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I'm absolutely no expert on film, but I don't think it bears any resemblance to reticulation. As far as I'm concerned, I like the look of the images presented in this thread, and don't see the grain in them as particularly egregious for Tri-X. A lot of people use the film for precisely this sort of look - I'd be really pleased if I'd taken them. The only thing is that (as frame-it said) maybe some unsharp masking has been applied after scanning - some scanning workflows include it by d

These don't look particularly egregious to me. I think if you shoot Tri-X on 35mm and you exposed reasonably generously and they gave it substantial development (which it looks like, given the contrast) and used a standard developer like D76, then it can be rather grainy. We are attuned to digital now, which is exceptionally grainless. 35mm film IS grainy...it is why Tri-X was considered a high speed film, and people were shooting IS 25-50 films for finer grain. Given the level of grain in these

OK I am getting the b&w workflow down, below is on TMax 100, a 15 year old 100ft roll I found in my photo stuff. I am photographing with my CL on the slide copier have described, , at the exposure that is correct in the camera. So I have a 16 bit DNG file, in ACR I reverse the curve and change it to b&w, I have to see how to save the curve in the latest ACR, results have been consistent. I make minor adjustments to highlights and shadows, black and white with the snow, then I open the fi

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On 1/14/2020 at 1:37 AM, dkmoore said:

Anything peculiar? 

Thanks for this. This is not a definitive answer, but the 'grain' here also bears a similarity to reticulated emulsion, although at a finer scale than often seen. For more information, you can see this article from Ilford. However, as the article explains, nowadays reticulated film would be very unusual and to deliberately cause it emulsions have to be stressed much more than they would under normal conditions. Note that reticulation should be visible under high magnification as a physical 'crazing' of the emulsion surface; if the surface has a normal 'smooth' appearance then the pattern is caused within the emulsion and therefore be the 'grain' itself.

Nevertheless, it can happen - I've experienced once, even when the film was processed normally. In principle, it could happen if there was a fault in the manufacturing of the emulsion but this would cause a widespread outbreak and cause many questions / complaints; if only it happens on odd rolls from the same batch of film, it would be much more likely to be the result of the processing.

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11 hours ago, Richardgb said:

Thanks for this. This is not a definitive answer, but the 'grain' here also bears a similarity to reticulated emulsion, although at a finer scale than often seen.

I'm absolutely no expert on film, but I don't think it bears any resemblance to reticulation.

As far as I'm concerned, I like the look of the images presented in this thread, and don't see the grain in them as particularly egregious for Tri-X. A lot of people use the film for precisely this sort of look - I'd be really pleased if I'd taken them.

The only thing is that (as frame-it said) maybe some unsharp masking has been applied after scanning - some scanning workflows include it by default. Like I said, I wouldn't mind it, but if the OP doesn't like it, then make sure there's no sharpening before they get the files.

And in future choose another film - maybe one of the Ilford films known for less prominent grain.

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37 minutes ago, plasticman said:

I'm absolutely no expert on film, but I don't think it bears any resemblance to reticulation.

As far as I'm concerned, I like the look of the images presented in this thread, and don't see the grain in them as particularly egregious for Tri-X. A lot of people use the film for precisely this sort of look - I'd be really pleased if I'd taken them.

The only thing is that (as frame-it said) maybe some unsharp masking has been applied after scanning - some scanning workflows include it by default. Like I said, I wouldn't mind it, but if the OP doesn't like it, then make sure there's no sharpening before they get the files.

And in future choose another film - maybe one of the Ilford films known for less prominent grain.

Yes. As I responded at the start of this thread the images looked much as I would expect Tri X to look. Maybe scanning technique/equipment might allow the grain to be 'softened' a little but essentially the image is the grain and the grain is the image!

400 ISO was (is) a fast film. 100/125 would be considered a 'normal' film and for fine grain you would use something like Ilford Pan F which is 50 ISO. 

I would suggest searching Flickr for 'Tri X' and looking at some of the photos there. The guy who processed the film hasn't done anything wrong here. 

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A couple of points.

Never sharpen when scanning, apply sharpening when processing the image. 

Reticulation comes from drastic temperature changes during processing, not controlling the temperature of the wash can do it, especially super cold water, or the temperature of the water getting hot during processing either one. How the photographers of the early 1900's could wash prints and films in streams is beyond me.

Time in the developer doesn't necessarily increase grain, if you over develop that will increase grain, but each developer and film has their own characteristics, time vs temperature. Back in the day Kodak Microdol X was the developer to bring down grain in films it's times were 9 minutes at 20 degrees C, if I remember correctly, but it produced "mushy" grain and most photographers used D76 with TriX.

Developing film under 5 minutes in a standard tank (Nikkor, Paterson) can cause uneven development. 

Edited by tommonego@gmail.com
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I find the photos beautiful! both images even though the boy might be a bit on the grainy side.

I too recently shot with a M7 and B&W XP2-400 and got much worse grainy results compared to your photos. So I "Photo-shopped" them with a noise removal function and they then look super clean, grand kids photos similar to yours. But now their faces look artificial (robot "plasticy") to my eye i.e. lost every piece of character, so not a solution there.

I did order a few prints from a lab and they actually came out quite good, 4" x 6", and a single 8" x 12", so maybe we are too demanding when looking at huge images on a Computer screen? I have used "TheDarkroom.com" in San Diego with good results a number of times, they use ILFORD Black and White Silver Gelatin Photographic Paper.

I need to follow the proposal to try out a 100 iso and TMax because it's a bit sad to get back to film only to find images that one doesn't like, and maybe I just haven't got the hang of Film yet 🙂

In your case I would have a few print made and see what results you get.

Preben

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5 hours ago, pridbor said:

 

I need to follow the proposal to try out a 100 iso and TMax because it's a bit sad to get back to film only to find images that one doesn't like, and maybe I just haven't got the hang of Film yet 🙂

 

TMax is a great film especially TMax 100, it has absolutely no visible grain if processed well. TMax 400 is better than TriX grainwise, but will have some grain. But both TMax films needs a compensating developer, I use TMax Pro developer, like the results when I do the processing. 2 out of 3 outside labs I used had results I didn't like, mostly loss of detail in the shadows, and blocking of the highlights. I find this when I use a developer like D-76 with TMax. 

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I normally post in the Collector thread, but since I USE my old Leicas, I have a film developing question that is being addressed in this thread. Compared to user reviews of common Kodak and Ilford B&W films, I feel that the results I get from Montreal's commercial lab (where almost all films are sent by the photo shops) show more grain than I would expect. So I wonder if my films are being processed with the correct developer chemicals and process, as recommended by their manufacturers, or maybe all the B&W films are subjected to a general-purpose developer and process, so the results are not optimal.

I understand that grain appearance is all relative and subjective, but I would like to obtain the best results from each film I use. What questions could I ask the lab (assuming I can reach the developer technician) to find out what they do, and how to get optimal results?

Or, to try for optimal results, how difficult is it to develop my own B&W films at home?

Last month (using a 1933 Leica III, with a 1953 Elmar 5cm in excellent condition) I shot a roll of Ilford HP5 Plus 400 for the first time. To me the grain appears more visible than I expected compared to user reviews of that film. Here is an example picture (reduced to the Forum size limit), centre-cropped about 75%, shot at f5.6 and 1/500 sec.

 

 

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1 hour ago, ironringer said:

I normally post in the Collector thread, but since I USE my old Leicas, I have a film developing question that is being addressed in this thread. Compared to user reviews of common Kodak and Ilford B&W films, I feel that the results I get from Montreal's commercial lab (where almost all films are sent by the photo shops) show more grain than I would expect. So I wonder if my films are being processed with the correct developer chemicals and process, as recommended by their manufacturers, or maybe all the B&W films are subjected to a general-purpose developer and process, so the results are not optimal.

I understand that grain appearance is all relative and subjective, but I would like to obtain the best results from each film I use. What questions could I ask the lab (assuming I can reach the developer technician) to find out what they do, and how to get optimal results?

Or, to try for optimal results, how difficult is it to develop my own B&W films at home?

Last month (using a 1933 Leica III, with a 1953 Elmar 5cm in excellent condition) I shot a roll of Ilford HP5 Plus 400 for the first time. To me the grain appears more visible than I expected compared to user reviews of that film. Here is an example picture (reduced to the Forum size limit), centre-cropped about 75%, shot at f5.6 and 1/500 sec.

 

 

Developing your own films will be more satisfying and give you better control of the results. Commercial developers will use the same process for all compatible films.

You do not need too much equipment to develop your own: a “changing bag” to load the film into the tank if you are unable to find somewhere pitch black to do it. A developing tank, thermometer, jugs, developer, stop bath, fixer, “wetting agent” to help avoid watermarks in the final rinse and a couple of film clips to hang the film up to dry.

You can probably find all those things second hand or as a starter pack from a mail order traditional photo supplier. 

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I just switched over to developing at home, didn't like what I was getting in b&w from labs. I bought a couple of rolls of TMax 400, but found a 100 ft roll of TMax100 in some old photo stuff, from when I moved here 15 years ago. The TMax 100 being very out of date is working fine. To develop your own film.

1) you need a developing tank, I like stainless steel ones, the reels are thinner and they take less chemistry.

2) A place to load film, I don't like changing bags for 35mm, others use them, my upstairs bathroom doesn't have a window so it is perfect at night. 

3) Chemistry, probably the biggest expense, shipping is expensive, I don't have a photo store within 100 miles of where I live. 

4) graduates to measure chemistry, a 500cc, 1L, and a 2L should work. Paterson graduates work well.

5) A place with water to develop film, kitchens work well but ours was just redone and my wife said no. So I use our downstairs bathroom for this. Tip: pre wetting the film helps a lot. Use Fixer Remover/Hypo Clearing Agent.

6) Water to wash film, I use 3 2L graduates which is perfect for the whole process with wash with a 500cc tank. I do 10 changes of water soaking the film for 30 sec between changes. Saves a lot of water and works just as well continuous water. 

Have fun!

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On 1/21/2020 at 1:04 AM, ironringer said:

I normally post in the Collector thread, but since I USE my old Leicas, I have a film developing question that is being addressed in this thread. Compared to user reviews of common Kodak and Ilford B&W films, I feel that the results I get from Montreal's commercial lab (where almost all films are sent by the photo shops) show more grain than I would expect. So I wonder if my films are being processed with the correct developer chemicals and process, as recommended by their manufacturers, or maybe all the B&W films are subjected to a general-purpose developer and process, so the results are not optimal.

I understand that grain appearance is all relative and subjective, but I would like to obtain the best results from each film I use. What questions could I ask the lab (assuming I can reach the developer technician) to find out what they do, and how to get optimal results?

Or, to try for optimal results, how difficult is it to develop my own B&W films at home?

Last month (using a 1933 Leica III, with a 1953 Elmar 5cm in excellent condition) I shot a roll of Ilford HP5 Plus 400 for the first time. To me the grain appears more visible than I expected compared to user reviews of that film. Here is an example picture (reduced to the Forum size limit), centre-cropped about 75%, shot at f5.6 and 1/500 sec.

Processing B&W film is easy and fast, and lets you see how the different types of developers affect grain and perception of sharpness. On eBay try to find a Nikor tank for a single 35mm reel - it is the smallest practical tank, and uses only 250 ml to fill. (I can load, process and hang to dry a single roll in about 20 minutes, using only about 2 liters of filtered water for everything including wash.)  I'd suggest getting a Hewes 35mm reel, as it is easier to load than the old Nikor and cheaper reels. (I used Nikor for almost 50 years before finding Hewes.)  The stainless reels load from the center out (bowing the film slightly to fit between the spirals, hook onto the center and wind outward while your fingers keep a slight bow to the film.) Plastic reels load from the outside in. That's faster to learn, but slower than stainless once you master it. The plastic tanks are much larger, and generally need more liquid to fill.

Although I converted my guest bath for darkroom use (with a slip-in blackout panel for the window) I now always use a large changing bag to load film into the tank and process film with the lights on. I only convert to DARK when I want to make a wet print with the enlarger. Wet printing is much more complex than film developing, so I normally scan to computer unless I find an exceptional image. I'm out of practice for wet printing, but was fast and proficient when it was the only choice, and I had a dedicated darkroom set up for printing! Now I guess I'm too lazy.

HP5 can be quite grainy depending on developer and technique. If you use Rodinal (very convenient and versatile) the results look sharp, but with emphasized grain. For HP5 Ilford DD-X gives much finer grain and is what I usually use for HP5. Both of these are liquids that you dilute for each use and discard. For fine grain films (PanF is my favorite) I prefer Rodinal with PanF for its tonal range and apparent sharpness. (Better defined grain make the image appear sharper.)

I find Ilford films (PanF, FP4, HP5) generally easier to load onto reels and scan than current Kodak, as they lay flatter and feel a bit stiffer. However, Fomapan 100 & 400 lay even flatter for scanning and seem to load easiest. I only discovered Foma in the last year, and now use it most. It's also cheaper for my retirement budget.

If you are used to having the lab scan, you'll find it hard to achieve equivalent sharpness with most home scanners, but results should be fine for viewing on computer screens. Like making wet prints with an enlarger, scanning can be an art form to really tweak results, but I'm usually satisfied with the default scans from my Epson 850.

Edited by TomB_tx
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  • 2 weeks later...

Beautiful pictures.

The grain looks within a normal range to me. But could be a bit pronounced due sharpening in the digital process. If he uses a mini-lab-scanner it could be that it is a automated process and he has only rather few possibilities to make changes there, but I don't know.

There was a similar discussion in the german forum a while ago where I posted to examples how different TRI-X can look just depending on exposure:
https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/235207-rollei-blackbird-was-ist-hier-schiefgelaufen/?do=findComment&comment=2686823
One picture is on the edge of underexposure the other is well exposed.

With negative-film underexposure enhances the grain pretty effectively, so don't expose for the highlights like in digital or with slide-film.

Depending on the scanner and the scanning software, grain can be also increased strongly with wrong settings. Often it is better to scan without sharpening, but you have to find out.

In general I have the impression that scanning B&W films accentuate the grain, while the photographic paper in the classical printing process tend to reduce the grain due to it's slight unsharpness in finest details. But I never proofed this with a test.

The developer also has a influence on graininess. As stated T-MAX film could have a much finer grain as the TRI-X with the right developer. But when I use it for example with Rodinal I got a grain nearly as strong as with TRI-X and then I like the TRI-X grain more, because it's sharper. With my fine grain developer T-MAX has tremendous fine grain but only reaches 200 ASA since the highlights get blown if I develop to full speed. There you have to find a good combination.

Maybe the most important, the TRI-X of today is not the same as the one in the sixties. When I was a student one of my professors told me that the photographic material has grown worse over the years. Unfortunately I couldn't really proof this because it was not possible to get fresh material from the past, but some experience with old films give me an idea. But a few years ago there was an great exhibition that shows the winers of 50 years of the Deutschen Jugendfotopreis, a competition from juveniles. There it becomes pretty clear: from the 1950ties until 1970 the bw-prints was mostly excellent. No grain, sharp, deep blacks and a great tonality. After 1970 it becomes gray and grainy. And all these pictures was made from pupils that don't have fancy professional stuff, mostly just cheap amateur equipment. So I don't wonder that Jim Marshalls pictures looked much better then today.
I guess to get a quality that comes near like the one in the past today you have to use all possible tricks of optimization.

A bit finer grain should be possible, but don't expect wonders;-)

Edited by fotomas
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I'm afraid I disagree a bit. Sure grain is visible here, but what we're really seeing is what lab scans do to images by having sharpening turned on too much. So this is grain accentuated by the scanner which creates this bizarre uniform noise-like texture that really doesn't look anything like film grain. 

Scanning (and developing) at home will give full control and is recommended.

On 1/14/2020 at 2:36 AM, dkmoore said:

 

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On 1/14/2020 at 1:53 AM, Stuart Richardson said:

Yes, don't try Bergger 200, haha. The picture of me below was taken on Bergger 200 on 35mm...developed in Xtol, a fine grain developer. Grain is not always a bad thing, but it can be a bit much...

I've had images like this before that were caused by under exposure errors that were auto corrected by the scanner. Most scanners are set to auto expose which masks exposure errors. If you look at the negs you can tell to a degree if the exposure was off.  You can also ask your lab to not correct exposure during scan. 

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1 hour ago, PaulJohn said:

I've had images like this before that were caused by under exposure errors that were auto corrected by the scanner. Most scanners are set to auto expose which masks exposure errors. If you look at the negs you can tell to a degree if the exposure was off.  You can also ask your lab to not correct exposure during scan. 

Thanks Paul, but I am the lab! I have run a lab and fine art printing service for the last 12 years. The negs were fine, but this film in 35mm is exceptionally grainy. It was specifically designed to be a very high silver content film, generally used in 4x5 to give a classic look. I tried the 35mm and found it a touch intense. The photo might have been a bit of a crop too, but I do not recall, it is from 2015.

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17 minutes ago, Stuart Richardson said:

Thanks Paul, but I am the lab! I have run a lab and fine art printing service for the last 12 years. The negs were fine, but this film in 35mm is exceptionally grainy. It was specifically designed to be a very high silver content film, generally used in 4x5 to give a classic look. I tried the 35mm and found it a touch intense. The photo might have been a bit of a crop too, but I do not recall, it is from 2015.

Please accept my apologies. I guess you know too well about the issues of scanning poorly exposed film. I’m relatively inexperienced but have had time to benefit from a lot of mistakes.

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