Chemicals

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by rogueish, Aug 6, 2004.

  1. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    After wading through the many posts here, I am amazed at how many people use more than one or two developers, fixers. Now I have only been processing my own B&W film for about a year (give or take a day), and I am still using the same (literally) fixer (Ilford rapid fixer) and am on my secound developer (Ilford S and now Ilford HC). I could only get a gallon jug of the fixer so I immediatly poured it out into the collaspable airtight bottles. Still have about 1.5 litres left.
    Just as a poll type question:
    Who uses/stocks more than 1 developer/fixer and what brand/homebrew? What do you feel are the advantages or specific results your after from these combos?
    Why do I feel I just opened a can of worms?! :surprised:
     
  2. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I stock and use several developers. The reason is that, even though the results may be subtle, there are distinguishable differences in print developers. These differences amount to print color and tonal separation. With the exception of Zone VI print developer all of the other print developers that I use are formulated from componant chemistry.

    Insofar as film developers I use pyro developers as a "class". At this time I primarily use Pyrocat for the low general stain to high proportional stain ratio. The reason that I use pyro developers is that the proportional stain increases better highlight separation and also serves to build higher density range (contrast) in the negative for printing on Azo then non staining developers. As with the print developers, I also formulate Pyrocat from individual componant chemicals.

    Hope that this helps. Good luck.
     
  3. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    Developer and film together make a set that can be targeted for a specific set of challenges in an image. For 8x10 film to be contact printed on azo, kalitype or other alt process, the developer needs to create a dense image that is not blown out in the highlights and does not have a lot of base fog. This is a completely different developer than what would be used for 35 mm film where maximum enlargability is the requirement. For other formats where extra sharpness may be desired, a developer that creates edge effects might be selected. If the range of brightness (SBR) is great, a compensating developer might be needed. I use a different developer for push processing when I need it. I keep the following film developers on hand: Pyrocat HD, Microdol, D76, TD3 (for tech pan) and Split D23. I will soon be trying out Acufine (home brew version) for yet another application.
     
  4. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    Quite honestly I think you could open any/every thread in here and you would find 1 if not 10 different posts about people personal experiences with developers/multiple developers.

    Ive been doing my own black and white developing/printing for about a year as well and I have found I started out using Tmax then purchased Ilfotec DDX, D76, and a small bottle of Rodinal..... the small bottle of rodinal got used up QUICKLY and the two gallon jugs of Ilfotec DDX and D76 still have stock in them.

    I just found (through experimentation and testing) that I really liked the resulting negatives from the different dilutions of rodinal and the prints were astounding compared to the prints from my tmax and ddx negatives.

    Ive also purchased some PMK Pyro, mostly because I am a curious person and wanted to see for myself what all the hoopla and talk was about that I kept hearing. so I purchased some and have only developed abotu 10 sheets in it but I have exact doubles to compare them to that were developed in Rodinal. and the results are different for sure. the stain is apparent and the negative holds a much different feel to it. They print wonderfully as well. I printed an 11x14 last night just to quench my darkroom addiction (no real need for it I just wanted to print one of my Pyro negatives)

    I guess its just experimentation and learning as many of the "tools" that we have at our disposal and seeing which ones of the many fit each of us best.
     
  5. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I regularly use Pyrocat-HD and FX-2, occasionally Windisch' compensating Pyrocatechin, and have in the past used DD-X, Ilfosol-S, D-76, Ultrafin, and Neofin Blue - and a few others.
    For paper I have used Multigrade developer and Neutol WA, and now use Ansco 130, Gevaert G262, or Beutler's stock solutions.

    As long as I mix my own I find it both easy and fun to experiment. Since I also have a fair idea of the differences between these chemicals, I can select the path that gives me the result I want with a minimum of hassle.

    Mind you, I also use about 10 different papers as well as several "alternative" processes, all of which will give different results from the same negative.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I mainly use PMK for negs to be enlarged and ABC pyro for negs to be contact printed, but I keep D-76 on hand for TMX, which I use occasionally, and I've got some Perceptol around, because Delta 400 looks great with it. Since I've started mixing my own formulas, I'll probably phase out the prepackaged ones that I only use infrequently, and just mix them up from scratch the odd times I need them.

    I also have Acufine on hand, which I use with Tri-X when I want more speed.

    I use TF-4 for prints and negs.

    I've been moving toward using Michael Smith's amidol formulas for Azo and enlarging papers, but I'm finishing up some stock of other things, and maybe I'll just keep something cheaper on hand for proofs and such (like Neutol-WA).

    I've been inching back into color, which I haven't done much for a long time, so I've got Tetenal 3-bath E-6, and Ilfochrome doesn't look too far behind.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 6, 2004
  7. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    Hello David,
    Could you keep us posted about your exploits in the realm of colour printing? I have been considering doing Ilfochrome myself.
    Hans
     
  8. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    It's only been a 1/2 hour since my post and already my head is spinning. :surprised: Actually I figured the replies would be like this. Many developers as opposed to just one or two. All the books I read and people I talked to all said the same thing. "Learn to process with one and get used to the process and am comfortable with consistant results. Then start to experiment". I guess the "evil scientist" in me is wanting out to mix up some different brew.
    Wish I had the space to store more chems. Right now I assemble, then disassemble the darkroom in the bathroom. (and without fail, just as I expose the paper, the knock on the door comes with "Honey, I gotta go...")
     
  9. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    To which the correct answer is, "Okay, bye!"

    Or you could leave a bucket outside the door...

    (Did I mention I'm single?!) :smile:
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Hans--I did Cibas long ago, so for me, this would just mean getting back into it. There have been a few threads on Ilfochrome, so you might do a search and see what's already been said.
     
  11. Francesco

    Francesco Member

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    I find that if you like the look of different papers for different subjects then you will end up having different film-developer combinations. For several years, I was like that. But for the last 18 months I have standardised all my photography for output onto AZO paper. As a result I only use 2 films (one medium and one high speed), one developer and one paper dev procedure. Saves space and time, and I do not need a darkroom. Good luck with the wife, it is a daily battle.
     
  12. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Developers are like our girl friend, wives or other lovers. They are all genetically about 99.999% alike and in appearance and function about 90% alike. But the small differences really count.

    There are subtle differences between developers, even within classes. The most significant difference is between pyro staining and non-staining developers, but even within the category of pyro developers people who really understand how these developers work will find subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, differences in results between PMK, Pyrocat-HD, WD2D, Rollo Pyro, ABC Pyro, etc.

    At this time I use Pyrocat-HD for about 80% of my film developing. It is close to ideal for me since I formulated and adjusted it specifically for my own needs. However, for specific situations there are some things that Pyrocat-HD does not perform as well as some other developers. For example, when exposing negatives in very low contrast scenes for printing with AZO or one of the alternative processes the very energetic 1:1:1:7 dilution of ABC Pyro will give better contrast with more reasonable development times. Another example would be when exposing negatives in scenes of very high contrast for printing on silver VC papers. In this situation PMK might well give better results.

    So while it may well be true that there are no magic bullets in developers it is equally true that people who understand the characteristics of different developers and how these relate to their printing process know the choice of developer can add significant refinements to printing.

    However, for beginners my advice would be to stick with one developer until you understand the reasons why another might give better results.

    Sandy
     
  13. Jorge Oliveira

    Jorge Oliveira Member

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    That's a clever one!

    Jorge O
     
  14. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Well, film and developer combinations do look different, no matter what anyone says. As I have reimmersed myself in the B&W world over the last two years, I have tried different combos and as such, I can plan, shoot, develop and print to a certain look that strikes me as I am photographing. I am a continual explorer of new looks, even if I have not mastered the nuances of each combination as I work through it. Personal issues, I guess you could say.

    So, I am in the process of exploring what 777 does on several films/exposures/developments. I am pretty happy with the preliminary negatives of Classic200 @ E.I. 160 for 7 minutes @ 75F. This is good, as this is the film I use in most of my wierd sized Press camera film holders. I am not happy with the tests so far of HP5 in this developer, but I also know it's a matter of reeling in the process times for this film. 777 on Tri-X has promise but that part of the equation is not a pressing issue right now.

    I like the results I have of APX100 4x5 and 120 in W2D2+. Make that I LOVE the results I have gotten. I am waiting on a color transmission densitometer to bring this one into the BTZS testing and then will fine tune my shooting with this film in my Speed Graphic for the majority of my LF work in the near future.

    I use Diafine for Tri-X shot at 1250 or so, 1000 with flash. I use this combination for some of my older MF and 135 cameras that either don't have a rangefinder, or have a marginal RF that benefit from an increased DOF using smaller apertures.

    And finally, I use Rodinal (1+50) for picking up the pieces of everything else and for shooting PanF in my MF folders. These PanF films are stand developed at 1+200 for 90 minutes. An ongoing project utilizing the bright California sun and my decades long interest in recording interesting architectural detail I find as I wander through the Oceanside country. So far, the negatives of this experiment make really good enlarged positives (and negatives) for Alternative process work.

    I have used FX-39 (blah) and of course, my two years at NESOP were consumed with the understanding of the intricacies of Tri-X in D-76 1:1. That combo is technically very good, yet I suspect I shot too much of it.

    tim in san jose
     
  15. Dean Williams

    Dean Williams Member

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    I keep D76, Rodinal, A49, Diafine and the makings for Gainer's Metol-C on hand at all times. D76 because it works with almost any emulsion made and does a consistently excellent job at what it's made for, ie good film speed and low apparent grain. I use it with TX, FP4, Forte-Classic Pan-EDU types, and Maco/Efke 100. I use Rodinal when I want a little extra sharpness and/or very crisp grain, but not with the Forte type films. I just don't like it with those. The A49 is for the Forte type 400 films. Very nice tones and small tight grain for this film. Diafine for TX if I need it to go faster. The Metol-C is like D76 the way I see it-almost. For some reason it does a little extra for landscapes with TX in MF. I can't put my finger on it, but I like it better than anything else for those kind of shots.
    For fixer I use Kodak powder type and Paterson Accufix. The Kodak for prints-it does what it's supposed to, and I've always done it that way. Just a habit that I can't see a reason to change. The Accufix because it's fast for film, (clears the films i use in about a minute) and it has a better capacity than anything else I've tried (Ilford, Kodak).
    For print developer I use mostly Dektol because I think it's the best paper developer there is...for me anyway, and that's what counts! Most every paper seems to like it. I also use Agfa Neutol because I like it with Luminos paper, and it is very robust, (long-lived), and economical. Zonal Pro Warm if I want warm (natch).

    Yes, you may have opened a can of worms, but you've caught quite a few fish.