Which kind of film-developer for this rendition?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Fulvio, Jan 15, 2005.

  1. Fulvio

    Fulvio Member

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    Alright! I'm starting my own adventure in darkroom printing. :smile:
    (To be precise, I'll start next week with the beginning of a course)

    As far as I have noticed from other people, there is no worse way to learn making good prints than trying everything on the market, histherically.

    So I don't really want to spend too much time in testing and selecting all the films avaible, developed in every possible way. I'd like to start with 1-2 films and 1-2 developers (and possibly 1-2 papers).

    I've already decided to do a "poll" between everyone who's into film photography and prints his own photos to know which could be the film-developer combination that comes close to my taste.

    Generally speaking, my first priority would be a wide tonal range. The widest possible from a bw film. I don't care much for definition, contrast or grain - although sharpness is important. Mainly, I like smooth tones that give a special three-dimensional feeling to pictures.

    With color, I tend to expose my pictures for highlights, since I don't like burnt highlights while I like low-light atmospheres. I'd want to do the same for bw and while keeping the highlights correctly exposed, I'd want good details in midtones and some details in the shadows.

    Which kind of film is suitable for this? Which developer?

    Please consider that I'd start with liquid developers (like HC110, Tmax, Rodinal); I don't want to mess since now with powders.

    Thank you!
     
  2. sergio caetano

    sergio caetano Member

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    FP4 with D76 (1:1).
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    FP4+ and HP5+ (not my favorite, but fits your description) and ID-11 or D-76 or HC-110 or Rodinal should be fine. I think Clayton makes a liquid version of D-76 (called something like F-76), but I'm not sure what's available in Italy. It's probably best to start with an RC paper like Ilford MGIV RC and a developer like Dektol or Agfa Neutol WA if you prefer a liquid. It's good to learn with the basic stuff before branching out into anything too exotic.
     
  4. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Don't want to jump right in with a criticism but.... :wink:

    When you say you expose for highlights in colour, do you mean with colour reversal/slide film? The usual way with B&W is to expose for the shadows, i.e. ensure you have good shadow detail. You then develop by the right amount to ensure the highlights are not blown and print easily on to paper (this is the old "expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights" mantra much beloved of B&W workers). B&W film has much greater latitude than slide film (several stops worth) so the danger of blown highlights is much less.

    Having said all that:

    Film: (1) FP4+ for fine grain and controllability (2) A faster film (can't really recommend as I hardly ever use above ISO 125 but any of the usual suspects will do you: HP5+, Tri-X, Tmax 400 etc).

    Developer: (1) Rodinal - can be sharp at the expense of some grain. Very cheap. Lasts forever in the bottle. (2) The only other devs I have used are are either powder (ID-11 etc) or mix-it-yourself) so can't really advise but you may want to have a fine grain one such as Paterson Aculux 2 to compliment the Rodinal.

    Paper: (1) Ilford Multigrade IV RC: bulletproof general purpose RC paper - with Ilford multicontrast developer. (2) Agfa Multicontrast Premium FB. Tones well but is fibre so needs long wash times compared to resin coated. Try Neutol for neutral tone and Neutol WA for warmer blacks.

    Later on you might want to try some graded papers, but stick to VC for now. Ditto powdered developers: why pay for water (plus much more for postage if you order by mail) when you can just pour the packet of chemicals into your own water and stir?


    Have fun! Bob.
     
  5. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Evening, Fulvio,

    I like HC-110 and T-Max for film, LPD or Dektol for paper. Ilford MGIV is fairly consistent from batch to batch. From your comment, I'm not sure whether you're accepting of graininess or not. ("Smooth tones" suggest not, but the previous sentence could suggest otherwise.) Also, you make no mention of format; it's a lot easier to get smooth tones in MF and LF than in 35mm. If you're in 35mm, I'd suggest one of the newer tabular-grain films, but, in larger sizes, there a lots more choices.

    Konical
     
  6. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Another recommendation for Ilford FP4+ as an all-around B&W film. I prefer Ilford DD-X as the developer, but Ilfotec HC is also convenient and produces good results with FP4+ and other films. I also like Ilford's MGIV paper, and concur with the suggestion of starting out with the resin-coated version for maximum convenience.
     
  7. Dr.Kollig

    Dr.Kollig Member

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    Seems like (almost) everybody started out with FP4+, so did I. For higher speed I started with HP5+. Developer was Rodinal, 1:50 with FP4+ and 1:100 ( 5 ml in a 500 ml tank) with HP5+, 40 mins, inversions every 5 mins, 60 mins for 800 ASA, gives rather flat negatives.Powder developer was ID-11, but I was more into Rodinal, later I used Kodak Xtol, these days I mix Mytol which is very close to Xtol.
    You could also look at the developers from Italy (www.eccofineart.com), ECCO 96 seems to be a Metol-Sulfite developer similar to Perceptol/Microdol-X, diluted 1+2 times are rather long around 15-18 mins.

    Papers:
    My vote goes to Agfa Multicontrast, I love their fibre papers and also use the RC paper, preferable 312 pearl.

    Print developer Calbe N 113, neutral tone, powder for 10 l goes a loooooong way.

    Check with www.fotoimpex.de if they still have Orwo film, it is FP4+ raw material, the also stock Calbe Chemie. BUT I might be easier to get Rodinal in Italy as shipping of Rodinal might be difficult, hazardous liquid, actually corrosive.

    Oh, btw welcome to the world of Darkness and LIGHT

    Wolfram
     
  8. Fulvio

    Fulvio Member

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    Thanks everybody for their answers.

    In reply to those who asked which format I would use: from 6x6 (Rollei TLR) and 6x7 (MamiyaRB) to 4x5" (Graflex); no 35mm at the moment. I feel quite lucky to have all these cameras and wish to use them for what they're designed for!

    I've recently bought (for about 200$, believe it or not!) a 5x7" enlarger with maaaany accessories and lenses. I can also use a Jobo CPE-2 for film developing (and maybe paper fixing, while I'd like to do develop the paper in trays).

    When I mentioned "color" in my previous message I was meaning both negative and positive (slide) film (mostly slide film that is... like Fuji Astia, which has a kind of low contrast rendition). Sometimes I used chromogenic b&w too, which may count or not as "color negative".

    Many of you have suggested Ilford FP4. The only product of Ilford I've ever used is the Super XP2 chromogenic film so I can't comment much about their true bw films. But as far as I know Ilford company is confronting bad times. People are having troubles in finding Ilford products here in Italy... As a second choice, which is most close to Ilford FP4?

    My friends in Italy have suggested Trix or Tmax films. There's a friend of mine who's a huge fan of Efke films; his results are astonishing but he develops his rolls in Pyro PMK which I don't really want to handle because of its toxicity (at least for now, since I'm a beginner).

    Regards
     
  9. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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  10. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I think you ought to mention if there are any brands you cannot get first. Going for easy to get bigger brands makes sense......

    I would go for FP4 plus and hp 5 plus or Trix, for a slow and fast film.

    As for devs, if you must go for liquids I would go for HC110 (economical and cheap)and Ilford DDX. Ideally I would get Paterson Aculux 2 which I think is great, but I dunno if you can get it in Italy. It is cheap and produces great negs.

    For papers,

    Agfa Multicontrast Classic FB ( a favourite) or Ilford MG (tho I am not a particular fan) for simplicity.

    I would stay away from Tmax and Delta films. Traditional films are more forgiving if you are starting out, more tolerant of error. The two films I mentioned are pretty flexible and whatever you do (almost) they should do fine. They are also good alrounders. Many will advocate Rodinal, which has its merits, tho it cannot really be describes as an allrounder. It is sharp but grainy and is very good for that.
     
  11. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Since you don't use 35mm, you don't have to worry about grain size. So there is no need for Tmax or Delta.

    Go traditional, as severak others have pointed out already. FP4+ is my favorite, but I also use EFKE R25 and R100, PL25 and PL100. I used to use Agfa APX100 too, but that film was so good they killed it...

    As to developer, my advice is far more unusual: Neofin blau.
    Very sharp, a little grainy, and absolutely perfect for EFKE films - they were literally made for each other! It is a little expensive, but easy to make if you can get hold of the ingredients. Well - not Neofin, but "Beutler's developer", which is quite similar but not identical. If you can get Metol, sodium sulfite and potassium carbonate you can make a lot of developers!
     
  12. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I use a lot of EFKE R25 and R100 (120 roll film), PL25 and PL100 (4x5, 5x7 and 8x10).

    In my personal experience, these Efke films work well with many different developers, including Rodinal, Agfa-8 and Beutler (see the APUG Chemical Recipe section).

    The Ascorbic Acid based developers (Xtol, PC-TEA, M(Metol)C-TEA, etc) also work very well with these films, in my experience.

    D-76 and ID11 have been reported to work well with the Efke films, but I have not tried them.

    My personal choice of developer for Efke 25 and Efke 100 is Pyrocat-HD. Most of my current work is contact printed on Azo.
     
  13. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Beutles?

    Hey guys-where is the beutler's recipe hiding out? I know I've seen it but can't seem to locate it. Developer;non-staining right?
    Peter
     
  14. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Right. And since it's old, and basic, it's on page one. As "The Original Beutler's".
     
  15. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    It is hiding in the APUG Chemical Recipes section.
     
  16. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Thanks

    Thanks tom and Ole -just wasn't going back far enough in the file to find it. Now to see if I want to try this developer on Efke 100
    Thanks again,
    Peter
     
  17. Fulvio

    Fulvio Member

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    I'd make my orders at www.fotoimpex.de is in Germany; it has almost any film or developer mentioned in this thread at a good prices, compared to Italian average.

    Ok, I want to try the FP4+. But I've not decided yet which developer I shall use/buy. Since I do not shot very much (for now) I'd go for a long-lasting reliable liquid developer. Grain isn't an issue, because of the larger formats. Wide tonal range and a smooth contrast is what I'm looking for. I think I'll start with Agfa MC paper and Neutol WA (since I like warmer tones).

    Thanks
     
  18. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    If you want long lasting HC110 again fits the bill and I have heard time and time again that it meshes with FP4 plus really really well (tho I have not use this combo). Off the shelf materials, loads of people use them both so could help you out with answeres to questions etc.
     
  19. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    I'm amazed none of the Rodinal mafia have popped up on this thread yet....

    If you want long life and are not worried about grain and want sharpness and good tonality when Rodinal is your man! A bottle of Rodinal will last forever. Cheap too as you use it at very high dilution (1+25 or more).

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  20. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Well, I'm not a member of the inner circle, but I am a Rodinal user.

    [/QUOTE=Tom Hoskinson]
    I use a lot of EFKE R25 and R100 (120 roll film), PL25 and PL100 (4x5, 5x7 and 8x10).

    In my personal experience, these Efke films work well with many different developers, including Rodinal, Agfa-8 and Beutler (see the APUG Chemical Recipe section)...
    [/QUOTE]
     
  21. Fulvio

    Fulvio Member

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    Ok, HC110 and Rodinal seems to have both long shelf life.

    What about Paterson products like Aculux 2 that someone else suggested?

    Finally, which results should I get from each of these developer combined with FP4+ and maybe other films like Foma, Efke or Tmax?

    Thank you