250 ml Caffenol-C-M coast me 0.30 EUR. Rodinal and Parodinal 1:50 is about 0.10 EUR. Peanuts anyway. Most developers are quite cheap. Expensive f.e. is Emofin, about 1.50 EUR for 1 development.
Yes, P and M are cross sensitizing, but allergies are rare and toxicity is low. Q is really bad, allergies are frequent, it's probably carcinogenic. Buying Q here is very restricted, no selling to private persons as raw chemical, P and M you can buy without limitations.
Sorry if that is not of interest for the OP.
I have two developers I always keep on hand, HC-110 and Rodinal (Blazinal is my local flavour). Between these two there is no common B&W film that you cannot develop.
Other developers I have used, D-76/ID-11 (D-76 is Kodak, ID-11 is Ilford, basically the same thing). These two are great catch-all, cheap, and easy to use film developers. Ilford Ilfosol 3, decent developer if all you're developing is slow Ilford Films. It doesn't really play well with non-ilford stocks I've found.
I have yet to try XTOL, but I do have the packages to mix up a batch.
As for stop...I personally just use water for my stop as I mostly use HC-110 and Rodinal which are both highly diluted developers. I use Ilfostop for D-76/XTOL processing as they're a bit stronger. Fix, is Ilford Rapid Fixer (and Kodafix with hardener for my Adox/Efke films. Another good fixer out there is TF-5 from the Photographer's Formulary.
another vote for caffenol ... its good-stuff !
Originally Posted by dorff
i just processed film in caffenol i mixed 2 months + ago which had maybe 8 or 9 rolls of film through it
and a handful of paper. no replenishment, just a seasoned batch ...
2 L lasted me 6 months last year, and hundreds of sheets /rolls of film + paper ...
YMMV of course :)
Not in the UK ... about 33p per roll of 135 developed ... for me anyway.
Originally Posted by dorff
"which developer should i use?" is a question that leads to Hell anyway, as the thread just fills with people naming their personal favourite ;)
Most BW developers are safe provided one does not ingest them. Three exceptions would be those based on pyrogallol, catechol, and paraphenylenediamine. The first two are toxic by skin absorption and the last can cause severe allergic dermatitis.
Based on the original post, I would honestly suggest a little more reading (not online) if the desire is to try a few things with different characteristics, gain a better understanding of the differences, and learn how we can control or alter them (to some extent). Something straight forward like The Film Developing Cookbook might be a good read. A few basics are in order here:
1. Developers fall broadly into two categories - solvent or "fine grain" types, and non-solvent. A solvent developer typically yields finer graininess, while a non-solvent developer typically yields slightly higher sharpness but will tend to accentuate the graininess of the film. However "sharpness" is a relatively complex thing, and difficult to evaluate objectively. Within these two categories there are variations, extremes, and crossovers. The working characteristics of the developer are determined by the types and concentrations of its main components (developing agent(s), alkali "activator", preservative, and restrainer).
2. In some cases a developer can be either solvent and non-solvent. D-76 at stock strength is a fine grain solvent developer. Diluted 1+3 it is effectively a non solvent developer.
3. The working properties/characteristics of essentially all developers are affected to varying degrees by how they are used: dilution, development times, and the frequency of agitation.
4. The type of film is an important consideration. Developers may work a little differently with different films. Further, the image structure characteristics of the final image are determined mostly by the choice of film. The developer affects these characteristics, but cannot alter the basic characteristics of the film. So for example, no ultra-fine grain developer will turn a coarse grained film into a fine grained film.
Originally Posted by Truzi
After all, it's your darkroom and photography, you can do whatever you want, and I actually encourage it. If trying different developer is what you want to do, by all means, buy 5 different kinds and try them out. D-76, XTOL, HC-110, Rodinal, and Diafine comes up in forum conversations, so that'll be a good place to start. You asked if you will see some obvious and noticeable difference from your (self-admitted) novice and inexperienced eyes. My answer to that direct question is NO. You might see some difference but you have no basis to tell if the difference is due to the developer or process variance. It doesn't change THAT much with different developers even when you intentionally do something. You can often print differently and make them all look pretty much identical. Conversely, you can just stick with one and print differently to get different looks.
One thing I might tell you is that I might use the same developer, D-76, but I don't process with same dilution, same temp, and same time. Sometimes I use 1:1, sometimes I use stock. Sometimes longer, sometime shorter dev time. All these aren't experimental. There are routine and valid reasons for doing these changes.
I think you have your mind set on trying out different formulations because you are trying to convince us why, when most people are saying don't bother, at least not yet. Go right ahead and enjoy it. I may ask opinions on forums like you do but it is my darkroom and my photography. Sometimes I do things because I want to. There's nothing wrong with that.
Truly the best way to see obvious differences is to look at other peoples photographs. Not only will you see the results of a certain combination of film and developer, but also see the context of why somebody with experience used that combination to fulfill a goal. Try Flickr or the other photo sharing sites, the images are often accompanied by notes.
Originally Posted by Truzi
Processing should be based on knowledge, with sound reasons to do something, and with a sound plan. The alternative of going on a wing and a prayer is that you will never know if you made a mistake, or if it could be better.
With little experience of neg processing try a range of developers from say very fine grain such as Perceptol through Xtol, ID11, a staining developer, two bath and eventually to Rodinal and use the recommended times. It will help if you stick to one film while doing this.
Will you learn a lot? I doubt it but you might enjoy yourself. If trying a range of developers with one or more films is your desire then do it. As John Wayne said: "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do" or woman :D
Do not expect an agreed list of developers to try, with (even less likely) a list of agreed "differences" to watch for. As someone has already said, the pursuit of that end leads to madness.
You need to be sane when you draw your own conclusions and then act on them :D
I would suggest reading the notes on developers in my FAQ. You've got plenty of good suggestions and explanations here but I have one thing to add: choose ONE developer and learn it inside-out, i.e. see how its behaviour changes with dilution and agitation patterns. Certainly try a couple of developers, but concentrate 90% of your energy on just one and you will get much better results. I would suggest running at least 20 rolls through any given developer to make sure you have a good feel for how it behaves.
The common options:
- D76 is the can't-go-wrong classic
- XTOL is very much like D76 but a tiny bit better in most ways (resolution, grain magnitude, achieved film-speed)
- Rodinal is a non-solvent developer, therefore grainier and sometimes sharper. Extremely flexible for H-D curve manipulations.
They're all good in their own way; you have to find which one suits your artistic goals best and perfect its use. No one really agrees on which is best.
I strongly recommend Way Beyond Monochrome. It'll give you every bit of information you need to make excellent negatives and prints - way better than a bunch of us waffling on the internet.