It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post so I thought I ought to do something to reassure my reader that I’m still here! With a compromised immune system I’m being a little careful about social interaction but have been very busy indoors including a full day in my makeshift darkroom recently.
Looking at my notes I see I’ve shot over thirty rolls of film this year already, a mix of 35mm and 120 medium format. Twenty six of those I developed before cracking my tank last week so I have five awaiting the delivery of a replacement tank. I’ve opted for a larger tank this time so I can develop two 120 rolls, or three 35mm, at the same time.
A few of those rolls have been created by a newly acquired Bronica ETRS and a trio of lenses (40mm, 75mm and 250mm). I’ve shot medium format many times over the years. I’ve previously shot with a Pentax 645 (the only camera I’ve ever regretted selling), I also have a Hasselblad 500CM, Mamiya C3 TLR and a Mamiya RB67 in my bag all of which I’ve used recently. So I’m no stranger to medium format. But, the Bronica has stolen my heart at the moment. At 6×4.5 it’s the smallest of my medium format cameras but it’s SLR-like handling is a joy. I also have the option to swap in a waist level viewfinder for that traditional MF experience too.
There will be more to come over the months I’m sure but for now stay safe and take care!
A week or so ago I was considering selling this little camera … but since then I’ve shot five 36 exposure rolls with the Ricoh and haven’t left home without it.
I’ve shot with it in the rain, on the bus and even in the sunshine (although not many sunny frames) and it hasn’t missed a beat. So, it will be staying – it’s sat on the table next to me already loaded with a roll of TMax – but I still need to decide on a camera or three to release back into the wild!
Another digital scan of a darkroom print. This one is a 10″x8″ print on Fotospeed RCVC Oyster paper.
Taken with a Canon EOS 600 with a cheap and cheerful 28-105mm lens and the film was out of date Kodak 400TX, commercially developed, which had been in the camera since 2016 before I finished the roll recently. The print was a straight print with no dodging or burning.
As a brief follow-up to the Stand Development post, here is an image printed in the darkroom from one of those negatives.
A brief recap. The camera was a Nikon EM with a 50mm “E” lens. The film, Kodak 400TX (expired circa 2013) with this particular image being taken in early 2016, so the latent image has been languishing in the camera for over three years.
The print is grainier than I would prefer but as I already noted this was not the perfect situation for trying stand development. However, this is a straight print and despite the tonal differences between Zac and his background the whole print had a 17 second exposure under the enlarger and I have not needed to use contrast filters or any dodging and burning.
So, whilst it is unlikely that I shall be using stand development for 400 ISO films in the future I shall certainly be employing the technique from time to time and it’s a useful tool in my developing (pun intended) toolkit.
In the past I’ve always developed my 35mm black and white films using Ilford’s Ilfosol film developer, diluted at recommended ratios and developed for the recommended number of minutes. Such a little conformist! So, for my first film development in three years I decided to break with my own tradition and try stand development. No reason other than I wanted to try it out for myself having read a lot about it recently.
I was developing two rolls of Kodak 400TX which insofar as I can determine both expired in 2015. I’ve read mixed reports on Tri-X stand developed in Rodinal but decided to give it a whirl for myself. Nothing like mixing up all the variables!
My chosen workflow is an adaptation that has been based on the many recipes and slightly different approaches that I’ve been reading about.
Prewash in room temperature water 10 minutes
Rodinal diluted 1:100 at 20 degrees. Agitate using full inversions for 30 seconds, tap the tank twice on table top, leave for 60 minutes, agitating once at 30 minutes (which technically makes this semi-stand development)
Stop bath, 1 minute (I used Ilfostop diluted 1:19 as I had it to hand)
Fix using Ilford Rapid Fixer at 1:4 for 5 minutes (again it was what I had to hand)
Wash 10 minutes using the “Ilford method”. Fill the tank with water and invert 3 times and leave to stand for 1 minute, change the water and invert 6 times, and leave to stand for 1 minute, then change water and invert 12 times, leave to stand and finally you agitate 24 times before leaving to stand for another minute.
Final wash in room temperature water with a few drops of Adoflo II wetting agent
Hang to dry in bathroom – threatening Grandsons with dire consequences if they touch them!
And the verdict?
Seriously … this was tedious …
Seriously, compared to normal film development, this was tedious although to be fair, now I know what to expect I’d use the two thirty minute “breaks” to have lunch or catch up on my forum reading.
The two strips of negatives are currently drying but my first look at them was very positive. I have 72 decent-looking negatives and whilst I’ve not looked at them closely my first impressions are fairly good. They have a full range of tones, look clean and sharp and blemish free. They do appear to lack a little contrast although that is the price of getting a full range of tones I guess. Grain looks a little harsher than I expected from this film in the past but it must be remembered that they are out of date films, with one film having sat in the camera, part-exposed, for around four years and the negatives are definitely usable. And as I intimated earlier, not everyone recommends stand development of Kodak 400XT.
Will I use the process again? Yes – absolutely, although I’d like to try it with one of my better lenses, fresh film and also an emulsion that doesn’t get such mixed reviews for stand development. But first I’m looking forward to printing some of these in the cellar darkroom.
Fujifilm Neopan 400 black and white film was discontinued around 2013 I believe. It was never a film I played with much back in the day, being more of a Tri-X or HP5 kinda guy, but I clearly bought a few rolls of 120 film around 2010 because I’ve just unearthed the negatives!
Now I’m told that Neopan 400 was never the greatest film in the world and I shall take other peoples word for it but I must have bought a few rolls as I’ve found negatives from a Pentax 645 as well as the Mamiya RB67.
On Wednesday I put seven rolls of exposed film in the post for developing by Digitalab in Newcastle. Watch this space!