Compensating film developers

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ymc226, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    Finished re-reading AA's The Camera and now finishing The Negative.

    He mention's characteristics of compensating and semi-compensating developers that would seem useful, promoting shadow detail in the lower zones while not causing over-development of the highlights (higher zones).

    He did not mention any specific developers that are current/pre-packaged.

    1) what are the modern, readily available (commercial) developers that could be said to be compensating/semi-compensating?

    2) could D-76 be classified in that sense?

    3) as a general rule, would a compensating developer promote effective "box" speed so less adjustments would have to be made on the ISO dial of the camera?
     
  2. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Ilford advises using ID-11 1:3 and I would expect such use would give good strong compensating effects as well as good "sharpness." No reason D76 could not be used the same way. For a proper Exposure Index, Ilford used to list an EI for various films at this dilution.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    There's still a PDF on the Ilford site with the different Dilutions/EI's, it in the Powdered Developers pdf.

    You can use developers like Rodinal, Pyrocat HD, HC110/Ilfotec etc at higher dilutions than normal for greater compensation as well.

    Ian
     
  4. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Probably the most compensating developer available (from the Formulary) is POTA, with which ~20+ stops of range is possible. POTA is supercompensating. The drawback is that it has very short life once mixed from powder. But if you need the range, nothing compares.

    Kinda hard to say what a compensating thing like POTA will do with the true speed of the film- it depends what you're after. Offhand I don't see any reason why the extra range would be added equally to both ends of the curve; rather, I suppose that it tends to bring up extra detail in the highlights (sort've as if you had shot the highlights with a slightly slower film). So then if you wanted more shadowdetail you might conclude that the highlights are well protected and rate the film a tick slower. But obviously your logic might be different if you didn't need more shadow detail. And honestly I don't know how much extra range is added to each end of the range, so that is worth checking. (Ron?)

    Anyway, let not your mind be taxed by the zone system! POTA is so compensating that such considerations won't be necessary for normal use.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2009
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Compensating developers are different to Low contrast developers in that they compress the highlights but retain good shadow and mid-tone detail.

    Ian
     
  6. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Diluting most devs makes them compensating and gives a higher EI. You can also use divided devs for compensation.

    Diafine is often used for compensating effects, but you get a one-stop speed increase.
     
  7. kodachrome64

    kodachrome64 Member

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    Does dilution alone give compensating effects? For instance does diluting Xtol to 1+3 give it compensating effects or is that obtained by reducing agitation and allowing developer exhaustion in the highlights? I'd always thought that just diluting a developer didn't necessarily give more shadow detail than an undiluted one.
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Diluting D76/ID-11 and Xtol to 1+3 gives a reasonable degree of compensation, compensation is about restraining the highlights while maintaining the shadow detail. It's related to the exhaustion of the developer.

    Ian
     
  9. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    What Anscojohn and Ian Grant wrote is the unvarnished truth. ID-11, or D-76 if you prefer, works reasonably well as a compensating developer and so does XTOL. For me D-76 at 1+3 is just about perfect for PanF+, which can be difficult to control especially if the light is harsh. Souped in D-76 at that dilution though, it's almost perfect when rated at box speed - still punchy enough through the middle tones to get your attention, but controlled enough in the highlights to retain detail without excessive burning in. Shadows hold pretty well too.
     
  10. Carter john

    Carter john Member

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    I have less experience than probably all of the posters here (put together), I have tried Ansel Adam's compensating development using HC-110 (4ml[US sryup]/500ml[water]). Low dilution and low agitation. My results with TriX at 250 have been good, I don't have a densitometer, but I like the shadows and highlights are pulled. Feel free to point out any errors I may have made, as I say I'm not that experienced and I, like ymc226, would like to learn.
     
  11. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    You know what, this stuff ain't rocket science. The rocket science lies with the chemists at Eastman Kodak and other places. That's what we pay for when we buy their products. If your methods are working for you, and you're happy with the results, then it's good.
     
  12. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony Member

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    I'd imagine that most developers at higher dilutions will give a compensating effect the ones mentioned ID11 etc. will work fine. I like Rodinal at 1:50 or even 1:100 especially with films like FP4, and even HP5 (in 120) I think film choice certainly plays a part.
    I think films with a shoulder like the ones mentioned lend themselves to compressing highlights while maintaining shadow detail very well; my personal favourite is HP5 rated at EI200-250 then developed in Rodinal 15 min 1:100 with 1 inversion per min–hard to burn out the highlights with that combo.
    Have fun
    Mark
     
  13. ronlamarsh

    ronlamarsh Member

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    compensating dev

    I have had great results with D-23 diluted to 3:1. I have also experimented with giving the first 1 to 2 minutes development in straight D-23 then diluting to 3:1 for the remainder. Using this method you give the total time as if you were using the developer diluted i.e. with 3:1 my n-2 time is 9min with EDU ultra 200, so I give the first 2min straight then 7min at 3:1. This has worked well for me with subjects of a 7 to 8 stop range. Beyond this its tough. I have tried KR-1 with a step wedge and found it gives extremely good compensation in the n-2 range with almost 1/2 stop speed increase but it doesn't keep worth a darn so it has to be mixed just before use.
     
  14. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    Thanks for all of the comments. Right now I want to stick with one film/developer combo: Tri-X exposed at 400 and developed with D-76. If I want to use the compensating effects of D-76 by using it 1+3, how would one suggest an initial agitation scheme?

    Right now, at 1+1, I agitate 5 times initially followed by 5 seconds every 30 seconds.