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Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by cliveh, Jun 26, 2012.
I think D76 is the best developer formulation in the history of film photography. Any thoughts?
I think blue is the best colour ever. Equally unprovable.
Kodak never thought so they spent many years trying to improve it. Eventually they gave up by introducing Xtol instead.
It was a developer many companies were stuck with, it was the late 1920' /30's equivalent of an Open Source Cine film developer. Most Company's including Agfa made D76 although with their own name/formula number.
I have no idea if it's the best, because different developers meet different needs, but for most film I use, it (or ID11) used 1:1 has been all I've ever needed.
It's not the best in any one aspect. You can beat it for grain, effective film speed, sharpness, storage life, whatever. But it does so many things well enough that it has become the standard against which others are compared.
It's a very good all around developer. I could get by with just D76 if I had to. But there is no one best developer for all needs and all photographers.
I started out with Sprint in college three years ago. After, I got my own darkroom I used ID-II and the D-76, same thing. After, a couple of months I started using Rodinal and I haven't looked back ever since.
For years, it was the "release" developer for all Kodak B&W products. All films had to pass the test with D76 regarding speed and contrast as well as grain and sharpness.
I still use it for some purposes. It's cheap, the quality is high and it's flexible (using different dilutions). It's also reliable and predictable.
Perhaps my favourite aspect of it, though, is that the formula is well known so I can mix it from scratch. I don't depend on Kodak's existence to keep using it. (I have been buying Kodak's bags of it again, though, for convenience, so they're making their dollar from me.)
I tend to move between a pretty diverse set of films (Ilford, Kodak, Foma) and have standardized on D-76 for this reason. I get great results for all of them and if I ever want to try a new film, I know I can easily find times for it. I have considered moving to Xtol but the large mixing quantities put me off (I just don't process that much).
My thought, Best for couple T grain films . Other than that, Xtol for everything else.
I don't know, green is pretty awesome.
I wouldn't necessarily assume the well known formula is exactly what's in Kodak's bag at this point. We can all mix a version of D76. Is it identical to packaged D76? Who knows. Is it identical to packaged ID11? Who knows. Why is ID11 packaged in two parts versus Kodak's single mixture? At the very least, we know both D76 and ID11 contain additional ingredients such as sequestering agents. There might be other stuff is in there. These ingredients may or may not lead to small differences in working properties. Who knows what other tinkerings with the original formula have gone on.
It is certainly an excellent solvent developer. However I wouldn't mind knowing how OP concluded it is the "best". How does one arrive at such a conclusion, exactly? Such a test could be of great value.
depends on what you mean by "best." A friend of mine likes to cite some magazine article he saw years ago that went on and on about some mystery developer that was super fine grain, good for all film, could be diluted easily, worked consistently, stored well and was generally all around wonderful and it was, you guessed it, plain ol' D-76. I've toyed with Microdol, but D-76 diluted 1:1 is my standard. In photography I've found the fewer variables you have, the more control you have over the ones that matter, and using the same developer is my "best" solution to that.
Green is blue with yellow added.
If D-76 is so good then why do so many people seek the holy grail of developers?
I guess this chart is known by most of you:
Yes, I think it is a meaningless statement as you don't define what is the best for you.
D-76 is a one part package due to a patented Kodak method of combining the ingredients and preventing deterioration. It also involves some sophisticated mixing equipment.
Ohters may therefore need to pack simialar formulas as 2 parts.
If I remember I believe Mr. Troop in The Darkroom Cookbook stated that the Original formulation for D-76 that the ph of the Metol component began to rise during storage and that Kodak had to do re-formulations over the years to counter act this problem. He also stated that is why ID-11 is in two parts,one part is the Metol alone and the other packet contains the other ingredients. If I am wrong, someone in the know please correct me. I don't have my copy of this book and I am just going from memory.
for the same reason they're never happy with their partner (well, some aren't) or their car, or their camera -- chronic "grass is always greener" syndrome -- you try a different developer you think it's look is better, you use it for a while and try another and think THAT one is better --as I said, I've found -- for me, your results may differ -- that excellence in photography comes from eliminating variables whenever you can and using those you can control most easily to get your results.
When Mary Ellen Mark spoke at Weber State University a bunch of years ago, back before she was into hassies and ginormous polaroids, she said she always used Tri-X and nothing else because she had learned, through practice, to get the best from it. I dunno what she developed it in, but I bet she stuck to one or two developers.
I never cared for the grain structure with Tri-X. I like HC-110B for its grain better. Rodinol can really handle a long brightness range well. The old DK-50 had better acutance. IMHO
A tough question to answer. I use D76, because it is a good all round developer. But is it the best ever? I doubt it, but I don't have an answer for which one is. I might be persuaded to go with Rodinal however.
Caffenol or GTFO.
Couldn't agree more.