The Online Darkroom Store

Wednesday, April 30

Tri X/Acurol-N: Final Shots

Kingoodie Harbour. This scene tends to have a strange fascination
for me. I think some sort of winch must once have sat in the hole
to haul boats to the harbour wall maybe at low tide. 

Well, that's me out of Tri X so I'll need to decide now whether or not to stock up on some more for the low contrast scenes I usually find myself chasing. I like the look of the negatives and sharpness and grain appear to be very good but, as I like to say, the proof of the pudding is in the printing.

It's all very well scanning negatives but I don't think you really know the quality until you've got a print in your hand. Scanning, for well-documented reasons, can exacerbate the grain in an image. Also, burning in skies in Photoshop can make the grain seem coarser than it really is. It's a rule of thumb that if the grain looks OK once an image has been scanned then you can almost say for certain that it will look better in the print.

I really must get my darkroom ship-shape again - hopefully next week - and spend some time in front of an enlarger to check these negatives out properly. Sharpness from Tri X in Acurol-N is excellent, the negatives have a robust contrast that is great for what I do so I suppose the only real question remaining is over the grain. I suspect it will be fairly "normal" for Tri X brewed in an acutance developer but only a 10x12 will give me the information I need.

Your experience may be different from mine but I've found that when I have a problem with a 35mm negative it's usually down to a lack of sharpness at larger print sizes. Grain really isn't a problem if the required sharpness is there. Acurol-N seems to have the ability to squeeze that little extra bit of snap out of a negative to overcome that. 

This is my fourth post on the subject and the pics here are some odds and ends that didn't fit into the earlier articles. All were shot on the Nikon F90X. A couple of them might be familiar to regular readers as I tend to reshoot some favourite scenes when trying out a new film. The gate scene above in particular has featured a few times on the blog. What can I say? It's only a few miles from where I live and I just like it!

I'm off now to develop a roll of Firstcall 400S which is rebranded Rollei Retro 400S. I shot it the other day in more dull, misty weather. I've tried it rated at 40 ISO and developed in HRX and it was very nice. However, I want to give it a whirl in Acurol-N as well. It has to be rated at the same low speed but it's cheap enough to make this a worthwhile experiment. I'm wondering if Acurol-N will give a nice contrast boost to the Firstcall film in the same way it does for Tri X. Off to the darkroom to find out...

One of the drawbacks of the 19-35mm Tokina zoom I used here
on the Nikon F90x is some complicated "moustache" distortion
which you can see along the base of the distant hills. Not a lot
that I can do about that even in Photoshop.

You might also like:

Boddin Point Revisited
Tri X/Acurol-N: Part One
Tri X/Acurol-N: Part Two
Firstcall 400S: In Search of a Dull Day Film


Jimbo said...

Im a new reader and haven't seen any of them before! I really like the one with the stone pillars and the one above it of the field has a simple but effective composition. Look forward to reading about your Firstcall test in the Spur developer.

TheDanielCoyle said...

The hole in Kingoodie harbour used to house a crane for the stone that was mined at the adjacent quarries. Stone that was then used to build St Katherines Docks and West India Quays in London.

Bruce Robbins said...

That's brilliant Daniel. Thank you. It's great when another piece of life's jigsaw clicks into place.