Monday, December 15, 2014

Kobe Port

Part of the fun of using film is trying different film and developer combinations. Rodinal is the the oldest film developers still made, and one of the most popular. It's very cheap and easy to use — you dilute the inexpensive syrup 1:25 or more right before you use it, and it practically has no best-before date.

It does tend to increase the visible grain, so until now I've used it only with low-speed film. On 35mm you'd use it with fast film only if you're looking for a gritty, high-contrast look. But with larger negatives the grain becomes correspondingly smaller. So I recently tried using medium format Delta 400 with Rodinal. The results are really quite good:

Kobe Port Tower
Kobe Port Tower. Ilford Delta 400, Rodinal 1:50.

This looks great to me. Both the highlights and shadows retain detail even in a high-contrast scene like this. And at full resolution (about 25Mp in this case), where the scanner is already losing image detail, the grain is noticeable, but not at all intrusive:

Crop of Port Tower image
100% crop of the above image; the full image is about 25 megapixels. This is the limit of my scanner resolution, and the grain is no problem at all.

Here's another image from the same roll:

Meditating. Ilford Delta 400 in Rodinal 1:50.

I like this look a lot. Sharp and clear, without excessive contrast. I'm certainly going to use this combination more in the future. Might even try it in 35mm, just to see what it's like, though I suspect it gets a little grainy for my taste.


  1. The photograph of the man meditating is the highlight. I like its long tonality. IIRC Rodinal was praised for tonality as well, and seemingly a killer with Fuji Acros on this matter.

    I do remember liking its look a lot back a few years back. 35mm Tri-X in Rodinal, wow, that was a classic gritty look.

    B&W selfdeveloped is something I stil have to try. I know it's easy and all, but never got to jump into it. As I'm stuck in a hybrid workflow. Perhaps in a few years time I will. And I should buy a scanner. And a tripod.

    Meanwhile, I am very entertained with Colour and my Fuji GW690.
    I'm however split between slide and negative. Both are wonderful in their own way.

    I managed to secure a pack of Provia 400X. And the Fuji has provia 100 in it for the time being.

    Perhaps it's the sense of Urgency that colour film has. B&W will be around for a long time horizon but Colour is a more complex matter.

  2. Thanks! Yes, that picture is my favourite as well.

    I'm not terribly worried about colour film; I use it and enjoy it, and while the number of films will drop, there will always be colour film, both negative and slide, to choose from.

    I've never used the GW690, by the way; it's a big camera for being a compact :)

  3. The GW690... It must be compact compared to a Large Format camera (except the wanderlust and similar no bellows cameras). Compared to a 35mm, it is huge. But probably similar in weight to an AF (D)SLR.

    I got the mkIII, 1990s child as I am. At a very nice price just below 300€, not many modern alternatives at that. Perhaps an older Pentax 67.

    But if it were smaller, I'd carry it more often; if it were folding like the GF670, I might just carry it almost every day.

  4. I do have the GF670, but I wouldn't carry it during my normal day. It's reasonably compact (for MF) but it weighs enough to be really noticeable in the bag.

    The lightest, most compact MF camera would probably be a smallish TLR. My Yashica Mat was small and light enough that it could go everywhere. A shame the winder broke; I need to fix it someday.

  5. Yes I fondly remember your posts on the Yashica and how you took it traveling to Paris. These cameras are all champs, perhaps you can find a nice technician around. Some say there's never too many cameras!

    I'll need to give a try to have a scheduled shooting day.
    I still have to do that on the field.

    Day carry on backpack, the m43 EPL2 is no big deal.

    And on a not quite related note, "The last camera" and how cellphones have evolved.
    I am eagerly waiting for RAW DNG, still am quite happy with my S4 camera performance within its limits.
    Helps suppressing regret feelings for those snapshots. Perfect sideshooters.

    Just for laughs I only now need an iPad for shooting along with the Fuji.


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