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High Contrast Black & White: A Quest Came to its End

An epic quest to obtain high contrast with black and white processes finally came to its end.

It all started with this shot:

Photo by stouf

This shot was taken on the 23rd of May 2009 in Québec city, using a Zenitar Fisheye with a red filter on a Canon F1n, and was part of a roll bursting in contrast and sharpness. As I mentioned in my review, this Rollei ATP 1.1 roll was processed at a lab (I wasn’t yet much into home processing by the time).

About a year and a half later, I was getting more confident in home processing and tried to tackle the ATP process myself (using the dedicated ‘ATP DC Developer’). I must confess I wasn’t that impressed… Some shots were looking fine but still not as good as the very first roll.

Later on, I slightly gave up trying to reproduce the initial miracle and decided to try using Kodalith Ortho Type 3 film, a high-contrast 6 iso orthochromatic film used for document reproduction. Once again I used the dedicated developer to process this film (Kodak Super RT developer).
The films that came out of this process were quite incredible, transparent with black blobs of fixed emulsion. Scanning was painful and required playing with the scanning area and enabling/disabling the automatic correction of the scanner. The results were this time a bit too wacky and with an excessive loss of detail…

I was still not satisfied…
And I gave up.

Later on, I had a few remaining rolls of Rollei ATP 1.1 and Kodak Ortho Type 3 needing to be processed and I decided that they would be part of a batch that I would process ‘normally’, with no fuss and just a few milliliters of Rodinal.

The results gave me cutis anserina, these films coming out of my processing drum were looking like my very first roll of ATP! Woohoo success!
At this moment the answer hit me with all its simplicity: The lab that processed my first ATP roll just used a generic developer and followed the standard steps. Eureka! Once again a ‘wrong’ process gave the best results…

Kodak Ortho Type 3 (6 iso):

Rollei ATP 1.1 (32 iso):

So, to make a long story short, get some Rollei ATP 1.1 (you might need to put a ND filter or a piece of film on your light sensor to adjust the iso rating), ideally use a red filter, develop the film for 13 minutes at 20°C in 1+50 Rodinal and fix it with an acid fixer (Rollei Fix acid RXA recommended, see the tipster for details. It is easy and the satisfaction guaranteed.

written by stouf


  1. diy


    Some great reuslts in there, good job!

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  2. hewzay


    I will be doing this...thanks!

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  3. dearjme


    Oh my goodness, these are amazing.

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  4. inkkl


    Love it...hope i have time to translate it...

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  5. appelmoes


    you can also ask the lab to using gradation filter 4 with the process in the dark room. :-)
    Then you get photo's like this: http://www.lomograph(…)os/14723716

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  6. feelux


    Great results! Great tipster! :)

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  7. oxgn


    Thank you for a great tips! and really thank you for the links you have in your articles :D Thanks again!

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  8. kerpella


    Beautiful photos!!!

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  9. hail90


    the outcome is so breathetaking!!

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  10. foodeanz


    i don't know what to say....fantastic!

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  11. ipdegirl


    those results are fantastic!!!! I'm going to try this for sure. Thanks for sharing!

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  12. ojjvz


    great pictures!

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  13. gardenhat


    I need to try this! Thanks!
    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  14. adash


    Cool. See what I've got with Rodinal 1+100 and ORWO PF2 (ISO6 repro stock, sensitive to blue only):
    A friend suggested to try 1+200 or 1+300, but I think I really like the extra contrast....

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  15. stouf


    @adash Ho ! Thanks for that!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  16. lighthouseblues


    Great article! Love the results you got! I need to try this.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  17. pangmark


    Wow, great pics and nice tips

    over 2 years ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch, 日本語 & Nederlands.