An afternoon spent on the beach at Rhossili Bay in South Wales provided an opportunity to test a new film and developer combination. For the past few years I have been settled on using Kodak Tri-X developed with Rodinal (or more specifically R09 one-shot developer). While I am generally happy with the results of this combination I do sometimes wish that it gave me a cleaner look with less grain.
From what I have read Rodinal is better suited to faster films than the ISO 400 Tri-X and so over the summer and into the autumn (while there is at least a small chance of some sunshine in the UK) I have been trying out Ilford FP4 Plus which is rated at ISO 125.
As for the results? I am quite pleased but the difference isn’t as great as I had hoped for – there is still too much grain for my liking. I am aware that scanning negatives (which is what I am doing) makes grain stand out and that the grain would be less pronounced on the printed page but I was hoping the results would be better.
I’m still going to persist with this combination but just try tweaking my development technique. I am currently using stand development but maybe this is not the best way? I need to investigate further. I know that using a developer other than Rodinal would produce cleaner results however I don’t shoot that much film and so the huge advantage of Rodinal is that it last literally for decades.
One other problem I am finding is that I get light streaks above dark objects (you can see this in the above shot). Again this must be down to my technique, I seem to remember reading somewhere that pre-soaking the film helps with this problem.
Don’t get me wrong I am happy with these shots, it is just that I could be happier but that is photography for you – there are always new things to learn whether it be with digital or film.