FG 7 or other one shot developers

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by hovis, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. hovis

    hovis Member

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    Hello forum. I'm currently using Arista liquid developer to process my Arista or Tri X film. At the moment I'm wanting to stay with a liquid one shot developer and would like input from folks who have used FG 7. Any thoughts, likes and dislikes welcome. BTW, I do like Rodinal and plan on using it at times. Not that I don't like the Arista developer, just wanting input on other options. Other films I normally shoot are Tri X at box speed and iso 200, pulled. Thanks.
     
  2. greybeard

    greybeard Member

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    hovis,

    For some years, back in the late 60s, I used FG7 pretty much exclusively. If memory serves, when used as a one-shot, it was diluted with a sodium sulfite solution (for increased acutance, or prevention of fog, I'm not sure). It was a decent enough developer, but I have settled on HC-110 and like it just fine. (The stuff keeps practially forever, and a modest-sized bottle goes a long way; I use it as a one-shot for consistency and because I don't use a lot of film.)

    If you should find yourself doing any kind of controlled comparison between FG7 and anything else, please post the results. I'm a little surprised that a minor-brand, general-purpose, 40+ years old formula is still on the market, so it must have more to recommend it than I can remember!
     
  3. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    I used FG-7 considerably in the early 1970s and found it flexible, versitle, and economical. I also used in through the 1980s for BW copy negs of vintage photographs, using it at 1:30, with sodium sulfite, on KB14, mostly.

    At present, I have two new (plastic) bottles and plan to revisit an old friend, but have not yet gotten around to it. Unfortunately, the data sheets I took from those neat glass bottles have long disappeared. Some may remember the charts with film groupings in roman numerals, with dilutions and times, both with and without sodium sulfite. I wrote to the current owner of FG-7 for their free data sheets, but they are not half as much fun as the old ones. It can be used as a non-solvent developer for greatest sharpness with fine grain films, and with 9 % sodium sulfite for faster films. Somewhere in my notes I have an article by Bill Pierce about using it with TRI-X.
    I always found it less "finicky" than Rodinal. Oh, yes, and you can process up to three batches of film in the same working soup, if done the same day, without sodium sulfite, and increase 10% for each batch.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 28, 2009
  4. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    I used FG-7 almost exclusively the first year I developed film and have processed at least 50 or 60 rolls of 135 and 120 with it.

    It's pretty good stuff, overall. A bit sharper than D-76 1:1, a bit grainier (I quickly dropped the practiice of using the 9% SS soluton), and the speed is maybe 1/2 stop better than D-76. And as PQ developers go, it's quite easy to control contrast with. It's not expensive, either.

    If it's got a weakness it's that it's shelf life is not purpoted to be very good. Nevertheless, if you are going to process a bunch of film rolls soon after opening it, it's a good choice.
     
  5. Gim

    Gim Subscriber

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    I have the Falcon Scientific sheet from years ago showing the dilutions etc for different films with the roman numerals and all that stuff. My sheet is a photo copy from Falcon with a little hand written "post it?" note...yes they seemed to be nice people back in the day. I can copy it and mail to anybody that is interested.

    I used this for quite a few years, late 60s, 70's and really liked it. Then it got hard to find (before internet) and the local photo joint started putting new price stickers on really old bottles. There were also rumors that the shelf life had deteriorated somewhat. I liked the stuff and would probably still use it if the supply had not been interrupted by corporate buyouts or whatever. Now I use pyrocat. I miss FG7 but I'm not going back.
    Best,
    Jim
     
  6. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I used FG-7 a quite a bit during the 70s. It's convenient and effective - an easy to use liquid. They list several variants of dilutions and adding sulfite for various purposes. Most of my experience was with plain vanilla dilutions. It was OK, but in later comparisons, I found I liked D-76 a lot more. HC-110 is probably more to my tates as a liquid.
     
  7. Brandon D.

    Brandon D. Member

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    I use XTOL 1+1 as a one shot developer. It delivers extra "film speed/shadow detail," it's environmental friendly, and I find that it's very easy to work with. I'm just starting out in film developing, and I'm already getting very nice results, with practically no previous experience.
     
  8. hovis

    hovis Member

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    Thanks everyone. This is just the type of info I was looking for. I'll have to read up on Pyrocat. Thanks again.
     
  9. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Anyone interested in the current FG-7 dev times and dilutions for their tested Zone I exposure indexes let me know and I will scan that info from the Edwal technical data sheet the manufacturer graciously sent me. jaykhill@aol.com
     
  10. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    FG7 was Minor White's favorite developer in the mid 1960's because it was very versatile in expansion/contraction. I've started mixing my own Edwal 12, which I like better, at least for some things, but 7 without sulfite is very nice stuff, and I keep it around. E12 isn't the greatest for contractions, so I may settle on 7 for that. Looks like we're going to need more contractions around here in the future, with the temp going up to 100°F in an area generally known for its overcast and rain.

    When I first started using it, I used it with sulfite, because I had heard that fine grain is good, and they claimed that the sulfite produced finer grain. Unfortunately, though, the grain is made fine by mushing it, since the sharp edges are dissolved. I like it a lot better with no sulfite added. Also, the sulfite is messy stuff... If the grain isn't fine enough, I prefer to mix a developer that gets it without a silver solvent.

    Since FG7's formula is proprietary, I can't mix it myself. I prefer to mix my own developers from scratch. I have noticed that an opened bottle having been stored for a year or so may lose some of its energy. To avoid that, I guess the answer would be to shoot more film and use more of it.
     
  11. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    It is generally well behaved with dilution changes, which helps if you want to compensate for short times at higher temperatures. I use 1+11 a lot, sometimes 1+15. I find 1+7 gives short times with some films.

    I mainly use Delta 400 in small formats, and Delta 100 or HP5 in 5x4. Grain is not a major concern.
     
  12. hovis

    hovis Member

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    Thanks again for the info folks. I think I'm going to use, for now, Rodinal with film rated at iso 100-250, and D 76 1:1 for Tri X. I'll probably end up comparing something like Arista Premium 100 in D 76 1:1 and Rodinal 1:50. I've used Rodinal years ago, just not with Tri X, rated at any speed. I'm still going to try some Tri X rated at 400 in Rodinal 1:50 and see how I like the grain. I always thought D 76 and Tri X were great. I do like the look of Tri X 2 1/4 dev. in Rodinal.
     
  13. cmacd123

    cmacd123 Member

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    When I was a kid, FG-7 came in a Glass bottle. I often used it. They "improved" it by selling it in a plastic bottle that had a handy built in measuring device, and I was surprised when the bottle went bad before I used it all up. Disappointed I went to Rodinal. I suspect the shelf life issue is the bottles and if I ever see some fresh stock I may try it gain, but first decant the bottle into glass.
     
  14. craigclu

    craigclu Subscriber

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    I once called for some tech info on FG-7 and after an interesting conversation, the engineer mentioned that decanting to smaller, glass bottles was their recommendation for extending shelf life. I used it for years and frankly, found very little difference with D-76 and the ease of use was a primary reason for continuing with it. It had a very slight speed advantage and was a bit more predictable in highlight control but the differences were very subtle. Here's an old ad that I happened onto yesterday when looking something up in an old Darkroom Techniques (Nov/Dec 1985).
     

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