Igor Karenin

Film photographie in Brussels

P.M.K., HP5+ and jobo

I had previously given a few indications about Tri-X 400 development in this beautiful film developer called PMK (pyro).

What I wrote there is true too for HP5+, except for the development times that are a bit shorter for HP5+ : 8 minutes at 27°C instead of 10 minutes. I tend to do 9 minutes at about 25 or 26°C.

The good thing is that these development times don’t change when developing in a JOBO or other rotary development machine. So following the JOBO instructions, half of the chemistry is necessary for develoment, i.e. 1200 ml of chemistry for developing 12 film rolls (120) as you can put 2 120 films on one spool.

If this can help anyone.


t-max in t-max

There are 2 T-max films out there : 100 and 400 ASA. There also is a T-max developper. One would expect both to go together like a husband and a spouse, in peace and perfect harmony and without surprises.

How surprised I was to see many different development times for the 400 ASA film and T-max developper.

I did 3 developments, increasing time and agitation starting at 6 minutes at 22°C normal agitation (turn tank twice every 30 seconds) ; and ended with 7 minutes at 24°C, shaking the tank for 8 to 10 secondes every 30 seconds.

My simple conclusion is: it is difficult to agitate too much and don’t mind developping longer than the documentation says.

(of course, this is also a question of exposure).

Makina Plaubel 67

Before you start reading, this is what I’m writing about:


You don’t need a fantastic Leica to make beautiful pictures. You can make great pictures with a Canonnet. So why would I use one camera rather than another one? It is mainly a question of ergonomics, mood, light, taste, passion. Do I need a rangefinder because the light is low, or do I prefer to hide my face in a Hasselblad when taking pictures of a naked woman? Do I want to hear « click », « shloup » or « clock » when I take the picture – important dilemma’s as you can tell.

When it comes to ergonomics Mamiya 7II is the camera I prefer. I won’t enter into details.

But then I came across a Makina Plaubel 67, recently revised by Plaubel and in beautiful condition. I have wanted one for years. But they are rare in good condition and they are expensive too.

So, the one main advantage of this camera is that is is collapsible. Once collapsed it is very compact. You can travel the 7 sees with only this camera (and a lot of film). The second important advantage is that it feels nice and heavy. This is a solidly built camera. The third advantage is that it is beautiful. It is a very particular camera.

The aperture f2,8 is not an advantage. The Mamiya 7II, 80mm lens has an aperture of f4. That is only 1 stop difference and the depth of field of the Mamiya 80mm lens is quite narrow. It has beautiful bokeh – for those who like bokeh. I don’t. I prefer to close the lens and shoot in very hard sunlight in the summer. Generally speaking

And that is it!

At first, this felt like a very clumsy camera. The speed and aperture rings are both on the front of the lens. You must press a little button at the rear of the camera to turn on the lightmeter (not the same button for shooting); light meter has no memory so you need to keep that button pressed while turning the speed ring or aperture ring (don’t mixe them up, it easy in the beginning) and since the viewfinder only shows a green spot, a minus or a plus sign, you don’t know, by looking into the viewfinder at what speed you’re taking the picture.

But actually, it was a question of getting used to the camera. Let’s presume:
1/ You are an experienced film photographer. By knowing the sensibility of your film and the available light, you already know what speed-aperture you need, or mistake only 2 or 3 stops.
2/ You know that you get more depth of field as you close the lens.

So when it comes to ergonomics, you
1/ open or close the lens according to the depth of field you want;
2/ set a speed at approximatively what you think the speed should be;
3/ look in the viewfinder whilst pressing light-meter-button and touch only the speed-ring.
4/ focussing and shooting is done at the same place, quickly and nicely.

The camera goes « tric-tic » when you shoot. I’m fine with that.

Oh ! And last but not least, the depth of field at given apertures is not written on the lens (as Leica and Mamiya do). For a rangefinder, that is very clumsy !! When taking a quick shoot in the street, whilst you don’t want to have that camera in front of your face but keep it the the level of your belly instead, you know at what distance it is focussed, but you don’t know at f5,6 or f8 for example what the depth of field is.

Tri-x exposed at 100 asa…


Exposing tri-x 400 at 100 asa is not something one would normally do. I do often expose this film at 200 asa so when my lightmeter is out of balance, it happens that… I expose at 100 asa.

P.M.K.  helps a lot here.

Here’s a solution leading to most beautiful negatives :

  1. Develop the film in P.M.K. at 26°C for 9 minutes
  2. stopbath and fixing as normal
  3. Put the film back into the used P.M.K. for 2 minutes whilst stiring every 30 seconds
  4. Wash for 30 minutes under continuous running water. Washing increased the staining effect.

Say « thanks » to Gordon.

P.M.K. Pyro and Kodak Tri-X

Maybe one day, I’ll give some more explanations about this beautiful film developer called P.M.K. Pyro, according to Gordon Hutchin’s recipe. I warmly recommend reading « the book of pyro » that Gordon Hutchin wrote. But for now, I just wish to share a piece of experience with the developer.

I’ve developped altogher some 30 films of Kodak Tri-X in P.M.K and although the results were pretty stable throughout my few months of experience with this Tri-X and P.M.K., understanding what is going on is rather recent.

P.M.K. is a very particular developer in many aspects : loss of at least 1 stop of sensibility ; development at rather high temperatures ; as good as continuous development ; high toxicity (if you use your bathroom as dark room, then stop reading: you shouldn’t use P.M.K. at all if your children also take there showers in your dark-room).

I would typically:

  • expose Tri-x at 200 Asa (when I do shoots at home, I even tend to over-expose 1 stop),
  • pre-soak at the right temperature,
  • develop at 25°C or 26°C,
  • I invert continuously for the first minute and than 5 seconds per 15 seconds, that’s frequent enough,
  • Development time is 11 minutes.

It is said that you should invert the paterson tank every 15 seconds in order to achieve even development, i.e. to avoid stains on the negative as this is a staining developer. And that is probably true. But as per any developer, the frequency of inversions also affects the overal contrast of the negatives. And in order to obtain those nice, right, contrasty and detailed negatives, the tank should be inverted continuously for the first minute ; and then 2 inversions every 15 seconds. That sounds a bit scary if you’re not used to P.M.K., but the negatives are undoubtedly beautiful !

And here’s an example of a scanned negative. There’s color, yes, that’s true. That’s because PMK tints the negative brownish and this is a scan as if it were a color photo.












Merci !

tri-x @1600 in microphen

Nothing really special here, other than this being just great… Oh, and just to confirm the massive development chart’s indications too : tri-x400 exposed at 1600 ASA is well developped in Ilford’s microphen at 20°Celcius for 12 minutes. Stock solution that is !!

My bottle of microphen was at almost 21°C and I couldn’t bother putting it in the fridge for a while or  adjusting development times.

Anyway, the result is a beautiful dense negative with details in both highlights and dark. Here’s the negatif scan. It’s dull but detailed : exactly what you need to make a fine enlargement.

merci !



expired Rodinal

Yes, Rodinal too has an expiration date. It is written on the packaging. That was easy – the rest is easy too. (« jusqu’ici tout va bien » – google this sentence)

When you open the bottle of Rodinal even long time before the expiration date, it will not stay good until the expiration date. Some time after opening the bootle, you’ll find crystals in the bottom of the bottle. After the first crystal appear, use this developer within some 2 months. After that it diminishes.

Alternatively, but the One-shot bottles. Tiny, practical…

Alternatively, if you don’t want your developer to expire, use PMK developer (buy it here : http://labo-argentique.com/pmk-liquide-250-ml-a-500-ml-b.html – explanations are in French, I would be happy to assist in translation, Aurelien Le Duc is doing a great job !). HC-110 also doesn’t expire before the end of WW IV.

Alternatively, and since Rodinal, PMK and HC-110 are absolutely poison, there are some other developers that are good and less dangerous, but I’m not really into fish anyway so I use Rodinal, PMK and HC-110 – żart).

Back to rodinal : no surprise with Tri-X 400 (quick enlargement – nothing final – the negative is great though) :



Purple fringing, chromatic aberration and digital photography

A play script where the actors are:

– A beautiful Leica summicron IV 50mm f2 lens

– A Leica M3 and a diapositive film, Velvia 50

– A not less beautiful Sony NEX7

Now here’s what happened. I took a first picture with that lens on the Leica M3 and the velvia 50 film. The picture as such is not very interesting, but one thing is interesting: the photo shows some grain, maybe is a bit out of focus but other than that, no problem at all. But then, I took a picture with the same lens mounted on a Sony Nex7. Oh surprise ! I had chromatic aberration, also called purple fringing.

Anything wrong with the lens ?

No, other than that this lens mounted on a very recent 36 megapixels-body.

So why the purple fringing on the digital picture and not on the film ?

Colors are wavelengths and lenses are designed in such a manner that several wavelengths focus in the same manner. The point is that a digital sensor registers more wavelengths than film, slightly beyond what the human eye sees – we humans see everything between infrared and ultraviolet, i.e. everything from red to violet. So does film. So a lens designed in the years when only film existed was not designed to focus on anything beyond ultraviolet and infrared. But put that lens on a digital camera that registers beyond ultraviolet and you’ll see that the lens is simple not designed to focus wavelengths that film doesn’t register. That is chromatic (« χρῶμα » is greek for « color ») aberration (« abberatio » is latin for « distance » or « diversion » – dunno why in english the double « b » was replaced with a double « r »).

The phenomenon is very well explained here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_fringing.

This also explains why most (all?) camera brands have reviewed their lens range to fit digital photography. At least Leica did this. Digital photo software contains plugins in order to remove purple fringing.

It therefore also is not necessary to criticize a Leica M9 body that has purple fringing since this simple is how a sensor works…


Here are the 2 details of the photos I talked about, the first one with a Velvia 50 and the second one with a Sony Nex7.




APX100 in Amaloco AM74

And now….

AGFA APX100 is a nice discontinued film and can be developed in Amaloco AM74 dilution 1+7 (i.e. 125 ml AM74 for 1 liter of workable product) and must be developed at least 5 minutes. 5 minutes is the time indicated by the massive dev chart. It think a 6 minutes would be better (depending of course on bla bla bla, but still….). My negatives are a bit too clear thus underdeveloped. 

More on HC 110

So, for those who read French, I had written a post on the development of the beautiful ADOX CHS 50 film in HC-110 development in jobo processor.

Now something a lot more standard, non the less important : a Tri-x 400 film should be developed in HC-110 solution B for about 7 minutes. I tend to expose on the shadows and shorten the development time ; or I do portraits on  white wall and develop a bit longer. It all depends, but count on a 6.5 to 7.5 minutes development of tri-x in HC-110 B solution.