In my continuing effort to simplify my photo materials I took a roll of test pictures with HP5 Plus and developed it with Rodinal (1+50). I already use Rodinal with FP4 Plus and it would be nice to have just one developer on the shelf.
I digitized the negatives as RAW files as I usually do with a Fuji X-T20 camera. My standard app for developing the Fuji X RAW files is Iridient X Transformer. Because this was an experiment, I ran the files through Iridient twice, once with the default settings I have always used and once with all of the sharpening and other data manipulation turned off.
My standard app for processing my negative scans is Affinity Photo. When I opened the files with Affinity and zoomed in on the sky to compare the representation of the film grain I was pleasantly surprised to see that the grain looked a lot better in the unsharpened version.
I have previously found that if my film, developer and process produce a good representation of the film grain in a continuous tone light part of the image the apparent sharpness and resolution of the more detailed parts of the image will take care of themselves, given a print of reasonable size.
I made an 8″ by 12″ inkjet print of one of the unsharpened scans. The grain is clearly visible on close examination of the mid tone parts of the print, which is no surprise with the Rodinal. What did surprise me was the apparent sharpness of the print. It is noticeably better than anything I ever achieved with HP5 Plus using Ilfotec DD-X and software sharpening. My working hypothesis is that turning off the software sharpening lets the film and developer do their stuff, and the high acutance combination of HP5 Plus and Rodinal took it from there.