One developer for B&W film, my film
Old 07-14-2017   #1
davidnewtonguitars
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One developer for B&W film, my film

Been here long enough to know there isn't one thing for everyone, but if:
My son & myself shoot, 35mm, Tri-x, T-max, Ilford HP5, FP4, and I just ordered some Bergger Pancro 400, shooting all at box speed, what one best developer for this "set" of films?

Up until now I have used Rodinal 1:100 stand, with ok results, especially with FP4. I have Kodak D76 in transit along with the Pancro 400.
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Old 07-14-2017   #2
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D-76 1+1 works well for all of Kodak's films and all of Ilford's films. I have not tried the new Bergger film, so can't comment on it, but for everything else, D-76 is the best all around developer.

If you prefer a liquid developer, then Try Kodak Tmax developer. I use it diluted 1+7 instead of the standard 1+4 dilution. To get developing times for the 1+7 dilution, multiply the 1+4 times by 1.5 (Example: so if the normal time for Tmax developer is 6 minutes, you develop at 9 minutes in the 1+7 dilution)
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Old 07-14-2017   #3
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D76 1:1. I have been making from raw stock chems for 10 years now for $1/liter.
There is no difference to Kodak where you must mix a full gallon.

Mine goes into 125 ml bottles and lasts 6 months after which a very slow loss of activity occurs.

Let it rest 24 hours after mixing.

It works very well with Bergger 200 for years back. If 400 was in my camera, I would use it.

Works well with all K films, Delta 100, but not 400. Was great with first Delta 400, not new stuff. Current 400 needs Xtol or DDX where it is wonderful. Others have documented this when current version first appeared 10 years back.

Use stock, 1:1, or 1:3 to get variations in grain and sharpness.
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Old 07-14-2017   #4
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D-76 is old style I started with. Works with most regular films and regular speeds. I just find it not comfortable in its form to be used and switched to much more compact and flexible HC-110.
And I like Rodinal for low price, compactness and for low speed films. Less viscosity to deal with comparing to HC-110.
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Old 07-14-2017   #5
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As others have said, D76 is an excellent allrounder and the nice thing is that most, if not all, manufacturers quote development times for it. If I was to choose just one developer it would be D76 (or ID11, which is Ilford's equivalent).
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Old 07-14-2017   #6
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Thanks so much!
Since I have dry D-76 on the way, I will try it on the 400 films, along with Rodinal for slow film.
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Old 07-14-2017   #7
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Haven't standardized per se on a film or developer, but am using mostly FP4 and HP5 with HC-110 and recently Pyrocat-HD which gives some very nice results. Fairly, HC-110 with high dilution (1:100) and minimal agitation can do the same. This is turning in very smooth, repeatable results for me that I'm very happy with not trying to change much. Surprisingly happy so that I'm not feeling there's a technical block in my "work" any more (although I'm going to be a lot less less aggressive with the squeegee than I've been). Might even throw out the other stuff I bought "just to try" 'cause I don't need the distraction? It's possible. (Bottle of Rodinal untouched; TFX-2 untouched; and FA-1027 used a bit).

I've bought some Bergger 400 and Fuji Acros but haven't shot them yet, and haven't developed the Pan-F I shot yet either.

Hemmed and hawed about ordering more Pyrocat-HD when I ran out... because some of the things folks write about it make you think you're working with Nitroglycerin... which you're not, but it kinds of makes you leery in ways HC-110 probably should as well... but no one talks about it that way. Anyway, I like the very high dilution chemistry and minimal agitation, and don't see much of that reported on with either XTOL or D76 as a tool for imaging... and there's only so much "figuring'" and guesstimating and experimenting of my own. So I guess that means HC-110 'cause "I can do the math." Like to stand on the shoulders of the giants who've already done the hard stuff and simply revise from there 'cause I'm not really equipped to do more than that.

FWIW, creativity... matters more than technique, but technique can get in the way if it's not smoothed out. Problem with changing equipment, film, developers is re-setting what you know... which I think delays stepping up the game or figuring out what variable to play with to improve. Maybe not for everyone. But for me, creativity comes with shooting a lot so that your (my) eyes begin to see stuff that's always been there... only now you realize what you can do with it.
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Old 07-14-2017   #8
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D76 is great and will work well with allot of the films you listed, but I'd avoid using it with Tmax films.

I generally stick to Rodanel for slow films (100 asa or slower) and Hc110 for quicker films.

Hope that helps.
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Old 07-14-2017   #9
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If anything, I'm learning that I'm not alone in my choices.

D-76 is very much a "general" developer. However, I'm not using it so much anymore.

Rodinal is darn versatile. And, a bottle will stay "good" for many, many years. I tried some of my 20+ year old stuff earlier this year and its as good as new.

HC-110 is the other versatile developer for me. Its only drawback is "activity". It seems to be too strong for certain films and its difficult to get development times less than 5 mins.

Not yet mentioned, but surprisingly versatile: Caffenol. Yes, Caffenol.

I've used caffenol on every film type I have in the freezer (that's quite a few) and it works well with nearly all of them. The films that didn't turn out great just needed fine tuning with dev times. Caffenol might be the developer we all use in the dystopian future World events are crazy these days.... and I'm prepared. Caffenol for developer, vinegar for stop (when appropriate), pool chems for fixer, dishsoap for final rinse (I know this isn't universally endorsed). Who needs Freestyle? Oh, yeah, the film.
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Old 07-14-2017   #10
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I sometimes use other developers, but I always keep HC110 on hand.
FWIW the Freestyle clone Legacypro L110 is less viscous than Kodak.

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Old 07-14-2017   #11
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I personally use Ilford ID11 as a standard developer and it performs very well, however D76 is also an excellent choice
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Old 07-14-2017   #12
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I think you should pick one film and use it for a year. Lots of time and effort will be used skipping around for little gain. Same with developers.

First off the film developer combo has to be tuned to your darkroom. Boring waste of time and if not done, nothing will be learned.
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D-76 formula for 1 liter?i
Old 07-14-2017   #13
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D-76 formula for 1 liter?i

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald M View Post
D76 1:1. I have been making from raw stock chems for 10 years now for $1/liter.
There is no difference to Kodak where you must mix a full gallon.

Mine goes into 125 ml bottles and lasts 6 months after which a very slow loss of activity occurs.
Ronald - What is your formula for 1 liter of D-76? thanks ---john.
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Old 07-14-2017   #14
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Like a lot of people here, I've been down the try-everything roller coaster. (The Pyrocat period was especially interesting.) Every developer has its own character, but there's only so much time! Now I keep it simple -- D76 for everything over 100 ISO, and Rodinal for everything else. Find one or two you like, and stick with them for a while.
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Old 07-14-2017   #15
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I use a few films in 5x7, 120 & 35...more FP4+ than anything, then Tri-X and TMY-2. Pyrocat HD in glycol has been my pick for at least the last 5 yrs. everything gets wet printed usually on ilford FB warmtone & some remaining Forte
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Old 07-14-2017   #16
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I'll second the recommendation to standardize on one (or possibly two) emulsions and stick with them. I bounced through most of what's out there before coming to rest on HP5+ and FP4+. My developer is Caffenol in two variants: C-H(RS) for normal development, and C-L for pushing via stand development; not for everyone, but I've quite pleased with the results.
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Old 07-14-2017   #17
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Dan: As a dude new to Pyrocat-HD, I wonder whether you can tell me more about "The Pyrocat period was especially interest...". Evidently you bailed on it... why?
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Old 07-14-2017   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roscoetuff View Post
Dan: As a dude new to Pyrocat-HD, I wonder whether you can tell me more about "The Pyrocat period was especially interest...". Evidently you bailed on it... why?
Oh, I just decided it wasn't for me. I was very interested in the process for a while after reading about it in View Camera and other sources, and spent several months with Pyrocat-HD looking for differences in my prints. I did find the prints to have a certain sharp character, with VC paper especially, but I was (and still am) comparing everything to Rodinal, which is the look I like best. I eventually decided that all the precautions necessary with Pyro developers wasn't worth it for me, and went back to easier to use chemicals. Now I'm more interested in shooting than developing, and I get great results with the old standbys. By all means, stick with it if you like it -- to each his own. I think I still have an old box of PMK somewhere -- maybe I'll give that a try someday.
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Old 07-14-2017   #19
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Thanks all. The reason I mentioned both myself & my son:
I shoot only the FP4+ at 125. I'm 65
He shoots only 400 speed B&W, is 22, and wants to try everything.
I am in charge of development, am trying to simplify, but didn't think Rodinal stand was good for everything.
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Old 07-14-2017   #20
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If you're going with D76 then give it a try and possibly commit to it.
I used it for a while but switched maybe a decade ago to HC-110 at dilution "H" and haven't looked back. Dilution H is 2x diluted Dilution B. 1:63 instead of 1:32. I don't stand develop but I use minimal agitation. This soup is forgiving in time and agitation. It's great for folks learning the process and it's great when you've got all the process down pat and want reliable development. The best part I love about using this dilution of this developer is you can mix it one-shot. Just get the ratio right with regard to how much you need for your tank or for your session and go. No replenishing stock to deal with, nothing to mess up there. For my 4x5 development I just take 1oz of syrup and mix it with 63oz of distilled water, then it's ready. The concentrated syrup lasts forever. I had a bottle of the old goo for six years before I was in college and a bit after. I was working mostly in digital and didn't do much of my own development. It had turned brown and nasty looking but it worked just as well as the day it was opened.

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Old 07-14-2017   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPlatt View Post
I sometimes use other developers, but I always keep HC110 on hand.
FWIW the Freestyle clone Legacypro L110 is less viscous than Kodak.

Chris
I've found L110 to go bad within a couple of months once the bottle has been opened. Fresh it's just as good as HC110.

I purchased 6 rolls of Bergger 400 and processed as recommended in Rodinal and HC110 B. I still have more testing to do but so far I'm going to stick with HP5. Rodinal gives a fairly noticeable grain and HC110 looks much better but I'm not liking the tonality as much as HP5. For a fair test I wet printed the negs on Bergger warm tone glossy FB.
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Old 07-16-2017   #22
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I just started developing on my own this year. I started with D-76, then used Diafine for when I pushed my Tri-X to 1600 and now have gone back to shooting the Tri-X at box speed and have returned to D-76.

While I'm pretty green, I'm a quick study and there are a couple of thoughts that come to mind that haven't been asked. How often do you shoot? How much film do you shoot? How often do you develop? Do you like grain? (I'm guessing no because you're shooting the FP4+ @125). Also are you going to be making darkroom prints or do you have a digital scanner?

These kinds of things also make a difference. I, for example, shoot every week and develop maybe 4 rolls on the weekend. I made a gallon of D-76 and try to use it up fairly quickly as the developer can go bad. Kodak says that it'll keep for 1 month in a larger container with space for air. Now, I keep it in a 1 gallon jug and don't split it up into smaller containers as many others do. I did have to throw out a previous batch because I made it and then switched to Diafine for a few months in-between. I wasn't sure if the first batch of D-76 was still good, so I tossed it. It's small things, but you need to mix the D-76 and usually let it stand overnight, then divide it out if you don't think you'll use it quickly. It's a bit more work, not a lot, but still a few extra steps. I'm thinking about giving HC110 a go after I finish up this batch of D-76 for the reasons mentioned above.

Also, I haven't made any darkroom prints yet, but from what I've read, developers also act differently when producing negatives for prints vs negatives for scanning. I can't speak any more to it, but it's also something to think about.

May be a bit overkill for a simple question, but it's something to think about.
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Old 07-16-2017   #23
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Dan: Thanks for the info on your decision. Not too different from where I am at the moment. I like the results, but the question is more one of whether there isn't another developer that at high dilution and minimal agitation might produce similar. FWIW, I don't see XTOL or D76 used this way, nor a lot of others. So that narrows the field. I have a bottle of Rodinal, and now that I have some MF film, maybe it's time to give it a whirl.

For 35mm, everyone says Rodinal results in too much grain, but I rarely see that comment parsed relative to the level of dilution the folks are using. Maybe with high dilution and low agitation it might do the same? Will have to try it out.
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Old 07-16-2017   #24
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Another flexible mix-it-yourself developer is D-23. Works well with Tri-X, HP5+, Kentmere, and TMax, all at 400. Haven't tried it with either of the Delta films or FP4+. I use it replenished or diluted 1:1 or 1:3. Easy to mix - Metol and Sodium Sulfite - and lasts well in brown glass bottles. Diluted 1:3 it is a good compensating developer.
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Old 07-16-2017   #25
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Another vote for ID-11 / D76.
Though Tetenal Ultrafin T-Plus is versatile too.
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Old 07-16-2017   #26
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Thought I'd mention what helps me with D-76 and others for storage lasting a long time.

I use empty 2 liter soda bottles to store stock solutions. So 2 bottles will work for 1 gallon (3.8 liters = 1 gallon) of D-76 with a wee bit of a xtra room in one of the bottles. I use either the clear or, in the case of soda like 7-up, the bottles are green. I keep them underneath the sink in the bathroom. The cap is a nice feature as it pretty completely seals off the bottle and can be used over and over. I have found the plastic doesn't react with the chemicals. Have D-76 stock two years old and still works fine.

Hope this helps you.
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Old 07-16-2017   #27
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Good idea Bill. Easy solution to the problem.
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Old 07-16-2017   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidnewtonguitars View Post
what one best developer for this "set" of films?
IMO there is no one BEST developer for the variety of films you listed, e.g., TMAX developer works best for TMY. I primarily use Neopan 400
(Yes I stocked up), Tri-x and HP5+, and for these, HC-110 and XTOL have been great. D-76 would have worked as well. I do agree that D76 is a good all-around developer.
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Old 07-16-2017   #29
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And I am now switching to the green 7-UP bottles like Bill is. In my case, I'm using the half-liter bottles, since that's what I buy. Switching over from using green scotch bottles, mainly thinking the caps might seal bottle than corks. The corks have been good, though. I believe that I can squeeze the plastic just enough to bring the liquid level right to the top, eliminating all the air.
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Old 07-16-2017   #30
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You'll find the bottles and cap rinse out well. Then I put them on a shelf/table by a window and let the sun dry them out. Cap off until it's dry!
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Old 07-16-2017   #31
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Wow, there is a lot of information here, thanks to all.
I may have to try to convince my son to narrow his use to HP5, once all the others are used up, and me to FP4, and try to run a while with the D-76 and see how it goes.
I don't wet print, it is scan and inkjet prints for me.
His is mostly online showings, and supplying files to his friends & customers.
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Hc110
Old 07-16-2017   #32
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Hc110

HC110 is my go to developer. It may not be the best at anything, but it is OK at everything. And, after a layoff of a couple of months, on a Sunday night at 9PM it is there for me, and has never let me down no matter what the color of the liquid is.

Yes it can be too active with some sub-5 minute times. That is why you have to dilute it more. For 400Tmax, I use 1:63 (dilution H) for 11 minutes at 68 degrees, rather than 5.5 minutes with dilution B. Digital Truth has the Massive Film Developing Table that lists alternative dilutions to help tame HC110.
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TFX-2 Times for Acros/FP4/HP5
Old 07-16-2017   #33
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TFX-2 Times for Acros/FP4/HP5

Message removed to a new thread.
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Last edited by roscoetuff : 07-16-2017 at 19:33. Reason: Self explained
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Old 07-16-2017   #34
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I'm finding Ilfosol 3 to be very convenient developer. I've found it works well with FP4 , HP5 and Delta 100, all at box speed. Dilutions 1:9 or 1:14 seem equally good.

Ilford states that Ilfosol 3 is an equivalent to Xtol. My impression is that it has better accutance but that's an early impression. Few posters here mention Ilfosol 3 , so I guess mine is a minority view.
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Old 07-17-2017   #35
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Quote:
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HC110 is my go to developer. It may not be the best at anything, but it is OK at everything. ...
HC 110 has a very linear time/contrast ratio that I fins work well with my simplistically linear exposure/development time reciprocity scheme. I tried a dozen different chemistries, and HC110 proved to be the most linear, and thus the easiest for me to use to control contrast with development.
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Old 07-17-2017   #36
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ACullen: You're right. Few mention it. I'm thinking of it as a liquid chem substitute for XTOL. Since I don't like to mix the dusts, I think of it fairly often, too. Haven't gone there yet ...but that day is coming (probably when the HC-110 runs out).
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Old 07-23-2017   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidnewtonguitars View Post
Been here long enough to know there isn't one thing for everyone, but if:
My son & myself shoot, 35mm, Tri-x, T-max, Ilford HP5, FP4, and I just ordered some Bergger Pancro 400, shooting all at box speed, what one best developer for this "set" of films?

Up until now I have used Rodinal 1:100 stand, with ok results, especially with FP4. I have Kodak D76 in transit along with the Pancro 400.
Make your life easy:
You can continue to use Rodinal.
But, very important:
Don't use it with stand development, because that gives the worst results with Rodinal!

Rodinal delivers the best results used with its original Agfa agitation rhythm (first minute permanent, then one inversion in a 30 seconds cycle).
And with the dilutions of 1+50, 1+75 and / or 1+100. The dilution is depending on the film and the object contrast. And the shape of the characteristic curve you want.

But this flexibility in solutions to match different films and contrasts is one of the strengths of Adox Rodinal.
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Old 08-12-2017   #38
davidnewtonguitars
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What about developing 2 different films together?

FP4+ & Pancro 400 together, shot at box speed

The massive dev. chart says:
D76 stock solution, 8.5 min for Ilford and 9 min for the Pancro.

Likewise in Rodinal 1+25: Ilford 9 min, Pancro 8 min.

Which would be the more forgiving
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Old 08-12-2017   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidnewtonguitars View Post
What about developing 2 different films together?

FP4+ & Pancro 400 together, shot at box speed

The massive dev. chart says:
D76 stock solution, 8.5 min for Ilford and 9 min for the Pancro.

Likewise in Rodinal 1+25: Ilford 9 min, Pancro 8 min.

Which would be the more forgiving
Develop them individually for the correct times. Sloppy practices mean low quality results. Like my photo professor in college always said: "If you're not going to do it right, don't bother to start. You'll be wasting your time and money."
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Old 08-12-2017   #40
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I'd echo what lots of folks have said, try to focus to 1-2 films and 1 developer for at least several months to a year. I'd shoot a film/developer combo at least 20 rolls and take good notes of what you like/didn't like and think about how you can work with that combination to improve prior to swapping things up.

Like many others, I spent some time on the try everything rollercoaster eventually was at a standstill for shooting/developing due to my schedule. I started using Cal's (Calzone) Diafine slacker's brew with 35mm and 120 Tri-X (400-1250) and Acros (100-160) as my two go two films and I haven't looked back.

See this thread if you're interested in more info.
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