Liquid developer suggestion

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by nuno campos, Nov 28, 2007.

  1. nuno campos

    nuno campos Member

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    Hi,

    I started to make my own developing with Xtol but I do not shot many rolls of film (1 or 2 a week) and the solution expires quite fast.
    I was looking for a liquid developer as a substitute, an all-purpose developer with good keeping properties, a good compromise between acutance and fine grain, and, if possible, inexpensive.

    I can easily find near by Ilford developers (DD-X, Ilfosol-S, LC-29), Kodak HC-110, Rodinal, some Rodinal clones (Fomadon R09; Adolux APH09) and Paterson Aculux 3.

    Could you give me a suggestion?
    I normally use Fomapan film (100, 200 and 400) and some HP5+ and HP4+. All 35mm.

    Best regards and thanks in advance,

    Nuno Campos.
     
  2. r-brian

    r-brian Member

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    My all-round developer has become HC-110. I use it with everything I shoot, Foma 100, Plus-X, Tir-X, T-Max 100. I have no complaints with it. The bottle I have I bought 2 years ago and immediatelyl decanted it into small red liquid medicine bottles. The last bottle I opened looks just like it did when I filled it. My second choice is Rodinal. Use it on everything listed above plus Acros and FP4+. Again, no complaints. Rodinal doesn't seem to work well with HP5+. My Rodinal bottle was opened 3+ years ago and although dark brown, still works fine.

    The Ilfosol-S has a short shelf life after opening. Ilfotec HC is a HC-110 clone.
     
  3. dslater

    dslater Member

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    If you're willing to learn to use a staining developer, PMK Pyro will last for years.
     
  4. Trevor Crone

    Trevor Crone Member

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    As acutance and fine grain are of importance to you I would certainly give Ilford's LC-29 a try. I just prefered it to their DDX and Ilfosol-S with regard to fineness of grain particularly with the smaller formats. A good all rounder in my opinion.

    However I prefer by far PMK Pyro which is available ready mixed. Its tonal range, acutance and fineness of grain with films like HP5 and Delta 400 certainly in the 35mm format is exceptional IMO. Great things have been published on Pyrocat-HD but I've yet to try this one.

    At the end of the day only you can decide on what suits you. Some trial and error awaits.

    Good luck,
    Trevor.
     
  5. dslater

    dslater Member

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    Nuno,
    If you're interested in PMK Pyro or Pyrocat developers, I recommend you check out the articles on this site: www.unblinkingeye.com.
    Also, you should get a copy of "The Book of Pyro" by Gordon Hutchings.

    Dan
     
  6. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    HC-110: It is inexpensive, easy to use, lasts "indefinitely" (in concentrate form) and it just plain works great!
     
  7. pschauss

    pschauss Member

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    I use HC-110 (dilution H) for fast film and Rodinal for slow film. Both are economical because you only use small quantities and they do not degrade after they are opened.
     
  8. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    HC 110, DDX, TMAX, and Clayton F76 all come to mind.
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i started using sprint film developer again.
    it is kind of like d76 but different.
    comes in a cube or a 1L tube and is ez to mix ( 1:9 ).

    i stopped using it for a good 10 years, and started using it again
    and am glad i did ...
    their fixer is amazing too.

    -john
     
  10. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Ilfotec HC hasn't been mentioned, so I'll do the honours. For just about every film I have used it's top notch - but I still prefer Neofin blau for Efke 25. :smile:
     
  11. rtuttle

    rtuttle Member

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    I recently switched to Ilford DDX and I'm quite happy with it. Although it's a bit more pricey than say Rodinal. I tested a quick roll of Fomapan 100 in DDX and it looked good.
     
  12. nuno campos

    nuno campos Member

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    Thanks for all your replies.

    I am slightly bent towards HC-110 (faster films) and Rodinal (slower ones). But I am still open to suggestions.
    Probably is better to do that than use one developer for all films. The only issue with DD-X is the price. It is expensive if we compare it against others developers.

    The Ilford HC is the same as Kodak HC-110?
     
  13. schroeg

    schroeg Member

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    Get familiar with the pyro developers and it will be a fun journey.
     
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  15. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    I've been using Paterson FX39 for years and I love it. It is said to have a short life, but in practive I've found it to last reasonably well.
     
  16. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    I just re-read teh OP. Noticed that you're using mainly Fomapan..If I remember correctly, Fomapan is one of the few films that does not work well in HC-110. I don't really know why. I really, like Foma 200 in D-23 (homemade) or D-76 (1+1). It also seems like it has potential to look nice in ID-68 but, I've still got some work to iron out this combo.

    D-23 is relatively inexpensive to use and easy to mix up yourself.
     
  17. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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    I have used DD-X a lot and really like it--a little expensive but all together not bad. I keep it round 6-months and throw it out if I have any left.

    I shoot PanF, Delta 100, Delta 400, and some Acros. I have also found that i can shoot Delta 100 @200 develope it in DD-X and it looks just like a roll processed shot and developed at 100!!!! Same grain and tone?? Try it.
     
  18. Stan160

    Stan160 Member

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    Ilford only supply times for DD-X at 1+4 dilution, but it can be used 1+9 to reduce the cost. Not sure what effect this will have on the results. I have heard suggestions of adding 50% to the 1+4 time as a starting point.

    I converted to DD-X earlier this year for HP5+ and am very happy with it compared to the results with LC-29, particularly for keeping grain under control at higher speeds. For FP4+ I use Rodinal semi-stand.

    Ian
     
  19. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    XTOL can last, I'm currently using some that was mixed around 5mths ago. I usually use it quicker but went away for 3mths. I agree with the others regarding the Ilford trio.. DD-X good but expensive, Ilfosol goes off too quick and LC29 good compromise but more suited to low speed films although I do use it for HP5. I always have some LC29 around. Rodinal's keeping qualities are legendary, but no idea how the clones go. Not my developer of choice but at high dilutions (1:100), acceptable.
     
  20. nuno campos

    nuno campos Member

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    Hi again. I have been absent and I read just now the answers. Thanks again.

    So, the HC-110 would be a bad choice to use with Foma films? That seems to put it out off the race. I use mainly Fomapan nowadays. DD-X seems the best substitute right now.

    As anyone had any experience with Aculux 3 and Fomadon LQN? Will Rollei, Spur or Adox be good alternatives?

    Sorry all the questions but the problem with other chemicals than the ones I have mentioned is that it will not be easy to find them in Portugal.
    I am quite confined to Ilford, Kodak, Foma and Agfa. It is possible to find also Aculux, Rollei, Adox (Calbe?) and Spur developers.

    Nuno.
     
  21. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, Nuno,

    For what it's worth, I normally use HC-110B to process Foma 200. I find it quite satisfactory.

    Konical
     
  22. sterioma

    sterioma Member

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    Exactly the same here :smile:
     
  23. McHardy

    McHardy Member

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    Shelf life of XTOL

    Hi,
    A first post, so please excuse any breaches of protocol! I've been using XTOL for the last year, and have been lucky (?) with the length of time it's remained good. Mixed 5L back in March, and still going strong although I'm about to mix a fresh batch. Ironically, I jumped ship from HC110 (B and H), not because there was anything wrong but because I fancied a change. Had good results with HC110 though, getting good results on low and high speed films (FP4, Pan F, Neopan 400, 1600). On balance, I prefer XTOL 1:1 on my current 'squeeze' , Neopan 400. Would also be interested in any Aculux experiences anyone can offer with Fuji films...
    Best Regards,

    Paul
     
  24. DBP

    DBP Member

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    I usually use Rodinal for slow films and Diafine for fast, and keep some HC-110 around as a backup. All three seem to keep forever.
     
  25. DarkroomExperimente

    DarkroomExperimente Member

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    I just got my first bottle of ilford's DD-X

    how long does that last??
     
  26. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    Another vote for DD-X. Not cheap, but really, really good. Right up there with Xtol, without the hassle of having to mix powders.

    Ironically Tri-X in DD-X is sheer magic.

    DD-X is my main developer. I use it for Tri-X and D3200 @ 1:4 dilution.

    The only problem with DD-X is that it doesn't radically change color, when it starts to go south, although I have noticed a yellowish tint as it gets stale. What you will notice is the grain increasing and it will develop a stronger smell. Fresh DD-X also has a certain acidic feel, when it gets on your hands.... I suppose you could always put a few drops on the film leader. If you get a reaction after 1-2 minutes, it should be alive.

    If you shoot slow films (125 asa or less), Rodinal is really hard to beat. It is amazingly versatile and can deliver a variety of looks. I also lasts forever. Rodinal makes very sharp negatives, with beautiful tonality. Some people use it with high speed films like Tri-X, because it brings the grain out.