Which developer is best for all around use?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by wogster, May 21, 2009.

  1. wogster

    wogster Member

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    I know that question leaves a lot of answers, so let me qualify it.

    After a couple of years of being lost in the digital wilderness, I am slowly returning to low volumes of film shooting. Generally the idea is to use film for B&W work and use the digital for colour work. I have a few rolls of FP4 in the freezer, probably will not shoot more then a roll or two a month.

    I can easily get Rodinal, Ilfotec HC and Kodak HC110.

    Which of these is best for all round general use, other possible films would be PanF, HP5, Delta (100/400) or TMax (100/400). All are used in 35mm at this time. If you recommend a developer but know a film it should NOT be used with, then please let me know.
     
  2. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I love HC110 with my TMY but I know it can react fast with some films at Dil 'B' so check it out before you get. I'm not familiar with times required for Ilford films. It could drift dangerously close to five minutes, making the action harder to control.
     
  3. WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    I've been using Rodinal 1:50 with 35mm HP5+ for the last few months. I started using that combo in like October, and I just used up a 125ml bottle a couple of weeks ago (and I have more on the way).

    I know some people will say 35mm HP5+ and Rodinal is a no-no, but I quite like it. The grain is visible at 8x10, but I think it looks quite nice. I havent developed anything else in Rodinal yet, but I wouldnt hesitate to try it with other films. I'd have to say at this point in time, Rodinal will be my developer of choice until I find something I like better.

    I've read that rodinal lasts forever, so you wont have to worry about it going bad, even if you do just a few rolls a month. :smile:
     
  4. wogster

    wogster Member

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    I guess you could use at a weaker dilution....
     
  5. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    ... Like 1:49 or so. Just alerting him to the quickness of HC110 at the standard (?) Dilution. And I suppose, also its versatility.
     
  6. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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  7. Jordan

    Jordan Member

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    If HC-110 is easily available, that'd be your best all-around bet. Dilute it to one-half the concentration of Dilution B and develop for double the time if the indicated times for Dilution B are too short.
     
  8. Besides the developers you mentioned, I'd like to also suggest D-76 (1:1) or Xtol. Any of these can be your "go to developer" for just about anything you shoot, and look great with FP4+.
     
  9. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Looks like 2 Gallons of HC110 run about $16 at Henry's, not sure if it's a 2 gallon bottle or whether that's the stock solution, I would need to get something to measure the small amounts needed, then just suck out the syrup on an as needed basis. If it's 2 gallons of concentrate it would probably take 20 years to use it all.
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i have heard the same thing
     
  11. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    It's concentrate to make 2 gallons.

    See http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/hc110/ for more info and lots of suggestions.

    Lee
     
  12. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    I like FP4+ and HP5+ with HC-110, and it is super convenient.

    For Delta 100 and 400, I like Xtol.

    I like to keep it simple, but find it worthwhile to my eye to keep both of these developers on hand.
     
  13. wogster

    wogster Member

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    From what I understand D23 is a mix it yourself developer, I don't have the equipment to mix it myself, besides I would rather spend my photography time shooting then playing chemist.

    So I limited the list to developers I can buy premixed at the Henry's down the street.
     
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  15. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Thanks, I bookmarked that page for later perusal. Since it's the same price as Rodinal and goes about twice as far, HC110 should be the cheapest solution (pun intended). Not sure why Ilfotech HC is over 3 times the price......
     
  16. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Yup. D23 does it all. Used straight with DK25R replenishment to do ca. 20 rolls of 120 per liter. 1:1 for increased "sharpness." 1:3 for contrast taming. Straight as Bath A in a divided developer. Use the DK25R replenisher as Solution A for a Beutler-like acutance developer. Add sodium carbonate solution and potassium bromide to make a soft-working paper developer similar to Ansco 120. And cheap. What's not to like?
     
  17. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    What's not to like is that it's hard enough to find metol and sodium sulfite that the developer is effectively a specialty developer not suitable to (my) everyday use, wheras I can buy D76 locally. I know you can buy the ingredients from the Formulary, but at Freestyle prices it works out to over $10/gallon, plus shipping.

    I guess with replenishment, that might not be that bad, since I pay $7 a gallon for D76 which I dump down the drain.
     
  18. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Shipping liquids (heavier and bulkier than powdered) overseas for starters.

    Lee
     
  19. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Yes, D-23 is a mix yourself, or, buy it from the Formulary. If you mix yourself it only takes 2.5 teaspoons of metol, 12.5 tsp of sulfite and H2O make 1 liter. You can use it stock, 1+1, or 1+3. Very easy!

    If you'd rather buy a premix, there are lots out there. D-76 is the standard. It's been around so long, is readily available and times for all/most films can be found.

    Powder chems are cheap to buy and cheap to ship. True, it takes a bit more time to mix the powder and you do have to address the issure of airborne powder. Lots of folks like X-tol, Microdol-X/Perceptol, and Ilford's ID-11 is the equal to D-76.

    Liquid devs are more expensive, more expensive to ship, but are easier to mix and no airborne dust. HC-110 is long lasting and has a cool smell! Some folks use Rodinal for all their films, others do not. FG-7 is underated. DDX & Ilfosol are others.

    Use what is economical and easy obtainable for you, and mostly, use use what gives you good images.
     
  20. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Consider Ilford ID11 which is similar to D76. I use it 1:1 with Delta 400 and HP5 as well as Delta100. (120 and 4x5 films) It is sold as a powder approximately $10US to make 5liters of stock solution, when used at 1:1 makes 10liters. It can also be used undiluted.
     
  21. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    At your usage (not that different from mine), HC110, Rodinal and Pyrocat in glycol are all good options. If you are looking for something general purpose (reasonable grain, sharpness) HC110 is a good choice. If you like grain or are using a larger format, Rodinal is great. I usually use rodinal.
     
  22. nickrapak

    nickrapak Member

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    D-76 or HC-110. I would recommend D-76, but storage life is pretty short. HC-110 is another good all-aroud developer, with a much longer shelf life. Rodinal has the longest life of them all, but it also has a distinct "look" that prevents it (IMHO) from being an all-around developer.
     
  23. wogster

    wogster Member

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    At a roll a month, and 400ml per tank , 10L of solution would take 25 months to use up, it only lasts about 3-6 months in full bottles, so you end up throwing most of it away. I need a developer that is available in smaller quantities and/or lasts a long time.
     
  24. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Well then it sounds like the obvious choice for you would be HC110, since it is immortal, versatile (so I hear) and last I calculated, it was the cheapest of all non-replenished developers.
     
  25. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    *******
    Not only that, it can be replenished!! And Bill Pierce used HC110 Replenisher to push-process Tri-X.

    My experience, however, with replenishing HC110 is far less successful than my favorite soup, D23 replenished with DK25-R. It does not last as long. When all is said and done, HC110 is very economical and very easy to use; especially with one of those 10 ml 'baby dose" syringes. Other comments; the concentrate seems to be less goopy than in ye olden dayz; the color is different; and the new stuff smells a lot better than the old-style concentrate which smelled like a high school locker room full of dirty sneakers.
    If I were to go back to HC110, it would be at the 1:49 dilution from concentrate.
     
  26. aparat

    aparat Member

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    With such low usage (similar to mine, actually), I would suggest looking into 1 liter powders such as Perceptol or D76. I personally prefer Perceptol 1:1. It will easily give you up to 4 films per month. It's more expensive per liter, but you end up using it all fresh, so there's no waste. You will get very consistent results with fresh developer used one-shot. If you need to process more film, you can look into the 5 gallon /5 liter options of those same developers.