Help choosing a developer

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by SZRitter, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. SZRitter

    SZRitter Member

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    Ok, first post, and searching for what I wanted left me either confused or unable to spot exactly what I was after.

    I'm shooting 120 film, speeds 50, 100 and 400. Current stuff is Ilford, although I am testing to find a film I like. But, I need to order up a developer.

    I haven't done B&W home development since college, so this is a bit of a return for me. I was thinking rodinal (which is apparently Adonal now), but just want to bounce off of people before to make sure my concerns are met.

    1. Home processing with little to no temperature control. At least to start, although I may try either a slow cooker or fish tank heater. I also have reptile substrate heaters that might work. So, basically, it can't be too responsive to temp changes.

    2. I'll only be doing small batches, 1 or 2 rolls at a time. So something that can easily be mixed at time of development and the rest set aside. One reason I was liking Rodinal.

    3. Batches could be as little as one week apart, or months apart. So it needs to be able to have a long shelf life. That seems to have taken out a lot of the liquid developers.

    4. I prefer liquid to powder. Just easier to deal with, in my opinion.

    Thoughts? Adonal sound about right? Is Freestyle the only place I can get it? (B&H won't ship it, and I live in Northern Michigan away from most stores)
     
  2. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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    HC-110 will also meet all your requirements. Start here for info:
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum223/117379-hc110-made-simple.html

    Other than that there are hundreds of developers and probably thousands of threads on this board alone if you want to start reading.

    IME, at 20 degrees Celsius temperature control isn't much of an issue with black and white, unless your working environment is really cold or really warm. All you need is a decent thermometer.
     
  3. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Rodinal can be had in the US under Rodinal again.

    Temp control for B&W isn't a big issue unless extreme, 68f is what most data sheets spec at but adjustment specs are normally provided for at least 5 degrees either side of that for the general purpose developers I've use.

    The easiest developer I've used is Ilford DD-X. Great results, simple to mix. The ratio is 1 part DD-X to 4 parts water so I don't even use an extra measuring beaker. At the rate you are talking about a bottle should barely last you 6-months, easily inside the shelf life. Not the cheapest on the market but $20ish for 6-months of fun ain't bad.

    Rodinal lasts a really long time but is tougher to measure.
     
  4. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    A water bath is not hard to set up. I use a deep tray/bin used to "break down" tables in a restaurant made out of strong gray plastic. It is filled half way with water. Hot or cold water is added to bring the bath to the right temperature. Once stabilized it only requires one or two further additions during the course of development. After development the bath can be allowed to equilibrate to room temperature. You will need a good thermometer. Temperature for BW is not all that critical ±1F is satisfactory.

    My suggestion would be to use HC-110 as it is convenient and easy to obtain. Good information at the following site. http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/hc110/

    The heat output of most fish tank heaters is too snall to be very useful.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2014
  5. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Good choices preferring a liquid concentrate.

    My liquid developer of choice at the moment is pyrocat hd in glycol. B&H doesn't ship it, but you can order it straight from photographers formulary or some other places. It will last a very long time and provide "box speed" for your film. It works well and is economical.
     
  6. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Rodinal.
     
  7. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    You might try T-Max.

    Jeff
     
  8. Nuff

    Nuff Member

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    Do you have a certain look in mind? I don't like what I got from Rodinal and much prefer the look of HC110.
     
  9. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    After using an number of developer, I choose to standardize on XTOL. It is cheap and provides a better tonal range and sharpness. As I learned more about XTOL I decided to try replenished XTOL which is even better. Start with XTOL as a stock solution. After five rolls start replenishing with more stock solution [see the instruction sheet]. You will be pleased with the results.

    Welcome to APUG
     
  10. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    I like Tmax Developer. Its a good general purpose liquid developer. Good tonality, normal grain and sharpness, and if you push process film, it is probably the best pushing developer made now. Doesn't have any weird quirks and seems to work well with most films. The concentrate has a long shelf life, too.

    Rodinal is good if you like its look (more grain with higher apparent sharpness).
     
  11. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    I myself am a big fan of Rodinal (Adonal), besides freestyle I believe it can be ordered from digitaltruth.com (the massive dev people). If I recall correctly their prices were a bit higher than freestyle.
     
  12. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    The liquids Rodinal, HC-110 and T-max (plus some others I'm sure) all store very well and last a long time after the bottle is open. I'm talking years. I think they are great for darkrooms that have long periods of inactivity. Even in my case with a fully functional darkroom, I save up the film until I have 10 to 20 rolls or sheets to process.
     
  13. Kawaiithulhu

    Kawaiithulhu Subscriber

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    I haven't tried that on anything smaller than 4x5, I may give it a go when I get more film :D
     
  14. analoguey

    analoguey Member

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    Second this.
    Also, xtol develops quite beautifully till nearly 30C.
    (I develop with ambient as well)

    Sent from Tap-a-talk
     
  15. SZRitter

    SZRitter Member

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    Thanks for all of the replies!

    So, I guess what I was trying to do is as important as what I develop in. I'm more worried about sharp than grain, especially with the Pan 50 that I have a feeling will be the winner.

    The film will be digitized via a DSLR.

    The temp issues are probably less for B&W and more for C-41 down the line.

    So, it sounds like Rodinal, HC-110 and XTOL are all good choices. I'll also check out pyrocat.
     
  16. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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