How to choose chemistry?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by reinis, May 11, 2005.

  1. reinis

    reinis Member

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    I've run out of my AGFA's and now I can't figure out what to use: MACO, KODAK or anything else?
    I can't get anything I would like to, because there are only some photoshops here.
    Anyone heard about MACO?
    And if KODAK- then Xtol or Tmax? I know there's a lot of tex about differences, but still..
    And I guess most of them would be ok.


    Reinis
     
  2. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Xtol produces nice fine grain negatives but is only available in 5 litre packages. If you don't shoot a lot of film then you run the risk of the Xtol going bad before you've used it all.

    HC-110 is a good all around developer and the concentrate lasts for a LONG time even in partially filled bottles. Don't make the stock solution, as Kodak recommends, but dilute the concentrate directly to make the working solution. Use a medicine syringe to measure out the syrup. In some areas in Europe a less concentrated version of HC-110 is sold so check the label before diluting. Also check out this website for lots of good information on HC-110 http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/hc110. They also have a good website for Xtol which is accessable from the HC-110 website.

    Rodinal is cheap produces good results with medium to slow speed films and has similar keeping properties to HC-110.

    Kodak Tmax developer is good with their Tmax films but is rather pricey and was not designed for conventional films.

    Kodak D-76 (Ilford ID-11, Foma FV-3) is usually available even when other developers are not. Best used 1+2 with Tmax or Delta films.

    You can find development times at http://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.html

    Have fun,
    Jerry
     
  3. kaiyen

    kaiyen Member

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    Do you have a preference for powder or liquid developers?
     
  4. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    I personally prefer liquid concentrates. But Xtol produces very nice images with fast films such as Tri-X.
     
  5. Bill Mobbs

    Bill Mobbs Member

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    I have used T-max developer liquid concentrate with Ilford, Neopan, and Kodak films with good success. I only mix what I need and the concentrate keeps well in the bottle.
     
  6. reinis

    reinis Member

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    Well, till now I've used ony Rodinal - liquid
    Well, is the T-max's grain fine enough?
     
  7. kaiyen

    kaiyen Member

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    if you can edit your post, then I can too! :smile:

    whether tmax is fine enough is up to you. I have never used it myself. Rodinal is not a fine grain developer but its sharpness is great.

    do you have a preference for a particular result? fine grain (at the expense of sharpness)? acutance (very sharp but grainier)? If you like the look of rodinal, there are several non-solvent developers that would fit the bill, and give you a bit more speed.

    xtol does seem to be one of those "does everything" kind of developers. fine grain but good speed, and even some adjacency effects if diulted.

    allan
     
  8. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I've played around with a bunch of developers they all have their own unique characteristics but plain ol' ubiquitous D-76 is as good as gold. It has earned its place as a photographic institution.

    If I was stuck with nothing but Tri X and D-76 (Which was probably the first film/dev combo that I ever used, a few decades ago), It wouldn't affect my photography very much at all.
     
  9. reinis

    reinis Member

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    Well, it depends on what is on the film, but I don't think I want all the pictures to be very grainy. Ok, grain is good for some pictures, but that's not a reason to make the whole film grainy. So I think something that is midway between sharpness and fine grain, but a good midway - that would fit.
     
  10. kaiyen

    kaiyen Member

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    Well, as Flotsam said, D76 is one awfully versatile developer. Some might argue that you can get all that you want from XTOL and more than with D76.

    Just to clarify - I didn't mean that the images would be grainy. Just more grainy with something like rodinal than with something like Perceptol (or even undiluted D76). The grain will be sharper.

    allan
     
  11. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I'll chime in with my favorites and the reasons why.

    1. XTOL - Probably the best compromise of speed, fine grain, acutance, and resolving power. It's all I use for T-grain and similar films. Works very well when diluted anywhere from 1+1 to 1+3, but be sure that you use at least 100ml for each 80 sq. in. of film or you are asking for trouble. Some fellow published a chart out on the net somewhere (I wish I could remember now) claiming that he get six stops of latitude on TMX with D-76 and seven with XTOL. While I've never measured this myself, I do find that it's a lot easier to control contrast with XTOL and TMax films, especially TMX, than with D-76.
    2. D-76 - A gold standard, one that works well with just about every commonly available conventional B&W emulsion. I can't imagine not having this developer at my disposal. It is cheap and reliable. I almost always use it diluted 1+1 as a 1 shot developer. Grain is a little bit more pronounced thsi way, but the results are much more consistent. It's a compromise I can live with. Mated with Plus-X, FP4+, Tri-X, or HP5+, you can do anything you like with it. It works fairly well with T grain emulsions too, but you can do better with something like XTOL.
    3. Rodinal - Another standard in the B&W world, though I don't find it terribly useful with fast or small format films. This developer is at its best with slow to medium speed films as long as you're not using it on 35mm stock. I use it at the 1+50 dilution mostly for 120 roll film and 4x5 sheets in a tank. Always be generous with your exposure if you plan to use this developer.
    4. Diafine - One of the very few real speed enhancing developers available. This developer and Tri-X at EI 1250 are a match made in heaven for the low light photographer. HP5+ is fairly good at EI 800, and FP4+ at EI 250 is also very good. It is not particularly good with T-grain films, nor am I particularly fond of pairing this developer with Plus-X.
     
  12. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    How much film you shoot a month? D 76 is still available in quarts (and you can get replensiher and keep a batch going for years), Rodinall and Dinafine (which ships well) lasts a very long time. I think once mixed XTOL has a limited shelf life.
     
  13. reinis

    reinis Member

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    Till now approx 2-3 films a month, guess that's not too much.
     
  14. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    And I'd argue you can do anything you want/need to do with film with HC-110. In a hurry? Use Dilution B, at slightly elevated temperature, you can get development time down to three minutes with hard emulsion films like Tri-X. Want acutance? Dilute it -- Dilutions H or G are excellent for acutance, without much increase in grain. Need to reduce contrast without losing speed (usually a tough one)? Dilute and reduce agitation, then extend development; I give TMY nineteen minutes in Dilution G with agitation every 3rd minute to get normal contrast and full toe speed; if I need higher contrast (a "push") I can increase agitation to every minute and get the equivalent of N+1, while reducing agitation to every 5 minutes gives pretty close to N-1. Similar adjustments work with Tri-X and Fomapan 100, likely with any other film (even those not normally known to respond well to contrast controls).

    Need to push A LOT? Develop in stock solution. :surprised:

    It's great for old film, too, because of the strong anti-fog agent in it.

    And yes, it keeps very well -- I just finished off the last of a bottle of concentrate I opened in December of 2003; it was the same color, and worked just as well, when I slurped up the last of the syrup from the small bottle I'd decanted into as it was when I opened the pint. With minimum air in the bottles, it'll literally keep for years.

    I do recommend stock solution for one application: when you need to make small quantities of high dilution, it can be very difficult to measure the syrup accurately enough, even with a syringe, for good consistency. In that case, the lower viscosity and larger volume of stock solution are a great help. I mix four ounces at a time, and use it when I need 2 ounces of Dilution G for a roll of microfilm from my Minolta 16... :smile:
     
  15. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I agree with Donald that HC 110 and Tri X is a great match, at this point you may want to try D 76 and HC 110 to see which developer you like the best.

    Paul