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Film Reticulation

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 5:15 pm
by Terry
Many years ago I was able to easily reticulate Tri-X 35mm with alternating hot/cold water baths after the stop bath. This no longer seems possible.

Does anyone out there know of a film - development combination that will reticulate? For certain images, the effect is wonderful.


Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 6:57 pm
by Digitaltruth
Modern emulsions are very hard to affect with differential temperature baths. Although there may be evidence of increased grain, it is minor compared to the full reticulation that you could formerly achieve with a film such as Tri-X.

You could try increasing the differential temperature, but even with boiling and freezing water, you may not achieve reticulation before damaging the emulsion.

Hopefully someone will have experience of reticulating a modern emulsion and can add to these comments, but my best suggestion would be to experiment with old-fashioned films such as those made by Efke, Foma, Forte etc... as these may be less resistant to temperature change. You can buy these films from JandC Photo whose link is on the home page at

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:53 pm
by tornredcarpet
what's the temperature difference? you could try a 20 degree C difference by using 30 degree stop bath and 10 degree fixer (ice bath)

Film Reticulation

Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 2:40 am
by Terry
Thank you Jon Meded. I ordered film from J and C which was delivered within a week. I shot and processed a roll yesterday and made prints today and the film is clearly reticulated!

Like you wrote - it feels and acts like "old-fashioned" film. And like the films I learned on years ago, the film base is so thin that it can easily pop out of focus in the negative carrier. A minor problem.

My students are going to have fun with this assignment.


Posted: Mon Nov 21, 2005 4:35 pm
by clarita
can someone explain what reticulation is a=excatly or direct me somewhere I can learn more? Ive no idea but it sounds exciting.

Posted: Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:08 pm
by Terry
Reticulation is a repeated pattern in the film grain - like interlinking puzzle pieces. When a small section of 35mm film is blown up considerably, the pattern is most obvious. Of course, it doesn't necessarily look good on all subjects (like portraits) but the crackle effect can be subtle and interesting.

My method is to develop film at the regular time & temperature then rinse in water to stop development. Next rinse in very hot (140+ F) for 1 minute followed by a rinse in very cold ice water for 1 minute. Finally - stop, fix, wash, etc. at normal temperatures. Be careful with the film while it dries because emulsion is pretty delicate when it's wet.

Give it a try!

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 3:53 am
by clarita
thanks, will try this when I take some suitable pics.

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 5:30 am
by tornredcarpet
Reticulation is caused by a swollen emulsion (be it from long periods in water or in very warm water) suddenly shrinking by exposure to very cold water.
i.e. try reticulating glass. =P It shatters into a very distinct pattern.


Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 7:52 am
by pentaxpete
Hi folks! A Newbie on this site but an OLD snapper!
Some years ago I was getting reticulation with a batch of Ilford FP4 I was using for local press work; it was supplied by the newspaper. I found it was a bad batch out of the Ilford factory. I got it using Crawley's FX18 formula, which seems to have vanished now. I wonder if the alkalinity of the dev. had any effect as well?