Liquid vs Dry chemistry

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ZachInIsrael, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. ZachInIsrael

    ZachInIsrael Member

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    So I am going to start doing some home darkroom stuff. I just got a development canister off of ebay. I was wondering am I better of starting with liquid or dry chemistry? Which is easier to use and which lasts longer?

    I do a lot of low light stuff so probably be using Ilford Delta 3200 with Ilford developers.
     
  2. aparat

    aparat Member

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    I think that the Ilford line of liquid chemicals would work great for you. For Delta 3200, Ilford recommends DD-X.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Powdered chemicals keep longer, but once made up it makes little differance. As said above Ilford recommend DD-X for Delta 3200, and the powder alternative is Microphen. DD-X should have a good shelf life once opened and would probably be more convenient.

    Ian
     
  4. ZachInIsrael

    ZachInIsrael Member

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    Thanks, now with luck the store in Tel Aviv will have it.
     
  5. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Do you know how long the liguid developer sat on the shelf in the store?

    Mix it yourself from raw chems if you can. The more variables you get under control, the better off you are.
     
  6. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I prefer the pre-mixed dry developers. Dry powders keep a long time, and, as Ronald said, you have no idea how long the developer has been sitting of the store shelf. There is also an economic consideration. Liquid concentrated developers are more convenient to use, but you pay dearly for that convenience. They are mostly water, which is heavy and expensive to ship. Why pay a premium for something that comes out of the tap?
     
  7. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    One thing to remember about dry chemistry is that different powdered material may settle in the bag in layers - unevenly. If you are mixing the entire bag, or can, at once, no problem. If you are mixing small amounts at any given time, you may have problems if the various components are not evenly distributed in the material you have taken from the bag.

    In terms of keeping time, I have successfully mixed up powdered materials from the 1950's that showed no apparent loss of effectiveness. They were in cans and had not deteriorated at all.
     
  8. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    Ilford states that DDX liquid concentrate lasts about two years unopened, and about 6 months once opened. The guidance presented by Ilford on the bottle is pretty much "on", as I noted that open concentrate used after the six months was definitely not as "effective".

    Agree with the statements about shipping water. I do not think, however, that DDX is available as a powder.
     
  9. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    My advice, if you are just starting out as you say, is stick with the Ilford DD-X as some others have recommended. If you buy one liter, and really work at learing, you'll use it up way before it goes bad unless you leave the lid off. And you'll simplify your learning curve by only needing to concentrate on a few techniques.

    After that, you'll be in a good position to judge what you want to do. All the arguments, pro and con, for liquid vs. dry, this developer, machines vs hand vs stand, ya-da, ya-da, ya-da, should come after you have some idea what you're doing.

    Only thing I will warn you about up front is that Delta 3200 doesn't keep all that well, and the Ilford's recommended development times for that particular film are delusional. If you insist on shooting Delta 3200 develop for the next higher speed on the chart. I.e, if you shoot at 3200, develop for 6400. If you shoot at 6400, develop forever, and if you believe the paper and try to shoot at 6400 prepare for loss of shadows. The film is good (I use it) but there just ain't enough photons down there to properly expose the film.

    If you like the Ilford idea, and you're really just starting out, I'd suggest a brick of Delta 400 and bottle of DD-X, follow the package directions, and then evaluate where you are after you done the 10 rolls. That will give you a lot of easy to get right first hand experience.

    If you don't like the Delta-400 idea, Tmax 400 is superb film, too.

    But, again, if you're just starting out, stick to a middle of the road film and developer to learn on. By the end of the first brick you'll be ready to branch out.

    MB
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 8, 2009