Is Diafine really that easy to use?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Worker 11811, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Just got some Diafine for Christmas.

    Okay, so I go to read the instructions. It's one sheet of paper, single side, barely bigger than a post card.
    I have a hard time believing it's really THAT simple.

    Whatever film you've got... Just put it in there. Three minutes... five minutes... whatever? 20º C... 25ºC... more or less?
    Okay, I'm being a wise guy, here, but REALLY?

    I've been spending all this time fussing around with times, temperatures, dilutions and all that junk when I could have been using Diafine all these years?
    Is tweaking your film is as simple as changing your in-camera exposure? I usually do that anyway.

    Am I missing something, here?

    Why isn't everybody using Diafine?
     
  2. MrBaz

    MrBaz Member

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    Because as with everything, there is a trade-off. Diafine takes away pretty much all control in development. It is super safe, but it takes away artistic control. Other developers require experience/testing/etc but give you more control.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 25, 2012
  3. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    If you like Diafine's results, yeah, it's that easy. But do not expect it to look like Tri-X in D-76 or Acros in Xtol or....
     
  4. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    I used it a lot a few years ago but only for particular films and situations. It's good for high contrast scenes and where you want to rate the ISO higher than normal. I wouldn't use it to process film shot at box ISO or where the scenes were low contrast.
     
  5. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Yes.
     
  6. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Yes, it's MOSTLY that easy. Diafine was probably geared for Tri-X, but other films can do well in it. Lots of folks say Plus-X looked good in it, but I never tried it. Pan-F works at EI 80, but I did not like APX 400 in Diafine.

    You can tweak the results a bit by adding/subtracting a minute to the times, but don't expect big changes.

    They say on the box package that Diafine won't work well with some of the lower ISO films. The box also says you can get EI 1600 out of TX, but I get 1000. It gives TX a bit of the old look: contrasty, gutsy negs with some grain.
     
  7. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Really.

    This works both ways, you know. Exposure errors cause much different effects with Diafine than with regular developers. The packaging spins it as a feature.

    Not everybody likes way it looks.
     
  8. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I like Tri-X at 1250 - 1600 is really pretty nice with daylight but more like 1000 with tungsten.

    Plus-X was great in it :sad: 400-500. In fact I often preferred that to Tri-X at box speed in D76.

    Now I use it for Tri- X when light is dim but not so dim as to need TMZ or D3200 at even higher speed.

    I also use it for Pan-F+ which is a really nice combo. It gives a bit more effective speed than normal developers - I shoot it at EI 64 though, not 80 - and helps tame the highlight densities.
     
  9. Dali

    Dali Subscriber

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    Yes, it also lasts (almost) forever.
     
  10. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    Stand development can be finicky. I've tried Diafine a few times over the years - still have a fairly ancient mix lurking in the back of my chemistry shelf - but always had trouble getting even development. Since I'm happy with D-76, it wasn't worth the time and hassle to keep testing to try to find an agitation technique that would make it behave for me.
     
  11. Роберт

    Роберт Member

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    The minimum temperature for Diafine is 21C. And the regular developing time 3+3 minutes. Some films, Acros 100: 5+5 minutes.
    Good Diafine combinations: Tri-X 400 (E.I. 1250), HP5+ (E.I. 800), Neopan 400 (E.I. 640), APX 100/Rollei Retro 100 (E.I. 200). Acros 100 (E.I. 160).
     
  12. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Robert, (Роберт),

    What's the 3+3 mean? 3 develop and three fix?

    That's very short, bit is it that diafine just goes to completion then stops?




    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

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  13. Dali

    Dali Subscriber

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    3+3 means 3 minutes in bath A + 3 minutes in bath B. I use a normal agitation ( 2 inversions per minute) while the film soaks in bath A and almost a stand development with bath B. No trouble so far with Tri-X @ 1000 ASA.
     
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  15. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    The way I read the instructions, "3+3" means 3 min. in "Developer A" and 3 min. in "Developer B."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2012
  16. Роберт

    Роберт Member

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    Here is the Diafine instruction data sheet with all important information:


    http://www.fotohuisrovo.nl/documentatie/Diafine-data.pdf

    Diafine is a 2-bath developer so indeed 3+3 means 3 minutes A then 3 minutes B. You can do a regular fix. Due to the high pH of B you can do a water rinse or a less concentrated stop bath.
     
  17. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    I too have an unopened box and am just waiting to find two good quart-sized bottles to store it in. I bought it specifically because I saw results on flickr for Adox CHS 50 and CHS 25 that looked amazing. I'm looking forward to trying it.

    But I'm also inexperienced and need to be careful about going off in too many different directions. I've been using HC-110 and am homing in on good negatives for printing with hp5+ and tri-x. I'm not at a good place with acros yet. My first try with acros the negatives seem to look nice but I had trouble printing them. As much as I'm tempted to try some other developers, I think I have a lot to learn first with the one I'm using now! Diafine for me will be limited to my small stash of CHS film which I only use one sheet at a time. I'll switch away from it quickly if I can't get results similar to the ones that drew me to it in the first place.

    I hope you will post some of your results!
     
  18. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    Diafine truly is close to idiot proof in operation. I've used it for many years to push Tri-X and more recently TMY-2 400 to 1250 and 1600. 3-4 min Bath A and B and you're done. The biggest challenge is not to contaminate the two solutions with each other.

    With Tri-X you get very good classic looking results. But don't expect a miracle. You still are pushing a 400 asa film 2-3 stops.
    TMY-2 worked even better, due to its linear toe, so you'll see a little more shadow detail vs Tri-X.

    The best thing about Diafine is that as a two bath developer, it will go a long way towards not blowing out your highlights in high contrast situations.

    Diafine improves noticeable after you put a few rolls through it. Once it has 'ripened' a little your negatives will become noticeably smoother and take on a pearly appearance.
     
  19. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Bath A is the developer itself, but it isn't activated until you put it in Bath B.
    So, the emulsion soaks up developer in Bath A, and when the activator is added in Bath B, the developing action starts.
    There is a finite amount of how much developer can get soaked up in Bath A, meaning Bath B will only develop the film so far until there the developer has been depleted. After that point there is no reason to leave it in Bath B any longer.

    My experience with Diafine is that it gives a similar tonality every time, but you can't really control anything other than your exposure. With normal single bath developers exposure AND developing time/temp/agitation are both variables that you use to control the final negative contrast and tonality, and one of those controls are now omitted. So, it works really well for some scenarios, and not so well in others. Depending on the lighting you shoot in, or how you want your prints to look, you may or may not like the results.
     
  20. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    And, yes, Diafine is very easy to use. The only thing you really have to worry about is to understand how you must expose your film to get the results you want, make sure the developer is within its temp range, and agitate well in both Bath A and B. Beyond that, there isn't much you need to do, other than making sure that your storage bottles are full. You may have to buy another kit and replenish Bath A, since it will slowly become depleted with each roll.
     
  21. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    It's really a case of what film/developer combo works for you. I found when working as a news photographer my general purpose combination was HP5 in Microphen, but I wouldn't use that combination if photographing a pristine landscape
     
  22. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    So it ripens huh? Interesting, is that the B developer that ripens or the A?

    Also does this mean IN THEORY that if you took it and soaked in A... The. Developed in B till completion... Then soaked in A again and back to B, you could push it beyond the normal point as more developer could soak in?

    Sounds to me like more of a pain, I already dislike multiple steps without adding a 4th... Lol


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  23. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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  24. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    Two bath developers are that easy, but I tried it once and couldn't get results I was happy with. I found the results lacking in contrast for my taste. If you already have it, give it a shot and see whether it suits you.
     
  25. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Certainly if bath A changes with time it is not ripening in the traditional sense as would occur with replenished developers. Since bath A is acidic no development should occur in it. So just what would explain any ripening. This is the first mention of this phenomenon and runs against Diafine's claims that development remains uniform throughout the developers life.
     
  26. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Diafine isn't for "stand" developing, and I've never, ever, had uneven results. Did you follow the instructions? It is sensitive to over agitation, but does need some - just what it says. I invert for ten seconds initially then two inversions every minute.

    3 minutes A plus 3 minutes B is standard but as folks have pointed out some films need 4+4 or 5+5. Within reason more time doesn't change anything so you can do 5+5 for all films if you want and develop different types together.