An Oldster Discovers Kodak HC-110 Developer

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by PhotoJim, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    What can I say? I'm a bit of a photographic oldster!

    I have always loved to experiment with films and papers. I have nearly every imaginable material in my freezer right now as far as films go. I like to tinker. I like the personalities of different films.

    However, with developers I have been a lot more conservative. I started with D-76/ID-11. I migrated to XTOL. I got intrigued with PMK and fell in love with it, and along the way discovered that I really like Rodinal for really slow films. I still use all of them (primarily PMK and D-76). PMK is my primary developer but I find there are some films, particularly T-grain emulsions, where it isn't my favourite.

    Now comes the oldster part. I have a busy life and I don't get to the darkroom as much as I'd like. (I ashamedly admit that I just processed some film from last May.) I get discouraged when I have a ton of work to do to get started on the film backlog. My PMK stock solution is pretty much immortal, and Rodinal is pretty much as good. However, by the time I get back into the darkroom after any extended time away, any XTOL or D-76 is dead (or at least shouldn't be trusted).

    On a bit of a whim last spring, I bought a bottle of Kodak HC-110. I'd never used it before. I'm not sure why. I thought it might make a convenient substitute for D-76 that I could mix up pretty much as needed.

    This was the perfect opportunity. I had nearly 40 rolls to develop and a good dozen or so were films I didn't want to do in PMK.

    To make a long story short, I started with Dilution B (mixed directly from syrup using an oral syringe) and I am quite happy with the results. The peculiar 1:31 dilution is really awkward when you are using metric measurements (and often when you are using Imperial or US measurements too, actually :smile: ) but rounding up to convenient numbers solved that problem sufficiently.

    The negatives look generally snappy (I overdeveloped some bulk Delta 100 that a friend gave me, marked "TMX" ... silly boy :smile: ) and I certainly couldn't complain about the convenience.

    I will be running some more experiments. And since this bottle of HC-110 is already 1/3 gone, I can see buying some more in the near future.
     
  2. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    I to use HC110 a lot, although 510 Pyro is my main developer. Your rounding up is a good solution for the odd ratio problem.

    Kodak has a list of alphabet soup ratios, but I don't think it makes any difference what ratio you use.

    I've had good luck with HC 110 putting 1ml into 100ml of water. I like pouring to a line on the beaker. I also use the syringe to measure the HC110 concentrate.

    Someone else here suggests 1ml of HC110 into 49ml of water.

    Just pick a ratio that's easy FOR YOU and test for development. Then be consistent every time after that.

    Mike
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2009
  3. Palantiri7

    Palantiri7 Member

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    I'm FINALLY starting to get a handle on HC-110. I am using it as a replacement for FX-39 (now defunct) after a brief dalliance with Pyrocat MC. I was clued in to what was bugging me (increased grain) by an APUGGER and how to solve it, and I now have that collared by much reduced agitation.
     
  4. Allen in Montreal

    Allen in Montreal Member

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    HC is a great developer, my steady with TXP for about 30 years. Too bad the new version of TXP is less HC friendly than the original, it was a match made in heaven!

    I oz of soup to 31 oz of water, easy clean and works every time!
    The concentrate lasts for ages, even once opened, so you have no need to feel you must use it up quickly.
     
  5. trexx

    trexx Member

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    I too am getting long in the tooth and I enjoy the the 'NEW' discoveries I make, that others have been enjoying for a long time. Happy for your discovery of HC-110. I never user D-76 and hc-110 is my 'standard' developer for when I play it safe.

    Being a programmer, I see 1:31 as an easy binary ratio, powers of 2. So I started working out for my various tanks. A one reel tank 250ml/8oz is close to 256. So 256/32 is 8. 8ml plus water to make 256ml. So this is a bit of mental gymnastics but it leads to a simple short cut. Fill the tank to its ML mark. Look at the OZ marking on the tank. Use that value in ML of HC-110.

    This is a ratio of 1:32.25 . While this is off ever so slightly it serves me well particularly when traveling when I avoid thinking. I can also serve a quick estimate for when doing it in your head.


    To teaching old dogs new tricks
    TR
     
  6. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  7. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Another graying dude here. Back in the 60s and 70s, I used D-76 and Microdol-X -- and occasionally Acufine ,according to the notes with some 1965 vintage Minox negs I just unearthed. Later I got away to only commercially processed color for 20+ years. For B&W I now using mostly HC-110, "Dilution H," (1+63) as a one-shot; couldn't be happier. Measured my tanks to leave a little room for better agitation, did the numbers and posted them on the darkroom wall. The syrup seems to last for years and I always have fresh developer when I get around to souping some B&W. Since my darkroom is in the basement with no outside walls, it barely reaches 68ºF even in the summer. I can microwave the water I use for the one-shot to get right to temperature.

    In returning to B&W I have used a bit of D-76, as it seems nearly every manufacturer lists times for that. Using it right by the numbers is just about guaranteed to produce usable results. That's good to try a new-to-me film, but I try on some less important work to migrate to the HC-110 for the long term.

    DaveT
     
  8. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Have you considered a "pig warmer"?

    http://www.qcsupply.com/Products/364.aspx


    .
     
  9. Andrew O'Neill

    Andrew O'Neill Subscriber

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    Never liked HC-110 with my main film, HP5+. Grain was mushy and poor tonal separation.
     
  10. Palantiri7

    Palantiri7 Member

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    Yeah. HP5+ worked great with Paterson's FX-39 though, IMO.
     
  11. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    One nice thing about metric is that the delineations are pretty fine (litres break down elegantly into millilitres, which are really small units of measurement for most purposes). The problem, of course, is that getting graduates that measure to that kind of precision is very difficult! I only have one graduate that measures single millilitres - it's a tall, skinny Paterson one I bought for mixing up stop baths from concentrate. All the other ones I have measure to 10, 25 or even 50 mL which isn't anywhere precise enough for 1:31 dilutions most of the time.

    Thankfully it isn't that bad to work around. My tank needs 300 mL of chemistry to do a 135-36 roll. I take 310 mL of water (300 in my 300 mL graduate and 10 in my teeny one mentioned above) and add 10 mL of HC-110 syrup from an oral syringe. The 320 all fits in the large cylinder. It's a little more chemistry than is needed but far more accurate than trying to measure 1/32 of 300.

    Admittedly and obviously I haven't printed these negatives yet, so I can't comment on the midtones.

    I tend to prefer D-76 diluted (usually 1:1) when I use it. I imagine Dilution B of HC-110 is more like undiluted D-76 than 1:1. I might be happier with a higher dilution.
     
  12. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    An interesting a beautifully glowing combination is 35mm Tmax 3200 shot at 1000 and processed in HC110 dil B. Very nice pronounced grain and beautiful tones.
     
  13. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Actually I have one of those oil-filled radiator thingies that I turned on a day before my last printing session, but that requires planning ahead -- gulp! The temp ranges from about 62 to 68 over the seasons, which in a way is good, and not really "cold," just that the mean is a tad chilly. I've also thought about a cabinet large enough to hold the bulk of my chemicals and a jug or two of distilled water, said space outfitted with a small thermostatically controlled heater. Unfortunately there are numerous darkroom needs ahead of that in the priority queue (like a working sink)!

    DaveT
     
  14. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    I use HC-110 when I want "that look", as it is certainly distinctive. My dilution is 1:50 for 10min and that works just fine. Mostly use this for Tri-X and Plus-X shooting. Otherwise, Rodinal 1:50 is great, especially with the Rollei films.
     
  15. katphood

    katphood Member

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    Uh oh, I feel like I'm doing something wrong:

    I mix HC-110 Dilution B direct from syrup:

    1. About 250ml distilled water.
    2. Add 32ml HC-110 syrup (I use a syringe to measure)
    3. Add distilled water to 1000ml (one liter).

    In other words, 968ml water : 32ml HC-110 syrup.

    Seems to work fine using dev times on the Massive Dev. Chart (more or less) for everything I've tried: FP4, Tri-X, HP5, APX 100. My best results are with FP4+ in Dilution B for 6:15 @ 68F.
     
  16. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    I have tested 4x5 TMX with HC-110----1:63 from concentrate for normal dev and 1:119 from concentrate for N-3 (compensating); works well.
     
  17. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    32ml into 1000ml sure seems like a lot of concentrate, but your development times are short. I guess that would be the difference.

    MIke
     
  18. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    ...which is as close to 1:31 as makes no odds. (I do the same thing, only in English measures; 1/2 oz concentrate to make 16 oz working.)

    I don't get it---what do you feel like you're doing wrong? It sounds like the very definition of Dil B to me.

    -NT
     
  19. katphood

    katphood Member

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    Whew! Nothing now. Turns out that 1:31 works out darn close to 968:32 (H20:syrup). Nevermind and thanks.
     
  20. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    I find HC110 very linear in its response to dilutions. For example, twice the time (20 min)at 1:100 will give about the same results as 1:50 (10 min). I get some compensating effects at 1:100 and some increase in accutance too.
     
  21. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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  22. ChrisPlatt

    ChrisPlatt Member

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    HC110 and Rodinal are ideal for occasional soupers like me.

    Chris
     
  23. Vinylman

    Vinylman Member

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    Hi there I am yet another old grey un and once did tests with so many chemicals, but I now find that HC110 is superb, but it is best bought in the oneliter bottle. I used to push asa 400 films to 800 1600 and 3200. This was because I was photgraphing bands in a dim light. I used to used an Ilford developer for this, but it now seems to have disappeared from the market. The versatility of HC110 is such that it can be used to develop under exposed films.
    Phil
     
  24. vet173

    vet173 Member

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    Being used to pyrocat, I pulled some of my supper-xx negs that were done at Dil B, I thought I would need a wheel barrow for the size of grain I was looking at in my peak one. If you could only have one it would be a good choice.