and then let it sit for another half an hour. The cool thing is that you can develop any type of film of any speed, even pushed ones with the same timing, even in the same tank (provided it is big enough)! Even more amazing: you can even change ISO within one roll. And what about the grain? Well, look for yourself! At this size it’s hardly noticeable. It turns out quite smooth and I like it! Nothing like the examples I saw online. Also, stand development is very forgiving with underexposing by accident. There actually was one picture on the roll that was really grainy, so I assume that it was pushed to a higher ISO accidentally. With stand development such accidents are no problem at all! Sure, if you push the whole roll, then you can extend the developing time to bring out the details more, but with accidents even with the normal time the frame will be salvageable where normal development would only give you a blank one. Awesome stuff!

The next thing I’ll try will be a roll of Tri-X. I’m curious to see whether this grain machine will give me worse grain than the roll of HP5+.

2 responses

  1. the first one is my beautiful. and yes, they all turned out really nice grainwise.

    June 3, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    • Thanks 🙂

      Yeah, I’m really impressed with the grain thing. I would have thought it’d be more of a problem. Still haven’t seen the Tri-X roll, because I need to re-fix it. Must have mixed the fixer wrong or something. If it holds up as well I’m definitely going to stick with Rodinal.

      June 3, 2013 at 10:51 pm

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