Some of you may have seen my complaints about graininess in sulfite-free phenidone-ascorbic Gainer formulas on photo.net. I've experimented a bit further, and have managed to get fine grain without sulfite by keeping pH low. Using borax + boric acid works, for instance, as does TEA (though this is somewhat surprising, since I believe borax should have a lower pH all by itself than TEA). The problem is that with low pH, shadow speed is also quite low, perhaps a stop or 2/3 below D-76 on Tri-X and Delta 400. Adding back some sulfite helps increase emulsion speed, but grain increases too, at least until I add so much sulfite that the solvent effect starts to kick in (at perhaps 50g/l) - and then I'm back where I started. One thing I've noticed is that doubling the amount of phenidone, without increasing ascorbic acid, raises the shadows. This fits in with the description of phenidone as a developer that works quickly but doesn't acheive much contrast. However, the Delta 400 negs get a somewhat odd, mushy look. Haven't tried printing them yet. If I increase phenidone by less than double, the speed bonus decreases proportionately. Anyone have any suggestions on dealing with the speed issue, apart from downrating the film?