Can You ID The Grain From These Films Exposed at EI 3200?

July 25, 2019  •  5 Comments

Can You ID The Grain From These Films Exposed at EI 3200? I've recently been exploring and testing a variety of different black and white film and developer combinations to use at EI 3200 for my Wild Horses of Missouri fine art prints and I noticed something that took me by surprise.  The grain that was produced by each of the film and developer combinations wasn't what I expected across the board and in one particular case, I was really surprised.  

I have some 100% 1:1 swatches from three different film and developer combinations below and I am curious if you can properly identify them?  I will give you the answer at the very bottom, but don't cheat and look until you have at least tried to identify them.  

The film and developer combinations used were: Delta 3200 in Micrphen, Tri-X in Rodinal 1:50 Stand Developed, and Tri-X in Rodinal 1:50 Semi-Stand.  In last week's Darkroom Diary update, I shared all of the technical details about these film and developer combinations that you can review.

Film # 1 


Film # 2 

Film # 3 



The results are as follows: Film # 1 - TriX-3200-Rodinal-Semi-Stand, Film # 2 - Delta-3200-Micophen, and Film #3 - TriX-3200-Rodinal-Stand.  I fully expected the grain of the semi-stand to look like the stand method and it was the exact opposite.  I was pretty surprised by that.  

So, what do you think? Share your comments with me below. 

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siegfried manietta(non-registered)
We have to remember that the pattern we see is determined by the gaps between the silver particles that form within the emulsion. When the negative film density is .3, half of the light incident on the negative is absorbed and half is transmitted so the pattern should be most visible. However with increasing negative density the transparent gaps between the overlapping grains become more widely spaced making the black dots (in the print) more prominent. So to compare "grain" we may need to compare visible patterning produced by the film density that relates to a density of .3 (or less) in the final print. Manufacturers have struggled with this over many years. RMS diffuse granularity seems to have been the best form of comparison. I recall a great Kodak publication: "Understanding Grain, Graininess & Granularity"
TriX in Rodinal shows the real grain of the film, however semi-stand at 1+50 is overkill!
It works well in 1+100 and the grain structure is much smaller.
I think what you are seeing in the semi-stand vs stand is the fact that ther eis too much rodinal
Peter Kinchington(non-registered)
Fascinating the rodinal stand vs semistand grain structure is the reverse to what I would have expected also.
David Bivins(non-registered)
Adding to what Markus mentioned - today when I do stand development, I just use the amount of chemistry that's needed for each roll and don't think about dilution. With Rodinal I use 3.5ml per roll (35mm or 120).
Markus Larjomaa(non-registered)
I’d never attempt stand or semi-stand with 1+50 Rodinal, always 1+100 or even 1+150. I’m curious to know why you chose 1+50. Since stand developing doesn’t require agitating evey 30 or 60 seconds, I see no reason to save time and effort by using stronger developer dilutions.
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