What b & w developers to you prefer, and why?
Old 08-24-2018   #1
sunrisecody1
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What b & w developers to you prefer, and why?

The title says it. I'm getting ready to get back into developing my own, but I'm curious what developer(s) are best. Back in my old days I used D76 1:1, Xtol, and Microdol X. What do you think the best choices are today?
Thanks guys!
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Old 08-24-2018   #2
johnf04
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I use Rodinal (the original Agfa developer) mainly because I had problems in the past with developer concentrate failing to work correctly once the bottle was opened. I don't process a lot of films.
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Old 08-24-2018   #3
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I use Pyrocat HD in glycol for films. Occasionally XTOL for 3200 asa films. I appreciate the highlight separation & the subsequent ease of printing.

Formulary Ansco 130 for prints for the beautiful tonal separation on fiber papers. I always have some LPD (in cans for easy storage on hand for when the 130 runs out before i can get more. Both great developers.
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Old 08-24-2018   #4
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Rodinal, HC-110.
Easy to mix, takes little space, long storage time, lots of info.
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Old 08-24-2018   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnf04 View Post
I use Rodinal (the original Agfa developer) mainly because I had problems in the past with developer concentrate failing to work correctly once the bottle was opened. I don't process a lot of films.
. I use R09(Rodinal) for the same reason. Sometimes I do 1:100 stand development with it other times I use 1:25 and timed development depending on the film and my mood. i like the one shot concept because I found myself throwing away a lot of developer that had gotten too old.
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Old 08-24-2018   #6
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Pardon, but for what film? That is the more important question!
D76 works well for a lot of films, I daresay it is about as universal a developer as there is, but for a specific film there may be a developer that is much better.
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Old 08-24-2018   #7
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This +++
In my case only hc110. Rodinal is good for low speed film but not my taste for 400 iso film. Hc110 is more versatile i think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Rodinal, HC-110.
Easy to mix, takes little space, long storage time, lots of info.
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Old 08-24-2018   #8
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Mainly Xtol, because it's septic tank friendly (and a full speed developer). Sometimes Rodinal, and D-76, for when I shoot Ferrania P30.

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Old 08-24-2018   #9
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XTOL for a bit of extra speed, low toxicity, and very fine grain.
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Old 08-24-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Rodinal, HC-110.
Easy to mix, takes little space, long storage time, lots of info.
Along with someone above, Ko.Fe is right.

Over the years I have found at least in my case that matching a film with a developer is not as important as finding your preferred EI , development time and very importantly the best agitation scheme for each film you use.
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Old 08-24-2018   #11
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Rodinal - for the same reasons as everyone else. DD-X because I think it lifts my shadows a bit. But it is expensive.
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Old 08-24-2018   #12
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Perceptol 1+2 @ 23 degrees C. Finest grain possible AFAIK for 400-2TMY, the only film I use.

Erik.
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Old 08-25-2018   #13
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Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
Perceptol 1+2 @ 23 degrees C. Finest grain possible AFAIK for 400-2TMY, the only film I use.

Erik.
It would be interesting to compare Xtol (my favourite) and Perceptol on a 400 film Erik. I seldom use 400 but have some Delta 400 in stock, so if I can get some Perceptol I'll try both developers. My reasons for liking Xtol are much the same as above (fine grain, sharpness, speed, eco-friendliness), but I would add two related advantages:
Very high consistency (pH doesn't seem to change over time)
Very good keeping quality of stock solution
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Old 08-25-2018   #14
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DDX. Lasts for years and gives an extra 2/3 stop of speed. Like quick'n'easy Microphen. Perceptol is good if you don't mine losing 1/3 to 2/3 stop.

I used to develop HP5 Plus in both, rating it at EI 250 and 500 respectively. The former is close to the ISO in that dev; the latter, about 1/3 stop below ISO. Then I decided it was too much trouble and standardized on DD-X.

Always found Rodinal slow and grainy. Great for LF; OK for MF; totally unsuitable for 35mm.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-25-2018   #15
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I use DD-X on several films, decanting into glass and topping off with some Bloxygen when I open a new jug or draw from a partial bottle has eliminated the partial bottle shelf life problems I did have with it. All the Ilford films do beautifully in it. I use Rodinal on my slow stuff, Rollei Ortho and RPX25, and on ADOX 100 films, and to push HP5+ to 800 (not supposed to work I know, but testing can turn up some unexpected treasures). Perceptol and D96 for the motion picture films from ORWO and Double-X. I also like the current version of Studionol, RO9 Spezial for HP5+ at 400. It is my standard. And HC-110 is always on hand for sheet film, HP5 or FP4. Again, lots of testing over the years has given me great control over 810 negs with that. I much prefer liquids, but have not found anything in liquid form that can match Perceptol, and am resigned to mixing up D96 as well for the same reason.
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Old 08-25-2018   #16
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Haven't done any film is several years but before I switched to digital, I had over 30 years of film shooting, processing and printing. I mostly used highly diluted developers. Shooting Tri-X, I used Rodinal in sodium sulfite or FG7. I also used Rodinal/sulfite with HP5 and PanF but switched to D76 1:1 when I couldn't get Rodinal locally. All of them gave good results.
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Old 08-25-2018   #17
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All of the above tends to illustrate than anyone else's experience is of very limited use...

Which is logical, as otherwise there wouldn't be as many developers. I used to like D19, which I compounded myself from raw chemicals. I still have the analytical balance and many of the chemicals.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-25-2018   #18
stevierose
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Hi Roger
Sorry for being a bit slow but I didn’t completely follow your post. You develop HP5+ in DDX with an EI of 500? What time/temp do you use? Do you use a similar increase in EI for other Ilford films?
Thanks
Steve Rosenblum
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Old 08-25-2018   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevierose View Post
Hi Roger
Sorry for being a bit slow but I didnít completely follow your post. You develop HP5+ in DDX with an EI of 500? What time/temp do you use? Do you use a similar increase in EI for other Ilford films?
Thanks
Steve Rosenblum
Dear Steve,

7 -1/2 minutes at 24. You might want to vary that by up to +/- 30 seconds.

The time-temperature recommendations on Ilford films are effectively for EIs, not ISO speeds, so the recommended 7 minutes for 400 and 8 minutes for 800 represent a slight pull and a (very) slight push, respectively.

And of course a lot depends on your metering technique/ personal preferences. With an incident light meter I'd drop the EI to 320; with spot metering for the shadows, using a shadow index, 500 is fine.

Yes, similar arguments apply for all Ilford (and indeed other) films in DD-X.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-25-2018   #20
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I am not developing much in these days but it seems me I'm the only one using Ilfosol 3 ...
robert
PS: after reading Roger's post I think I'll try DDX
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Old 08-25-2018   #21
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Dear Robert,

I've always found Ilfosol to be a middle-of-the road dev, not especially remarkable in any direction. It's OK but... Well, I see nothing special in it.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-25-2018   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
DDX. Lasts for years and gives an extra 2/3 stop of speed. Like quick'n'easy Microphen. Perceptol is good if you don't mine losing 1/3 to 2/3 stop.

I used to develop HP5 Plus in both, rating it at EI 250 and 500 respectively. The former is close to the ISO in that dev; the latter, about 1/3 stop below ISO. Then I decided it was too much trouble and standardized on DD-X.

Always found Rodinal slow and grainy. Great for LF; OK for MF; totally unsuitable for 35mm.

Cheers,

R.

Also prefer DDX for ease of use, reproducibility and excellent results with my favorite films, HP5+, FP4+, Acros 100, which I generally rate at the box speeds for my shooting and developing.
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Old 08-25-2018   #23
stevierose
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Thanks Roger. I mostly use an incident reading, so 320 for DDX 7.5 minutes at 24?

Warm regards to Frances

Cheers

Steve
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Old 08-25-2018   #24
Bill Clark
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There are a gadzillion ideas on how to develop film. Like you, I still use, D-76/ID-11. But I also use Rodinal by Adox and do stand development

My recommendation is get down one developer with results you like and from there try out different stuff, dilutions, temp, and so on.

That’s the fun part of photography for me, experimenting with all the variables.
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Old 08-25-2018   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevierose View Post
Thanks Roger. I mostly use an incident reading, so 320 for DDX 7.5 minutes at 24?

Warm regards to Frances

Cheers

Steve
Dear Steve,

You're welcome -- and Frances sends her best too. Yes, that should be a good starting point, and I doubt you'll need to change it by more than about 30 seconds; 45 at the most.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-25-2018   #26
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Quote:
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. . . My recommendation is get down one developer with results you like and from there try out different stuff, dilutions, temp, and so on.

Thatís the fun part of photography for me, experimenting with all the variables.
Dear Bill,

Yes: it's very important to find one that you like. From what I can see, some people choose a developer at random, or on the recommendation of another, and then persist even if it doesn't ever give them good results.

But I'd rather get all the variables under adequate control, and then not look for more precision than exists in the system. Once you have the dilution weighed off, and a standard temperature, you really shouldn't have to play too much with development times unless you are dealing with individual sheets (basic sensitometry *******ized* as the Zone System) or with whole rolls shot under unusual conditions.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-25-2018   #27
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Just about a year ago, I started shooting 4x5 film and have been processing at home.
For me, that has meant HP5 and HC-110.
There may well be "better" combinations but I've been pleased with my negatives and don't really feel like there's any need to add another variable to my process.
At some point, I will probably try some other film(s) and then I may consider a different developer.
For now, though, this combination is giving me good and consistent results. Which lets me work on making good photos and allows me to not worry about my developing routine.
Rob
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Old 08-25-2018   #28
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Generally HC110 with a little R09. I like the long lifespan of the concentrates and that I can use them to develop almost anything B&W.

Steve W.
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Old 08-25-2018   #29
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I'm a big fan of single shot developers as concentrates as well. Pyrocat is 5ml of solution A & 5ml of soultion B to 500ml of water. The Pyrocat HD in glycol lasts more than a year and is avaialable in kits that will make 50 litres. Great results & pennies a roll. Staining developers are my go to & have made my printing life easier.
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Hc110
Old 08-25-2018   #30
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Hc110

HC110 is versatile and lasts forever. My problem with most other developers is that they don't last very long, and I either find this out late at night when I want to develop film, or with Xtol when the results were very suboptimal because the developer had run out of steam.
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Old 08-26-2018   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Dear Robert,

I've always found Ilfosol to be a middle-of-the road dev, not especially remarkable in any direction. It's OK but... Well, I see nothing special in it.

Cheers,

R.
Right, nothing special but easy to use ! Probably because I develop to scan and post process later and this gives me the possibility to play a little with contrast and other parameters I didn't see a limit in using it.

Now because after using almost exclusively the M10 last year I feel the "need" of the discipline to shoot a few B&W films following your suggestions I'll give a try to DDX

robert
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Old 08-26-2018   #32
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I seem to be perfectly happy with D-76 1:1 for conventional emulsions like Tri-X and Plus-X (yes I still have some) and I'm using it now with Double-X as well. For tabular grain (meaning the Ilford Delta emulsions), I like what I get with DD-X. And I'm taking a greater interest in playing with T-Max developer. I'm thinking that perhaps it's not just for pushing anymore. The DD-X and T-Max are both good for pushing, but I seldom push film. I keep a bottle of Rodinal on the shelf, in case of a national emergency, but I don't use it.
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Old 08-26-2018   #33
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DDX is fine, a bit grainy but at 25Ä a bottle one has to be really passionate about to say the least.
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Old 08-27-2018   #34
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Quote:
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DDX is fine, a bit grainy but at 25Ä a bottle one has to be really passionate about to say the least.
Yes, truer words were never spoken (or typed)!
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Old 08-27-2018   #35
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I don't know about "best", but I've been using LegacyPro L110 from Freestyle for the past few years. It's a clone of Kodak HC-110, so the formulation and results may not be exactly the same. However, I like it because it's economical, available in a smaller 1 pint bottle, and very easy to mix.

So far, I've been pretty happy with the results, and you can see examples in posts I've shared to the forum, as well as tagged on my Flickr. Compared to many members here, I'm admittedly a relative beginner. I've not used HC-110 myself, so if anybody can clearly tell the difference between LegacyPro L110 and HC-110, or sees anything deficient in my results, I'd be glad to hear the feedback and criticism!
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Old 08-28-2018   #36
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Rodinal for slow film up to 100 ISO, and HC110 for everything else.
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Old 08-28-2018   #37
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I started out on DD-X and Ilford FP4 and HP5. FP4 was reasonable but FP5 tended to be a bit too grainy for my liking so I moved to ID-11 two-sherbert mixture and what an improvement! Agitation for both as per Ilford's: four times in ten secs initially then four times in the first ten secs each subsequent minute.

I like ID-11 on Agfa APX100 and Tri-X (pushed and box speed) too. I used ID-11 on Fomapan and it seems OK. But Fomapan isn't Ilford and there's a considerable difference in grain which I can't ascribe to any particular developer just yet.

I've been shooting Ilford Delta 400 on the Mess-Baldix and I went back to DD-X. Much better on Delta 400 than on HP5. I've just done a 35mm roll of Delta 100 in ID-11 and it looks good too.

I bought a bottle of Rodinal to try last week, and I'll shoot some more Agfa APX100 to see what it's like. I'll do the roll of Fomapan 100 I'm part-through in my Praktica MTL3 with the Rodinal too.

There're an awful lot of permutations out there!
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Old 08-28-2018   #38
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Rodinal and PQ. Yes PQ for films sometimes - works fine for me
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Old 08-28-2018   #39
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I used various developers in my processing..
Kodak D-23 (mixed from mainly Kodak chemicals), lIfosol,
Acufine (when money was no object),Kodak D-76 preferring Ilford ID-11(when i wanted clean chemicals), Rodinal original, Rodinal with Sodium Sulphite, Blazinol (re-worked Rodinal) and now for last 10 years HC-110.

Nowadays it's one or at most 2 rolls to develop!
A long stretch from Fashion and Publicity shoots where 20 rolls a day was normal. D-23 Split, in two solutions that was a great choice.

I feel Consistency more important than trying out every developer!
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Old 08-28-2018   #40
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D-76 1:1 is my base line developer. I use it for Everything faster than ISO 100 and I like it very much with Tri-X, Foma 100 and Orwo films. I recently acquired some Double-X and I’ll be using it for that as well.

I also have a fair amount of expired film on hand and I’ll sometimes use HC-110 instead of D-76 because it’s good at keeping fog to a minimum.

With slower films I like Rodinal’s tonality although I’ve never tried stand developing. For me, ISO 100 is the tipping point where I might use D-76 or Rodinal, depending upon what look I’m after. I normally default to D-76.

I also like Rodinal for cross-processing C-41 film in B&W chemistry. I’ve gotten interesting results doing this.
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