TRI-X + Rodinal 01

Nikon F3 + 28mm f2.8, TRI-X + Rodinal, Alicate Spain, Scanned on Minolta Scan Elite 5400

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have decided to give the combination of TRI-X and Rodinal another go. To that end I shot 6 rolls while I was in Allicante, Spain and finished them off here in London. Well, I have developed the first 3 rolls and in no particular order and will discuss my findings here.

There is no surprise that the negatives were quite sharp with a long tonal scale, all of which I expected. However, the grain was large not clumpy but evenly dispersed through the images. Did I just say GRAIN, oh my, it’s there and proud of itself, so if you don’t like grain stop here and forget about this combination.

The development time and agitation was dictated by an app that I downloaded. It’s called Massive Dev sheet, which can be easily found on the web here (http://www.digitaltruth.com/apps/mdc/). The app called for 9 min in total with agitation for the first full min and then 10 seconds on the 12 every minute. This meant the film developer combination was standing for 50 seconds in every minute. Also as is my custom I pre-soaked for 1 min at 68 degrees which promotes even development. The same temperature that all the chemistry was used at.

So how did they look? First I have to say, the F3 continued to work well with no hitches whatsoever and the negatives were very well exposed and quite sharp. Although, I did find walking around with it to be a bit heavy and slow. I have grown very used to carrying a mirrorless camera around with me, so the extra weight was noticeable and also the slowness of the camera itself. I’m currently carrying a Fuji XPRO-2 which I have to say is a very sympatico camera for me.

Now back to the negatives. The shadows were fine, well-defined with excellent contrast and extending quite a bit down into the darkness. The highlights were reasonably well controlled and not blown out on any frame and I scanned all frames. However, and this is the rub for me on this first pass. I have given this a few days to percolate in my mind and have come to the conclusion that the mid-tones do not have sufficient micro contrast in them. This resulted in mid tones that were not particularly handsome, actually rather dirty looking. Overall the images had a rather dirty look to them. Not at all what I was expecting and at first I wondered if the TRI-X formulation had changed since I last used it some 20 years ago. But I have settled on the thought that it was the development agitation cycle which didn’t create enough mid-tone contrast. At least that’s what I think and I’ll stick with that for now.

So the next 3 rolls will be developed for the same time I indicated above but the agitation cycle will change. I have decided to agitate for the first full minute and then 5 seconds in every 30. I hope this will counter the compensating affect, which would have been created with all the stand time of the first development agitation cycle.

I have posted a few samples of the images here for you to look at and one that was created from my XPRO-2. You will easily be ably to see which is which although they are tagged appropriately. I post the digital one because it was taken at the same time as the B&W in Alicante and has the same contrast range. I do think it handles the scene better.

Nikon F3 + 28mm f2.8, TRI-X + Rodinal, London UK, Scanned on Minolta Scan Elite 5400

Nikon F3 + 28mm f2.8, TRI-X + Rodinal, Alicate Spain, Scanned on Minolta Scan Elite 5400

Nikon F3 + 28mm f2.8, TRI-X + Rodinal, London UK, Scanned on Minolta Scan Elite 5400

Nikon F3 + 28mm f2.8, TRI-X + Rodinal, London UK, Scanned on Minolta Scan Elite 5400

XPRO-2, 23mm F2.0, Alicante Spain,

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