BW film & developer advice needed

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Matus Kalisky, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. Matus Kalisky

    Matus Kalisky Member

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    Hello,

    I know I've had a post few days back, but now I have some more detailled questions about some films and their developement:

    Part (I)

    I have already exposed following films: Delta 3200, Ilford FP4+, Ilford Pan F - all of them at the "nominal" speed (3200, 125 and 50 respectively).
    Now - I would like to dvelope them myself in a JOBO 1520 drum (inversion agitation) and according to info I found around here I plan to use following:

    My temperature will be cca 21 degrees Celzius

    1) Delta 3200 - in Microphen, but is adviced to use the time (according to Delta spec sheet) as if shot as 6400.

    2) Ilford fp4+ - D76 - here I do not know wheter the developement time stated in Ilford spec sheet will do the job.

    3) Ilford Pan F - Rodinal probably at 1:50 - What time and agitation would you propose? Or even different solution?

    4) I plan to shoot also Efke 25/50 films and compare the results to Pan F as I would like to have a slow fine grain fim option as well.

    5) If you could think of different developers that would lead to smaller number of developers needed - that would make my life easier.
    - I do plan to shoot some fp4+ and Pan F more for testing before I go for the ones I find important for me.

    Part(II)

    I plan to add one (or two) more films of speed about 400 and I am considering following ones: hp5+, TRI-X400 (TX), TRI-X320 (TXP), NEOPAN400 and maybe TMAX400 or Delta400, but the last ones does not really fit the group I guess. I do not really consider FOMAPAN400 if there are no strong reasons as there is no price difference to hp5+. If I missed some nice film - let me know.

    Usage of the fast film would be mostly street photography so I am looking in the direction of cassical films that can handle higher contrast scenes.

    I am not affraid of grain.

    My point is I would like to find a film/developer combination that would give good (whatever that means) results around the speed of 400. If the developer would be one of the previously mentiond ones (presumably D76) - that would make my life easier. 4 developers seem to much for the begining.

    If there is somebody going to say - soup it all in a Pyrocat HD, I might be tempted, but comments on mentioned films and the results would help.

    Oh yes - not to forget. For now - the films will be scanned on Nikon 9000, but later I do want to get an enlarger and print on Ilford FB papers.
     
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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  3. Philippe-Georges

    Philippe-Georges Member

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  4. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    For learning, you could do far worse than standardizing on D-76.
     
  5. Matus Kalisky

    Matus Kalisky Member

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    - Steve -

    thanks for the link - I was not aware of it. Very valuable information.

    - Philippe -

    it is somehow tempting. Iam just not sure what I should not start with some "classical" stuff.

    - bdial -

    I am just not sure whether it would not be too much compromising - developing all the mentioned films in D76. I would be concerned about the contrast with Pan F and probably about the result with the Delta 3200 as well..
     
  6. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I didn't mean to imply I was recommending D-76 for all things. More specifically, it's not the best choice for pushing. As for whether or not you'd be satisfied with it's performance on the Pan F, the best way to find out would be to try it. IMO, four developers is a bit much if you are trying to learn the basics at the same time. You could reasonably narrow that to two, one for pushing and very high speed films, another for everything else. Whether that other is D-76, Rodinal, or something else is really a matter of taste, and what you can obtain easily.
    Many people here learned their developing craft on D-76, and I'll wager that most don't regret the experience, even if they've made other choices for their "standard" developer since.
     
  7. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    You are entirely correct here - it's too much - all these films and developers will do nothing but confuse you. Pick one 400 speed film that you can obtain reliably - pick one common developer. D-76 is fine. Use them for a year or so, then you will know if you like the combination, or if you want to change something. When you know that, you will know what to look for.
    juan
     
  8. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I'm not very experienced, but I've been rather happy using XTOL as my really only developer. I played around with Diafine a bit at first and liked it, but I've since moved on. I've done Tri-X, Plus-X, PanF+, and T-Max P3200 in it (a wide range of film speeds) and have been very happy. I've tried pushing Tri-X and the P3200 to different speeds and have been happy with that as well.

    One of the nice things about XTOL is that it mixes up at room temp. It's also a good dev for pushing supposedly (maybe not as good as others).

    I should add, though I've played around with these other films, 90% of my shooting is with Tri-X.
     
  9. erl

    erl Member

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    Not sure of your current status re. skill or experience. I read it as beginning. If am wrong, please excuse me.

    I strongly recommend to start that you only learn one film and developer combination very well before even considering any other variable. You will engage all your effort initially on eventually perfecting just one combo. After that, you will be much better equipped to rty other combinations.

    Experimenting with too many variables at once is almost certainly fatal. Learn to control 'standard' procedures before experimenting with variables.

    Good luck.

    Erl
     
  10. Dan Fullerton

    Dan Fullerton Member

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    Consider the Ethol product "UFG". It is a compensating developer that will bring slightly under and over exposures to a more consistant density. I used it for years developing student film that, for the most part were off by 1-2 stops in exposure, with good results. It is mixed from a powder, can be replinished easily and is stable if stored properly. You just can't start in the middle by trying different combinations of film and developers. Select a film and developer and make a lot of exposures including intentional under and over exposures to see what effect that has on the end result. If you enjoy night / low light photography try an exposure that is "right on", then one under and one over that setting. Using 35mm you will have 10 - 12 sets of exposures, you may find you consistently prefer one over the other utilizing a single developer. When you reach the point that you can view a scene and know how it will look with the end print, you will be ready to continue or changing. I would recommend staying with one film and changing developers to understand the differences. The process just takes time and lots of negatives....the fun part. Dan
     
  11. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    For Ilford FP4+, Ilford Pan F, EFKE/ADOX 25, 50 and 100 I use and recommend either Pyrocat-HD, Pyrocat-MC (or Pyrocat P) with Minimal Agitation or Semi-Stand Agitation.
     
  12. frugal

    frugal Subscriber

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    I think it sounds like you're a little scattered in what you're trying to accomplish. Or maybe it's just that I'm not clear on what you're trying to accomplish. I think you might want to get a little more systematic about you're testing, depending on what you're looking for.

    For instance, are you trying to pick a "standard" B&W film to use? If that's the case then I'd likely try a number of B&W films in the same developer (obviously development will differ) and see which you prefer.

    If you're trying to come up with a developer then I'd shoot 1 film consistently and test it in a number of different developers.

    But it sounds like you're trying various different films and then developing them all differently which means you're changing 2 variables at the same time, which will likely make things confusing.

    Now if you're not sure on a film and a developer that's fine but again, I'd do a more systematic testing such as shooting all the films your trying and then developing them in the same developer (again, times will differ of course), then repeat the same test with all films in a different developer, and so on. This will allow you to determine which "looks" you like.
     
  13. frugal

    frugal Subscriber

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    Replying to myself here, but I should add that if you are doing testing you should also try to keep your test shots as consistent as possible so that you can better compare the different shots. It's a lot easier to compare the same film in different developers if you have the same shot to look at.
     
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  15. Matus Kalisky

    Matus Kalisky Member

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    Thanks to all your answers.

    Yes - you are right - starting with too many films and developers is not a good idea, so let me reshape my ideas:

    1) I thought my film choice over again and come up to conclusion that I would like to shoot two films for the beginning:
    - fp4+ as a slow(er) one
    - hp5+ as a fast one.
    These two as far as I understand should work with most of the developers - I might go with D76 or ID11. So one developer only for the future. If you think that there is better option concerning developer - let me know. (Did I hear XTOL or Pyrocat ?)

    2) I have already shot Delta 3200 and Ilford Pan F and I just NEED to develope them.

    3) I have Efke 25 & 50 waiting at home - not exposed yet. What to do? :surprised:

    4) Concerning (2) and (3) - how much of a compromise would it be to develope them in the forementioned D76 (ID11)? I thought that I will get two dedicated developers (Rodinal and Microphen) as these will be experimental anyhow (I would develope some test rolls of them before going for the important ones)...
     
  16. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    Starting with one combo is sound as otherwise you'll end up really confused. PCAT is fantastic with both FP4 and HP5+-should be good with Pan F too. Also good with Efke. D76 is a good allrounder to get the ball rolling.
     
  17. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I'll put in another vote for Pyrocat HD. It's terrific with a wide range of films, for normal, push and pull development, rotary, standard agitation and semi-stand/minimal/pick-your-term development. If you've never used a pyro developer before, you'll probably look at your first negatives from it and think they look flat and maybe a little thin as well. Reading the stain takes a little getting used to, but once you're used to it, you can tell by looking if you've got a good neg or not.
     
  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    See the post by Roger above.

    VP was one of the films with Cadmium verified by Carl Kohrt, but the last version had no Cadmium so there was a formula change in the interim.

    Both films appear to have rave reviews from people.

    PE
     
  19. frugal

    frugal Subscriber

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    I'm not sure about Delta 3200 or Pan F in Rodinal or Microphen but it's my understanding that the Efke films are quite nice in Rodinal. The other nice thing about Rodinal is that it lasts for years so that could be another nice consideration for a 2nd developer.

    If you are just starting out I would definitely recommend sticking to a small number of film and developer combinations and focus more on getting consistently good negs from them. What I mean by that is in terms of exposure and processing, subject matter's a whole other consideration (a good neg is not the same thing as a good photograph). Then maybe branch out with some other films and/or trying some other developers. I'd recommend sticking to stuff that you can get in small quantities or that has a very long shelf life so you don't have as many concerns about wasting something you're experimenting with.

    For instance, in my case I've mostly used D-76 or XTol because that's what the local art college mixes up (more xtol these days), so I've tried some different films and I've learned what I like in those developers. Now I'm wanting to experiment with some other developers. I have some diafine that I got with some darkroom gear I bought so I intend to mix it up, I have no idea what I'll think about the look of it with my shooting but I also know that it will last for ages so I'll have the luxury of shooting the odd roll here and there and trying it in diafine to see what happens. The same for Rodinal, I'd like to try it and I know it lasts for ages so I'm less worried about having it kick around and I've read about a number of good film combinations with it (and seen examples) so I'm pretty sure I'll find something I like with this. I'm not taking any courses at the art college right now so I don't have darkroom access there and I'm considering doing some processing at home but I'm not sure how much I'll do, I noticed that HC-110 is pretty popular with the films I like so I bought that for my standard developer, again because the concentrated syrup has a very long shelf life so even if I only process at home infrequently it won't go bad.

    At least those have been my concerns and my thinking. I know earlier I mentioned that you should limit your combinations and now I've just listed off 3 developers I'm using so it may be more a situation of do as I say, not as I do. As I said, I also have a good idea of what my favourite films are in a standard developer, and I intend to continue shooting those films and using that combo, so this is purely further experimentation from that for my own interest.
     
  20. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Whoops, this went iont the wrong thread.

    Sorry.

    PE
     
  21. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Pyrocat HD I have tried with most of the films you mention except D3200. For that I use Diafine. But you'll do OK with D-76 as well.

    FP4+ and HP5+ are fantastic films. So are all the others. You are wise to purchase Ilford. They are likely to stick around for a while.

    Why don't you think D76 could do well with D3200? It seems unreasonable to get a developer just to develop one or two rolls of film.

    Take it from me. I've tried every film out there. It confused the heck out of me, and basically the negs I shot from my first two years of photography are difficult to print thanks to not understanding what's going on.
    If you want to stop wasting time, just buy a packet of D76 or Pyrocat or whatever, and get a brick of HP5 or FP4, and start shooting. Shoot a film, bracket the exposures, and develop it according to the manufacturer's recommendation. Then to fully understand whether you did something right or not, the negs should preferably be printed or scanned somehow. See what you like, see what prints or scans easily and looks good. But unless you stick to one film or tops two, you will completely miss the patterns and what changes an alteration of your process will do. Seriously.
    Plus, you'll have much more time to focus on what's important - making photographs.
    - Thomas
     
  22. Chris Breitenstein

    Chris Breitenstein Member

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    I have tried both of these films, and I believe the Ilford Pan F is superior because its Panchromatic. Efke 25 and 50 are orthochromatic and not sensitive to red light. although the Efke has a higher silver content, the images from 25 and fifty tend to be flat. You may be able to overcome Efkes short fall with a yellow filter.

    Ilford Pan-f is great film and coupled with the right developer can produce some really great negs.
     
  23. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    My input...
    Pan F in Rodinal 1:100 is a wonderful combo. Pan F has a tendency to blow out highlights so 1:100 minimal agitation works well.
    The 3200 I would soup in Diafine. I am not the diafine fan as some are, I don't find the tonality to my likeness. But... if you want an image on a piece of film, if it's there, diafine will give it to you without blowing out the highlights.
    The FP4+... I agree that the Pyro developers give you the best, most consistent results. I use WD2D+ but PyroCat works just as well.
    For your Efke films.. Shoot them on the low side, be conservative, then keep the agitation down so you don't blow the highlights. I would try both Rodinal 1:100 and the pyro developer of your choice. You won't be disappointed.

    I am of the thinking that if you standardize on three films and three developers, you will do just fine. I use a number of films and a number of developers, but then again, I am exceptional. *L*

    tim in san jose
     
  24. Matus Kalisky

    Matus Kalisky Member

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    Thanks thanks thnaks.

    Some of my comments:

    1) Pyrocat HD
    - would probably do the job well - how about the Delta 3200?
    - but how about the film speeds? It seems that one gets EI of only 200 whit it. This makes it a little bit less attractive as for a "fast" film option. Any opinions here? - What about Tmax400? It was reported that it gets a nice shoulder in Pyrocat - but as well it is better at EI 200 (I am reffering to Ken Lee here). I would like to have a reasonable 400 option.

    I am really leaning towards the Pyrocat at this point. Will have to find more info about it (and how to use it).

    2) If I go with D76/ID11 it will be all right with fp4+ and hp5+. Still the problem With Efke, PanF and Delta 3200 remains.

    3) Lowell Huff pointed my attention to F76+ as an all around developer - what is your experience with foremetioned films?
     
  25. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    1. Re: film speed. It depends on how you use the developer, how you agitate. You know, it just might work perfect with D3200.
    2. I reiterate - what makes you think you cannot use D76 with those films?
    3. No idea.
     
  26. frugal

    frugal Subscriber

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    I should point out that rating a "400" speed film at 200-320 is pretty common. Be it theories that the film's speed is overrated, that the developer is reducing the film speed or because you want better shadow detail and the particular film/developer combination won't blow out the highlights. And that's not even covering things like metering technique or your camera's meter.

    Your best bet is to shoot some test shots under a variety of conditions and bracket the exposures, then take a look at your negs and see which exposures give you what you want and then determine what your EI will be for the film.

    The other thing to remember is that any B&W film will work in any B&W developer, if processed properly (possibly a few exceptions). What changes is the characteristics of the negative (tonality, grain, accutance, etc) and much of this is a matter of personal preference.

    You seem to be at the learning phase of film processing so I'd encourage you to just bite the bullet and develop the films. Forget about what you may or may not have heard about a particular combination and just look up some times for the film and bite the bullet and develop the stuff in it. Then take a look at the negs and see what they look like and decide what you like and what you don't. Then ask yourself what it is you like or don't like. Maybe it's the contrast, maybe it's the grain, maybe the negs are underdeveloped, whatever, and then fine-tune things. Maybe you just won't like the look of a particular film. Well guess what? You've just learned that you don't like that particular film (at least in that particular developer) and that's far more valuable to you than anything what a bunch of people can tell you on the board before you've developed the film. Not saying the board isn't useful but this particular question is so much a matter of personal preference (as well as technique) that you'll get overwhelmed with all the variations.

    Film is cheap, shoot a lot and process a lot and take a look at the results with a critical eye. Then if you get some results you can't figure out, post some examples and ask what's going on. Unless you have some once in a lifetime shots on an unfamiliar film just go for it and don't be afraid to try stuff and see what happens.