Just to be clear…. I still stand by my original processing technique outlined here in FR years ago which does not use the pre wet and has slightly more agitation than the technique outlined above (metal reels and tanks only for the older process). If the film and agitation technique is perfect without a pre wet then go for it but I have found most modern films do benefit from the pre wet… the only downside is developer longevity and about 1/3 stop loss in speed.
So currently in my JOBO CPP2 I am running Diafine full strength Part A and full strength Part B for 5 minutes for all BW films at rotation setting “F” which is around 40 rpm. After part B I increase the rotation to “P” which is around 80 rpm and keep it at that for the remainder of the process. My tests have shown that times around 7+ minutes in A/B can stain some films- yet 5 minutes in A/B at 75F seems about spot on to me and perfect for most scanning applications. The 1:1 development of Diafine decreases the shadow detail at higher EI… for example at 1:1 TX dies after about EI 800 whereas with the full strength process as outlined above EI 1600+ is very solid (note: box speed at 1:1 is about perfect- for box speed). With regards to streaking…. none, full strength or 1:1. An obvious advantage to full strength is that Diafine can be used over and over again for a lot of film where as the 1:1 is a one shot developer. I have personally used Diafine (1 gal A/B) full strength for well over a year without issue…. if it becomes a bit dirty just run it through a new clean coffee filter and presto! Perfect developer ready for more film.
So my testing has confirmed that with the 1:1 dilution of Diafine in a JOBO at Rotation P you need to extend your development time to 6 minutes in part A and part B and also run at a temp around 25 C. If you choose not to, you will find that films like 400TX die after about EI 800 (shadows get a bit too thin for me) which is about a stop lower than is expected with the Diafine/ 400TX combo. If you only want box speed to say 800 with 400TX then the standard 3 minutes in A and B is fine.
So today I ran a test to compare 1:1 and full strength Diafine also in a JOBO. Density as you would expect is a tad bit higher at the full strength but not by a lot… again I am extending the time to 6 min in A and 6 min in B. The contrast of the full strength is also a tad bit higher, but nothing a good scanner could not work with…. but the 1:1 is soooo nice.
My advice…. Diafine 1:1 at 25 C for 6 min in A and 6 min in B, rotation setting P. (Note: 1:1 with Diafine is a one shot developer!)
With regards to high speed films, Kodak TX400 works out to a usable E.I. range 1:1 (6 min A and B) from about 200/400-1600 with 3200 somewhat usable…. maybe! Ilford Delta 3200 is amazing with this developer and is nice from about 100/200 – 1600 with 3200 also quite usable in a pinch ( note: you have to love grain to love this film)! The now killed Kodak P3200 is still undergoing tests as it is still around in good supply and it looks like it will have a very solid 3200 but much more grain than the Ilford… which could be nice! I love grain!!
The Kodak 400TX has nice grain but wow the Ilford is just stunning…. The Ilford is only long term bet as of now – much lower contrast and very easy to scan across a wide range of EI. All the scans above are 100% crops from a very large 35mm scans at 3000 dpi on my Imacon Scanner (I decided not to do 6300 dpi on the scan just to save time and sharpening is off on the scanner, -120 setting).
I’m back from a bit of a holiday break and ready for 2009 or to quote the President-elect: Rested and Ready! I am currently working on several articles to be posted in the coming weeks on the following topics:
Alternative methods for finishing/ displaying artwork
Online artworks sales, what works and what does not!
Kodak Ektar Film Test, Part 2.
High Resolution Films in Diafine, Part 2.
Lomo LCA Part 2
Lomo LCA and Olympus XA, which one and why?!
Art Museums and the Photographic Filler Show
I’d like to also announce that I will be in Italy (which doesn’t suck) in Feb 09 for 2 weeks for a bit of photography and to finalize a workshop I will teach next fall on Alternative Photographic Techniques. If you live in Rome or near Manciano, which is in Tuscany, send me an email and maybe we could meet for a cup of espresso and photographic conversation (after all- you can never have too much of either.)
I’d also like to announce that in 2008 the Figital Revolution received over (drumroll please…) 120,000 hits! That is amazing! AND something I hope we can equal or beat in 2009… conversation is very important in these difficult transitional times within our medium.
Cheers and lets hope 2009 is waaaay better than 2008! – Stephen
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.
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.
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
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!!!
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:
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.
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!