Tmax 100 and 3 developers - which one to use?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Ambar, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. Ambar

    Ambar Member

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    Hi!
    I was wondering if anyone can help me out quickly. I've got two rolls of 120 tmax100 and I'm exclusively worried about shadow detail on both rolls. I have 3 developers available to me. Microphen, Perceptol, and Rodinal (Adonal).
    My first instinct was to go for the Perceptol however I've read that it has a hard time delivering full box speed so I'm afraid I might shut off my shadow detail with it.
    I didn't want to do any push developing (an extra stop) because it was all shot at box speed and I'm afraid that doing so might completely spoil a few shots in there.
    I guess my question is which one of these developers would give me the best shadow rendition? I'm currently guessing microphen but I've also given up the guess work and have resorted to the Apug Oracle! :D
     
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  2. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Shadow detail is largely a function of correct exposure. There aren't developers specifically designed for shadow detail. However and this may be what you have in the back of your mind Perceptol generally needs the film exposed at half box speed in stock solution but in low speed films this seem to be less important, especially if you use it diluted 1+1.

    Check manufacturers' times for the 3 developers. It may be that Perceptol will work OK at box speed.

    It will deliver the finest grain but in 120 this is less important and it all depends on how big the enlargement is.

    pentaxuser
     
  3. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Microphen will give you the best speed and shadow detail if you are worried about exposure. Perceptol would be the worst in this case, regardless of the dilution.
     
  4. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    +1
     
  5. Ambar

    Ambar Member

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    Thanks! I think I'm going with microphen.. Grain isn't much of a concern to me as I'll only be enlarging up to 11x14 and a little grain never bothered me. I've never used Tmax100 so theres a little anxiety involved with this (there are a couple of shots in there which I REALLY want to see come out nice).
    As for dilutions is there any advice? I generally like to stick to 1+1 and get a better milage off of my developer but I'm willing to give up on this idea if it sounds less prudent for any reason.
     
  6. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I have to agree with Michael R 1974 and markbarendt because from the Photographic Lab Handbook by John S. Carroll 5th ed... The first sentence under the heading "Ilford Microphen Fine-Grain Developer"

    Ilford Microphen is a fine-grain developer which gives an effective increase in film speed.
     
  7. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Compared to the rest of the costs involved, developer is a really small worry.

    IMO the "effect" of the dilution you use, should be the primary driver. Typically for solvent type developers stock strength gives finer grain, more dilute gives more sharpness.

    Which would you prefer?

    Could you tell the difference?

    Switching dilutions is about fine tuning, they are choices you can make in the future.

    Any of the listed dilutions should work just fine for a first try even on an important roll.

    http://ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/2011427133131459.pdf
     
  8. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

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    Medium format TMAX 400 is almost grainless at 16x20 so I'm sure whatever you choose will be perfectly grainless at 11x14.
     
  9. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    Microphen is a very underrated developer and is a good alternative to D-76/ID-11 for anyone who has a metol allergy.
    It provides a high speed yields while keeping graininess to a minimum and is a good general use developer. A pity that Ilford only sell it in 1 litre packs.
     
  10. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Agree completely. Do not skimp on developer if you want consistent, high quality negatives. Use dilutions to control image characteristics, not to save money.
     
  11. Dismayed

    Dismayed Member

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    I'm partial to XTOL 1:2.
     
  12. Bundesphotograph

    Bundesphotograph Member

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    Perceptol 1:3,very very sharp!!

    12 minutes at 24°C.

    4 inversion during the first 10 seconds of each minute.
     
  13. Ambar

    Ambar Member

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    Let me explain the extra milage statement..
    I only get a chance to buy developing material a couple of times per year when friends or family travels to the US, and I really can't be an idiot and order tons of it. It's really hard to get access to chemistry here in brazil (simply finding a store that has any to sell). And when it's available, it's obscenely expensive. The same 1L pack of microphen which I bought at BH in New York for US$6.50 goes for US$29 (equivalent) here. At these prices, things get prohibitively expensive..
    Getting the extra milage has more to do with being able to practice photography than not. If I could, I'd do things differently.

    But I just cooked the two rolls and they came out BEAUTIFULLY!! Tmax100/Microphen/1+1/12min/20ºC. Really impressed with the results.. Thanks everybody for the input!
    I gave it the extra minute over the 11 suggested because I tend to get weak negatives every time I develop to spec. I believe it might be my thermometer thats running a bit hot (it reads 20º but is actually 19º~18º). Yes I am working on getting a better (digital) one. I figured a 9% error towards better shadow detail would be a good idea!
    PS: The one shot I was really worried about looks really nice but didn't have critical focus on her eyes... Photography can be unforgiving.

    PatiNY.jpg
     
  14. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Hi Ambar,

    Great shot! It's worth the $29 you might have had to spend on developer. (When I worry about cost I look at the value of the result and much of my worry goes away). There is nothing wrong with developing for 12 or 13 minutes, for whatever the reason if that gets you better results - that's what all the instruction sheets say.