Thursday, November 3, 2011

Phenidone & Ilford FP4 - second film in this developer

I had this camera, bought chep in an "antiques" store back in the 1970's, a Certo Durata II, fitted with a Meyer Trioplan lens and a simple shutter. At the time I knew nothing about this camera, except that I wanted a folder. At the time I was considered to be a lunatic, I already had 3 Canon SLR bodies, and wanted an outdated, old fashiomned folder?

Foolishly enough I sold it, or rather gave it away for a pittance to a collector many moons ago. (That Trioplan lens annoyed me too, I had learned that Certo fitted them with proper Zeiss Tessars also, I got a copy of Abring's book : "von daguerre bis heute", where 5000 cameras where listed.....

Long story short, about a year ago I found another Durata, this time with the good lens, Tessar 2,8/50 and the good shutter, and I've given it a spin.

I found my old bulk loader, for reloading 35mm casettes, still containing about 50 feet of very, very old FP4 that has survived in haphazard storage conditions maybe since I got the original Durata. This film, the FP4 has been tried out with caffenol, and developed just fiine in C-CM with 1 g/L KBr, virtually no fogging.

I decided to try this film with the new developer and here are the prelimnary results :

Certo Durata, CZ Tessar f:2,8/50 Ilford FP4
developed 9 minutes @ 20 centigrade

The time was guesstimated from a baseline of 8,5 minutes for first film through the developer, adding 6,5% development time per film through the mix.
The mix in question was phenidone/ascorbate with soda :

Soda  (anhydrous)         5,77 gram
Ascorbic acid powder   2,11 gram
Phenidone                     0,0215 gram

Negatives came out just good, looks like this is correct development time, but there is a problem getting the blacks, even the leader, totattly exposed to light when loading/reloading the film is not totally black it CAN be seen throuh it, in that respect this developer is a bit on the weak side.

On the strong side is the fact that the tone scale is fine, grain is fine and the film is sharp, contrast is better than most caffenol mixes I've seen.
Hoiwever, one fly in the oinment, concerning this old and VERY! outdated film, there is sløight fogging. Nothing too bad, but an overall layer of fog, this takes the contrast down a notch with this particular film. I have no reason yet to believe that fogging will be a problem, others have tried Fomapan and T-max and I've seen the negatives. Sweet.

The pictures :

Straight scan FP4 9min @ 20C
Slightly underexposed

Same picture, enhanced contrast, less saturation

Straight scan

Enhanched 1 step

Straight scan

Enhanced 1 step

1 comment:

  1. This recipe from Patrick Gainer was never intended to be re-used, it was meant to be one-shot. He later discovered that excess ascorbate allowed for re-use but his idea of excess was 6-8g/L and not 2g/L. This may be causing some of the problems you are having as the dev does get progressively weaker with use.