HC-110 vs. D-76 question

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by singram, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. singram

    singram Subscriber

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    I am shooting more film than I have in the past, but I still find myself throwing away some of my mixed developer before I am able to use it.

    Currently I use D-76, but was thinking about switching to HC-110 for the shelf life quality of the concentrate "syrup" and the advantages of one shot mixing whenever I would need it.

    For those that have used HC-110, I was wondering if you could tell me your thoughts on this developer? Dilutions that you are happy with, comparisons to D-76 in developing etc.

    I shoot mostly Tri-x and Arista EDU ultra 200 (Fomapan 200) a film which I really enjoy.

    Thanks!
    steve
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Why do you toss D-76. I keep my stock solution in 250ml bottles with good tight sealing caps, it lasts quite a bit longer than Kodak claims. I stash the bottles in a cabinet out of direct light and it lasts for nearly a year before it's used up.
     
  3. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    I like to use HC-110 from the concentrate syrup for its keeping properties and I also like the results I get with it. Hard to talk about direct comparisons as I never shoot two identical rolls and then develop in two developers. HC-110 is my usual developer, sometimes I'll mix up some Microphen for speed enhancement.
     
  4. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    I like D76 and do something similar to Rick - mix up a batch, put in well cleaned pasta jars as full as possible, place some cling wrap over the opening, put on the lid and store in a cool dark place. It regularly lasts 6-8 months that way.
     
  5. laser

    laser Advertiser Advertiser

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    HC110 and D76

    HC110 does last a long time but it produces negatives that are far grainier than D76.

    Tips on D76.

    If you choose to mix less than the full amount of powder at a time make sure the powder is homogenous as possible. In dry form the components can separate. Stir the powder before adding to liquid.

    Keeping liquid: Oxygen is the enemy. Store in full, tightly sealed, GLASS containers. NO plastic. When mixing minimize the air entrapment. Stir, don't shake and don't use a high speed mixer than has a whirlpool that entraps air.
     
  6. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I've been using it for over 20 years and it's a great developer. As you know, it keeps forever and it's versatile. I haven't used D-76 in a long while, but if memory serves me correctly, D-76 has more of a silver solvent action to dissolve the edges of film grain more than HC-110. I'm sure there's an APUGer out there can correct me if I'm wrong. I use dilution "B" which is one part CONCENTRATE to 31 parts water. It also works as a great standing developer at 1:100 too. Ansel Adams loved the stuff.
     
  7. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    B is the standard recommended dilution, but as you say people use it in all sorts of dilutions. Some people prefer to use it more dilute than B even with normal development since it is easier to control contrast. The very dilute formulations are typically for reduced agitation/compensation methods. I have not heard of many people using it for full stand. For compensation methods, there are other general purpose developers that will work just as well if not better in some cases (less speed loss).

    There is not much preventing you from using dilute formulations of most any general purpose developer the same way. In that respect there is nothing particularly special about HC-110. It is just convenient that's all.

    It is hard to compare it with D76 (or any other developer) because there are variables like agitation, dilution, development time etc that have an impact on image characteristics. But generally, expect slightly more grain and slightly less speed with HC110 compared to D76. The differences are not huge. HC110 is not an acutance developer as some people claim. It gives more acutance when diluted and when agitation is reduced, but D76 will do that also. In fact D76 at 1+3 is a very sharp developer.
     
  8. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    This does not agree with Kodak's description.

    The 2001 Kodak Professional Photographic Catalog contains a comparison chart.

    Compared to D-76, this chart indicates that HC-110 (dilution B) produces:

    o Slightly less shadow detail or true film speed;
    o Slightly finer grain;
    o Slightly lower acutance.

    Apparently, HC-110 has somewhat more solvent action than D-76, but less than Xtol.
     
  9. Ottrdaemmerung

    Ottrdaemmerung Member

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    There's a reason why D-76 is the developer to which everything else is compared. You can't go wrong with it. Even in a plastic Datatainer bottle with no special precautions against oxidation, you can expect it to last six months at least.

    HC-110 is great stuff, too. The one thing to remember about HC-110 is that tends to be more highly active on average, so developing times can get short, under five minutes in cases. If you want to prolong the developing time, and/or want greater economy, just half the strength of dilution B and double the developing time (which is unofficial dilution H).
     
  10. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I store my stock D-76 in plastic milk jugs with screw-on tops.
    I try to transfer it to smaller bottles if the level gets low but, a lot of the time, I have a half full bottle just sitting on the floor in the corner.

    Now, my darkroom is really a dark room. It is in the basement and the only window is blocked with plywood. When I'm not in there, the room is always pitch black. The temperature rarely goes above 70ºF, even in the summer. In the winter the temperature runs in the mid 50's.

    The bottom line is that I rarely worry about storing chemistry because my stuff is always in a cool, dark place... about as cool and dark as it can get.

    A half-full bottle of D-76 has lasted more than six months.
    (Even so, I still run a clip test before I use any of my chems that have been stored for more than a couple of weeks.)
     
  11. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I do not find HC-110 to produce negs any granier than D-76 myself. I use it mostly dilution H to get longer times and help with consistency. Frankly, HC-110 or D-76 are both awesome developers with unlimited potential, just got to work with them to get what you want.
     
  12. artonpaper

    artonpaper Subscriber

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    I always thought HC-110 B produced a tighter grain than D-76 1:1. It does have a bit less acutance. These days, the new version of Tri-X calls for a 3.5 minute developing time for dilution B. That is too short. A high dilution would be the way to go, but I have yet to try it.
     
  13. masimix

    masimix Member

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    I have used HC-110 for about two years now, since I bought two bottles for half price, and I have probably developed about 150+ films, and the first bottle isn't empty yet! It is very convenient, i use a 20ml syringe to extract the concentrate, and i don't bother with A, B, H or G, I just use it 1+60, 1+90 or even 1+120 (A. Adams used this). It is great for contrast control, I use Ilfords Pan F+ in 120, and I can control contrast by using dilutions like 1+90 or 1+120 with this film. It might be grainier than D-76, but it isn't an issue with 120 size Pan F+ or FP4+ (I use 1+60 or H for this). HP5+ in 135 has some grain, indeed, but that's just charming.

    Edit: I expose Pan F+ at 32-40 ISO, and FP4+ at 100 ISO, the tonal range is wonderful.
     
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  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    IME, HC-110 is very slightly contrastier, very slightly lower in speed, and quite a bit less grainy.

    D-76 is cheaper if used to the last drop. It is much cheaper if you mix it from scratch. And it costs almost nothing per roll if you replenish.

    I prefer HC-110 because it is absolutely consistent, and there is never any waste.

    I use it mainly at dilution B. Often I will pull or aim for soft negatives with dilution H. (H is the commonly-referred to letter for an unofficial dilution that is twice as diluted as dil. B) At dilution H, I find it gaining some graininess, losing some contrast, and gaining some speed, so it looks very much like D-76 IMO (though still less grainy than D-76 at 1:1).

    I mix up small batches of stock. Others like to inject the syrup directly to make working solution. I prefer making it from stock for a few reasons, which I have mentioned in past posts. But both ways work.

    Both should be decanted and kept away from oxygen as much as possible.

    I'd suggest HC-110 as a standard developer for just about everyone except for the extremely budget conscious. In that case, I would suggest mixing D-23 or D-76 from scratch, and/or replenishing.
     
  16. kand

    kand Guest

    HC 110!

    HC 110 gets my vote of those two.

    But I prefer ID11plus myself
     
  17. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I'm so used to D-76 that I really can't comment. A while back, PE posted a link to a chart comparing Kodak developers in terms of grain, sharpness, speed, and something else. I can't find the link right now, but HC-110 came out as not a champ in any category but a pretty decent compromise in general. Xtol came in best in both grain and sharpness, and D-76 scored well in grain and speed, as I recall.
     
  18. alanrockwood

    alanrockwood Member

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    What is the minimum mL of HC110 concentrate to develop a roll of film?
     
  19. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    1:3 you say

    Michael,

    What is your starting time for this D76 at 1:3 thing you've mentioned? Assuming 68 degrees F., three inversions every 30 s., etc.

    thanks,
    s-a
     
  20. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Here's the chart:
    http://www.apug.org/forums/attachme...6049d1260882088-xtol-d-76-f002_0072hc.gif.att

    According to this chart from Kodak, Xtol has finer grain, greater film speed, and better acutance than either D-76 or HC-110. HC-110 produces finer grain, but lower film speed and lower acutance than D-76.

    This is with Xtol and D-76 undiluted and HC-110 at Dilution B.

    Lee
     
  21. marcmarc

    marcmarc Member

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    I have a half full bottle of HC-110 (still in the original plastic bottle) that's about two years old now and it works great. I use it only for Tri-X. I was suggested a dilution of 1:50 at eight minutes. This works great for me as I can shoot indoors and still maintain decent highlight detail whenever a window is in my shot. I don't use Tri-X much hence why my bottle is half full after two years. The syrup lasts forever I've heard.
     
  22. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I use it at 50:1. It gives good negatives and is absolutely reliable. The absolute reliability and consistency of mixing up fresh HC110 is a big draw to me. I never have to think about how old my stock solution is, or how much of it I have left, or if its gone off, or if I've replenished enough. I just mix up and get exactly the same thing every time.
     
  23. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    I like the way old d76 looks, but now I mostly use Xtol. Getting into stand development with Rodinal for pushing purposes soon.
     
  24. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    6 mL stated, 3 mL actual. Any less will develop the film, but it will be low in contrast. Sometimes you will want to starve the film of developer on purpose like this.
     
  25. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Some times lowering contrast works to one's advantage. I've used HC-110 1:100 in stand development for long exposures. Reprocity failure causes highlights to blow out with normal development. With stand development, I agitate for a minute and let the film stand for up to an hour in the developer. The developer in the highlights gets exhausted faster than the shadows to tame contrast. This technique is not unique to HC-110 though.
     
  26. singram

    singram Subscriber

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    Thanks everyone for your input. I think I am going to do a test run on some film and give HC-110 a whirl. Where do you get a syringe to draw off small amounts? Do they have them in the medical aisle at the drug store? Just wondering.

    steve