C-41 film in Rodinal

by Todd on May 17, 2012

I’ve seen a few examples of people doing this, so I wanted to give it a try. I’ve got a couple of dozen rolls of Fuji 800, expired 2003, which I thought was a good candidate film.

I exposed the film at ISO 400. I used a 1:80 dilution of Rodinal for 90 minutes, with a couple of ten-second gentle mixes at 30 and 60 minutes. That’s how I do B/W film most often, so I thought it a reasonable place to start. However, I can see some signs of developer exhaustion on many frames, so next time I’ll try 1:60.

Also, the antihalation coating on the film (presumably) caused some issues. The film didn’t get very clear, even after 8 minutes of fixing. The resulting negatives were very low in contrast, and I had trouble getting the scanner to recognize there was anything there. I had to scan most of them manually, individually. I scanned in color, and added whopping amounts of contrast in post. They look pretty good as 700-pixel files on the screen, but in reality the quality is very poor. Badly speckled, posterized tonal transitions, etc. This was fun, and I dig the surreal look to some of them, but the lack of quality makes it unlikely I’ll do this frequently, unless I can find a way to treat the film to make it more clear and get better range from it.

These were shot with the Pentax PZ-1. The two shots above were with the FA77 wide open, and all shots in the gallery below, from Rochester Cemetery, were taken with the SMC 135/2.5, all wide open. If this taught me anything, it’s that the 135/2.5 needs to spend more time on my camera.

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