Various Developers and Film question

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Jack Xavier, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. Jack Xavier

    Jack Xavier Member

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    Hello all.
    I've just joined here as the main forum I visit is heavily geared
    towards Digital photography and while a great site isn't a great
    help for the more technical side of analogue photography.

    So this brings me to my question up until fairly recently I could still drop off my B+W film at a local Boots or other high st store for affordable developing. And I didn't put much thought into it. However as the costs have begun to get so expensive recently i've turned online for processing and found a few promising sites.
    The one i've decided to try out uses the following developers:
    ID11,Microphen,Perceptol, D76,Tmax and Xtol.

    My current back log of undeveloped film is:
    Neopan 1600
    Neopan 400
    Inford HP5+ 400
    Kodak Professional Plus-X 125
    and Delta 100

    So could anyone tell me in pretty basic general terms what properties these developers have and which are or are not prefferable with those particular films? I'm hoping i'll be able to make a few requests when developing.

    Thanks in advance for any help
    and apologies if i'm going over well-trod ground. I will continue to sift through the threads to get familiar with the forum :smile:
     
  2. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    ID-11 and D-76 are the same. They are the standard devs that go back many decades. Virtually all films acan be done in ID-11/D-76.

    Microphen is a speed increasing dev. You set your ISO to a higher # when using this dev.

    Perceptol is for a fine grain effect when used full strength.

    X-Tol is another standard dev and can be used with all films. It is probably an update on the ID-11/D-76 standard.

    T-Max I shall pass on. I used to use it on T-Max on T-Max films. Yuck.

    You can use all those devs on all those films. The end efect will be slightly different with one than the other.
     
  3. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Jack, You should pick one developer only, of course, /that way, the films are the independent variables. ID11/D76 is the developer against which all other developers are compared. Use it as a baseline and a bench mark with the films you have in your back log.
     
  4. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    Anyone in the UK, this is worth investigating, I was going to order some with fixer, as hc-110, ilfotech hc is so expensive, but they have a fixed price for delivery of £7.50 which was the same as my order.

    http://www.firstcall-photographic.c...on/champion-promicrol-film-developer-1-litre/
     
  5. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I'd like to second John's comment: When beginning, it's best to use just one developer, and preferably as few films as possible (one or two, ideally). That way there are fewer variables in the overall equation, from loading the film in the camera to holding a print in your hand. Of the developers you listed, ID-11/D-76 and XTOL are probably the best choices for starting out; both are popular general-purpose developers. ID-11/D-76 is more popular and common than XTOL, but XTOL's got its advantages, too (it's slightly more eco-friendly, for instance). Either should do fine with all of the films you mentioned, although if you did something strange that requires special processing, like exposed at a higher-than-box speed, some more advice might be required.

    Note that I don't want to discourage you from starting out with your current backlog of five different film types; it's just that, once you've finished with them, you'll learn more quickly if you limit yourself to just a couple of films -- perhaps one ~100 ISO and one ~400 ISO film.
     
  6. Jack Xavier

    Jack Xavier Member

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    Thanks all :smile:

    I have a wide range of films because
    A: I like to experiment and find films I like.
    B: I was given a bunch of films by random people who were no longer going to use them. The HP5 and Plus-X for example.
    I'm a fan of Delta 3200 and I was looking for another low light shooter hence the Neopan. I must do a lot of very low light shooting.
    f1.7 @ 1600 and I sometimes find myself with too little light for shots :smile:
    It is my intention though to stick to a few films though. I already have a few favourites. But I didn't have any real favourites in the 100-400 range in B&W.

    Thanks again guys!
     
  7. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Jack, Ilford ID11 & Kodak D76 are to all intents and purposes the same developer.

    ID11 is a very good all round developer and is an excellent place to start.

    If you have never done film developing before look at this - http://www.ilfordphoto.com/applications/page.asp?n=31

    Once you start developing your own film you will probably never go back to letting others do it for you (I didn't)

    It’s worth shooting a few test films just to practice the developing process on.

    Don't practice learning to develop on films which you photographed significant life time events - we are screw up a bit to start with - its inevitable - just like falling over is part of learning to walk :smile:

    As for comparative properties between developers – it’s the subject of many passionate debates in this forum – they are all good at what they do.

    However, as I said before start with ID11 and then when you have mastered the technique you can try the others out as you see fit.

    All developers have strengths and weaknesses – it’s up to you to find one that suits you and your style of photography.

    There are no bad developers our there – only ones that don’t suit your style.

    Also, the others are right – try to stick to one (two max) films while you learn – too many variables just make it awfully confusing


    If you are looking for anything to do with Analogue Photography try Silverprint - http://www.silverprint.co.uk/

    They have everything you will ever need to process both films and paper

    Nice people too, lots of advice if you need it, located in London and are open Saturday mornings if you want to pay them a visit :D



    Good luck

    Martin
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2009
  8. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Jack, starting out with a bunch of different films and a bunch of different developers is a recipe for frustration, unless you love testing. When I started with black and white everyone said use one film and one developer until you become familiar. I didn't want to believe it and I wanted to see what all was out there and wanted to see all the possibilities (chasing the silver bullet). But trust me! Stick with one or two films and one developer to start. My favorite combo, which I see you have, is Neopan 400 in Xtol 1:1. Go ahead and experiment with your undeveloped film, but once you buy more film I highly recommend one or two films, and one developer. Neopan 400 and HP5 are great films and Xtol is a great developer! ID-11 and D-76 are good as well. Good luck!
     
  9. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Just about any film will give acceptable results in ID11/D76 (they use the same developing agents in the same ratio, effectively making them the same developer).

    The best is to do it yourself, pick one film and one developer, use them exclusively for say a year, until you get really good at it, then either change the film or the developer to expand your horizons, not both, each combination is different, so if it goes wrong, you will not know whether it's the film or developer you have issues with.

    Realistically though, remember that film speeds and development times are guidelines, when you have control of both you can come up with combinations you like.
     
  10. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    Just start with XTOL then you know it very soon it works very well.

    MFG Armin