Ilford Delta 100 and Rodinal

Some say developing film is too inconsistent in comparison with digital. True, film responds differently with different developers. Other factors effect the response of film such as exposure and development technique, or the kind of enlarger and paper you use or the scanner you use. But, inconsistent results from film means only one thing: A consistently bad worker!

When your process becomes standardised the results are remarkably consistent.

So I come to this week’s film developing adventure and I decided, for the Hell of it, to venture out with Ilford Delta 100 loaded into my trusty 1957 Leica M2. This venerable classic camera was fitted for the first time with my “new” old 1958 Leica 5cm Summicron f/2. It is a marriage made in Heaven if not in Wetzlar. I will be doing a review of this old time classic in the near future.

Right film buffs, the development method used was, as the title suggests, Rodinal 1:100. OK, it is noticeably more grainy than other developers BUT when used dilute the negatives are very sharp, high acutance, compensating, extremely cost effective and has a very long shelf life. My 500ml bottle of Rodinal is about five years old, as black as Orc’s blood and is still potent.

After pouring the fluid of the dark arts into the tank I agitated for 30 seconds. Let the tank stand for ten minutes. Two inversions. Another stand for ten minutes. Two inversion followed by a final ten minute stand. Water stop. Alkali fix. Wash for ten minutes and then a final bath in distilled water with a wetting agent. This last bath cleans the film of all the filth and impurities Dwr Cwmru fail to remove from my drinking water. The film was exposed at EI 100.

The result is a clean, stain free strip of acetate with thirty six very sharp little pictures.

As for temperature, with the developer this dilute anything from 18 to 24 degrees doesn’t make any difference.

Finally, the negatives were batch scanned on my Epson v700 at 4800 dpi which is over kill even for 42cm (18in or A3) prints. The only post processing was setting the Epson Scan software to auto-levels, and nothing else. It’s basically a straight scan. In Lightroom only minor adjustment was made to Levels and Contrast.

From the roll of Delta I chose these frames. They are very sharp and would have been better save for the light which barely crept into f/11. As the development method is still experimental the highlights, noticeably the sky, is a little too grainy for my liking. I prefer the sky to be smooth. I think by adjusting the dilution and/or exposure I can improve the story here. See what you think…  A follow-on post is going to compare Tmax 100 in Rodinal – Stay tunes!

Tree. On the path to the summit of Pen y Fal.

Tree. On the path to the summit of Pen y Fal. Leica M2, 5cm f/2 Summicron at f/11.

Pen Cerrig Calch from Pen y Fal.

Pen Cerrig Calch from Pen y Fal. Leica M2, 5cm f/2 Summicron at f/11.

The traditional view from Sugar Loaf, er sorry, Pen y Fal.

The traditional view from Sugar Loaf, er sorry, Pen y Fal. Leica M2, 5cm f/2 Summicron at f/11.

Sugar Loaf, as I prefer the Welsh, Pen Y Fal. The West side of the summit plateaux has an interesting rock formation. Basically here shooting into the Sun at f/11

Sugar Loaf, as I prefer the Welsh, Pen Y Fal. The West side of the summit plateaux has an interesting rock formation. Basically here shooting into the Sun at f/11

The old pump station in Sudbrook near Chesptow. I believe this station used to pump water from the Severn Tunnel.

The old pump station in Sudbrook near Chesptow. I believe this station used to pump water from the Severn Tunnel. Leica M2, 5cm f/2.8 Elmar at f/11.

Birds on wire.

Birds on wire. Leica M2, 5cm f/2.8 Elmar at f/11.

Pretty flower and leaves. I am such a botanist!

Pretty flower and leaves. I am such a botanist! Leica M2, 5cm f/2.8 Elmar at f/11.

Rocks at Black Rock, Portskewitt, near Chepstow.

Rocks at Black Rock, Portskewitt, near Chepstow. Leica M2, 5cm f/2 Summicron at f/16.

Black Rock, Portskewitt near Chepstow.

Black Rock, Portskewitt near Chepstow. Leica M2, 5cm f/2 Summicron at f/11.

Waiting. A sneaky shot whilst waiting for the train to go to the Cardiff convention.

Waiting. A sneaky shot whilst waiting for the train to go to the Cardiff convention. Leica M2, 5cm f/2 Summicron at f/11.

Tintern from the Deveil's Pulpit.

Tintern from the Deveil’s Pulpit. Leica M2, 5cm f/2.8 Elmar at f/8.

Seat. On the Chepstow to Tintern Offa's Dyke path.

Seat. On the Chepstow to Tintern Offa’s Dyke path. Leica M2, 5cm f/2.8 Elmar at f/8.

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