I agree with pretty much everything everyone is telling you. I replied to this one simply to point out that HC-110 need not have a more complex dilution regimen. You don't have to dilute it once to stock and again to working strength per Kodak. You can just dilute more from syrup concentrate as needed. Instructions for this are on the web and on here somewhere.
Originally Posted by MattKing
But the basic idea that differences in developers, at least THESE developers, pale to almost (but not quite) insignificance compared to differences in film choice are right on. There are other developers that make a bigger differences - pyro developers that stain the image, for example, will print differently on variable contrast versus graded papers, and two bath developers like Diafine are significantly different. But these are more like different brands of orange juice. The differences are there but vanish compared to, say, pineapple juice. ;) Ok, silly analogy but you get the point.
I use primarily T-Max RS, because I like the ease of dilution from concentrate and the tonality, mainly with Kodak films and Delta 3200 (because it's also an excellent pushing developer.) I also stock D76 which I use for other films, mainly because starting development data for T-Max and RS for many films is scarce from the manufacturers, all over the place (by which I mean, you can find times that vary hugely) on the web, and I don't feel like working out new times from scratch for every film when I can just use cheap, simple, effective, proven D76 1+1 and have very good data that will provide workable negatives first time every time, that I can then fine tune a bit if needed. I also keep Diafine because it does things for me that I have not found any other developer to do and that I occasionally find very useful. It lasts forever (almost) and is super simple to use so it's not like I'm fooling with another developer that takes lots of tweaking and experimentation - besides, I've used if for decades and I pretty well know exactly what to expect from it with certain films.
Xtol is fine and a great developer but I dislike the 5L quantities and though it's cheap enough I could just mix it fresh every six months and throw out probably three liters of that I also found that it tends to expire rather unpredictably with no indication that it's dead. For someone developing as infrequently as I get to do, that's not a good thing.
Since I don't develop film nearly as often as I'd like I am considering changing from D76 to HC-110 though.
I may not have been as clear as I might have.
I referred to HC-110 dilution as being slightly more complex, because in my mind, anything that is more likely to require an eyedropper or pipette as compared to a graduated shot glass to measure volumes is at least slightly more complex than the alternative.
But I do agree that the intermediate stock approach recommended as one alternative by Kodak only makes sense when large volumes of film are involved.
I'll add my two cents.... I've been developing my own film for over 40 years, and have tried a lot of developers. That said, I've found that sticking to one developer and learning all you can about what it will or won't do, is the best bet for consistent results. But that's just me. I've used HC-110 for about 15 years now, as it stores very well, gives me the results I want, and I don't develop film on a regular basis. I will tell you that X-tol will go bad in the package. I had some for about 6 mos. and used it, and got no images at all. When I contacted Kodak about this problem, they said that it has a short shelf life, even in the package. (but for some reason they don't date it like their film.) Also, you don't know how long this developer has been on the shelf in the store either. But hey, I hear that ink will dry up in your printer too, if left to sit for a long time!
Ain't life a grin?
Please keep in mind that famous slider chart from Kodak is rather arbitrary in "scale". The differences are quite small, and the ways in which you use them make much more meaningful differences, potentially moving those sliders. For example most people use D76 at a 1+1 dilution rather than full strength. In the end these are all general purpose solvent developers.
Ah, ok. I have a couple of graduated cylinders that make accurate, or plenty accurate enough, measurements in few ml quantities easy, so that didn't even occur to me. :)
Originally Posted by MattKing
I just use a large 25ml syringe, cost $1 on the pharmacy, people use them from everything to feeding kittens to photography and medicine =)
If I want to be +-1ml correct, I have a 5ml syringe too, but as someone mentioned earlier, the water-jug used to measure up 500-1000ml are rarely exact enough, so +-1ml is usually mute.
So far the tonality out of S-curve developers (like Xtol) are much nicer for me than the upswept curve developers (HC-110 and T-Max Developer)
In any case:
This topic is nice but sometimes it kills me, i don't know which developer i should use all the time even all will give me great results and i am not that much guy who check the sharpness and details in the shots, so it is like all the developers will do the job for me.
But honestly speaking, the only 2 Kodak developers i used already are TMAX and D-76, and the TMAX won my vote always, so i feel this developer passed the test successfully, D-76 i will use it only for test or just films not very important for me, and i still have XTOL no opened in the box bought about 3 years ago[i hope it is still fine], and also HC-110 bought almost 1 year and never used it yet, from my experience with 3 developers i feel liquid devs are fantastic, i have to test ID-11 which is similar to D-76 as you all say and see if it will do better job than D-76 or same results, also would like to test another powder dev against liquid for same film and see, my feelings telling me that liquid stock dev will win the contest, hope XTOL will be exceptional here.
ID-11 will be exactly the same as D76, because it IS exactly the same as D76. At one time they introduced an ID11 Plus which had a silver sequestering agent which was supposed to improve sharpness (I tried it and I thought it did) but when the T-grain films came out it apparently caused problems with those and they went back to the straight D76 formula.