Why did you (if you did) move on from D76/ID-11

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by MatthewDunn, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. MatthewDunn

    MatthewDunn Member

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    A completely honest question and not intended to start a religious war. As someone new to analog photography, I have started with D76 and want to learn that as much as I can, but am also curious about other developers. I have obviously looked at other threads here and have "some" idea about the characteristics of other developers, but am more curious about why you personally elected to work with the developer you use? Economy of use? Higher acutance? Better tonal separation? Again, interested in your subjective reasons as to what you like in your developer that D76 wasn't doing for you (assuming that is where you started or that you have previously worked with it).

    Thanks in advance,
    Matt
     
  2. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I think D76 is the best thing since sliced bread. I realise that the formulation is the same as ID11, but it has a better name and when you mix it up from powder, it is a bit like Draught Guinness. You have to wait for it.
     
  3. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    HC-110 is now my brew of choice. Economy and ease of use, combined with reliability and rediculously long shelf life won me over. It is similar in look to D76 but doesnt go off and is THE perfect one shot developer for use with Tri-X.
     
  4. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    I have used D76/ID11 for as long as I've developed film because it works. If I'm not happy with my photographs I do not go looking for a magic chemical bullet. A weak image in D76 is also a weak image in Pyro, or anything else. I think there's much more to gain by improving ones metering, putting the subject and the the edges where they belong, and learning to print effectively than by dabbling with new to you developers. Once you've 'learned' a developer, stick with it and be as consistent as possible.
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Well, somebody gave me several gallon kits of D76, so I am actually moving TO it from Xtol and Edwal 12 until I have used them up.

    There is no developer that is as interesting as a good picture, and there are zero pictures that I photographed where I had wished I had used a different developer.

    Here's the deal: It's nice to use the same developer over and over again, because it's reliable, consistent, and we learn EXACTLY what to expect that way. That is very good for darkroom exercises, because it leads to less paper waste and less frustration. That is definitely so.

    That doesn't mean that other developers aren't interesting too, just from either an academic stand point, or even something we're just curious about. While I love replenished Xtol, D76 that cost me no money at all must be just as good. I doubt it will make enough difference for anybody to truly notice, after I develop the film to the same contrast.
    Among other gifts, I also have a gallon kit of Microdol-X, and a bottle of Sprint film developer. The Sprint is what I'm currently using, and it's a fine developer too. The prints look very nice.

    I find it more valuable to learn exactly how to use a particular material, and find that there is infinitely more strength in that than any one product in itself. D76 / ID11 is great stuff. So is Xtol, Rodinal, Pyrocat, HC-110, Microphen, Microdol-X, Ilfosol, Moersch, Foma, Adox, Tetenal, Edwal, Formulary, etc ad nauseum. They are all great products - in the right hands.

    It's all about making nice negatives that helps us make nice prints.
     
  6. Henry Alive

    Henry Alive Subscriber

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    Another vote for HC110. It is easy to prepare and lasts a whole life.
     
  7. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    D-76 / ID-11 or XTOL are fine. I tend to use XTOL, mix up 5L and use it fairly quickly without a problem.

    Tom
     
  8. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Been using D-76 for 50 years. I experiment with Pyro developers for LF, but D-76 is still my go to for everything else.
     
  9. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Nothing bad to say about D76 here. I've used it for almost two decades. I like it at 1:1 dilution as it is convenient to get it to temperature by adding in a hotter/colder and the two temps average to the final mix temp.

    I played around with Xtol and it was also good. I got away from both because I wanted to not deal with chemical dust in the darkroom or the whole mixing process of hot water, slow dissolving, letting it cool when I wanted to simply process some film, but needed a batch of developer.

    I mostly use Pyrocat HD in glycol from formulary. It's simple to use; 10ml of A, 10ml of B, 1L of water, a quick stir and it's ready to go. It's quite affordable (less $ than d76) and could be more so if I mixed it myself. I sometimes make alt-process prints, so the staining is useful for that and otherwise harmless. It lasts forever, both in terms of concentrate shelf life and rate of consumption. It retains the box film speed where some develops you take a film speed hit.
     
  10. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I have moved from D76 to ID11 since Ilford/Harman has made it clear they want to supply us with product.

    Same goes for paper developer, and Fix, and selenium.
    where all possible I use the Brits product.
     
  11. erikg

    erikg Member

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    I used it a lot and like it, but I didn't like the way it would change in activity as it ages. I much prefer one shot developers like HC-110, Rodinal and Pyrocat HD. Pyrocat is my current go to. It fits better for the way I work now: large batches for an intensive period, then on to other things.
     
  12. MDR

    MDR Member

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    I moved from D76 to Microdol-X believe it or not as push developer (used to be recommend by Bob Shell as developer for inky film noire type blacks tri-x at E.I. 640) from there I moved to Rodinal and Jay De Fehr's Hypercat the first because of grain I like grain and some accutance I used the later developer because I needed dual use negs for classic silver and some alt processes as well as a hardening developer (Efke user at that time). Sometimes I still use ID11 or D76 and I still think that it is the best general purpose developer. The best midtones are going to D-23 though
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I moved from ID-11 (D76) to Adox Borax MQ in the early 1980's because it was similar but gave finer grain, better sharpness and about a 1/3rd of a stop better film speed, also better tonality. I used to supply it to a few commercial photographers and we all used it replenished in deep tanks.

    Later I switched to Xtol for my commercial work and Rodinal for personal work but I switched to Pyrocat HD 7 or 8 years ago and it's now my sole film developer.

    Ian
     
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  15. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I find this hard to believe. Could this have more to do with the film/development and exposure you were using?
     
  16. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    Although I still use D76 on occasion, I mostly have switched to Pyro-Cat HD for all my films. Pyrocat is very economical, lasts really well and gives a really nice combination of fine grain with good acutance. That said, if you just stuck to ID11 or D76 you wouldn't go wrong.
    There are many here that will say to stick to one developer and really get to know it...that is not a bad philosophy...but I will always just give something new a go on occasion.
     
  17. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi matt

    i haver never used id11 or d76 but i was weened on sprint film developer
    which is similar bit a tiny bit different. you can over develop a lot in sprint and not
    blow out your highlights .. that said, i moved on when i ran out of $$ in about 1993
    and i ended up using a 20 year old 10 gallon can of gaf universal developer that was holding a window open where i was living.
    after i used it up, i searched for the recipe and was told it was ansco 130, which i used religiously for years ...
    i was set a mysterious email from whiteymorange with the recipe for caffenol c about 7 years ago, and have been using that
    with a smidgen of ansco130 in it ever since ... i used other stuff between 1988 and 95 ... xtol, and tmax developer
    but didn't like'em ... i don't really think i am going to switch to anything else for a while .. if i get sick of roasting and brewing
    the coffee ( for sumatranol 130 ) i'll just use the ansco 130 instead ... it works better than any other developer i've used
    and doesn't small as bad as 2month old caffenol ...

    john
     
  18. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Switched to HC-110 for reasons already stated...16x20's from Tmax100 4x5 negs looked great. Now I use a developer that packs more punch for higher DR for alt printing (Ilford Universal PQ).
     
  19. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

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    D76 was the first developer I used. I mixed it from raw chemicals as in those days it was easy to buy them and it cost less than buying the Kodak product. I was an impecunious schoolboy of 11 years, who had recently swapped a rear derailleur mechanism for an Eastman Kodak Auto Graflex Junior single lens reflex camera with a 120 film back adapted to fit. D76 and later on HC110 were part of the journey that, with some interruptions has been going on ever since. It was only when the Zone system was learnt that, stimulated by the acquisition of a Kodak Model B whole plate field camera, more thought and scrutiny went into the development process. D76 and the more convenient and long lasting HC110 were okay for the Zone System when processing single sheets of film at a time. Easy adjustments could be made to suit the subjects and the exposures. After returning to film a few years ago, using rolls of film with several exposures and several subjects on each roll, the limitations of D76 and HC110 became apparent. My best friend suggested I try a compensating developer and recommended DiXactol. This proved to be quite wonderful at preserving highlights and maintaining a nice spread of tones. DiXactol is expensive, but I really wanted to continue with the compensating developer regime and so tried the quite economical 510-PYRO. This proved to be about the best developer I'd ever used. The results are a delight, especially when the contrast range of a subject is extreme. I still use 510-PYRO for roll film but now have added the incredibly low cost OBSIDIAN AQUA to the arsenal, this has proved to be very useful with sheet film, although it is also a compensating developer and perfectly good for roll film, especially if fine grain and extra sharpness is required. I still prefer the tonal range that 510-PYRO can deliver so now the developing of each film is subject to a decision process. Fifty three years ago there was no decision to make. It was going to be D76 and that was that.


    RR
     
  20. Etr420

    Etr420 Member

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    Switched from full strength replenished D76 to replenished D23 a year ago. Not a vast difference as far as I can see, except fewer ingredients. Both are very solid developers. I currently use a hybrid workflow, so I might change my mind when I get around to wet printing again (after a 25 year break).
     
  21. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    I started on d76 as well. Still have a packet of it somewhere and a few bottles of stock solution I mixed up from a pack that I saw had just expired. I have tons of xtol, that's usually my favorite, but recently I have been shooting a number of older expired film stocks and hc110 dilution b helps with and fogging they might have.
     
  22. MSchuler

    MSchuler Subscriber

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    I switched to D-23 because I was having trouble with one of the D-76 ingredients (never determined which one) and found that D-23 was not significantly different, image-wise, and was easier to mix.

    Switched to Rodinal for slow film for better accutance.
     
  23. jk0592

    jk0592 Member

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    For the last 25 years have been using HC110 with Tri-X in 35mm (very little), 120 (a lot) and 4x5 format (moderately). Sometimes thinking of trying TMY and XTOL, also available in 3 formats, but never got around to it...It would be for curiosity, but the required testing is not fun to do and slows down my enthusiasm.
     
  24. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    No developer is more important than artistic content. But there are subtle differences...

    I used D76 for a while then moved to (primarily) Xtol 1+1. The sharpness/speed/graininess are all just a tiny bit better than with D76, but you need to be looking at prints side-by-side to tell the difference. D76 achieves smoothness by smearing grains whereas Xtol seems to just not grow them as much, so less softening effect is required. The net result is both increased resolution and decreased grain: I can get a grain-free 16x20" print from 6x7 TMY2 at EI800. Even at EI1600, there is only the barest hint of grain.

    Xtol is also far more convenient in the Jobo because I need only 75-100mL stock per roll, not 150-250mL. That matters a lot because I put 6 rolls in the tank, don't want to develop at stock concentration and need to keep the total volume to no more than 1L. With D76 at nominal capacity, I could develop only 2 rolls at a time and that would really suck.

    I also use Rodinal for fine slow films. The tonal curve is quite different and I use it when aiming for a particular low-key look that Xtol won't give me.
     
  25. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    I started with it.tried many others and came back to it;there is nothing much better than it.
     
  26. pstake

    pstake Member

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    I like the way negatives come out in the developers I use with the film I use. They give me results that suit my taste.

    IMHO, which developer you use depends somewhat on the film and/or lighting conditions, whether pushed/pulled, etc. —but most of it is just your preference, what combination gives you the look that you like. That, as much as anything, can help give your prints a signature.

    I think D-76/ID-11 gets used in schools and literature more than others because it gives consistently good, predictable results with just about every film. It's the vanilla of developers. It's easy to forget how good plain vanilla is (now I'm getting hungry!)