HC110 compared with D76 1+1

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by BetterSense, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    My D76 is almost gone. I like it; I generally shoot triX at 200 developing in 1+1 D76 for about 8 minutes. I also have a good bit of Neopan 400 and Arista EDU.Ultra 400 (which is foma) and some APX100. I guess I don't really have a problem with D76, but you have to mix it up and it isn't terribly cheap when used one-shot. If my friend can get us chemcals, I'm looking at transitioning to replenished D23. But HC110 sure looks convenient being a superconcentrate, and it seems like it's just about the cheapest of all developers. I hear a lot of people say that HC110 is very comparable to D76. Has anyone switched from D76 to HC110, and if so, what differences did you notice?

    It seems like D76 is really forgiving and always seems to give printable results, and that's important to me. I expose at 1250 and use Diafine for when I need more speed.
     
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  2. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I'm not expert on HC-110, as I've only used a bottle or two. D76 can be used diluted 1+3 as single shot, and that makes it more affordable.
    If you can get the chemicals for D23 and replenish it, bulk chemistry is cheap, and replenished developer (which I've been doing for six months now) is a wonderful way to work. My choice is Edwal 12, and I use 100ml replenisher per 35mm/120 or equivalent film area. For me that comes out to about $1 per roll, and it would be a lot less if I bought bulk chemistry. D23 has nothing in it that's exotic, and you should be able to develop film for pennies a roll. Fixer and water would cost more than the developer... :smile:

    - Thomas
     
  3. mike c

    mike c Subscriber

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    I've used HC110 for such a long time , I have used a condenser enlarger until now. HC110 contols the contrast better for me with the condenser enllarger,now I have a cold lite I'm thinking of switching back to D76 for more contrast.HC110 is far easier to use ,cheaper,last longer and is pretty versatile. So it looks like were at opposite ends of the stick. I say try it,it can be stored for a long time .I hope this helps you a little,It can be a very subjective choice.

    mike c.
     
  4. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    *******
    I cut my darkroom teeth on D-76. I guess we all did, in ye oldene dayz. Sometime in the late 1960s, I went to HC110, which soon suited my needs completely, for FP-4 and an occsional roll of Tri-X, although it was then that I found the usefulness of giving more exposure than box speed. In limited space, in bathroom darkrooms, having a bottle of concentrate was very handy. I did try replenishment, but found it went south too quickly for me. However, for pushing film, an old Bill Pierce trick of using HC110 Replenisher in lieu of HC110 itself sometimes paid off.

    I prefer the "gutsy" look of a D23 negative nowadays; but HC110 has a lot going for it.
     
  5. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    With FP4+ and D-76, I always got "good" negatives, but not negatives I was crazy about. With HC-110 and the same film, I love the way the negatives print. I am so glad I finally gave it a try for myself, because what one likes is as personal as it gets.

    HC-110 works great with Foma 400 (I rate it at 200), but I like this film even more in Xtol (film rated at 320).

    After you get some opinions on what works well for others, try it yourself to see what pleases you.
     
  6. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I switched from D-76/ID-11 to HC-110, and now Ilfotec HC.

    IMO, if you are really looking at prints that you would make, and not under a microscope, there is no difference in image quality as far as grain and sharpness, other than that which is due to the slight difference in contrast (or "curve shape", more specifically), with HC giving a more "punchy" look; very slight, however. I also find HC more consistent, as it keeps better due to its high concentration. I also like the infinite variability of HC, and its usefulness on GA film.
     
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  7. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    What is GA film?
     
  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    GA = graphic arts. It is printing industry film, AKA "litho film".
     
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  9. eworkman

    eworkman Member

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    I used HC 110 with Tri X, mostly because I hated mixing D76 from powder. But After a while I noticed the difference in the results- close, but to coin a cop-out, the D-76 produced more "brilliant" negatives and the HC-110 more "gritty" negs. Xtol gets me D-76 results I prefer and the mixing is less hassle, plus I have more time to do it. "One shot" applies to all the above.
     
  10. rternbach

    rternbach Member

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    If I may interject a newbie question from someone who has only done a little bit of film processing and just with D-76. I would like to know which film+developer combination will yield the narrowest d-max range wjth the most continuous tone negatives. Is it lith film and HC-110? Does using a more dilute solution and a longer time in the developer yield lower contrast more continuous tone? Or am I way off the mark here?
     
  11. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I would agree with eworkman that D76 produces a negative that seems more brilliant, and there's something about HC-110 that looks odd to me. I can't quite put my finger on it. For instance, if I process a negative in Rodinal, I get a very crisp and clearly defined grain. With HC-110 it appears as if I get a grain that is less well defined, more rough around the edges, and my prints look a bit dull from that syrup.
    I have a feeling that it's user error, and not having invested enough time to master it, as you can see that photographers like Bill Schwab uses it exclusively and obviously has amazing results.
    Just my gut feel of how the two look, side by side. It's hard to quantify, but D76 just seems 'brighter', for the lack of a better word, while the HC-110 prints seem a bit gloomy to me.
     
  12. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    I have worked with HC110, D76 and Xtol and of the three I like working with the powder developers the best. I find I just get better negatives with D76 and Xtol.
     
  13. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I'd ask this in a separate thread.

    If you want the flattest negs possible, I would try Delta 3200 and Perceptol. D3200's ISO is 1000, and it is a very flat film. Rate it at lower than 1000 and underdevelop to flatten it even more.

    If that is too grainy for you, try HP5 or Delta 400.

    (Kodak has rough equivalents to all of these films.)

    P.S. D-Max is short for maximum density. It is one density, not a range. I assumed you did not mean "D-Max range", but something more like tonal range.
     
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  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I agree with you on all counts, including the idea that you have not calibrated your stuff using HC-110. The curve shaped created by each *are* different. HC-110 gives less shadow "speed" at the gain of more "sparkly" high midtones and highlights. The shadows can have a dead and compressed look if not exposed and developed to suit the developer's characteristics. I would say that D-76 is somewhat the opposite. The shadow speed and tonal separation is better, but the high mids and highlights can get dead without proper testing. I would contend that when both of these developers are used to calibrate ones materials and processes, the difference is so slight as to be negligible, and is only seen at the very edges of the print range. (I would say the same about almost any two general-purpose developers when put next to each other.) HC-110 *does* cause softer grain and less sharpness under a microscope. However, to pick this nit, you'd have to be making big enlargements from small film, or using a microscope. Additionally, if I wanted the sharpest of the sharp as a technical goal, I would use T-Max in T-Max developer, and forget about HC-110 or D-76. I am usually not after a technical goal, however, and I find HC-110's sharpness to leave nothing to be desired.

    They are both fine developers. My point is that though they are different, there is too much made of the difference between them, and one should pick whichever one is more convenient.
     
  16. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    My experience (which could be totally different from everyone else) has been great. With vigorous agitation I've been able to get good, strong grain, with slow agitation I've gotten fine grain and nice tones. YMMV.

    I dev a few rolls a week and a bottle of HC-110 last forever, even when used as a one-shot deal.
     
  17. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Probably why it was tough for me to quantify... :smile:

    To OP:

    I definitely agree that either developer can be used successfully, as long as you spend some time with it. The best way to do anything right is to just purchase bulk rolls of film (all the same film, at least while you learn, but there is very little reason to switch around too much), load up, go shoot many many rolls, and then lock yourself in a room to process and print print print. Do this a hundred times, and then you might approach a place where you can really tell what the real difference between developers truly are - after you learn to tweak both exposure AND processing variables to suit a certain look.
    I've claimed for a good while that it makes more difference how you use your materials than what you use.
     
  18. msdemanche

    msdemanche Member

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    I agree with Tom, with one exception, 100 times? I have several different soups in which I devlope and often recomend HC110 for push processing over D76. Since I work with students I have them start with one developer and stick with it until they find their desire to really learn about toes and shoulders begins to nag at them. I find that I look at 100's of rolls of film and have a very hard time really seeing major differences. I like them both.

    Michel
     
  19. GraemeMitchell

    GraemeMitchell Member

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    I find D-76 to be more classic/soft looking, and HC-110 more gritty but also more delicate looking in a way. In general. With that, I do find HC-110 is more interesting b/c you can transform it through dilution and agitation. D-76 sorta is what it is for the most part.

    The notion that d-76 is glowy I think comes from it's flat/chalky highlights, gives'em a soft (glowing) feel. HC-110 is the opposite, having generally closed shadows, mid-tones pushed down, and then lots bite and contrast in the highlights.

    I'll post some links that I think are good examples of differences in the developers:

    D-76:
    http://graememitchell.com/blog/denied-fashion-story
    http://graememitchell.com/blog/portrait-lyn-devon

    HC-110
    http://graememitchell.com/blog/portrait-channing
    http://graememitchell.com/blog/portrait-alex
    http://graememitchell.com/blog/covet-s09 (the black and white, obviously)
     
  20. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    A hundred times - tongue in cheek. A lot of times is what's meant by that, and I was just pointing out that repetition and studying the results, altering agitation and again studying the results is the key to understanding cause and effect. :smile:

     
  21. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I agree about the differences (as I also stated above). D-76 makes for flatter highlights, and HC makes for flatter shadows. However, I don't think the difference is enough to fret over, and I believe that personal calibration nearly eliminates the noticeable differences, as far as obtaining printable negs goes.

    The examples are great. However, to be fair to each developer, they all must have been shot in the same basic quality of light to really tell a lot about their differences.
     
  22. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

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    I used to use D76 1+0 as my school provided until I found it was contaminated on 2 successive developments. I bought my own chemicals and I now use HC110. D76 was a bombproof developer; it tolerated variations in temp and time very well. I have found HC110 to be more finicky and it's taken me far more practice to get consistently printable negs from HC110 than from D76.
     
  23. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    As far as I could tell from my own experience, HC-110 depresses the midtones a little bit, which has for effect of giving a more punchy look (more contrast in the highlights, deeper shadows). XTOL has the opposite effect, of enhancing midtones. D-76 is midway.

    In 35mm, I don't like HC-110, because I find my photos "run out" of greys, so I use XTOL instead, but in MF with films such as Tri-X 320 or Plus-X, it works really well, as it enhances the natural character of these films.
     
  24. weststarflyers

    weststarflyers Member

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    BetterSense,
    Why don't you try Neofin Blue (Buetler's modified formula)? It is cheap to make, easy to mix, and lasts for a long time. If you want to make it yourself here is the formula:

    Solution A
    Metol 10 gr
    Sodium Sulfite 50 gr
    Water 750 cc
    Water to make 1000 cc

    Solution B
    Sodium Carbonate 50 gr
    Water 750 cc
    Water to make 1000 cc

    I shoot with 35 mm Arista EDU.Ultra 400 (Foma) at EI 200 with great resuts (personal preference)
    Developing time (personal testing): 9 minutes
    Dilution: 1 part of Solution A, 1 part of Solution B in 8 parts of water (1:1:8)

    For slower films, less developing time. Testing and patience, of course.
    I, personally, don't like the results on 120 and 4X5.
     
  25. weststarflyers

    weststarflyers Member

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    Ooops, forgot something else, use water instead of stop bath
     
  26. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    I shoot with 35 mm Arista EDU.Ultra 400 (Foma) at EI 200 with great resuts (personal preference)
    Developing time (personal testing): 9 minutes
    Dilution: 1 part of Solution A, 1 part of Solution B in 8 parts of water (1:1:8)

    For slower films, less developing time. Testing and patience, of course.
    I, personally, don't like the results on 120 and 4X5.[/QUOTE]
    *******
    The modified Beutler has always be considered an acutance developer. It sure is "grainy." But, if BetterSense is interested in trying D23 replenished with Dk25R, and wishes to try a Beutler-type developer, just use Dk25R exactly as stated above. It works, just fine, that way. How's that for convenience?