Matching films to developers: HC110 & Rodinal
Old 09-19-2018   #1
Takkun
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Matching films to developers: HC110 & Rodinal

After a very long hiatus, I'm back to developing film and getting into the swing of things again.

I've got 50+ rolls of 135 and 120 on deck; most of the latter are color and another story.

The balance:
Acros
HP5
FP4
TMY-2
Delta 400

And a handful of rolls of TMX that were already a few years out of date when I got them 10 years ago. Those haven't been exposed yet.

All the exposed rolls are shot 1/3 to 1/2 stop below box speed, except the Acros. Most of these are 3-5 years old, stored in a cool dark closet, but not refrigerated.

I still have about half a bottle of HC-110 but was low on fixer, so off to the store I went last night. The chemistry section is a bit thinned out since I last stopped in, but they had the basics: HC110, D76, Ilfosol, DDX, Rodinal, and a few others. I remember reading somewhere here that FP4 hates HC110 but loves Rodinal, so thats what I picked up.

I'm willing to experiment with newly shot film stock but want to nail down the old stuff as best as I can—I don't remember what's on it. My preliminary game plan is slow stuff in Rodinal, fast in HC110 Dil. B.

Anybody have input on where to start? Example images appreciated!
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Old 09-19-2018   #2
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I still have a few bags of XTOL, which is another fine developer, but I once I go through them, I will likely standardize on HC-110 and on the rare occasion, Rodinal. HC110 is just much easier to mix and use than XTOL. It simplifies my life to have a single default developer rather than trying to match a specific developer to a specific film. Others do that, and good for the. At this stage of my life, I prefer convenience and simplicity.
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Old 09-19-2018   #3
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This is what I used for the one time I did Neopan Acros 100:

Fuji Neopan Acros 100 @ 80, HC-110h, 11 m, 30 s, [email protected] 10,6,2, 20 degrees.


Neopan Acros 100 expired by John Carter, on Flickr

These for the first time were beautiful and they scanned great, I won't be using it anymore because it is discontinued.

I also like TMY-2 in HC-110h, another great film for scanning.


TMY old and expired, HC-110h by John Carter, on Flickr

I also use Rodinal not in any of the films you will be developing.
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Old 09-19-2018   #4
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I started out using Kodak D-76 a long, long time ago. Still use it and Ilfords ID-11. Matter of fact I recently made up a 5 liter batch of stock ID-11. They both are my old reliable developers I can use with any of my films.

However, I do play around with other developers. Some like Adox APH-09, Pyro stuff as well as fine grain like Mic-X.

But I must say, when I need to make a large print I start out with a medium format negative.
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Old 09-19-2018   #5
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Depends what you are up for. Like grain and high contrast? Then rodinal 1+50 with trix or hp5+ is fantastic. If you like more staid (smooth transition from white to black with not a lot of grain) images then HC 110h with HP5+ is hard to beat.
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Old 09-19-2018   #6
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Keith, I was in the same boat. My favorite local lab reccomended XTOL to me and I found it nearly ideal, but ask grew tired of powders, storing 5L of solution, and fearing premature exhaustion.
HC110 has been mostly kind to me, predictable when I need it and have no interest in experimenting, but versatile when I do. Rodinal seemed like a good compliment for slow conventional films (picked up a bunch of Fomapan to try) but with keeping qualities for infrequent use. It seems that the two are more alike than not.

I appreciate the input so far--but just a reminder, this is for film I've already shot that I want to get the most out of, but I'll take note for future film purchases.
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Old 09-19-2018   #7
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for older exposed films i've had very good results with pyro developers
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Old 09-19-2018   #8
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I actually go the opposite of the OP- slow in HC-110, fast in Rodinal. I figure that if I don't want grain I should shoot slow film and if I do want grain I should shoot fast film.

I remember trying ACROS in Rodinal and being disappointed. Not sure why, it was long ago, but it seemed at the time that I was not alone. I also was not too thrilled with the newer iodine-based emulsions and Rodinal- this includes Acros, the Deltas, and the T-Max's.

Hmm... there goes my 'speed' rule. Maybe the rule is silver bromide in Rodical and silver iodine in HC-110?

If the film is outdated and has been sitting around for a long time after exposure, fog is an issue. There is something you can add to reduce fogging but I can't remember it- search for it.

HC-110 is a very 'safe' developer. Wasn't it designed for machine development of a variety of films? Probably hard to go wrong.
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Old 09-19-2018   #9
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I could develop any film in HC-110. But in bright time of the year I prefer ISO100 films and they are easier to develop in Rodinal.
If film is to be developed in quantities, re-use of developing mix worked for me with HC-110.
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Old 09-20-2018   #10
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I use D-76 1:1 for Tri-X and Plus-X (I still have some) and, so far, for Double-X as well. I expose these films at EI 250 to 400, no pushing. For Delta 100 and 400, I mostly use DD-X. I also have on hand T-Max developer and Microphen (the latter is not mixed right now, still in the package). I seem to believe that conventional films are best in MQ Metol-Hydroquinone developers, and tabular grain films in PQ or Phenidone or Phenidone-Hydroquinone types. But I still stay away from HC-110 because Kodak says that though it's good all-around, it is not really the best for anything. They rate one of their developers best for grain; another for sharpness; another for speed; but HC-110 is not said to be best for any of these. And XTOL is rated as best for everything! So I have used it, and I like it, but I don't always feel like mixing up 5 liters! I have never experienced the "dreaded XTOL failure" even when they sold it in the 1 liter packs, but it is always in my mind when I think of using XTOL, and I think it makes me shy away. But since XTOL has fine grain, high sharpness, and enhanced film speed--it has it all--I'm tempted to go back to it. After all, it is no harder to mix 5L of XTOL than 4L of D-76.
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Hc110
Old 09-20-2018   #11
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Hc110

I've tried most of the above mentioned developers and mixed my own from time to time. I keep coming back to HC-110 as it's the best general developer that I have found. Grain and speed OK, non-toxic and it NEVER goes bad. Who could ask for more?
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Old 09-20-2018   #12
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Who says FP4 hates HC-110? I've developed 120 and 4x5 FP4 in HC-110 (dilutions B or H) for years and always liked the results. I don't have as much experience with 35mm FP4, but I know I've put at least a few rolls of it through HC-110 over the years and never had cause to complain.

That said, Rodinal is my standard developer for 35mm film shot at lower ISO's, and it's always looked good. There is grain, but Rodinal doesn't always have to yeild the super grainy look some think of; handled correctly it should just show enough grain to provide good sharpness. Use higher dilutions (think 1:50 or 1:75) and longer times, go easy with your agitation (I agitate for 3 inversions in 5 seconds for the first 40 seconds, then once per minute thereafter) and it looks really nice. Using this method I've been able to make prints as large as 18x23 inches from 35mm film (Fuji Neopan 400, HP5, even Tri-X, all exposed at E.I. of 250 or 320, FP4 or Plus-X exposed at E.I. 80-100) that look really good.

HC-110 (dilution B) is also really versatile. I've processed at least 30 different films in that soup over the years and it has always worked well when handled correctly. Timothy Briner shot his Boonville Project on HP5 and FP4 film (120 and 4x5) all of which I processed in HC-110, dilution B. See the results here: http://timothybriner.com/boonville
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Old 09-20-2018   #13
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Everyone has their preferences. All you're going to get here is opinions that align with those personal preferences. For instance:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Daniel View Post
I remember trying ACROS in Rodinal and being disappointed. Not sure why, it was long ago, but it seemed at the time that I was not alone. I also was not too thrilled with the newer iodine-based emulsions and Rodinal- this includes Acros, the Deltas, and the T-Max's.
I hear this all the time, and worse - like, "Rodinal just doesn't work with T-Max!" And that kind of silliness. Except in my opinion, Acros and TMX look wonderful in Rodinal. So, you're just going to have to try some things and decide on your own, really.

And don't think you can get away with looking at pics online, with film/dev/times attached. That's just a baseline and a lot has to do with the scanning and editing, not to mention agitation and water condition and...

I'll leave you with this. Acros 4x5 dev'd in Rodinal:

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Old 09-20-2018   #14
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i got a heiland trd2 to plot characteristic curves. then we can make a database and put it on the net!
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Old 09-20-2018   #15
Bill Clark
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Some info on stand developing:

http://jbhildebrand.com/2011/tutoria...-with-rodinal/
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Old 09-20-2018   #16
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Used Rodinal and HC-110 for years. HP5 loves HC-110 and so does T-Max. In the relevant T-Max 400 thread i posted numerous pictures taken on T-Max and developed in HC-110.
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Old 09-20-2018   #17
Dan Daniel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
Everyone has their preferences. All you're going to get here is opinions that align with those personal preferences. For instance:

(a comment by me on Rodinal and silver iodine films not working)

I hear this all the time, and worse - like, "Rodinal just doesn't work with T-Max!" And that kind of silliness. Except in my opinion, Acros and TMX look wonderful in Rodinal. So, you're just going to have to try some things and decide on your own, really.
Exactly. So many variables. I remember (but cannot locate) an article that explored how you can vary developer ratios, times, agitation methods, etc. to make most any film/developer combination give you the same results as any other film/developer combination. Meaning similar D(log E) curves. And this is before you even the world of printing and/or scanning/photoshop.

Beautiful shot of the interior, by the way. Well, on the internet at that size, of course...
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Old 09-20-2018   #18
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Thanks Dan. It definitely looks better in person as a 20x24 silver gelatin print.
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Old 09-20-2018   #19
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Agreed on that photo: very beautiful (I'm a sucker for industrial ruin), and very different tonality from what I often expect from Across. Unrelated, but I sorely miss shooting 4x5.

I'm not a grain fiend the way some are for street photography; my subject matter on a roll is varied and I probably shoot buildings as much as I do people as I do urban landscapes.
That's why I stuck mostly with TMY and Acros, but I'll shoot whatever I get my hands on if those aren't available. Right now, I have a couple of bricks of Ilford because that's what was in stock. While I find I prefer Kodak stock, I like throwing a few dollars to the Brits for keeping film alive...

Thanks for the input so far. Yes, it certainly seems people are very polarized on Rodinal techniques, both in this thread and older ones I've found. I might hold off and save it for experimenting with more controlled shots, and stick with HC110, or maybe even back to XTOL, for the old stuff. XTOL gave a little more toe speed if I remember, and I'll probably use it all up before it goes bad.

Now the fun part: I labeled about half of my bulk rolls with a strip of masking tape and the other without to differentiate Delta 400 from TMY. Which is which? I used to know...
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Old 10-06-2018   #20
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I'm about halfway through my backlog, and here's what's happened so far:

I decided to save the Rodinal for playing with slow films and not experiment on unknown rolls, and start with HC110 on the TMY and Delta rolls. I remembered the Acros was the special stuff, shot alongside Ektar on two road trips long ago.

I had to guess on my old system of marking bulk rolls with masking tape that I stupidly didn't write on: turned out I guessed right, and the ones with tape were Delta and without were TMY. The Delta turned out okay, though thin.

The TMY was coming out very thin, and I kept increasing development with no perceptible difference. Thinking my developer was out of date or my process required grossly more time than suggested, I tried the same process and Massive Dev times with some recently shot FP4. Looked good.

I developed a tank of newly-shot and old film together and it was noticeable. My first thought was perhaps a dead/low meter battery, but a few were shot on an F6 (obvious, with the built-in data back) and still very weak looking. Perhaps, after 6+ years of less than ideal storage, the latent image degraded significantly: little tonal separation, no shadow detail, skies at middle density. Looks like underdevelopment despite adding an extra minute and a half in Dilution B. Seems like this only affected the TMY rolls; the mixed bag of FP4, Tri-X, and Delta turned out much better.

Understanding this, and trying to get more shadow detail, I picked up a bottle of DD-X which appears to be known for giving full box speed. The results on the last few rolls of TMY look far better, and I'll be using it on the remaining 10 rolls of Acros.

Aside from all that, it's great to be back developing and have the time to. Thankfully, the most sentimental, if not aesthetically interesting, images were salvageable.
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Old 10-06-2018   #21
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Takkun: May I make a suggestion? Go buy 5 rolls of fresh film, all of the same emulsion. Just pick a film you think you may like in the future. Quickly expose all 5 rolls normally.

Pick any one of the developers you have. Just get one you think you may like in the future.

Develop each of those 5 rolls, one at at time. Develop a baseline. Learn how to normally develop film. If you need more than those five rolls, get more of the same.

Only when you have established a baseline, change ONE variable at time. Maybe a different film. Maybe a different developer. Maybe a roll that was exposed long ago. Learn how EACH of those variables require changes in your baseline.

Only then go back to developing that backlog of exposed film you have.

Realize that juggling so many variables will create so many complexities, that it will be a long long long time before you ever will learn how to consistently repeat film development and it will always be a hit or miss proposition.
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Old 10-08-2018   #22
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Bob, thanks for the sage advice. Sometime's it's good to have a reminder not to go crazy with experimenting and to be scientific about it.

Truthfully, I have quite a lot of experience with all three films in XTOL and HC110, and have kept notes over the years (and embed them into my scanned images for reference). What was throwing me off was the age of the film and perhaps the latent image stability, and getting very thin images from times I knew worked in the past.

Since posting last, I got through the last bit of the batch(of 35mm at least, still have 10 rolls of 120), and the DDX worked out nicely.

Re-reading my first post, I'm realizing how foolish it was to think of trying Rodinal on films of unknown provenance, but I did pick up four 100 bulk rolls of my favorite stocks, along with Silvermax, to play with.
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Old 10-08-2018   #23
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Replenished Xtol has worked very well with every film I’ve tried it with (Tri-X, Delta 400, T-max 400 and Acros, so far) and it’s very easy to use. I keep 2 litres of working solution in a PET bottle and replenish it at a rate of 70ml per film. Super easy, and it’s ready to go in seconds.
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Old 10-08-2018   #24
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After using it as the standard communal developer in undergrad, I was sold on XTOL and used it for a number of years. Always loved how it looked with just about every film stock I tried.

It took me a little while to remember why I switched to HC110: the usual mixing/storage/keeping issues, plus wanting to try high dilution development, which I still haven't got around to.

DD-X is something I've used intermittently (starting in middle school!) with similar results as XTOL, but the price is something else after HC110. One thing I haven't tried, after all these years, is Delta 400 in it, which I never got what I like in Kodak chemistry.
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