Need advice: Tri-X and Rodinal development
Old 06-10-2017   #1
papo
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Need advice: Tri-X and Rodinal development

I have developed film in the past and compared to the lab, they all look terrible.

Grain size and amount was crazy, images lack sharpness and contrast so i wonder, what could i possibly do to improve my developing? How do you develop this combo in order to get good results? I shot the Trix at 400 ISO (135 film).

My Setup:

Patterson tank (2 rolls)
Rodinal developer
Adofix fixer
Adoflo wetting agent
Ilfostop stopper

I hope this is not too vague of a description. Thanks!
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Old 06-10-2017   #2
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Have you looked at the Massive Dev Chart? http://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php

Select the film and developer, then use the time and temperature given, and the results are pretty good.
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Old 06-10-2017   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papo View Post
I have developed film in the past and compared to the lab, they all look terrible.

Grain size and amount was crazy, images lack sharpness and contrast so i wonder, what could i possibly do to improve my developing? How do you develop this combo in order to get good results? I shot the Trix at 400 ISO (135 film).

My Setup:

Patterson tank (2 rolls)
Rodinal developer
Adofix fixer
Adoflo wetting agent
Ilfostop stopper

I hope this is not too vague of a description. Thanks!
Rodinal is not a good developer for Tri X unless you want grain in the style of Ralph Gibson.

Sulfited Rodinal might be better, our columnist Bill Pierce knows about this, as he wrote a Pop Photo article about it 40 years ago.

There are much better developers for that film for less grain including the classic D 76 at 1:1
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Old 06-10-2017   #4
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The Massive Dev. Chart gets you closer!
Rodinal is a high acutance/sharp developer so grain is there in buckets.
Scanners see grain, dust, hairs, dirt and any flaw not images.
The less Rodinal, higher dilutions more grain.
Use 1:50/1:75 and 1:25.Check which is recommended.
HP5+ does not like some dilutions..
Overexposure is bad, over agitation is bad and very precise focusing reqd. in shooting.
The better the lenses, technique and Rodinal shines.
I prefer HC-110, since Rodinal was changed slightly, when re-introduced.
I have Rodinal ready for a shoot in my Pentax with Takumar lenses for grain!
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Old 06-10-2017   #5
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I find Rodinal with Tri-X to be a bit grainy and a bit higher contrast than I usually like, both things that are emphasized in scanning. But it does give sharp negatives, probably in part because of the grain and higher contrast.

Lately I've found HC-110 in high dilutions (64:1) gives me more of what I'm looking for.

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Old 06-10-2017   #6
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Okok, does anyone know how often and when to agitate with this combo? Thanks
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Old 06-10-2017   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xayraa33 View Post
Rodinal is not a good developer for Tri X unless you want grain in the style of Ralph Gibson.

Sulfited Rodinal might be better, our columnist Bill Pierce knows about this, as he wrote a Pop Photo article about it 40 years ago.

There are much better developers for that film for less grain including the classic D 76 at 1:1
In the late 60's until I stopped using TX in the 90's I modified Rodinal with Sodium Sulfite. I used 100gm of Sodium Sulfite per Liter of water at 68f. It's important to add the sulfite to the water before mixing in the Rodinal. Adding Sulfite to water is exothermic meaning heat is released so you might need to cool the water / Sulfite mixture back down to 68f. Last add the Rodinal and stir gently. I always added the Rodinal after mixing the Sulfite solution because mixing the Sulfite to get it into solution dissolves air into the mix and oxidizes the very dilute Rodinal which reduces its activity.

I processed thousands of rolls with this mix over time and noticed a reduction in activity if I mixed the Sulfite in after mixing the very dilute Rodinal.

I used 100g sodium Sulfite to 1L water at 68f then cooled back to 68f after mixing. I then added 10ml of Rodinal to the liter of Sulfite. Actually it'll be a little more than 1L after adding the Sulfite.

I processed for 14 minutes and got fantastic full speed negs with very fine grain and rich tones.

Ok now the bad news, when Kodak reformulated TX around 2006 they made some major changes. I've tried my old mix a couple of times testing the new film and the results were terrible. It no longer works. In the mid 70's I started using HC110 B in addition to the Rodinal Sulfite mix. HC110 B gave me another option with full box speed and beautiful tones and low grain.

I was in New Orleans shooting Mardi Gras in 06 and ran out of Delta 400 which had become my standard 400 film. I found a camera store and all they had was TX which I thought was OK. I bought a bunch of it and finished my shoot. When I returned to my darkroom and processed it in HC110 B per Kodaks recommendations I was horrified at the thin negatives I got. My Delta was also processed in HC110 B and looked beautiful. The TX negs were printable but not optimal. It was very apparent something happened when TX was reformulated.

I ran a test on the new TX in both HC110 and my Rodinal soup and found I have to rate TX at 250 in HC110B and got terrible looking negs in my Rodinal soup. Even HC110 at 250 didn't have the tonality and look of old TX. I wound up going to HP5 and Neopan 400.
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Old 06-10-2017   #8
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Why not try a different developer? Or shoot a different film?
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Old 06-10-2017   #9
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TX is only TX in name since it was reformulated. Sad! It was one of the best films ever.

I'd suggest HP5 and HC110 B which is similar to old TX. For fine grain and beautiful sharp and full tonal scale negs TMax 400 in HC110 B or Delta 400 in HC110 B. I'm testing Bergger 400 right now but haven't printed any. I did test Fomapan Retro 320 and was very disappointed.
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Old 06-10-2017   #10
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Tri-X in Rodinal was my standard combo for a long time. Eventually I got fed up of the grain and switched to HC110. Higher temperature and constant agitation seemed to make matters worst. Also underexpose contributes to the problem.

If you really need to stick to this combination, try rating the film as 320asa, keep the Temperature steady at 20 oC and develop film with one gentle agitation every minute at 1:25 dilution. If you don't like the results, then maybe this combination is not for you.
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Old 06-10-2017   #11
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Your developer has little influence on sharpness, if your negatives are soft, changing developer won't really help.
Contrast is dependent primarily on the developing time, and secondarily on how much agitation you do.
Consistency is key, along with changing only one thing at a time. For example, if your source information suggests a time of 11 minutes at 68 degrees and you've tried that but want more contrast, then try a processing time of 12 minutes at 68 using the same agitation scheme.

As mentioned, Rodinal isn't a usual first choice for maintaining fine grain, in addition to the others mentioned you might want to try Kodak Xtol which will produce finer grain, almost as much sharpness and probably a little more speed, as compared to Rodinal. But whatever you choose, pick one and work with it for a while before trying something else.
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Old 06-10-2017   #12
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As others have said, Rodinal inherently produces more noticeable grain than a developer like D-76 or X-Tol, which have solvents in them (I believe that is part of what the sulfite is doing in the mix). If you are wedded to Rodinal and want finer grain, I would Google "Rodinal stand development", in which you develop for a long time with a very weak developer solution with no agitation at all. I have had good luck scanning negatives developed with that techique -- you get Rodinal's accutance, without exaggerated grain. There is still grain evident. But less and I found it pleasing.
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Old 06-10-2017   #13
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I'll answer your question, this is what I used:

TriX (200)Rodinal 1+50,14minutes,30seconds,3inversions every 3 minutes,68 degrees F

But even with this dilution and minimal agitation, I still felt the grain was too much for me. I agree the reformulated TX is different.
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Old 06-10-2017   #14
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As others have said, Rodinal inherently produces more noticeable grain than a developer like D-76 or X-Tol, which have solvents in them (I believe that is part of what the sulfite is doing in the mix). If you are wedded to Rodinal and want finer grain, I would Google "Rodinal stand development", in which you develop for a long time with a very weak developer solution with no agitation at all. I have had good luck scanning negatives developed with that techique -- you get Rodinal's accutance, without exaggerated grain. There is still grain evident. But less and I found it pleasing.
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Old 06-10-2017   #15
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Try Xtol. Either straight or diluted 1:1. 3 gentle inversions per minute.
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Old 06-10-2017   #16
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Fine if you like large grain. D76 or Xtol stock or diluted will give best results.

Do not fall for stand developing. Works sometimes, not always.

Developers give sharpness, fine grain, or film speed. Pick two.

D76 1:1 is classic. Adjust time until highlights are correct. Around 8/9 minutes for #2 paper and condenser enlarger. Add 10% for diffusion enlarger.
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Old 06-10-2017   #17
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I've been using Arista pro 400 and rodinal for the last year. Grain and contrast will be high no matter what. I do 12.5 min at 20c, 1+50 with minimal, very gentle, agitation. Keep in mind if your are scanning the grain will be accentuated. A wet print will look a lot less grainy.

I prefer HC110 but its hard to get around here!
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Old 06-10-2017   #18
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Another vote for HC110 for 35mm 400ASA.

I doubt the lab was using Rodinal unless you specifically asked them to do so. Likely they used something closer to D76, like Sprint or another commercial supplier of a middle of the road developer.
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Old 06-10-2017   #19
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I like Rodinal and Tri-X. Here are some examples:







Expose the film at EI-320 and develop it in Rodinal 1+50 for 11 minutes at 68 degrees (20C). Agitate the first 30 seconds, then agitate every 30 seconds by inverting the tanks two times.
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Old 06-10-2017   #20
papo
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OK, the results are in and they are defenitely too contrasty. Heres what i did:

1:50 Rodinal developer
15ml Ilfostop stopper with 285ml water
60ml Adofix fixer with 240ml water
1 little sprinkle of Adoflo wetting agent

Development: 12 minutes with 2x agitate (gently) every two minutes
Stopper: 1 min, 1 agitation
Fixer: 3 mins, 1 agitation per minute
Washer: several rounds of fresh water at the same temperature (does temp even matter when washing?) until the bubbly from the washer was gone

I would be willing to switch developers but i dont like powder stuff so what developer would you recommend? I liked DDX with HP5 plus btw so i wonder if thats a good combo. Thanks.
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Old 06-10-2017   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papo View Post
OK, the results are in and they are defenitely too contrasty. Heres what i did:

1:50 Rodinal developer
15ml Ilfostop stopper with 285ml water
60ml Adofix fixer with 240ml water
1 little sprinkle of Adoflo wetting agent

Development: 12 minutes with 2x agitate (gently) every two minutes
Stopper: 1 min, 1 agitation
Fixer: 3 mins, 1 agitation per minute
Washer: several rounds of fresh water at the same temperature (does temp even matter when washing?) until the bubbly from the washer was gone

I would be willing to switch developers but i dont like powder stuff so what developer would you recommend? I liked DDX with HP5 plus btw so i wonder if thats a good combo. Thanks.

You'll probably like DDX. I have not tried it with Tri-X but it gives results in other films similar to Kodak's Tmax Developer, which i have used a lot for Tri-X. It has finer grain than Rodinal.

Do you like the grittier texture that Rodinal gives, but were getting too much contrast? If so, try reducing the developing time. Try 10 minutes. Any developer can give normal contrast IF you don't overdevelop. If you're getting too much contrast, a shorter dev. time will fix it.

If you don't like the grain of Rodinal, try DDX or Tmax Developer, they'll give finer grain.
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400TX and HC110 B
Old 06-10-2017   #22
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400TX and HC110 B

the published development times for new tri-x and HC-110 B are wrong.
See http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/hc110/, quoted below:

Kodak's published time for the new 400TX film in dilution B is 3 3/4 minutes at 68 F. That is too short to be practical, and I think they have made a serious mistake; it looks to me like the time for dilution A. I think
they used the wrong dilution in their testing for both 400TX and 125PX.
Numerous photographers tell me that the correct time for 400TX is only a few percent shorter than for the old TX. Even Kodak told me the same thing – though they insist that they didn't mix up the dilutions. However, it's generally agreed that Kodak's published time of 7.5 minutes for TX in
dilution B was a bit long. Most photographers recommend about 6 to 7 minutes.
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Old 06-10-2017   #23
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I use Adox Rodinal + tri-x almost exclusively. I arrived at this combination after trying stuff like DD-X, X-tol. I really like the sharpness and tight grain. I never seek minimise grain, else why would you shoot film?

I would say start from the suggestions on the massive dev chart. Then look at Chris Crawford's site - he has suggestions for Rodinal (1+50) and tri-x.

Finally, a couple of points. Firstly, tri-x is at best ISO 250 in Rodinal, which is what I shoot it at. So it is a daylight film, and night stuff is murky and unwholesome.

Secondly, it helps to develop at 18c to improve the grain structure. Suggest you experiment with slightly increased time to compensate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by papo View Post
I have developed film in the past and compared to the lab, they all look terrible.

Grain size and amount was crazy, images lack sharpness and contrast so i wonder, what could i possibly do to improve my developing? How do you develop this combo in order to get good results? I shot the Trix at 400 ISO (135 film).

My Setup:

Patterson tank (2 rolls)
Rodinal developer
Adofix fixer
Adoflo wetting agent
Ilfostop stopper

I hope this is not too vague of a description. Thanks!
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Old 06-10-2017   #24
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Rodinal for Tri-X is not the best option. You will get nice results, but with grain that you might not like. Here are a couple of samples of what one can expect:

Rodinal 1+50

A wrecked point of view.

Notice that although grainy it has a high level of acutance.

Rodinal 1+25 (a bit less acutance, but still very sharp)
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Old 06-10-2017   #25
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I'm a fan of Rodinal and Tri-X at 1:50 for 400ISO and 1:100 for pushing all the way out to 3200iso with stand development. Sharp negs with nice tonality. The grain is certainly larger than other developers, so if that's in issue, it's not the developer for you.

I keep other developers around if I want less pronounced grain, D76 is always good to have handy.

But as others have said, I don't might the look of Rodinal grain, it's quite nice. If I want grainless images, I'll shoot medium format or digital.
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Old 06-10-2017   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikos72 View Post
Rodinal for Tri-X is not the best option. You will get nice results, but with grain that you might not like. Here are a couple of samples of what one can expect:

Rodinal 1+50

A wrecked point of view.

Notice that although grainy it has a high level of acutance.

Rodinal 1+25 (a bit less acutance, but still very sharp)
I actually like the look that Rodinal gave those photos, especially the one of the round window. The gritty texture and tonality are gorgeous.
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Old 06-11-2017   #27
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By the way, heres some results

http://imgur.com/a/bPJww

http://imgur.com/faTDWzq
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Old 06-11-2017   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papo View Post
By the way, heres some results

http://imgur.com/a/bPJww

http://imgur.com/faTDWzq

Those look great to me. Were they the ones you didn't like that you developed in Rodinal for 12 minutes, or are they from another developer?
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Old 06-11-2017   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
Those look great to me. Were they the ones you didn't like that you developed in Rodinal for 12 minutes, or are they from another developer?
yes these are the ones. the images have too much grittyness and contrast for my taste, i will defo try a different developer.

as for the fixer and stopper, is there something of a general rule of thumb on how to proceed (dilution,agitation etc)?
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Old 06-11-2017   #30
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As a previous poster has mentioned, the published times for Tri-X and HC-110B are wrong. The correct time is almost the same as for the "old" Tri-X, namely 6-7 minutes. Used with these times at box speed, the Tri-X / HC-110 dilution B combo is hard to beat.
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Old 06-12-2017   #31
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The late Patrick Gainer published an article in the Jan/Feb 2002 Photo Techniques on using Rodinal with salt, sodium sulfite and sodium ascorbate (vitamin C).

His tests showed that the Rodinal + Vitamin C gave the best combo of sharpness and grain.

I'm scanning these pages and if you want to see them, PM with your email.
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Old 06-12-2017   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFujicaman View Post
The late Patrick Gainer published an article in the Jan/Feb 2002 Photo Techniques on using Rodinal with salt, sodium sulfite and sodium ascorbate (vitamin C).

His tests showed that the Rodinal + Vitamin C gave the best combo of sharpness and grain.

I'm scanning these pages and if you want to see them, PM with your email.
That was using the old version TX. Around 2006 Kodak dramatically changed TX and it no longer works well with Sulfite. I e tried several times. Rodinal and sodium Sulfite was my standard combination for many years prior to 2006. TX today is only TX in name and is a very different film than what was available pre 2006.
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Old 06-12-2017   #33
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Hi,
I use Rodinal and Tri-x lots. I mix Rodinal from scratch,
there's only two or three chemicals. I mixed a liter 4
years ago and still have almost half. I like the grain.
My largest print size is 8x12 inches from 35mm.
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