Kodak dev or Kodak dev, what's the difference?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Helinophoto, May 18, 2012.

  1. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Hi

    Please help me understand the difference between these developers, as their datasheets really doesn't shed any light on it (and I am not chemical engineer or expert :tongue:)-
    I've used TMax developer, XTol and currently HC-110 and I find it difficult to find any huge differences in these.

    I can push Acros to 400 with HC-110 easily, and with good results, even though the datasheet doesn't say so for that developer for example.

    So what gives?

    KODAK PROFESSIONAL HC-110 Developer
    HC-110 Developer is a highly concentrated liquid developer. It is intended for use with a variety of black-and-white films, some graphic-arts films,
    and some glass plates.
    It can be used for replenished and non-replenished systems.
    Use KODAK PROFESSIONAL HC-110 Developer Replenisher to replenish.

    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/j24/j24.pdf

    KODAK PROFESSIONAL XTOL Developer
    XTOL Developer is a two-part powder developer for processing Kodak and other manufacturers’ normally exposed, pushed, or pulled
    black-and-white films. It offers full emulsion speed and easy mixing, and can be used as both a developer and a replenisher in a variety of equipment, from small tanks (8
    to 64 fluidounces), trays, or rotary tubes to high-volume processors.

    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/j109/j109.pdf

    KODAK PROFESSIONAL T-MAX Developers
    T-MAX Developer is a moderately active, liquid black-and-white film developer that offers enhanced shadow detail in normally processed
    and push-processed films.

    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/j86/j86.pdf

    KODAK PROFESSIONAL D-76 Developer
    D-76 Developer provides full emulsion speed and excellent shadow detail with normal contrast, and produces fine grain with a variety of
    continuous-tone black-and-white films.
    For greater sharpness, but with a slight increase in graininess, you can use a 1:1 dilution of this developer.
    It yields a long density range, and its development latitude allows push processing with relatively low fog.

    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/j78/j78.pdf


    I'm none the wiser, but HC-110 works very nicely with most films I've tried so far (Acros, Neopan 400, Roillei IR400).
    Why are there so many different types here?
     
  2. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    They are all b&w film developers marketed by Kodak, and by now likely made by Champion.

    HC-110 in the B dilution is awefully like d-76 at full stock or 1:1 use to my eyes. HC-110 has the convenience of a liquid concentrate with a quite long life. Not like Agfa Rodinal long, but a few years anyway.

    I have not played with t-max or xtol developer - they are 'newer' than my experience in photography, and I am mostly happy with the old dogs.

    Tmax films (tabular - or flat if you will -silver crystals) are much more suceptible to development variations than traditional (cubic -or non flat silver crystal) films. So Tmax might work easier on them, or at least be marketted in that manner.

    I think Xtol is a more advanced ie. more modern (although 20 years old) ascorbic acid based developer.
    I have never felt the need to use it, altough I must say this is most likely because I usually mix my own developers from scratch.
    I have played with vitamin C based developers, and they can make nice negatives. Pat (gadget) gainers PC-TEA was handy like hc-110.

    Why is there more than one 4 door sedan sold by General Motors? And why are there different trim packages - becuase they can....
     
  3. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You'll also notice from the chart (in the link Neal posted) that of those developers listed Xtol gives the best all round sharpness, fine grain, speed etc something most of us would agree with from experience.

    Ian
     
  5. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Subscriber

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    They use different developing chemicals.

    D-76 is a classic Metol / Hydroquinone (MQ) developer.

    HC-110 is a Phenidone / Hydroquinone (PQ) developer. Results should be very similar to D-76. Beneficial if you suffer contact dermintitis from Metol and lasts longer in solution, hence can be supplied as a liquid concentrate rather than in powder form.

    XTOL is a Phenidone / Ascorbic Acid (PC since Ascorbic Acid is Vitamin C) developer. A more recent and advanced forumlation.
     
  6. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    To be really correct neither HC-110 nor Xtol uses Phenidone but rather a Phenidone derivative Dimezone S. Xtol is a poor choice for those who process film infrequently.

    Rather than being an advanced formulation, Xtol is a rather conventional high sulfite developer similar to D-76 or Microphen. The only real difference is the use of ascorbic acid rather than hydroquinone. The really advanced and unconventional developer is HC-110 even though it is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2012
  7. artonpaper

    artonpaper Subscriber

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    My own experience is that HC-110B has a tighter more even grain pattern than D-76. It can be readily observed with a grain magnifier and also in prints of sufficient magnification. D-76 1:1 on the other hand produces more acutance and edge effects. I have little experience with X-Tol and T-Max Developer. I have found that T-Grain films work nicely with Rodinal at 1:31, BTW. The differences take time to appreciate and everyone has different opinions which ones are best. Back in the 70s, when photographers started talking about their work, one of the first questions was, what film and developer combination do you use? Now it's Canon or Nikon, Photoshop or Lightroom.
     
  8. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    There are differences in these developers that will cause a person to develop a preference.

    For example, I like using Xtol because it gives extreme shadow detail at 1:1 dilution. This is perfect for push processing when I need more speed from the film I have at hand.
    It works very well as a replenished system for film shot at normal speed (loses 1/2 stop film speed / shadow detail compared to stock), and the convenience is that it's a developer where the replenisher and the developer is the same solution. It's a powder, which means that when I order it, shipping cost is low, and it's a good way to reduce carbon emissions from shipping. As a powder, I can order 50 bags and store them for years or decades before I use them, so they store well. So, to me this is a better solution than any of the other developers.

    D76 is great because it's a developer that has literally a metric shedload of information available on it. Any photography teacher that has dealt with darkroom will know how to use it and help out. Plus, it's a fine solvent developer that gives results that nobody can really argue with. A fine powder developer that has the convenience of being available in small packets for low volume processing, mixing a quart at a time. D76-R used to be available for replenishing, but isn't anymore. I believe you can mix your own, if you're into that sort of thing and have the appropriate equipment.

    HC-110 - liquid concentrate with high flexibility in varying dilutions. Longer developing time = more shadow detail, which is what you get when you dilute it a lot. Lasts forever and is easy to mix. Moderately fine grain and normal film speed. Inexpensive. Used to have a replenishing solution available, but from what I understand it's possible to replenish using just the developer. Not sure how to do it, and if it's stable in the long term like Xtol is.

    TMax and TMax RS - liquid concentrate with qualities similar to Xtol, but with a 'brighter' tonality, meaning a little bit more punch to the highlights. Also has slightly larger grain, but has the same wonderful film speed abilities. Can be replenished (even the regular TMax).

    Basically, you find what you like and run with it. If you're getting good results with HC-110 - exactly why do you want to switch to something else? Is there a specific reason? For example, if you want more shadow detail, and a developer that's generally recommended to give better results in push processing, Xtol or TMax would be a better choice. If you want finer grain and sharper negs, Xtol is a good choice. Etc.

    But in the end, like you suggest yourself, the differences aren't that great, and the end result of great prints depend a lot more on how you use your developer, than what materials you use.
     
  9. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    While the results you obtain from each developer will be slightly different, it is issues of practicality that really differentiate the choices.

    If you want the convenience of easy dilution offered by a typical liquid concentrate, T-Max or T-Max RS will appeal to you.

    If you want the ease of shipping and storage offered by powdered developer, D-76 or X-Tol will appeal to you. Between the two, D-76 offers the opportunity to mix smaller quantities.

    If you want extremely long storage life and high flexibility of dilution, and are comfortable with a slightly more complex dilution regime, HC-110 will appeal to you.

    If you want to use developer in a replenishment regime, T-Max RS and X-Tol will definitely appeal to you. HC-110 has historically required a separate replenisher (recently discontinued), but some are experimenting with use of standard HC-110 for that purpose.

    If you want to develop high volumes of film, some of the choices are available in industrial quantities :wink:.
     
  10. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Wow, thank you all for valuable information =)

    I'm not really planning to change from HC-110 very soon (although I do have a pack of XTol in my cupboard where food used to be :smile: ).

    It's interesting to get a glimpse of what the differences really are, because, coming into this pretty late in the game, there are a whole heap of chemical alternatives and usually the answers and papers can cause even more confusion.

    I'll surely take a mental note of the chart Neal linked to, looks like HC-110 is in the middle of the pack.
    - The big plus (for me) with HC-110 is that it's a long lasting developer, because I shoot very small volumes and I find it easy to use and also gives very nice results.
    My untrained eyes, would probably have hard time differing between the same film developed in XTol and in D-76, I'm just not that seasoned yet. (plus, my metering is usually a bit iffy as well, so there are several sources for error over here ^^)
     
  11. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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    I agree with pretty much everything everyone is telling you. I replied to this one simply to point out that HC-110 need not have a more complex dilution regimen. You don't have to dilute it once to stock and again to working strength per Kodak. You can just dilute more from syrup concentrate as needed. Instructions for this are on the web and on here somewhere.

    But the basic idea that differences in developers, at least THESE developers, pale to almost (but not quite) insignificance compared to differences in film choice are right on. There are other developers that make a bigger differences - pyro developers that stain the image, for example, will print differently on variable contrast versus graded papers, and two bath developers like Diafine are significantly different. But these are more like different brands of orange juice. The differences are there but vanish compared to, say, pineapple juice. :wink: Ok, silly analogy but you get the point.

    I use primarily T-Max RS, because I like the ease of dilution from concentrate and the tonality, mainly with Kodak films and Delta 3200 (because it's also an excellent pushing developer.) I also stock D76 which I use for other films, mainly because starting development data for T-Max and RS for many films is scarce from the manufacturers, all over the place (by which I mean, you can find times that vary hugely) on the web, and I don't feel like working out new times from scratch for every film when I can just use cheap, simple, effective, proven D76 1+1 and have very good data that will provide workable negatives first time every time, that I can then fine tune a bit if needed. I also keep Diafine because it does things for me that I have not found any other developer to do and that I occasionally find very useful. It lasts forever (almost) and is super simple to use so it's not like I'm fooling with another developer that takes lots of tweaking and experimentation - besides, I've used if for decades and I pretty well know exactly what to expect from it with certain films.

    Xtol is fine and a great developer but I dislike the 5L quantities and though it's cheap enough I could just mix it fresh every six months and throw out probably three liters of that I also found that it tends to expire rather unpredictably with no indication that it's dead. For someone developing as infrequently as I get to do, that's not a good thing.

    Since I don't develop film nearly as often as I'd like I am considering changing from D76 to HC-110 though.
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Roger:

    I may not have been as clear as I might have.

    I referred to HC-110 dilution as being slightly more complex, because in my mind, anything that is more likely to require an eyedropper or pipette as compared to a graduated shot glass to measure volumes is at least slightly more complex than the alternative.

    But I do agree that the intermediate stock approach recommended as one alternative by Kodak only makes sense when large volumes of film are involved.
     
  13. agnosticnikon

    agnosticnikon Member

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    I'll add my two cents.... I've been developing my own film for over 40 years, and have tried a lot of developers. That said, I've found that sticking to one developer and learning all you can about what it will or won't do, is the best bet for consistent results. But that's just me. I've used HC-110 for about 15 years now, as it stores very well, gives me the results I want, and I don't develop film on a regular basis. I will tell you that X-tol will go bad in the package. I had some for about 6 mos. and used it, and got no images at all. When I contacted Kodak about this problem, they said that it has a short shelf life, even in the package. (but for some reason they don't date it like their film.) Also, you don't know how long this developer has been on the shelf in the store either. But hey, I hear that ink will dry up in your printer too, if left to sit for a long time!
    Ain't life a grin?
     
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  15. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Because of the information in the chart I started with XTOL, I tried D-76, and now I use XTOL replenished. I am happy with the XTOL replenished and so I have been using it for several years. One of these days I will get around to trying pyro.
     
  16. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Please keep in mind that famous slider chart from Kodak is rather arbitrary in "scale". The differences are quite small, and the ways in which you use them make much more meaningful differences, potentially moving those sliders. For example most people use D76 at a 1+1 dilution rather than full strength. In the end these are all general purpose solvent developers.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2012
  17. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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    Ah, ok. I have a couple of graduated cylinders that make accurate, or plenty accurate enough, measurements in few ml quantities easy, so that didn't even occur to me. :smile:
     
  18. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    I just use a large 25ml syringe, cost $1 on the pharmacy, people use them from everything to feeding kittens to photography and medicine =)

    If I want to be +-1ml correct, I have a 5ml syringe too, but as someone mentioned earlier, the water-jug used to measure up 500-1000ml are rarely exact enough, so +-1ml is usually mute.
     
  19. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    So far the tonality out of S-curve developers (like Xtol) are much nicer for me than the upswept curve developers (HC-110 and T-Max Developer)

    In any case:
    [​IMG]
     
  20. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Subscriber

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    This topic is nice but sometimes it kills me, i don't know which developer i should use all the time even all will give me great results and i am not that much guy who check the sharpness and details in the shots, so it is like all the developers will do the job for me.

    But honestly speaking, the only 2 Kodak developers i used already are TMAX and D-76, and the TMAX won my vote always, so i feel this developer passed the test successfully, D-76 i will use it only for test or just films not very important for me, and i still have XTOL no opened in the box bought about 3 years ago[i hope it is still fine], and also HC-110 bought almost 1 year and never used it yet, from my experience with 3 developers i feel liquid devs are fantastic, i have to test ID-11 which is similar to D-76 as you all say and see if it will do better job than D-76 or same results, also would like to test another powder dev against liquid for same film and see, my feelings telling me that liquid stock dev will win the contest, hope XTOL will be exceptional here.
     
  21. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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    ID-11 will be exactly the same as D76, because it IS exactly the same as D76. At one time they introduced an ID11 Plus which had a silver sequestering agent which was supposed to improve sharpness (I tried it and I thought it did) but when the T-grain films came out it apparently caused problems with those and they went back to the straight D76 formula.
     
  22. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Subscriber

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    Well then, i will use that ID-11 as test dev as well, i will use it for my LF test films.
     
  23. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Developers are formulated for film speed, sharpness, or fine grain. No developer optimizes more than one. I can mix D76 from scratch in one liter batches and it lasts 6 months decanted into eight 4 oz bottles. Dilute 1:1 for use.

    It is a nice middle of the road developer that does not optimize any feature. I have yet to fine a film that is not at least good in it except the new /current formulation of Delta 400, 100 is just fine. For 400 use Extol or Ilford equivalent liquid and it is superb. I have a thing against premixed liquids when they code the dates so you can not read them. Really bad when it does not go off color when bad like DD-X, but if fresh it is wonderful.
     
  24. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Actually, Xtol does all three, it's sharp, fine grained, and yields gobs of shadow detail. It rocks with subjects where light hits them directly, but in subdued light it can look a little dull in the tonality it renders, which to me is the main compromise with this developer.
     
  25. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Have to agree and so do Kodak themselves in the link posted earlier in this thread :D

    I'd add that Pyrocat HD gives much the same in terms of a superb balance of fine grain, sharpness (definition) and tonal rendering and no loss of film speed

    Ian
     
  26. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    Different developers also yield different tonal qualities and curves.