Thinking of changing Black & White Film Developer
Old 06-15-2018   #1
Steve Ruddy
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Thinking of changing Black & White Film Developer

I have always used stock Kodak D-76. I mix it up and try to use the whole gallon before it expires. On several occasions I have pulled out a roll of film with no image and no film numbers. I can only assume in these cases I have dumped my fixer into the developer bottle thinking it was my waste bottle. Since I am starting to make these type of mistakes I'm thinking of switching to a developer that I can mix as I go. I usually only develop one or two rolls of 120 at a time. What do you all suggest? I'm fine with the results I get in stock D-76 and I could come up with a procedure that will eliminate the chance of mixing my chemicals but it is a pain to have to heat up the water to mix. I think if I had a powder that could be mixed in cold water I would think about sticking with powder.
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Old 06-15-2018   #2
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As a photographer who may not develop any film for months I have come to the realisation that Rodinal is my best option , only last week I had to throw out a nearly full bottle of Ilford ifosol 3 for the reason that I couldn't trust if it would work or not.
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Old 06-15-2018   #3
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Another enthusiastic vote for Rodinal. I like being able to mix up just what I need, depending on if its just one roll in my small tank, or several rolls in my big tank. No waste.
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Old 06-15-2018   #4
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There you have it. There are many good developers, and others will suggest their favorites.
Regardless of their claims otherwise none besides Rodinal and HC-110 offer the simplicity,
convenience and keeping properties suitable for those of us who develop film sporadically.

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Old 06-15-2018   #5
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You might want to give the Famous Format FF No.1 "Monobath" try. I've been using it for B/W (T-Max, PanF, Delta) and the results are extremely good. Fine grain. Great contrast.

It's ONE solution that is delivered mixed, and 1L will easily develop 10 rolls+. No stop. No fixer. It's one shot. 6 minutes, wash and you're hanging negatives. Oh, and it's used at "room temperature" (@72ļF +/-) so no need to heat things up! Highly recommended.

http://famousformat.com/2018/01/22/a...in-production/
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Old 06-15-2018   #6
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Rodinal, HC-110, and Tmax Developer are all developers that have very long shelf lives and are mixed before use for one-shot developing.

Use Rodinal if you like its unique tonality and grittier image structure, or if you use slow fine grain films like Tmax 100 and Ilford Pan-F.

I recommend Tmax Developer as a general purpose developer. You can dilute it 1+7 instead of the standard 1+4 dilution to save money since its a fairly expensive developer. Multiply the standard developing times by 1.5 to get the times to use with the 1+7 dilution. So, if the normal dilution requires 6 minutes, you would develop for 9 minutes with the 1+7 dilution.
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Old 06-15-2018   #7
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Another one-shot developer is Ilford DDX. I use it with Delta 100/400. Convenient but, comparatively speaking, on the expensive side.
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Old 06-15-2018   #8
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Or PyroCat HD. Lasts months and months.
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Old 06-15-2018   #9
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Old 06-15-2018   #10
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HC-110 was designed specifically to give results similar to D-76 and, as others have stated, is very easy to mix and use for sporadic, one-shot developing. If you've been happy with D-76 then HC-110 will probably give you what you need.

Rodinal is even easier to use but it does have a different look. Good, but different.

Both developers are inexpensive and have a really long shelf life. You could try both without being out a lot of cash.
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Old 06-15-2018   #11
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HC-110 or Rodinal. Results may look a little different, but they'll both do the job.
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Old 06-15-2018   #12
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I'm not sure why switching developers is going to prevent accidentally dumping the fixer into the developer bottle. And what's a waste bottle? My developer goes into the sink drain after developing the film, otherwise I wouldn't be able to pour fixer into the developing tank. The fixer goes back into the fixer bottle and I keep reusing it, always doing a clip test beforehand to see how it is at that moment in time. I reuse the stop bath too, or at least I used to. I found that a cold water rinse instead of stop bath has made no difference in my negs, so I don't use a stop bath solution anymore.
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Old 06-15-2018   #13
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One suggestion: I separate a gallon of D76 stock into several 330ml Perrier bottles. Depending on how much developer you use per roll, or whether or not you fill each bottle to the top, these can be discarded every time you use them. They'll last longer and won't confuse you.
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Old 06-15-2018   #14
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DDX and Rodinal are my favs.
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Old 06-15-2018   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt04182 View Post
One suggestion: I separate a gallon of D76 stock into several 330ml Perrier bottles. Depending on how much developer you use per roll, or whether or not you fill each bottle to the top, these can be discarded every time you use them. They'll last longer and won't confuse you.
Interesting how folks recommend a developer with out even knowing what film you use. Not every developer gives good results with every film.

It really depends on what film you're using.


The above posted suggestion to break it up in smaller bottles is excellent. I'll take it a little farther. Only use glass because plastic can still allow oxygen to migrate in and cause your developer to oxidize.

I would suggest using "Bloxygen" varnish preserver / wine preserver or "Wine Preserver" to displace the air from the bottle, especially smaller bottles. It's not expensive, readily available from Amazon, shop price, and a can goes a long way. What it is is argon gas which is insert, non flammable and non toxic. Argon doesn't combine with anything and can keep your developer indefinitely provided you didn't dissolve a lot of O2 in the water when mixing. I use it when I open a bottle of wine that my wife and I don't finish. 4 or 5 seconds of releasing gas in the bottle will keep the wine as fresh as when it was opened indefinitely.

This way you don't need to change developers.
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Old 06-15-2018   #16
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Here's Wine Preserver from Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Private-Prese.../dp/B0000DCS18

may not be the cheapest price so shop price.

Here's Bloxygen

https://www.amazon.com/Bloxygen-Pres...84957805&psc=1

I've read of people using butane but due to flammability I think I'd stay away from that and I'm not sure of the solubility of butane in water. Don't use CO2 due to high solubility in water. You'd wind up with carbonated developer, with a fizz when you open it.
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Old 06-15-2018   #17
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HC110 is really versatile. If offers different dilutions for different looks, and I have used it with a few different films. Would be hard to beat if you wanna keep things simple. Pyrocat has been finicky for me, but also works really well. It is stinky though. Rodinal if you like grain.

If you can stomach making your own simple developer, D23 is super easy and I’ve been really liking the results from it lately.
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Old 06-15-2018   #18
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For my photography chemicals storage, I use empty 1 & 2 liter soda bottles. Mostly 2 liter bottles. I mark the bottles contents with masking tape that I first put on the kitchen counter to mark and use a sharpie pen.

The lid reseals every time, used over and over, again and again.

I believe this can’t be said for many glass bottles. And, for me, the problem with glass bottles was the lid. It was a source where oxygen would enter the bottle. I believe because of the gasket used in the lid, it provided a path for oxygen to enter, especially after used just a few times. And the gasket in the lid didn’t like photography chemicals.

I have D-76 stock developer in 2 liter soda bottles and, after 2 years, the stuff still works just fine.

By the way, mt 7-Up soda bottles are green and I thought I would just say that. I keep the full bottles I use on a regular basis under the bathroom sink. Out of light! The bottles used at a later date, both full and empty, are stored in a room in the basement where it is cool temp and consistent temp throughout the year.

Here is some info on the plastic used for soda bottles and other products:

http://www.madehow.com/Volume-1/Soda-Bottle.html
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Old 06-15-2018   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
Interesting how folks recommend a developer with out even knowing what film you use.
Not every developer gives good results with every film.

Years ago I started a thread here asking which were the best films to use with Rodinal and HC-110.
Many (most?) replies said something to the effect that I was "putting the cart before the horse"...

Chris
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Old 06-15-2018   #20
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Quote:
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Years ago I started a thread here asking which were the best films to use with Rodinal and HC-110.
Many (most?) replies said something to the effect that I was "putting the cart before the horse"...

Chris
Don't think so.
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Old 06-15-2018   #21
Ronald M
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B/4 you start, put developer in one container, ss in a second, fix in a third. Mark the bottles well and put them in order .

Never mix as you go. Cook the same way, measure out everything, make the recipe.
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Old 06-15-2018   #22
charjohncarter
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Like many above I use HC-110 and Rodinal (I use them one shot). I really hate going through what you are doing. Recalibration, testing, maybe a new EI, these are tasks that I don't relish.
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Old 06-15-2018   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
Interesting how folks recommend a developer with out even knowing what film you use. Not every developer gives good results with every film.

It really depends on what film you're using.


The above posted suggestion to break it up in smaller bottles is excellent. I'll take it a little farther. Only use glass because plastic can still allow oxygen to migrate in and cause your developer to oxidize.

I would suggest using "Bloxygen" varnish preserver / wine preserver or "Wine Preserver" to displace the air from the bottle, especially smaller bottles. It's not expensive, readily available from Amazon, shop price, and a can goes a long way. What it is is argon gas which is insert, non flammable and non toxic. Argon doesn't combine with anything and can keep your developer indefinitely provided you didn't dissolve a lot of O2 in the water when mixing. I use it when I open a bottle of wine that my wife and I don't finish. 4 or 5 seconds of releasing gas in the bottle will keep the wine as fresh as when it was opened indefinitely.

This way you don't need to change developers.

[Ah, never mind. I wrote something stupid here and don't know how to delete posts.]
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Old 06-15-2018   #24
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Hi Matt,

Don’t leave.

X-Ray did say something like breaking up into smaller bottles was excellent which was a suggestion from you.

I’ve gotten P.O.ed every so often but I have learned to let it go as I enjoy it here.

Stay involved. Lots of old farts like me here and maybe can say something every so often that helps you. And we do appreciate your comments.
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Old 06-15-2018   #25
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Quote:
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Hi Matt,

Donít leave.

X-Ray did say something like breaking up into smaller bottles was excellent which was a suggestion from you.

Iíve gotten P.O.ed every so often but I have learned to let it go as I enjoy it here.

Stay involved. Lots of old farts like me here and maybe can say something every so often that helps you. And we do appreciate your comments.

Yeah, I didn't make it to the second part when I posted. I read the first sentence and immediately thought, "This is the internet. It's inescapable. This is what it is." Clearly, that was an overreaction.
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Old 06-15-2018   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
Here's Wine Preserver from Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Private-Prese.../dp/B0000DCS18

may not be the cheapest price so shop price.

Here's Bloxygen

https://www.amazon.com/Bloxygen-Pres...84957805&psc=1

I've read of people using butane but due to flammability I think I'd stay away from that and I'm not sure of the solubility of butane in water. Don't use CO2 due to high solubility in water. You'd wind up with carbonated developer, with a fizz when you open it.
Thanks for that, I assume that you could use this for Fixer too. I find my fixer concentrate goes bad, I'm wondering if this would help.
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Old 06-15-2018   #27
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Quote:
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Thanks for that, I assume that you could use this for Fixer too. I find my fixer concentrate goes bad, I'm wondering if this would help.
No, unfortunately. The reduction and sulfur precipitation in fixer can occur with age, irrespective of use and oxygen exposure. Thiosulfates are stable only in neutral or alkaline solutions, but not in acidic solutions, due to decomposition to sulfite and sulfur, the sulfite eventually being dehydrated to sulfur dioxide and it all occurs spontaneously. Use it, filter the solids, and toss it when the silver content is approaching 6 g/L, or when the clearing time is twice the clearing time of fresh fixer.

Marty
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Old 06-16-2018   #28
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The whole film-developer combination is interesting. I’ve tried many developers, but they n the end settled on Rodinal, mainly because it just lasts and works pretty well with lots of films.
If I know I’m going to use Rodinal, then I can make the necessary steps when shooting the film to ensure a good image.
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Old 06-16-2018   #29
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Take a hint from the folks who design airplane cockpits. Controls for each different functions are made to look and feel completely different. The landing gear lever often looks like a wheel, for instance, while no other control does. In this way, the pilot will not accidentally raise the gear when they meant to deploy the flaps. Each control is associated with one specific function. I keep my developers in dark brown glass beer bottles, so developer is associated with only those bottles. Stop bath and fixer are in clear plastic bottles of a different size, shape, and cap type from the beer bottles, which are on a different shelf from the others. Since the developer bottle has a different size, weight, look, and feel to the stop bath and fixer, there's little chance of mixing them up!
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Old 06-16-2018   #30
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I use Rodinal, HC 110 an PMK pyro. I use a water bath instead of stop and fixer stays in bottle until film is in water stop, then gets measured out. Pretty well zero chance of contamination. Never liked the idea of keeping three filled measuring containers in the sink. ymmv
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Old 06-16-2018   #31
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I use Rodinal, HC 110 an PMK pyro. I use a water bath instead of stop and fixer stays in bottle until film is in water stop, then gets measured out. Pretty well zero chance of contamination. Never liked the idea of keeping three filled measuring containers in the sink. ymmv

Indeed fix can sty in the bottle until needed, then there's almost no risk of cross contamination. Why do you measure it? I see no need for that, I have one liter working solution and just pour some into the tank until it's nearly full.
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Old 06-16-2018   #32
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I suggest Rodinal/Blazinol as it goes magenta when used and pouring out!
If in doubt about mixing or polluting contaminating chemicals, throw out!
I now use HC-110 which has no color on out pouring, yellow before..
I will use some Orig. Rodinal in next few rolls.
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Old 06-16-2018   #33
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I am pretty sure Rodinal never expires. I have also had great luck with Xtol stock solution, but what I do is divide the 5 liter batch of stock over 5 bottles filled to the brim. I use resealable bail top dark brown beer bottles I find in stores that sell good beers, or I use the 1 liter French lemonade bottles found in gourmet stores. I also store the full bottles under the kitchen sink. I go through this much Xtol in 3 months using it either 1:1 or 1:2. The difference between the two developers is that Rodinal produces negatives with higher grain but very good acutance. It is also perfect for stand developing at a ratio of 1:100. Xtol prices very fine grain with a little less acutance. I have some self created formulas where I mix the two together, and that produces my favorite results of all.
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Old 06-16-2018   #34
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I have the same problem. I often accumulate lots of film and do the developing in spurts. The D76 oxidizes between batches. I use Ilford HP5 primarily because it dries flat and is just a bit cheaper then TriX. And I tend to use the manufacturer's suggested ISO so what do you recommend?

Have never used HC110 but it seems to offer easy mixing, long life and developing action similar to D76.
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Old 06-16-2018   #35
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Quote:
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No, unfortunately. The reduction and sulfur precipitation in fixer can occur with age, irrespective of use and oxygen exposure. Thiosulfates are stable only in neutral or alkaline solutions, but not in acidic solutions, due to decomposition to sulfite and sulfur, the sulfite eventually being dehydrated to sulfur dioxide and it all occurs spontaneously. Use it, filter the solids, and toss it when the silver content is approaching 6 g/L, or when the clearing time is twice the clearing time of fresh fixer.

Marty
Rats: but thanks very much for the information.
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Old 06-16-2018   #36
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I have always used stock Kodak D-76. I mix it up and try to use the whole gallon before it expires. On several occasions I have pulled out a roll of film with no image and no film numbers. I can only assume in these cases I have dumped my fixer into the developer bottle thinking it was my waste bottle. Since I am starting to make these type of mistakes I'm thinking of switching to a developer that I can mix as I go. I usually only develop one or two rolls of 120 at a time. What do you all suggest? I'm fine with the results I get in stock D-76 and I could come up with a procedure that will eliminate the chance of mixing my chemicals but it is a pain to have to heat up the water to mix. I think if I had a powder that could be mixed in cold water I would think about sticking with powder.
Hi Steve,

I like Kodak HC-110. It comes as a highly concentrated stock solutions that can be diluted just before use and can be used once and discarded. It is also much more economical to use than D-76 stock. Image quality is very good with either once you have the film speed and developing times dialed in for your working conditions.

Many people like to use it diluted 1+31, 1+50 or 1+63 straight out of the bottle instead of the official Kodak dilutions. Diluting the concentrate 1+31 will give you the official Dilution B. I like to use it at 1+63 because I feel that the developing times with Dilution B are too short and can result in overly contrasty negatives with many films. I like to keep my developing times around 8 to 12 minutes and Dilution B is too strong to allow that.

The nice thing about HC-110 is that the undiluted concentrate in the bottle lasts a VERY long time because the is no water in the concentrate. It is a thick glycol basesd syrup, so you will need to be able to measure it accurately when you dilute it.

You can also mix the concentrate into a stock solution according to Kodak's instructions, but the stock solution doesn't last as long as the undiluted concentrate.

Freestyle sells a work-alike developer called Legacy-Pro L-110 Film Developer. I haven't tried it yet, but it is supposed to give results that are very similar to HC-110. The shelf life of the concentrate might not be as long as the Kodak product because the formula isn't exactly the same as HC-110, and it may contain some water.
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Old 06-16-2018   #37
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Another great thing about concentrated syrup developers like HC-110 or Rodinal is that there's no need to mix up and store a stock solution.
Simply measure out the required amount of developer into water at the desired temperature and mix. It can be used immediately.
Simple and less chance of errors; it's pretty much foolproof!

Chris
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Old 06-16-2018   #38
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"I often accumulate lots of film and do the developing in spurts. The D76 oxidizes between batches".

I've had this problem for years and years. My D76 tends to lose it's freshness in a matter of one month, mostly because I tend to live in hot climates and like my living areas warmer than most people. Tried TD-16 from Photography Formulary, a D76 clone with changes that make it more shelf stable, and that helped, but the developer still tends to go off rather quickly. People talk about using theirs for 6 months or a year, but not for me.

you can also mix it up one shot from the powder package. Others do that, while others say it won't work because of this reason or that reason. I finally decided that the cost was minimal so I just mix it up into a gallon like always and throw it out every month. Not a big expense. Mic-X and Rodinal are two developers I use for certain films and looks, but nothing gives me the beautiful tones of Tri-X in full strength D76.

The Fomadon R09 type of Rodinal went bad on me inside of three months. Other people complained of this too.
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Old 06-16-2018   #39
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Hi Steve,

I like Kodak HC-110. It comes as a highly concentrated stock solutions that can be diluted just before use and can be used once and discarded. It is also much more economical to use than D-76 stock. Image quality is very good with either once you have the film speed and developing times dialed in for your working conditions.

Many people like to use it diluted 1+31, 1+50 or 1+63 straight out of the bottle instead of the official Kodak dilutions. Diluting the concentrate 1+31 will give you the official Dilution B. I like to use it at 1+63 because I feel that the developing times with Dilution B are too short and can result in overly contrasty negatives with many films. I like to keep my developing times around 8 to 12 minutes and Dilution B is too strong to allow that.

The nice thing about HC-110 is that the undiluted concentrate in the bottle lasts a VERY long time because the is no water in the concentrate. It is a thick glycol basesd syrup, so you will need to be able to measure it accurately when you dilute it.

You can also mix the concentrate into a stock solution according to Kodak's instructions, but the stock solution doesn't last as long as the undiluted concentrate.

Freestyle sells a work-alike developer called Legacy-Pro L-110 Film Developer. I haven't tried it yet, but it is supposed to give results that are very similar to HC-110. The shelf life of the concentrate might not be as long as the Kodak product because the formula isn't exactly the same as HC-110, and it may contain some water.
HC110 is an excellent choice for HP-5 and is the combination I often use. It's also excellent with Acros and Neopan if you have any. I'm also very fond of it with Delta 100 & 400.

As mentioned it's very versatile and the concentrate keeps for very long periods.

I've tried the Freestyle version and when freshly opened it's comparable to Kodak HC110 but it unfortunately oxidizes in a few weeks in concentrated form. For that reason I quit using it.

Ilford makes an equivalent of HC 110 called HC. Film responds identically when developed in it when compared to HC110. The downside is it's much more expensive than HC110.

I still recommend doing as in a previous post. Mix your stock then divide into smaller GLASS, not plastic, bottles. If not totally filled use Bloxygen or Wine Preserver to displace the air. Another solution ive heard people use is to drop marbles into the bottle to raise the liquid level and displace the air.

Since youve used D76 and you like it I wouldn't change. Changing requires dialing in speed, agitation, times and ISO all over again. In addition HC110, Rodinal, DDX, D76 or any other developer will produce different negatives. Pick a film and use 6 different developers and you'll get 6 different looking and printing negatives.
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Old 06-16-2018   #40
bayernfan
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one of my favorite film/dev combos is HP5 @400/800 in HC-110. pushed further and i use DD-X.

a lot of people seem to like Ultrafin T+ as well. i plan on using this with Acros 100 in the near future.
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