At the moment my favourite film and developer combo is Kodak Tri-x 400 and Kodak D-76. So far Tri-x seems to tickle me the most because it has such a nice grain structure. I’ve tried a bunch of others b/w films too that are readily available in stores at the moment but I just seem to get back to Tri-x all the time. I like T-Max too, but it doesn’t have as nice grain.

I’ve just recently started to develop my own negatives so I am a total newbie with developers. When something is classified as a traditional product, I usually go with that, because I am a sucker for traditions and old timey products. So I ended up with Rodinal (R09), which I kiiiinda liked, but ended up switching to D-76 after all. The recipe for Rodinal is said to be over 100 years old and that appeals to me a lot. I’d like to like Rodinal even more, but after souping about ten rolls in it, I had to admit that I didn’t always like the look of it. I’d still like use it more and I’ve been thinking about how to achieve different kind of grain looks with it. I haven’t tried stand development, which basically means leaving the film in the developing tank for an hour without agitations. I’ve done just the regular development with 1:50 dilution and agitating every 30sec. Pretty much by the book. I’ve tried different kind of agitation techniques without any significant differences in the grain look. I don’t necessarily mind having a lot of grain, but instead, I’ve just like to be able to manipulate the grain look, not just the amount.

When Rodinal works, it works really well. Tri-x 400 @ 800 developed in 1:50 Rodinal. One of my best results with this combo. I absolutely love the classic feel!
On a perfect sunny day Tri-x + Rodinal combo looks just awesome! Those white surfaces looks amazing.

With very good lighting, I’ve got some really nice images with Rodinal + Tri-x, like for example the image above, but when the lighting gods are not your side, the look of the image very quickly turns unsatisfactory. Especially the mid-tones on a cloudy day just looks horrible.

When Rodinal sucks, it sucks hard. On flat light, it makes (imho) the ligh look even worse. Shot on Tri-x, developed in 1:50, Rodinal (R09).
The nicest grain I’ve ever got with Rodinal. This is shot Tri-x 400 pushed to 1600 in a very limited light, so you’d expect the graininess to be unbearable, but sometimes film throws surprises at you and gives results like these.

After getting a bit frustrated with Rodinal I switched to D-76, which is pretty much spot on for me. Combined with Tri-x — I think it’s my favourite combination so far. I think the grain amount is slightly more acceptable and over all it looks a bit cleaner. I’ve only done few rolls with it, but now that I’ve found a good combo, I don’t think I want to try another film or developer any time soon. I’d like to know Tri-x and D-76 really well and just make a lot images with them to really get to know their characteristics. I still feel kinda bad for Rodinal because for some reason I would have liked it to be my product of choice. Even though I didn’t like it 100%, I still like the idea of Rodinal.

Tri-x 400 @ 400 developed in D-76. Smooth as a baby’s butt. Just the perfect amount of grain. Looks like a classic film photo, not a piece of sand paper.
Another fine example of D-76 at it’s best.