Film Testing Kodak 400TX and Diafine Developer

Amazing couple of days running dozens of different developer tests all with 400TX… love the look of the grain and depth of this film! In the end I came back to an old friend but with a new twist. Diafine is back in my life in a big way! Diluted 1:1 and used as a one shot developer it is spot on in my JOBO with very nice grain, great tonality, no processing issues and best of all a usable EI from about 100-1250 (the chart shows 200-1600… I think 1600 is a bit on the edge for my works but is totally usable in a pinch. So again, in a JOBO speed is 4, temp does not really matter but I ran at 75F, Dilute part A and B 1:1… I did 3.5 minutes in each followed by a 2 min wash with water then fix (box time), clear (box time) and hang to dry…. easy as pie!


Of course an advantage of Diafine that I have written about here before is that many different films can be souped at the same time which is a huge time saver. Diafine negs are a bit flat and do requiere an “S” curve in PS to make me happy but I am now quite happy indeed. I will post links to Diafine articles I have written and a great one from a friend Sandy King from View Camera.


My suggest EI…. 800.

Viva la Revolution– Stephen

All images shot with a Leica MP with a 35MM Summicron ASPH… on Film!


Sandy King Article Diafine…. a must read!

as for articles here… there are a lot!!!! Just type in Diafine in the search box and enjoy!

Also please note these were just quick scans (first set) as I am leaving tomorrow for a week of shooting but the final scan (last image) is quite nice and shows the real potential for this amazing combo.

Something for the Holidays

The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, Fourth Edition is a must-have for every serious photographer… period.  An earlier edition was a constant resource for me while at RIT and now this newer edition is my Xmas gift to myself this year… it is expensive but well worth it. It is quite thick and full of very useful content on just about every photographic topic imaginable from film to digital and beyond… and if the heat bills get too high this winter I can burn it to stay warm… or my wife could throw it at me to knock some sense into me or perhaps I could learn something about this wonderful medium we all love… either way it will be my constant companion for the dark winter months here in VT. Be sure to add this gem to your holiday wish-list today!

Viva la Revolution- Stephen

LINK to Amazon

A Few of my Favorite Films

AudioBlog LogoClick on the audio logo to listen to this 10 minute discussion on my favorite films both black and white and color and which developer combo I use at Indian Hill Imageworks for the vast majority of my artworks.

Stand Development – Part 1

RO9This is part one in a multi-part article on stand development and semi-stand development (BW) for the purposes of scanning. I have been spending much time looking at different dilutions, different agitation techniques, different recipies and I have come up with a good working solution for my tested films that produces perfect results every time.

AudioBlog LogoTo listen to the audioblog portion of this post … just click on the Audio Logo.

Many of you know I really like Diafine Developer (I have written several articles here on its fantastic qualities for scanning)… the techniques I am about to outline have many of the advantages of Diafine but with finer grain and better highlight separation.

Before we get started, here is a shopping list if you want to try this technique for yourself:

Film: Fuji Acros or Kodak TMY-2 (New TMAX 400)
R09 “One Shot” Developer (Rodinal Replacement)
Kodak Xtol Developer
Ascorbic  Acid
Or you can use 20 Mule Team Borax found at most Supermarkets.
Distilled Water (a few gallons)
Plus you will need, of course, your standard darkroom chems: stop bath, fixer, and hypo.

Stay tuned for Part 2 in two days!

Viva la Revolution- Stephen

Ethical Note: I do not endorse any vendor of photographic material over another. The links provided above are just an easy source to find the materials needed but by no means are the best or only source.

High Speed Pinhole and Zone Plate Photography, Part 3

AudioBlog Logo

The final installment of this series provides information on all films tested, thoughts on Zone Plate and Pinhole as it relates to these films and observations and conclusion on this process. The audio portion can be heard by clicking on the Audio logo: note the audio portion is around 16 minutes.

Pine, Vermont. 2009
28mm Zone Plate on Leica M7
Overlapping Frame Panoramic Technique (3X)
Film: Kodak TMY-2 (Tmax 400) at an EI of 1600, processed in Xtol Developer.
Printed on Fabriano 640 gsm, edition size one.
Copyright Stephen Schaub 2009


Spring Blossom, Vermont. 2009
28mm Zone Plate on Leica M7
Overlapping Frame Panoramic Technique (3X)
Long Hand Held Exposure, 30 sec +/-
Film: Kodak Ektar 100Printed on Fabriano 640 gsm, edition size one.
Copyright Stephen Schaub 2009


Field Edge, Indian Hill, Vermont. 2009
28mm Zone Plate on Leica M7
Overlapping Frame Panoramic Technique (3x)
Long Hand Held Exposure, 20 sec +/-
Film: Kodak Ektar 100Printed on Fabriano 640 gsm, edition size one.
Copyright Stephen Schaub 2009

Rollei Retro 100 Film Processed in Diafine Developer

Yet another Diafine Developer Test! I’ve been wanting to try this film for some time now and was able to fit a test into my schedule this week so here are the results and my thoughts.

First my Thoughts:

Rollei Retro 100 is a nice film with good classic grain structure and good tonality…photographers who like classic grain and film with a bit of punch will love it with Diafine. The film has a usable EI from around 50-200 (in Diafine) but I found that at 100 I got the best shadows and midtone separation and it gave me a bit of margin for meter error. The highlights are clean, bright and open even in the brightest areas.

For photographers who want that classic street photographer look this would be a good choice…however, if you were raised on Fuji Acros for breakfast and TMAX for dinner and love those films this probably won’t be your cup of tea.

The Results:

Both images were made using a Leica M7 with a 50mm Summilux Lens at F5.6 – in camera meter at an  EI of 100. Scans were done on an Imacon Scanner at 3150 dpi, no sharpening or noise reduction was applied to either file. File prep/ workflow in Photoshop CS3 is my standard for all Diafine developed test negatives which is to apply just a bit of an “S” curve and make sure my white and black points are fine.

The sharpness of the film is good but again not like TMAX 100 or the New TMAX 400. But I do like the film alot! It won’t be my first go to film for general shooting but it is something that has a unique look and has found a place in my film bag.

PDF with more Rollei Retro Information.

Processing Technique, Diafine Developer and Rollei Retro Film:

  • 4 Minutes Part A, 75F – 2 inversions every minute.
  • 4 Minutes Part B, 75F – 2 inversions every minute.
  • Wash 30 Seconds
  • Fix 5 Minutes
  • Wash 30 Seconds
  • Perma Wash 1 Minute
  • Wash 10 Minutes
  • LFN
  • Dry

Final note: There has been conversation (gossip) on the web that Rollei Retro 100 is AGFA APX 100 or something very similar…as I don’t have any AGFA APX 100 to test I can neither confirm nor deny this BUT even if it is just a slightly tweaked version of APX – as AFGA is no longer in business- it is nice to have a “similar” film still being made.

Viva la Revolution!!!


UPDATE 9.13.2008:

Link to a conversation on Flickr where information on the maker of Rollei Retro (old AGFA) can be found as well as exciting information on the NEW film release set to replace this film as of Photokina 2008:


Processing Color Film in Diafine Developer

I’ve read mixed reviews about this concept online so I decided I needed to try it myself. I chose Ilford XP2 Super and Kodak BW400CN, both in 35mm as test films. My results were mixed…the Ilford out-performed in my opinion the Kodak (with regards to tonal range as the Kodak was much harsher) but was anything gained over say TX or 125PX in Diafine?…you be the judge. I will say that the look of a print made using this technique is different and in some cases could be used in a very creative way. The test image was shot with a LOMO LCA+ with the Ilford XP2 Super rated at EI 200. Be sure to click on both images to see them at a larger size.

Tech Notes:

  • EI Range for full expressive negatives: 100 – 200
  • Diafine Developer at 80F!!!!
  • Part A for 5 Minutes with two inversions at the start of each minute.
  • Part B for 5 Minutes with two inversions at the start of each minute.
  • Wash for 2 Minutes
  • Fix: 5 Minutes or package suggestion.
  • Wash 5 Minutes
  • Perma Wash: 2 Minutes or package suggestion.
  • Final Wash, LFN and Dry!

I have also found that these negatives scan really nicely using most generic gray scanner profiles and the grain is there but acceptable for a process such as this. Give it a try!

Viva la Revolution!!!!

Final Note: The LOMO LCA+ is a Zone Focus camera and as such comparing the sharpness to say a Leica is a real mismatch…but the LOMO has an amazing quality all its own!

Scott Bridge, The Hexomniscope and Diafine Developer

Scott Bridge from the Vanishing Vermont Series.
Scott Bridge from the Vanishing Vermont Series.

I’ve written extensively on this web site about the qualities of Diafine Developer and different Black and White films for the purposes of scanning. Here is an example of Fuji Acros 100 (EI 160, 120MM) shot with my Hexomniscope Pinhole Camera by Abelson Scope Works and processed in Diafine Developer….did I mention that the exposure was F205 at 37 Minutes?! The final print size is 28″ x 90″ and is printing as I type!

Viva la Revolution

New Testing Results for InkAid and Film Processing!

The following updates are based on additional testing conducted by me at Indian Hill Imageworks. If your current method works fine for your needs then no worries… otherwise give these “refinements” a try.

Viva la Revolution-
Stephen Schaub

1. Handcoating your own papers with Inkaid- How many coats?: 2+ (12-24 hrs air dry between coats is best). Also be sure to really mix your InkAid…I use a paint mixer which can be found at most good hardware stores attached to a power drill at low speeds- it works great and costs under $10 bucks!


  • 4.5 Minutes in A and B with 2 gentle inversions at: Start, 1.5 minutes, 3 minutes and again at 4 minutes…dump at end (4.5 minutes and then do the same 4.5 minutes with B.) This increased standing time produces some fantastic negatives! 
  • Developer Temp between 70-75 F (temp does not affect the developer but temp does affect the film’s emulsion…big difference between film at 68F and film at 80F!
  • All films tested here on FR for the purposes of scanning can be processed using this “UNIVERSAL TIME/ AGITATION PROCEDURE” for scanning purposes. Just as a note, I only use metal reels and tanks.

3. 320 TXP and 400 TX are DIFFERENT FILMS (yes I know this is obvious but…)

  • EI Range for 320 TXP (120mm)…EI 320
  • EI Range for 400 TX (35mm and 120mm)…EI 400-1600 (800-1250 best)

4. Fuji Acros EI 160 using UNIVERSAL DIAFINE TIME… my new favorite film/ developer combo!

Final Note: The “UNIVERSAL TIME/ AGITATION PROCEDURE” has been tested for scanning purposes only.

The 5 Minute Zone System

This short audioblog (under 5 minutes) will give all photographers who want better control over their exposure when using black and white roll films a quick and easy working solution: The 5 Minute Zone System! This is not your grandfather’s full-bore Zone System but rather a user-friendly method for predictable, repeatable results! Just click on the audio link and give it a listen… Viva la Revolution!!

More info on the FULL-BORE Zone System: Click Here!