Best dev for pushing?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Rhodes, May 3, 2012.

  1. Rhodes

    Rhodes Member

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    I know that that question may have a thousand answers and one thousand years of philosophic debate, but I ask, what is a good developer for pushing film? I now that possibly diafine types are the best or very good, but for immediate use, I only have TMAX and XTOL avaliable.
    I doing a work for a photo workshop and doing a bit of photodocumentary about a martial art training, so fast moving subjects and also low light, since the trainings are at 19:00 to 20H or more. I have tmax3200 and thinking of using at the box speed, or more, insted of iso 1600.
    So, what is best for it? XTOL (that is one of my main developers for BW) or TMAX Dev that I know several people like for pushing.
    Also, my question being narrow to this two is, that they are both avaliable here in Portugal and can have it in two or 3 days if bought online.
     
  2. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Those would both be fine choices for pushing.
     
  3. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Subscriber

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    Iris Davis tested both these developers with Tmax P3200 for Chris Johnson' book The Practical Zone System. She found that Tmax developer gave an ISO of 1600 with normal contrast, while XTOL gave an ISO of 2400 for normal contrast. This suggests that XTOL may be the better choice if you don't want too much contrast increase when pushing to 3200. I have no idea whether this is correct, but it does seem to be based on extensive testing.

    See http://www.chrisjohnsonphotographer.com/charts.shtml
     
  4. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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    It depends very much on which film and how much you want to push it. I love Diafine but it doesn't give nearly the speed increase with modern T-grain films that it does with older films, and I don't even think it does as well with today's Tri-X as it used to with older Tri-X. The combo with Tri-X is still great, but I shoot it at 1000-1250 now where 1600 used to be fine.

    Xtol is reportedly fine. I was soured on it back in the days of the bad 1L packs and have never quite persuaded myself to go back to it. I should give it another try, I'm sure. For now I use T-Max (not RS) developer for pushing TMZ and Delta 3200 with great results. I use the RS for my non-pushed TMY-2 4x5, which means stocking several developers but it does last very well.
     
  5. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    Here's a vote for Microphen. It's a little pricey for day-in-day-out use unless you mix your own. There's nothing exotic to it.

    But there is certainly nothing wrong with Xtol, if that's what you have. I know nothing about Tmax.
     
  6. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

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    Good tests it seems, but nowhere (unless I'm missing it) she mentions agitation patterns. Kodak recommends TMZ @ 1600 and TMAX dev for 8 min at 75 degrees, with their standard agitation of 5 quick inversions at first and 3-5 every 30. That's what I use and it works just fine. Eleven minutes, as per Davis, with that agitation pattern, normal contrast would be out of the question, I am pretty much sure.

    http://www.kodak.com/global/plugins/acrobat/en/professional/products/films/bw/processChartLo.pdf
     
  7. Rhodes

    Rhodes Member

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    ABout films and pushing them, got two tmax3200 and thinking of rating both at 3200 (or one at 6400) and two tri-x to go at 1600 (do not know if above is advisable). All 35mm, MF I have tri-x, can go above 400 also.
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I usually use Acufine as my push developer. Gives a good one to two stops with most films, which is as much as you can realistically ask for.
     
  9. phelger

    phelger Subscriber

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    have been using Xtol for quite some time, diluted and stock, regular inversions and now mainly rotary movement. Conclusion : I like it for its consistency, speed enhancing and fine grain + accutance. BUT, with Ilford Delta 400 135 ( the film I use most often) it just won't push! ei 400 is fine but even 50% more development doesn't give much more contrast. I've recently tried Xtol with Neopan 400 and what a difference!! Here I can push - have not yet established how far beyond the ei 400.
    So Delta 400 is more likely go with something like ID11.
    Peter
     
  10. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Rhodes, all these are doable technically, even the TriX at 3200.

    Both developers will work fine for pushing.

    A bit of practice would be in order.
     
  11. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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    I've been thinking I might try this eventually:

    http://silent1.home.netcom.com/Photography/Dilutions and Times.html#Super_Soup

    Wonder if it would work well with TMZ or Delta 3200? I can get a usable 6400 out of TMZ in T-Max developer. I'd love to get a useful 12.5k. Anything needing speeds faster than 3200 I honestly just prefer digital because film is at the very edges of workable at such speeds, and it's often enough I could use them. But if the miracle is out there...
     
  12. Rhodes

    Rhodes Member

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    Yes, practice but I can do it due to the "deadline" of the work. Will use XTOL and see what I got. Of course I can use Rodinal...ehehhehe
     
  13. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I've always liked Xtol for its ability to extract shadow detail. It really excels at this.

    Some people like Xtol's tonality, and other people do not. Some people like its fine grain, and other people do not.

    All I know is that I get almost normal tonality when I shoot TMax 400 @ 1600, and use Xtol 1+1 while agitating every minute. Times vary based on contrast while shooting. I also get near normal tonality when I shoot TMax 100 @ 400, agitating every 2 minutes. Times vary based on lighting contrast, of course.
    With TMax 3200 I use replenished Xtol, because the inherent speed is so good. EI 1600 is never a problem, and my preferred speed with it, for best tonality in normal lighting.

    Xtol gives finer grain than TMax. It's also sharper than TMax. And it yields pretty much equal amounts of shadow detail. But it gives a much more muted tonality, and if you can live with that I vote for Xtol. If you like a less muted tonality with highlights that are a bit more 'alive', then TMax should be your choice.

    As for pushing, I don't think that one is all that much better than the other. It's a subjective choice, and your opinion of what the resulting prints look like should dictate that choice.
     
  14. mat4226

    mat4226 Member

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    This may sound like an echo of Thom's response above me, but XTOL 1:1 has always been my favorite for push processing. With this combination, I've been able to achieve great looking results up to ASA 3200 with TMax 400 and Delta 3200, and ASA 1600 with Tri-X. In a pinch I've been known to use D76 1:1 for some much grittier push results than XTOL, but like many have said, it's all a matter of taste.
     
  15. Rhodes

    Rhodes Member

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    Yes, I always use XTOL 1:1, like all the results that I had so far. Thanks for all the replies, will use XTOL at 1:1.
     
  16. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Without the benefit of practice I'd suggest following the manufacture's published recommendations to the letter.
     
  17. Rhodes

    Rhodes Member

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    Of course!:smile:
     
  18. Bertil

    Bertil Subscriber

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    Haven't been much into push processing, rather the opposite! Once tried using ordinary developers (I think it was T-max-1 400 and T-max developer, maybe it was Tri-x and HC-110): result not very nice, grainy and ugly. Recently made a more convincing try. My idé was this: D-23 is supposed to take everything there is at the shadow part of the negative (the toe part), but suppseed to be slow att the highlight part (though often quite OK depending on the subject). Strongly overdeveloping underexposed negatives with this developer would reasonable be able to raise the middle and highlights enough to make a printable negative. I tried it at 22°C 16 minutes agitating the first minute and than each third minute, and got quite resonable printable negs on TMY-2 (120-film) exposed att iso 1000-1600 (made it possible to hand held Hasselblad 2000FC/M with Tele Tessar 8/500mm using shutterspeeds from 1/1000-1/2000 in not too good light conditions). Exposing att Iso 800 on this film should normally be no problem at all in most situations, as far as I can judge. D-23., perhaps the most simple developer ever formulated!!
    /Bertil