Film Developer combinations the good,thebad and the ugly.

Camerashy

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Registered User
Everyone has a favourite film and developer combination, what's your favourite and what did not work for you and why?
 

Ian Grant

Well-Known Member
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I develop everything in Pyrocat HD that's Delta 100 & 400, FP4 and HP5, Fomapan 100 & 200, EFKE Pl25 and Fortepan 200.

If I used another developer it would be replenished Xtol for all films, or Rodinal for Delta 100. I wouldn't use Rodinal with fast films.

Ian
 

Alan9940

Active Member
Registered User
I'm very fond of Delta 100 in Clayton F76+. I use Pyrocat-HD with a few different films (mostly Fomapan 100 and Ilford FP-4+) when employing minimal agitation techniques. I use Rodinal with benzotriazole added, if old film revealing some fog.
 

Donald Qualls

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I've been running Xtol with replenishment recently -- helps me feel better about my easiest 4x5 method (Yankee Agitank) needing 1560 ml for even a single sheet of 4x5 film -- that film would still only consume 17.5 ml of developer (as replenisher), rather than taking 300+ ml of stock solution for 1+3 dilution. Took me a couple tries to figure out filling and agitation, but now I've got it sorted.

My film of choice for large format is .EDU Ultra 100 and 400 (aka Fomapan). It's good film (especially the 100, though I use the 400 more in smaller formats due to limitations of hand holding), and in the USA it's the least expensive choice going. In 4x5 size, in the box of 50 sheets, .EDU Ultra 400 is about US $0.70 a sheet, only about double the cost of X-ray film (and I don't have to cut it to size under safelight). When I shoot 9x12, I wind up with the original brand on the box, Fomapan 100, but it's the same film. This stuff looks very good in Xtol replenished stock, sharp, smooth, and full speed.
 

Alan9940

Active Member
Registered User
I've been quite enamored with Fomapan 100 for several years now shooting it mostly in 10x8 format. I've used Pyrocat-HD, D-76, HC-110, Rodinal, and D-23 to develop it and it shines in all. And, the cost? Last couple of boxes I ordered from fotoimpex (before all this worldwide craziness started) and shipped to the USA came in at about $2.70US per sheet; and I'm talking 10x8! Gotta love that!!
 

Camerashy

Member
Registered User
I've been running Xtol with replenishment recently -- helps me feel better about my easiest 4x5 method (Yankee Agitank) needing 1560 ml for even a single sheet of 4x5 film -- that film would still only consume 17.5 ml of developer (as replenisher), rather than taking 300+ ml of stock solution for 1+3 dilution. Took me a couple tries to figure out filling and agitation, but now I've got it sorted.

My film of choice for large format is .EDU Ultra 100 and 400 (aka Fomapan). It's good film (especially the 100, though I use the 400 more in smaller formats due to limitations of hand holding), and in the USA it's the least expensive choice going. In 4x5 size, in the box of 50 sheets, .EDU Ultra 400 is about US $0.70 a sheet, only about double the cost of X-ray film (and I don't have to cut it to size under safelight). When I shoot 9x12, I wind up with the original brand on the box, Fomapan 100, but it's the same film. This stuff looks very good in Xtol replenished stock, sharp, smooth, and full speed.
Hi, Donald, is that shop bought Xtol or do you make your own developer and replenisher? How do you replenish the developer, do you drain an amount from the stock and add a few ml of replenisher after each film is developed?
 

Donald Qualls

New Member
Registered User
Hi, Donald, is that shop bought Xtol or do you make your own developer and replenisher? How do you replenish the developer, do you drain an amount from the stock and add a few ml of replenisher after each film is developed?
The Xtol I'm currently using is Kodak packaged, the packaging said expired 2002 -- I've had it since about 2005, and just mixed it up this past spring. Per Kodak's recommendation, I replace part of the working solution with 70 ml of fresh stock solution for each 8x10 equivalent (120 roll, 135-36, or four sheets of 4x5), and discard any overflow. So far, I've used a little over a liter of replenisher (with a two liter working solution), by count that's 17 rolls (some were short rolls or sheet film less than four sheets), at one or two rolls a week.

I mix all chemicals from concentrate or powder with reverse osmosis, de-ionized water (at least as pure as distilled), which we have around for my partner's reef aquarium anyway. Apparently, however, the current wisdom is not to expect Mytol (home mixed Xtol-alike) to last well enough for replenishment to make sense -- the ascorbate is subject to the Fenton reaction, in which iron or copper reacts with and destroys the ascorbate, and even if your water is ultra-pure, your chemicals might have enough iron contamination to cause sudden failure. Kodak went through some hoops fixing this back in the early 2000s.
 

Ian Grant

Well-Known Member
Registered User
Replenished Xtol is an excellent choice particularly as no replenisher is available for D76/ID-11 any longer unless you mix your own.

I found Xtol gave better all round results in terms of film speed, fine grain, and sharpness with T grained and similar films like Delta 100 compared to ID-11/D76 but that was really only noticeable with 35mm negatives and prints. The beauty of Xtol is you replenish with fresh Xtol so you just split the mixed solution into a working stock of say 2.5 litres and keep the other half for replenishing, It's a very economic way of working particularly if you need volume for just one or two sheets.

Ian
 

Alan Clark

Active Member
Registered User
I gave replenished Xtol a try a few years ago with 35mm HP5+, largely in response to good reports about it by Ian, and other photographers. After using it with several films. I tried it in comparison with ID11, at a dilution of 1+2. A full roll of film was exposed on the same subject, then cut up and developed. Xtol was finer grained than ID11 1+2. Sharpness was the same. Film speed was the same. Tonality of ID11 was much better. The upper mid-tones in the Xtol prints were darker. The ID11 prints looked fresher and brighter. The negatives were also easier to print. The film was exposed in hazy sunlight, so was given somewhat reduced development., to reign in the highlights. I concluded that replenished Xtol was also reigning in the mid-tones somewhat, and stopped using it. I should say that you probably wouldn't notice this in normal use. But it was very noticable when a direct comparison was made, using the same subject.

Alan
 

Camerashy

Member
Registered User
O.K. I am considering ID11/D76 1+1 for almost everything but scenes where I want subtle differences in the highlights to be seperated. Pyrocat HD will be used for that and ID 68 for pushing film. Do you think that is a sound plan?
 

Alan9940

Active Member
Registered User
Ya can't go wrong with good 'ole D76. If you're interested, there are other developer formulas that can be used to control the higher end of the tonal scale--like D-23, for example--that avoid the toxicity and possible danger of handling a staining developer. Don't get me wrong...I use quite a bit of Pcat-HD and it will handle high values beautifully, but just wanted to point out that there are other choices available. Of course, most you would have to mix yourself which may be out of the question. I know very little about ID-68, but, again, just about any developer can be used for pushing film.
 

David M

Well-Known Member
Registered User
The general advice is to pick one thing and stick with it until you discover for yourself a very good reason to change. You should be able to get good separation by normal control of exposure and development. If you are wet printing, there are other controls and if you are scanning, the world of local contrast is your playing field.
When you say "pushing" are you using the accepted meaning of trying to extract reluctant information from an underexposed neg, or do you mean increasing contrast from a flat scene? (In Zone language, plus development.)
As we've seen in other discussions, one person's experience, with their specific equipment, materials, subjects, preferences and habits may not be a perfect example for another photographer if swallowed whole.

It would be interesting if you explained why you've made these choices. I'm not disputing anything, but I'd like to know how you decided. Have you made practical tests or is this keyboard research?
Many fine images have been made with good ol' D76/ID11.
 

Alan Clark

Active Member
Registered User
O.K. I am considering ID11/D76 1+1 for almost everything but scenes where I want subtle differences in the highlights to be seperated. Pyrocat HD will be used for that and ID 68 for pushing film. Do you think that is a sound plan?
Maybe you are over-complicating things. I find that IID11 does everything that I need. ID 11 at a dilution of 1+2 will give you all the control you need over negative highlight density, when confronted with high subject contrast. It does this just as well as Pyrocat HD. This is my normal dilution for ID11. If I want to boost contrast when faced with flat light I use ID11 at 1+1. And when I was doing farm documentary photography and was using 35mm HP5 in dull light in barns, I got good results rating the film at 1200 and developing in stock solution ID11.

Alan
 

Camerashy

Member
Registered User
The general advice is to pick one thing and stick with it until you discover for yourself a very good reason to change. You should be able to get good separation by normal control of exposure and development. If you are wet printing, there are other controls and if you are scanning, the world of local contrast is your playing field.
When you say "pushing" are you using the accepted meaning of trying to extract reluctant information from an underexposed neg, or do you mean increasing contrast from a flat scene? (In Zone language, plus development.)
As we've seen in other discussions, one person's experience, with their specific equipment, materials, subjects, preferences and habits may not be a perfect example for another photographer if swallowed whole.

It would be interesting if you explained why you've made these choices. I'm not disputing anything, but I'd like to know how you decided. Have you made practical tests or is this keyboard research?
Many fine images have been made with good ol' D76/ID11.
Practical test.
D76/ID11 I can buy it off the shelf always consistent when used one shot. I use this at ei 250 with a sbr of 5 zones, my go to developer.
Pyrocat HD I just love the sharpness and the tonality. Very economical and it lasts forever in glycol.
ID 68 / Microphen when I need to use box speed with asa 400 films or at least under expose a stop at ei 800.I use 35mm cameras, medium format cameras and 5x4, have I got too many tools in the box ?
 

Ian Grant

Well-Known Member
Registered User
ID-68 is the published formula for Microphem, the only minor difference is Micropen itself has a little Sodium Metabisulphite as a developing agent anti-oxidant in Part A to prevent deterioration in storage and a slight touch more Sodium Carbonate in Part B to compensate for the acidity of the Metabisulphite. It's quite common for a packaged power developer to vary from the published formula this way.

Surprisingly @Alan5548 I found Pyrocat HD good for push processing HP5 but it's something I need to look at a bit more. I've only done it once and the EI was around 1600/3200 it was a dusk shot and the light was dropping to fast. The shot failed because even at that EI I was only able to shoot a 1/25 at f5.5 not good for a moving object. Really I'd only want 800 or 1600 at a push to work hand held.

Pyrocat HD keeps up to 3 years just made up in deionised water, it's very economic, but then I do buy my chemicals in bulk. 20p or less per litre of working solution. I've used Pyrocat HD for over 15 years now and exclusively for the last 12, it does every thing I need and is fantastic with HP5 at box speed. Prior to this I used Rodinal and replenished Xtol.

I gave up using id-11/D76 around 1983 in favour of Adox Borax MQ which gave about 1/3 extra speed and better shadow details, sharper in terms of definition and a nicer tonality, it's very similar to Agfa Ansco 17/Agfa 44. Later I switched to Xtol for commercial work. All these developers were used replenished.

Ian
 

Camerashy

Member
Registered User
ID-68 is the published formula for Microphem, the only minor difference is Micropen itself has a little Sodium Metabisulphite as a developing agent anti-oxidant in Part A to prevent deterioration in storage and a slight touch more Sodium Carbonate in Part B to compensate for the acidity of the Metabisulphite. It's quite common for a packaged power developer to vary from the published formula this way.

Surprisingly @Alan5548 I found Pyrocat HD good for push processing HP5 but it's something I need to look at a bit more. I've only done it once and the EI was around 1600/3200 it was a dusk shot and the light was dropping to fast. The shot failed because even at that EI I was only able to shoot a 1/25 at f5.5 not good for a moving object. Really I'd only want 800 or 1600 at a push to work hand held.

Pyrocat HD keeps up to 3 years just made up in deionised water, it's very economic, but then I do buy my chemicals in bulk. 20p or less per litre of working solution. I've used Pyrocat HD for over 15 years now and exclusively for the last 12, it does every thing I need and is fantastic with HP5 at box speed. Prior to this I used Rodinal and replenished Xtol.

I gave up using id-11/D76 around 1983 in favour of Adox Borax MQ which gave about 1/3 extra speed and better shadow details, sharper in terms of definition and a nicer tonality, it's very similar to Agfa Ansco 17/Agfa 44. Later I switched to Xtol for commercial work. All these developers were used replenished.

Ian
Hello Ian, when pushing HP5+ will you be using Pyrocat HD @ 2a+2b+100 or at 1a+1b+100 and using a longer development time
 

Ian Grant

Well-Known Member
Registered User
Hello Ian, when pushing HP5+ will you be using Pyrocat HD @ 2a+2b+100 or at 1a+1b+100 and using a longer development time
I used 1 + 1 to 100 and something like 45-50 minutes inversion agitation, I normally use two 2000 series Jobo tanks each take 2 5x4 reels, they are pre-date Jobo's rotary tanks. As I said it needs some experimenting pushing to 3200 is too much, I used to use HP5 to shoot rock concerts processed in ID68 pushing to 1600 but switched to XP1 and later XP2 which pushes far better but we don't have that option with LF.

At 2 + 2 to 100 I think the contrast would increase and at the higher dilution the highlight areas would exhaust while in the shadows keep developing, on a long development time like that I'd agitate normally to begin with then after the firsts 10 mins then drop to once every 5 minutes.

1604824743987.png

The image grain at around 3200 was quite good in the highlight areas but quite noticeable in the shadows, however the contrast was also against me. I had a my Wista with a 360mm f5.5 Tele Xenar set up to photograph Tornado, on time the exposure would have been 1/100 (fastest speed) at f16 or f22 at 40 EI, but the engine/train was around 90 minutes late by then the sun had just started dropping behind the local football stadium, so it's catching the roof of the coaches and top of the engine etc.

This is from a negative scan but I have made a couple of darkroom prints and they needed quite a bit of dodging to bring out the detail on the carriage and loco sides, I said 1/25 but it may have been 1/10, I was lucky to get anything.

In flatter conditions a bit of modest push processing to 800 EI would make a difference when I shoot hand held, and it would be worth trying 1600 as well

Ian
 

David M

Well-Known Member
Registered User
If it's by practical test, I've given you more advice than you need.
The way you phrased it reminded me of those "What lens should I buy for landscapes?" questions that seem to turn up on another LF Forum and I mistook you for a beginner. My apologies.
 

Camerashy

Member
Registered User
If it's by practical test, I've given you more advice than you need.
The way you phrased it reminded me of those "What lens should I buy for landscapes?" questions that seem to turn up on another LF Forum and I mistook you for a beginner. My apologies.
No need to apologies David, I just threw this post out there to stimulate conversation. There are lots of things to consider when choosing a developer, I just wondered what other photographers were using and why.
 
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