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  1. #1
    Helinophoto's Avatar
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    Kodak dev or Kodak dev, what's the difference?

    Hi

    Please help me understand the difference between these developers, as their datasheets really doesn't shed any light on it (and I am not chemical engineer or expert :P)-
    I've used TMax developer, XTol and currently HC-110 and I find it difficult to find any huge differences in these.

    I can push Acros to 400 with HC-110 easily, and with good results, even though the datasheet doesn't say so for that developer for example.

    So what gives?

    KODAK PROFESSIONAL HC-110 Developer
    HC-110 Developer is a highly concentrated liquid developer. It is intended for use with a variety of black-and-white films, some graphic-arts films,
    and some glass plates.
    It can be used for replenished and non-replenished systems.
    Use KODAK PROFESSIONAL HC-110 Developer Replenisher to replenish.

    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/profe...bs/j24/j24.pdf

    KODAK PROFESSIONAL XTOL Developer
    XTOL Developer is a two-part powder developer for processing Kodak and other manufacturers’ normally exposed, pushed, or pulled
    black-and-white films. It offers full emulsion speed and easy mixing, and can be used as both a developer and a replenisher in a variety of equipment, from small tanks (8
    to 64 fluidounces), trays, or rotary tubes to high-volume processors.

    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/profe.../j109/j109.pdf

    KODAK PROFESSIONAL T-MAX Developers
    T-MAX Developer is a moderately active, liquid black-and-white film developer that offers enhanced shadow detail in normally processed
    and push-processed films.

    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/profe...bs/j86/j86.pdf

    KODAK PROFESSIONAL D-76 Developer
    D-76 Developer provides full emulsion speed and excellent shadow detail with normal contrast, and produces fine grain with a variety of
    continuous-tone black-and-white films.
    For greater sharpness, but with a slight increase in graininess, you can use a 1:1 dilution of this developer.
    It yields a long density range, and its development latitude allows push processing with relatively low fog.

    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/profe...bs/j78/j78.pdf


    I'm none the wiser, but HC-110 works very nicely with most films I've tried so far (Acros, Neopan 400, Roillei IR400).
    Why are there so many different types here?
    -
    "Nice picture, you must have an amazing camera."
    Visit my photography blog at: http://helino-photo.blogspot.com

  2. #2
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    They are all b&w film developers marketed by Kodak, and by now likely made by Champion.

    HC-110 in the B dilution is awefully like d-76 at full stock or 1:1 use to my eyes. HC-110 has the convenience of a liquid concentrate with a quite long life. Not like Agfa Rodinal long, but a few years anyway.

    I have not played with t-max or xtol developer - they are 'newer' than my experience in photography, and I am mostly happy with the old dogs.

    Tmax films (tabular - or flat if you will -silver crystals) are much more suceptible to development variations than traditional (cubic -or non flat silver crystal) films. So Tmax might work easier on them, or at least be marketted in that manner.

    I think Xtol is a more advanced ie. more modern (although 20 years old) ascorbic acid based developer.
    I have never felt the need to use it, altough I must say this is most likely because I usually mix my own developers from scratch.
    I have played with vitamin C based developers, and they can make nice negatives. Pat (gadget) gainers PC-TEA was handy like hc-110.

    Why is there more than one 4 door sedan sold by General Motors? And why are there different trim packages - becuase they can....
    my real name, imagine that.

  3. #3

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    Dear Helinophoto,

    Developer choice is definitely secondary to film choice. There are no magic elixirs, but choices can be made for good reasons. Sometimes a little nuance is good for the photographer's soul. :>)

    Here is a comparison on the Kodak site of their developers: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/profe...?pq-path=14053

    I hope it helps,

    Neal Wydra

  4. #4
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    You'll also notice from the chart (in the link Neal posted) that of those developers listed Xtol gives the best all round sharpness, fine grain, speed etc something most of us would agree with from experience.

    Ian

  5. #5
    andrew.roos's Avatar
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    They use different developing chemicals.

    D-76 is a classic Metol / Hydroquinone (MQ) developer.

    HC-110 is a Phenidone / Hydroquinone (PQ) developer. Results should be very similar to D-76. Beneficial if you suffer contact dermintitis from Metol and lasts longer in solution, hence can be supplied as a liquid concentrate rather than in powder form.

    XTOL is a Phenidone / Ascorbic Acid (PC since Ascorbic Acid is Vitamin C) developer. A more recent and advanced forumlation.

  6. #6

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    To be really correct neither HC-110 nor Xtol uses Phenidone but rather a Phenidone derivative Dimezone S. Xtol is a poor choice for those who process film infrequently.

    Rather than being an advanced formulation, Xtol is a rather conventional high sulfite developer similar to D-76 or Microphen. The only real difference is the use of ascorbic acid rather than hydroquinone. The really advanced and unconventional developer is HC-110 even though it is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
    Last edited by Gerald C Koch; 05-18-2012 at 10:10 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

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  7. #7
    artonpaper's Avatar
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    My own experience is that HC-110B has a tighter more even grain pattern than D-76. It can be readily observed with a grain magnifier and also in prints of sufficient magnification. D-76 1:1 on the other hand produces more acutance and edge effects. I have little experience with X-Tol and T-Max Developer. I have found that T-Grain films work nicely with Rodinal at 1:31, BTW. The differences take time to appreciate and everyone has different opinions which ones are best. Back in the 70s, when photographers started talking about their work, one of the first questions was, what film and developer combination do you use? Now it's Canon or Nikon, Photoshop or Lightroom.

  8. #8
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helinophoto View Post
    I'm none the wiser, but HC-110 works very nicely with most films I've tried so far (Acros, Neopan 400, Roillei IR400).
    Why are there so many different types here?
    There are differences in these developers that will cause a person to develop a preference.

    For example, I like using Xtol because it gives extreme shadow detail at 1:1 dilution. This is perfect for push processing when I need more speed from the film I have at hand.
    It works very well as a replenished system for film shot at normal speed (loses 1/2 stop film speed / shadow detail compared to stock), and the convenience is that it's a developer where the replenisher and the developer is the same solution. It's a powder, which means that when I order it, shipping cost is low, and it's a good way to reduce carbon emissions from shipping. As a powder, I can order 50 bags and store them for years or decades before I use them, so they store well. So, to me this is a better solution than any of the other developers.

    D76 is great because it's a developer that has literally a metric shedload of information available on it. Any photography teacher that has dealt with darkroom will know how to use it and help out. Plus, it's a fine solvent developer that gives results that nobody can really argue with. A fine powder developer that has the convenience of being available in small packets for low volume processing, mixing a quart at a time. D76-R used to be available for replenishing, but isn't anymore. I believe you can mix your own, if you're into that sort of thing and have the appropriate equipment.

    HC-110 - liquid concentrate with high flexibility in varying dilutions. Longer developing time = more shadow detail, which is what you get when you dilute it a lot. Lasts forever and is easy to mix. Moderately fine grain and normal film speed. Inexpensive. Used to have a replenishing solution available, but from what I understand it's possible to replenish using just the developer. Not sure how to do it, and if it's stable in the long term like Xtol is.

    TMax and TMax RS - liquid concentrate with qualities similar to Xtol, but with a 'brighter' tonality, meaning a little bit more punch to the highlights. Also has slightly larger grain, but has the same wonderful film speed abilities. Can be replenished (even the regular TMax).

    Basically, you find what you like and run with it. If you're getting good results with HC-110 - exactly why do you want to switch to something else? Is there a specific reason? For example, if you want more shadow detail, and a developer that's generally recommended to give better results in push processing, Xtol or TMax would be a better choice. If you want finer grain and sharper negs, Xtol is a good choice. Etc.

    But in the end, like you suggest yourself, the differences aren't that great, and the end result of great prints depend a lot more on how you use your developer, than what materials you use.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  9. #9
    MattKing's Avatar
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    While the results you obtain from each developer will be slightly different, it is issues of practicality that really differentiate the choices.

    If you want the convenience of easy dilution offered by a typical liquid concentrate, T-Max or T-Max RS will appeal to you.

    If you want the ease of shipping and storage offered by powdered developer, D-76 or X-Tol will appeal to you. Between the two, D-76 offers the opportunity to mix smaller quantities.

    If you want extremely long storage life and high flexibility of dilution, and are comfortable with a slightly more complex dilution regime, HC-110 will appeal to you.

    If you want to use developer in a replenishment regime, T-Max RS and X-Tol will definitely appeal to you. HC-110 has historically required a separate replenisher (recently discontinued), but some are experimenting with use of standard HC-110 for that purpose.

    If you want to develop high volumes of film, some of the choices are available in industrial quantities .
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  10. #10
    Helinophoto's Avatar
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    Wow, thank you all for valuable information =)

    I'm not really planning to change from HC-110 very soon (although I do have a pack of XTol in my cupboard where food used to be ).

    It's interesting to get a glimpse of what the differences really are, because, coming into this pretty late in the game, there are a whole heap of chemical alternatives and usually the answers and papers can cause even more confusion.

    I'll surely take a mental note of the chart Neal linked to, looks like HC-110 is in the middle of the pack.
    - The big plus (for me) with HC-110 is that it's a long lasting developer, because I shoot very small volumes and I find it easy to use and also gives very nice results.
    My untrained eyes, would probably have hard time differing between the same film developed in XTol and in D-76, I'm just not that seasoned yet. (plus, my metering is usually a bit iffy as well, so there are several sources for error over here ^^)
    -
    "Nice picture, you must have an amazing camera."
    Visit my photography blog at: http://helino-photo.blogspot.com

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