FP4+, FX2, Rodinal

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I have been reading the "Film Developing Cookbook," and thought I would like to give one of these combinations a try. From what I have read, the FX2 will probably be a little sharper, but have more pronounced grain. I understand that the current Rodinal, is not the Rodinal of old. After reading the mixing instructions, I don't think I want to mix my own. There is a German site, that is supposed to be selling the original formula, but I went there, and punched all the buttons and couldn't find any chemicals. I do like the fact that the FX2 is something that I can mix up on my own, so in case I really like it, I don't have to worry about it going away. Most of my work will be landscapes and found objects. The report on the FX2 indicates that it might be too sharp for portrait work, at least under studio lights. Portraits are a very small part of my photo work, and then mostly outdoors. Any one tried either of these combinations? What did you think of them? Thanks-----JimJ

-- Jim Jasutis (jjastui1@tampabay.rr.com), October 08, 2001


I can't comment on FX2

FP4+ in Rodinal has worked very well for me. Use diluted 1:75 or higher, @ 75F. For minus development use higher dilutions, and decrease agitation so as to take advantage of compensating effect. Disadvantage of Rodinal is at least a 2/3 stop loss of film speed.

It keeps very well once bottle opened.

The edge effect can be outstanding e.g when subject consists of wet rocks.

-- Hans Berkhout (berkhout@cadvision.com), October 08, 2001.


I have used both FX2 and Rodinal for FP4+. The Rodinal will give sharper images, a longer tonal range, and less grain than FX2. Dont worry that its not the original formula.

-- Greg Rust (kgeicrust@aol.com), October 08, 2001.

The only way to know for sure is to shoot some film and develop the same images in both and compare the difference. I did this with FP4+ in four different developers with three different dilutions each. There were visible differences but any of the combinations would be usable depending on what one wanted from the negatives.

I do believe after working with various combinations and seeing friends work with various combinations that there is only one way to tell if it is working for you and that has nothing do do with densitometers or graphs or whether Ansel used it not. If you think it works for you, then it probably does.

Many of us know friends who shoot & process with combinations we wouldn't use for anything, yet they get excellent results. Just as what we shoot is our personal choice, so is our processing and paper choice. For me it comes down to a very simple solution. If it works, I use it and stick with it until I see something that is actually, demonstrably and repeatably BETTER in my final prints. I really love beautiful negatives, especially that yellow-green pyro look. But I don't show negatives, I show final prints. Matted, mounted and framed.

Try the combinations, make 2-5 exhibition grade prints from each you try of the same scene processed in your various developers, finish them just as you would for a major show. Then, step back & look at them. NO identification on the front at all so you don't know which is which. Have all that on the back so you can see what you choose, not knowing which is which. Then have some friends whose judgment you trust look, again not knowing which is which.

After you do this you will have a good idea of which combination works 'best' for you. Just don't be disappointed if there is no clear winner in the bunch. Many of the combinations are only different in the final print in subtle ways which speak more to the photographer who obsesses over these small variations than those who view the print.

Pick any 10 photographers with images of the highest quality and look at what they are using and you will find some combinations in use that you would be amazed at. Yet all produce fine work and images we love.

In the final analysis, it is the photograph people look at and other than a few photographers or collectors no one gives a damn what you used. They just want to see great images.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), October 08, 2001.

Thanks all for the responses. I don't know where my head was at. Naturally the best idea is to do a side by side comparison. I'm not in this for money or glory. I am in this for enjoyment. There is no reason to cut corners. This is a hobby for me, so a little bit of experimenting should be exciting. Thanks again-----JimJ

-- Jim Jasutis (jjasiti1@tampabay.rr.com), October 08, 2001.

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