1st testing attempt: preferable use of lford FP4+ in developer Id-11 ???

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by TheToadMen, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    Hi,
    I used to shoot (mostly) Kodak Tri-X and Agfa Scala, but want to try an other film now: Ilford FP4+.

    I'm new to Ilford FP4+ film and ID-11 developer. I want to test this combination (I'm going to test this film in Ilfosol 3, LC29 and Rodinal later).
    I'll rate the film at 125 ISO and will shoot 3 rolls of 135 film at once (same subject & same settings) with my Leica M7 and a 35 mm Summicron lens
    for my preliminary testing. When I decide what developer I seem to like best, I'll test 10 additional rolls of 120 roll film in my Bronica SQ-B and my Bronica RF in this developer.

    My starting point for ID-11 is the "Massive Dev Chart" from Digital Truth.
    See: http://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php?Film=FP4&Developer=ID-11&mdc=Search
    The site gives me three options:
    1) FP4+ @ ISO 125 in ID-11: stock solution = 8.5 minutes at 20C
    2) FP4+ @ ISO 125 in ID-11: 1+1 solution = 11 minutes at 20C
    3) FP4+ @ ISO 125 in ID-11: 1+3 solution = 20 minutes at 20C

    - Can someone tell me what his experiences are with FP4+ in ID-11?
    - What will the differences be between these 3 options on Digital Thruth?
    - And what about inversion?
    - Do you have a better solution/experience for me to share?

    Thanks,
    Bert from Holland
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2013
  2. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    You may find you need to rate FP4 slower than 125. I prefer EI 64 in my RF645 and Nikon F100. Exposed this way I develop in ID-11 1:1 for 10 minutes. Very nice results. I would stick with the 1:1 dilution and use the developer one shot. 1:1 also offers more sharpness than undiluted and also doesn't require long development times like 1:3.

    You're going to have to run tests. My recommendation is to shoot EI 64 in bright sunlight and develop 10 minutes 1:1, and EI 100 or 125 in overcast light and develop 1:1 for 13 minutes.
     
  3. Alex Muir

    Alex Muir Member

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    ID11 1:1 is a very popular developer for this film because it produces high quality negatives. I think the Massive Dev times are Ilford recommended times. I rate it at EI 80, but your own testing will tell you the correct speed for your equipment.
     
  4. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Bert, I still think you should read what Ilford says at least for the first try:

    http://www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/2010712125850702.pdf

    Instructions for agitation etc, it is all in there. It might be a good idea to start with an EI of 125 and the recommended development time to get a "baseline" test.

    As Brian says you might have to try a few different EI settings and development times to find what works best for you. This depends on your own aesthetic preferences, how you print, your subject matter etc. If you want to give a little more exposure to the shadows and have slightly softer overall contrast, using an EI like 64 or 80 and 9-10 minutes development might be nice. This is in line with what Ilford recommends (for example at a 1+1 dilution for ID-11, and an EI of 50 for FP4+ Ilford recommends 8 minutes at 20C).

    Regarding your question about mixing in the other thread, mixing it a day in advance makes things a little easier because then you can leave the solution overnight to cool to your working temperature (you mix it at a higher temperature). Follow Ilford's instructions for mixing ID-11.
     
  5. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    Hi Michael,
    Your right again.
    I realize I forgot to mention that I did download and read the PDF from Ilford. They give the same developing times as the Dev Chart (not surprising).
    At first I wasn't sure what dilution to use, but I'll settle for 1+1 as a save one shot developer. This is what most people seem to use anyway.

    I'll expose 3 films at once with my Leica and cut each film in 6 pieces (i.e. 18 identical sets for testing).

    My first test will certainly be a standard baseline test at EI 125 with the standard instructions for 1+1 dilution:
    - developing manually in a Paterson tank for 2 films.
    - developing for 11 minutes.
    - agitation: inverting the tank four times during the first 10 seconds, then four times again during the first 10 seconds of each further minute.
    - stop bath: Ilford Ilfostop 1+19 for 10 seconds (If I can't get a bottle of Ilfostop overhere, I'll use MACO ecostop instead).
    - fix: Ilford Rapid Fixer 1+4 up to 5 minutes.
    - final rinse: with Ilford Ilfotol wetting agent.

    But then: what variables to vary and why?
    It seems most people overexpose and underdevelop as a standard method, following Ansel Adams advice to "expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights" (see his book: The Negative). EI 64 and 80 are suggested mostly, Ilford mentioned EI 50. Some overdevelop at EI 125, etc.
    Why choose what with which results?
    Naturally I have to find my own style and likings. (It seems I like a bit more contrast then most people). But for starters I would like to find out what you experienced folks do (and why) to see what my next tests will be.

    So please, educate me ;-)
     
  6. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    This is a fairly complicated discussion including a lot of variables, methodolgies (Zone System etc) and also a lot of people doing things without really understanding why :wink:

    If you are reading Ansel Adams, stick with it, understand it, and try it. Then evaluate the results by making prints of your test negatives and decide what you like and what you don't. Generally with Zone System testing you are likely to end up with an EI slightly lower than the ISO of the film. Somewhere around 64-80 is probably how most people use FP4+. There are a few reasons for this, but that is a complex discussion on its own. Find your own development times based on Ansel's methodology as well. Again, make prints of your test negatives.

    The EI will also depend to some extent on the developer. ID-11 is what can be called a general purpose solvent developer. These are developers that give you a good balance of full film speed (by ISO standards), fine grain and good sharpness. Excellent image quality. It's a good way to start. You can then explore from there. But keep in mind there are always tradeoffs. In comparison to ID-11, you almost never get an improvement in one characteristic (for example, higher speed) without a compromise in one or both of the other main characteristics (grain, sharpness). It is also difficult to generalize about the characteristics of developers because it depends what film they are used with.

    Keep things simple. And be sceptical of the claims people make regarding developers, films, dilutions etc., especially when no data or experimental details are provided. Generalizations can be problematic, the interactions between films and developers are complex, and myths abound.

    Adams's books are excellent, by the way.
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    One semi-warning with respect to Ansel Adams' recommendations.

    Adams shot more large format than 35mm. So some of his preferences were less affected by considerations of grain then a 35mm shooter might be concerned with.

    To minimize grain, you might decide that it would be better if your negatives were slightly less contrasty then AA would have preferred, knowing that you have contrast controls at the printing stage as well.

    In the long run, it is the final result (the print) that matters.
     
  8. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    No kidding. Just choose one method and stick with it for a few months. Learn it. Then maybe change ONE apsect for a while and learn the differences. Then ask knowledgeable specific questions. But most importantly just shoot. This film and developer you can hardly go wrong.

    Or perhaps you like testing more than photography and making images? Nothing wrong with that....
     
  9. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    Well, yes: both. I like to shoot but I also like to tinker around in the darkroom, trying things and learning. You're right it is better to choose one concept, test and learn for months before changing things. Eventually I will. But before I choose the one way, I would like to get my feet wet first in several simple tests and then choose what I'm going to work out in depth for a while.
    Silly? maybe. Fun? Yes!
     
  10. kevs

    kevs Member

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    I develop FP4+ in ID-11 at 1:3; the times you mention - 20 mins at 20 degs C. @125 ASA - are correct. That's what I use and I'm very happy with the results I get; very fine grain, loads of detail and smooth tonality. The advantages of the 1:3 dilution are increased tolerance of errors; 120 seconds represents a 10% error, whereas 10% of 11 minutes is 66 seconds. Mis-timed development becomes less important at 1:3 dilution, as do temperature errors; you've more time to warm or cool a waterbath. Of course, it's also more economical and your developer stock goes a lot further.

    Cheers,
    kevs