New to film developing-feedback on the film & developer I'm currently using

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by markman, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. markman

    markman Member

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    I'm a brand new member who has just recently started shooting film after a 15 year break. I recently got a Rolleicord V to complement my DSLR and am really enjoying it. After a few rolls I decided to go "all in" and start developing my own film. I have gone through 3 rolls so far and love it. I feel much more connected to the whole process when I develop the film myself.

    I'm still experimenting with what film I enjoy using the most. So far I've used Acros 100, HP5+ and Delta 400. I think that my preference is for the HP5 at this point but I'm so new to it that I could be wrong about that. I'm currently using Ilfosol 3 as the developer, which seems to give good results with the Acros and HP5. Results with the Delta 400 were a little confusing though. The negatives came out well sharpness and exposure-wise but they had a slightly brown shading to them. Is this normal for the film, or is it a result of the developing process? I used the Ilfosol at 1+9 for 7 minutes.

    Assuming I stick with the Acros, HP5 & Delta what other developers might I consider that would work well with all 3 films?

    Any suggestions or feedback would be most appreciated!
     
  2. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    You're doing the right thhing. Just keep on tryijng film and developer combiinations until you find one that works for you. I stress "what works for you." Questions like "what is the best film/developer combination" will draw dozens of different replys. None of them will fit what you need. Only you can do this!

    Some developers particularly fine grain developers yield a brown image. This is perfectly normal.
     
  3. markman

    markman Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. I definitely plan on experimenting with different film/developer combinations. It sounds like you're saying that Ilfosol 3 is a "fine grain" developer and because of that it might just yield the brown image with some films (Delta 400 being one)?
     
  4. Juergen

    Juergen Member

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    I am not familiar with Ilfosol 3 but I believe it is a one-shot liquid developer. If so, you're doing it right since these kind op developers are the easiest in use for a beginner. My advice would be to just stick to one film and one developer for now. If you do this, you eliminate a lot of variables that come with using a selection of different films and developers, this makes things far easier to learn. Give yourself some time to really learn to work with Ilfosol 3 and your film of choice (HP5+ is an excellent film).

    I started doing my own B/W developing about four years ago and to date, I've used Tri-X film in Rodinal for 98% of all my work (and Tri-X in Diafine for the remaining 2%). It's only now that I've come to the point where I am interested in trying other films and developers as well. But in case I don't like them, I can always return to my trusty combo of Tri-X and Rodinal, a combination that works and more important, a combination that I know how to get best out. I think that's really important.

    So again, give yourself some time and concentrate on one film and one developer for now, this way you'll learn a lot faster in my opinion.
     
  5. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I'd say pick one combination you think you like now and shoot it exclusively for a few months. Then try some more experiments. You'll know what you liked about your first combination, and what you'd like to see be better.
    juan
     
  6. markman

    markman Member

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    Thanks everyone for the feedback!

    I think at this point I like the HP5+ and the Acros 100. I can see the benefit of sticking with a film/developer combination for a while so I will stick with those for the time being. I still have 2 rolls of the Delta to go through but I will keep using the Ilfosol 3 for developer. It is relatively economical and seems to work well with most films, based on what I've found.

    Developing film is definitely a fun activity and it ties in perfectly with my desire to get "back to basics" with at least a portion of my photography.
     
  7. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Brown staining on film is a sign of underfixing, which (if that's what you've done) means your negs will degrade rapidly in storage. You should re-fix them ASAP so that they're properly cleared.
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    +1

    Delta 400 and other T-grain or similar films require more fixing.

    Do you know how to do a clip test?
     
  9. markman

    markman Member

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    I developed another roll of Delta 400 this weekend and fixed it for 5 minutes. The negatives did not have the brown tint. I haven't done the clip test yet but I will from now on before I develop a roll. With this last roll I added about 40ml of fixer to the leftover solution and made sure to mix it completely.
     
  10. kevs

    kevs Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Gerald was referring to the colour of the silver that forms the image of the negative rather than stains caused by underfixing, which you won't see until the negatives are at least few weeks old. Some developing agents like pyrogallol naturally stain the film. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrogallol

    Welcome to APUG, Markman. :smile:

    Cheers,
    kevs
     
  11. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    If film is very slightly underfixed, it will not have a milky appearance but the silver itself will have a very subtle mottled-brown appearance. The clear parts of the film will look clear. When printed/scanned, there is mottling in the highlights.