A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Developing Ilford FP4

Steve Lebel , Oct 14, 2005; 07:17 a.m.

I recently included some FP4 on a vacation trip. I developed the first roll with Rodinal using a dilution of 1:100 at 68 deg. F, for their recommended time of 15 minutes. The negatives when scanned, give me a sense that the frames were underexposed by about 1 stop.

Is there anything I can do to modifiy my development on the other rolls to bring the images more closely to their original visualized look? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I failed to run some tests to quantify this film with my equipment before I left on this vacation, and now face some stressful moments in my little darkroom. Thanks in advance. Steve


    1   |   2     Next    Last

Conrad Hoffman , Oct 14, 2005; 08:52 a.m.

You need a speed increasing developer, of which Rodinal is not. It won't be a big difference, probably less than a stop, but some developers will do better in the shadows than others. I can't suggest any commercial preparations, as I mostly mix my own stuff, but no doubt others here can chime in with some good suggestions. This doesn't apply to Rodinal or HC110, but for almost everything else, use absolutely fresh developer. I've noticed that loss of shadow detail (speed) is the first thing to go. If you use a liquid, make sure it was manufactured recently. If you use a powder, use it within a couple weeks of mixing the stock. (My favorite with FP4+ is FX2- you can also buy Bill Troop's modified version from the Formulary. It will pick up maybe 1/2 stop in speed. Do a mild push.)

Ronald Moravec , Oct 14, 2005; 09:11 a.m.

If the negs are underexposed, they will lack detail in the shadow areas. If they are underdeveloped, they lack contrast.

You should not need to look at the scans to see if there is shadow detail or not. If you lack shadow detail, a push developer might help. Microfin from Ilford will give more speed. Others who do push processing can better advise you.

If you lack contrast, print on higher contrast paper or intensify the negs. Scanner programs allow you to increase contrast and there is photoshop for further corrections. You can rescan with more contrast.

Buy more film and expose the same way and develope per above before you do the second film, which is what you should have done in the first place.

Since you have a scan, why not attach it to another response so we can see the problem. Use the brouse for file when first submitting the response and before finalising it, attach it, then put a title on it like underexposed/underdeveloped? If you resize it to 600 pix wide, it can be viewed directly, other wise a link will show. If you submit too large a file, those with slow connections can`t see it. They will downloading forever and maybe time out.

Photoshop Elements has a nice save for web program found under file. Save as a new file so as not to loose the original. Med to low quality jpeg is sufficient.

Steve Lebel , Oct 14, 2005; 09:41 a.m.

Here is a sample of a typical negative for your further analysis. I hope that by sharing this scanned negative, you will be able to better assess my situation/problem. Thanks for your help.

Underexposed or Underdeveloped??

Frank Schifano , Oct 14, 2005; 12:42 p.m.

Can't really tell from the example. You really need to examine the negative. Ronald's response pretty much says it all.

Flying Tiger , Oct 14, 2005; 12:51 p.m.

I rated FP4+ (120 format) at ISO 125 and developed in Rodinal 1+100, 68F for 20 minutes. Haven't printed anything yet but the negatives look very decent- sharp with a lot of details.

Recently, I tried Rodinal 1+100 for Pan F+ and FP4+ and got excellent results.

Ronald Moravec , Oct 14, 2005; 02:23 p.m.

Look at the right side of the neg, top on what I see as it is rotated. There are lots of dark shadows there, but the scan appears overall too dark too.

There should be some detail in those shadows. If the neg is clear there, there is not much you can do. If there is a slight amount of detail, I would dye dodge those areas to keep them from going to dark. Use Kodak Crocein Scarlet 5413-75-2. You need very LITTLE dye density. Practice on something else first. Use very dilute dye. Add a little, make a print. Add more and a second print.You could also sandwich a clear neg and do the dye on it.

My dye came from B&H in New York. The only size bottle is $35, but it is a lifetime supply.

You can also sandwich the neg with matt acetate and add pencil density to hold back the dark areas.

If there is NO detail to preserve, just let it go black. Otherwise it will look smokey grey.

This would have been a perfect place to give 1 or 2 stops over exposure and reduce development. This is very high contrast lighting and taming it would be of benefit.

Steve Lebel , Oct 14, 2005; 02:49 p.m.

Ron, I should have also mentioned that when I shot this film, there was a B+W #23 yellow filter on the lens. The internal light meter adjusted for this filter. I am only scanning my neg's for some other backup method. I am working on finishing the building of my darkroom, so by this winter I will be able to print on paper. I can take the scan and using Photoshop adjust the lighing and contrast and come up with a fairly nice looking shot, but wanted your professional opinion on what went wrong so that I could learn from everyone's experience. Thanks, Steve

Jordan W. , Oct 14, 2005; 03:10 p.m.

You don't have Digital ICE or FARE turned on on your scanner, do you?

Allan Chen , Oct 14, 2005; 03:16 p.m.

As Ron said, you have pretty decent shadow detail. I think your highlights are okay, too - it's a pretty contrasty scene, and there is one little patch to the left of the large formation in the middle (assuming I've rotated it the right way) that is intense. But the rest of the image is fine.

I just did simple levels and a tiny curve. It seems okay to me, though still a bit underexposed. Using even something like D76 diluted will probably get you closer to box speed than Rodinal.


just levels and a small curve

    1   |   2     Next    Last

Back to top

Notify me of Responses