After a while I was using the Cinestill mono bath, I noticed some stripes on my negatives and I did not know what it was. I asked Hamish and he came back with the answer “bromide drag”. It was a completely new phenomenon to me so I Googled it in search of some help.
There are tons of websites speaking about it, but briefly is usually due to poor agitation. Thinking about it, it did make sense. As I was experimenting with contrast, the two rolls I previously developed I changed the agitation from intermittent to minimal. As reported on the Cinestill monobath instructions:
The intermittent agitation is constant for the first 30 sec and then 10 sec every minute.
The minimal agitation is constant for the first 10 sec and then 5 sec every minute.
After this episode, I decided to use the most “standard” agitation which is constant for the first minute and then 10 sec every minute. I said the most standard as it seems that this is the most used – at least on the videos on YouTube…
Following the instructions of the developer, there are a few ways of changing the contrast when developing, you can change the temperature of the liquid (the higher the more contrast you obtain) and /or change the type of agitation during the develop process and, of course, change the developing time (the longer the more contrast). This is The PDF with the instructions.
As I said in previous articles, developing is easy to obtain a result, but it’s when you want to obtain a good result that it becomes more challenging.
Every little change will produce a different reaction to the look of the final photo but also to the negative itself.
Now I know that reducing the the agitation time you can encounter bromide drag but changing the soap time (as well as re-using the develop several times) you can end up in having thinner negatives, so all the variables must be very carefully balanced.
I think that it is all down to practise and experience but because I wanted something more direct and more guided, I started looking for data.
I was already at the end of the life of my Cinestill bottle so I decide to look around and see if there was something available with a bit more documentation and the more obvious answer to me was the Ilford brand.
I love the Fomapan brand, they make some cool films I really like (the grain, the tones) and they are also quite cheap, but if I make a compare of the info you can find about their products, well, Ilford is a step ahead.
For instance, I really like the Fomapan 200 but if have to develop it at 23 degrees (because that is the room temperature and I don’t want to cool down or warm up the chemicals), I found very difficult to find the time on its technical data sheet where comparing it to a Ilford Fp4+ I found it more straightforward.
I understand that for more experienced guys these can be be just details, but for me, I need to have some fixed reference.
So, I decided to use Ilford ID-11 as a developer and I started to use more Ilford films.
Already changing the developer brought decent results (even with my very basics skills)
I found that using the ID-11 is easier to reduce the variables and became more predictable/constant to achieve the final result.
It is more predictable also because you can control easily if to re-use (and how many times you want to re-use) the developer/stop/fixer.
I bought the 5L powder pack and I have done the stock solution in bottles of 1.5L for the solution that I want to preserve. Doing so I can fill up the bottle at its max so the air in the bottle is very minimal and I can store it for long time reducing the oxidation problems. I also do bottles of 0.5L of the solution which I am planning to use short term.
For these I see small water bottles because 500 ml is the volume of liquid to develop 120 film roll and it is plenty to develop a 135 roll. Unfortunately you will need 600 ml to develop 2×135 film, but this is a problem I will solve in the near future…
Constructive comments and tips are always more than welcomed.