Grains as big as watermelons : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread


I've been reading various postings about "fine-grained films" in this forum. Nice, but what if I want to have visible grains? Which film and what processing technique would give me the largest grains?

I know that the higher the ISO rate, the bigger the grains, but it also differs between film types, so I'd like to know which one to try. I usually shoot with Fuji Neopan and Kodak TMax films.

Thanks, ulisse

-- ulisse p (), December 02, 1997


BIG grain

Try HP-5+ in Rodinal. Also T-Max 3200 in Rodinal. Grain may not be as big as watermelons, but should be as big as grains of rice.

-- Michael D Fraser (, December 03, 1997.

big grain


I'm not really accomplished in emphasizing grain. My emphasis has been on eliminating grain in my prints. I personally consider grain to be a defect of the photographic process, but I understand those who want to use it as an aesthetic element in their work.

You are correct that film is largely responsible for grain size (and pattern), but the developer is the other half of the equation.

Rodinal, one of the oldest developer formulas in current use, was formulated in the 19th century when photographers were most concerned with emulsion speed and grain was of minor importance. Remember, they were using 8X10 glass plates and making contact prints by sunlight! Rodinal is still used today because it gives a beautiful, luminous tonal scale.

For large grain in your prints, two criteria must be met: 1. The emulsion must have large grain, i.e. a fast film. HP-5+, Tri-X, etc. 2. The developer should be a highly active type that causes grain clumping.

Now that I've had a day or two to think about it, here are some more ideas. Kodak Recording Film 2475 (ISO 4000!) is extremely grainy, but it is also rather ugly. You can develop film in print developer (Dektol) for exaggerated grain clumping. I'm sure someone out there has info on this.

As for T-Max developer, it is one of the best developers around, fine grain with high acutance. Not a good choice if you want big grain.

The best source of information on how the black and white process works is the excellent book, Ilford Monochrome Darkroom Practice. I hope this helps.

BTW, Check your e-mail address. I tried to send this as a reply to your e-mail to me, but it was returned. MDF

-- Michael D Fraser (, December 04, 1997.

You could try Kodak Infrared HIE. This has very high grain in almost any developer, although it is quite slow and thus only useful for certain types of subjects. If you don't filter, the results will not have too much infrared character, but you will always have the issue of no anti-halation layer.

-- Jeff Spirer (, December 08, 1997.

Try Tri-X developed in Dektol

-- John Lehman (, December 15, 1997.

I have found that TMZ (T-Max 3200) shot at 25,600 and dev. in Dektol gives really huge grain clumps. Plus, its a blast to shoot at that speed. Hope that helps.

-- Steve Canaan (, February 03, 1998.

Another way of getting "big grain" is to use stop and fixing agent that are colder than the developer. Put some ice water in just before you stop and fix........

-- Don Noll (, February 04, 1998.

Try Rodinal at 1:25 or 1:50. Also try vigorous agitation. Agitation definitely can cause alot of grain. Try continuous agitation, but cut the development time down because the more agitation the more contrast also. Changing development temperatures also increase grain since the emulsion contracts and expands causing grain. This may also lead to reticulation so be careful.

-- Kenneth Williams (, April 25, 1998.

Try colour reversal (slide) film pushed two stops and processed as for XP2. The grain is super.

-- Ron Williams (, March 21, 1999.

Tri-X in Neutol, the infrared films (Agfa SFX). You want beautiful grain or is drabby also good? HP5+ on 35mm in Rodinal. TMZ is beautiful to experiment with in different developers for all sorts of grain, e.g. Acufine.

-- Lot (, March 22, 1999.

There is a small film manufaktory called Hans O.Mahr in Hamburg, Germany they produce a film called UP 400 135/36 pancromatic it is the most grainy Film I now and has a very high contrast to . If you push up to 1600asa in Kodak D76 i am shure you have the desired Watermelongrain plus it is also the cheepest film i now around 2$

-- Robert Osmark (, May 08, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ