Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Strange New Development

I am unafraid of getting chemicals on my hands (figuratively) and mixing up concoctions. I have spent my share of time in the lab and have even blown a couple of things up, so mixing up photochemistry is not a problem. Additionally, I am comfortable with a certain amount of uncertainty in my photographic outcomes. I don't shoot weddings anymore, so no world is going to end if I totally screw up what I am doing. So when I recently became aware that X-tol and Rodinal could be mixed and that the results might encapsulate the best of both of those developers, I was on it. I had some X-tol powder that I weigh into 1L portions and I had some Parodinal, so I figured I would shoot some 4x5 Kodak CSG and some Arista Ortho Litho and see what came out of it. Normally, I would develop CSG shot at iso 80 in parodinal diluted 1:100 for 4.5 minutes, so I used that as a starting point and at the last minute decided to cut it in half. I shot the Arista at iso 3, but I haven't worked much with this film, so I don't have a standard development for it. My standard dilution for X-tol is 1+3. So 250 mL of X-tol, 5 mL of parodinal and top off to 1L. Nothing exploded, so I figured I was good to go. I chose 5 minutes with 4 inversions every minute. The temp was probably around 68F. Stop was with tap water, changed 4 times. Fix was 2 minutes in Ilford Rapid Fix. Both of these films have extremely thin emulsion layers and actually fix in about 15 seconds.

The Ortho Litho turned out with VERY high contrast as might be expected. Here are a couple of the shots.

SpeedGraphic-AristaOL-pan01
SpeedGraphic-AristaOL-pan03

The CSG was much more tame and the negs looked 'normal' as far as exposure and density goes. I think the grain might be a bit smoother with this X-tol based developer. Hard to say without some sort of side by side with the same exposure of the same subject, but my gut says it is smoother. I know, not very scientific, but this is my hobby not my job. I don't have to be quantitative if I don't want to.

SpeedGraphic-KodakCSG-pan01 SpeedGraphic-KodakCSG-pan02