What do you mean? Yes, I've developed every film I use with Diafine in other, single bather developers. I like Diafine, but I don't use it exclusively.
I have certainly compared it to pushing Tri-X in several other developers. I like the results I get with Diafine at 1250 better than I got with anything else including D76 and T-Max and Xtol.
Now if you mean "did I take that shot and also develop single bath" no, of course not. I had Pan F+ in the camera and exposed for what I planned to do with it. I don't mean to imply no other developer would have given as good or maybe better results. I just posted it to show that Diafine can give good results. At least, I like that one.
Why use 2-Bath develoers:
1. They are easy to use and hard to mess up--almost foolproof. Almost impossible to overdevelop, and not very sensitive to temperature.
2. They give quality negativeswithout obsessing about type of developer.
3. For roll films, they allow for a mix of lighting and contrast without changing development method. This is "compensation" and sometimes important for exposures with a wide range of values; it keeps the highlights from blowing out.
D-23 and D-76 (traditional Metol based developers) can be compounded as 2-bath versions and are good ones to start with. Some, like Diafine, are more agressive, and provide some speed increase (maybe?), typically using phenidone as the developing agent.
Bath A contains the developing agent and preservative; Bath B contains the accelerator and sometimes preservative.
Technique: develop in bath A for 3 minutes (typically); pour out A; don't rinse; pour in bath B for 3 minutes; pour out. Rinse, Fix. Agitation is either continuous or intermittent.
There's wide argument about the speed increase from Diafine. It does depend very much on the film. Tri-X is almost made for it, or more like the other way around. I don't care about the densitometric arguments - shoot Tri-X at box speed and develop in Diafine and I almost bet you won't like the results. I say "almost" because some people apparently do but to my eye they look way overexposed, unnecessarily grainy, less sharp and just plain difficult to print when shot at 400.
Well chacun à son gout, but I wonder if it improves the image?
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
I believe it does for me for the times and places I use it with these films. It lets me shoot Tri-X where I'd otherwise shoot TMZ or, now that it's gone and when I run out, Delta 3200, both good films but overkill for EI 1250 and far grainier than the results I get in Diafine. I can get similar results with Pan F+ in D76 but only if I shoot it at EI 32 and reduce development. Developing for box speed gives what is often (depends on the subject and light of course) more contrast and highlight density than I want.
Bottom line is that I personally like it. If we dismiss anything not strictly necessary we'd all use D76 or D23.
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I often use Emofin. According to my tests and plotting with Tmax 400 it does not really increase the speed at .1 above b+f but the shadow areas of the curve are upswept giving the shadows more contrast and detail (in that regard it does give you more speed) and the lights flatten off again. Which would be an advantage in low light / high contrast scenes. Of course no miracles.
The grain is a bit soft. I used to use it a lot when photographing on the street to compensate different lighting situations and I got fine results.
Every now and then I still use it and find it to be a very good developer but not for everone and not ideal in every situation.
I mostly shoot Tri-X and almost exclusively use divided developers.
Barry Thornton's 2-bath (BT2B)
Three ingredients, dirt cheap, gorgeous results.
Barry Thornton claimed that it also gave full speed,
but I have no way of verifying that claim.
I push Tri-X to 1000/1250/1600 in Diafine.
Once the soup has ripened a little you get these gorgeous, pearly negatives.
I would like to give Divided D76 a try. A friend of mine used it and I very much liked the results he was getting.
- Compensating action. It's next to impossible to blow out the highlights.
This is a big deal to me and one of the main reasons why I still haven't switched to digital.
You will also get very good shadow detail.
- Extremely consistent from roll to roll.
- Very forgiving to exposure differences on the same roll or errors.
- Close to idiot proof in use. No agitation needed, works across a wide rage of temperatures.
- Beautiful results. Once the soup ripens a little you get these ultra smooth, silvery images.
Diafine at least I can agree is very nice. I've not used the others but wouldn't mind experimenting with them as I like the principle.
I think some people seem to think two bath is somehow a lot of trouble or something so thus the "why?" questions. They're really so easy and long lasting and idiot proof a better question would be "why use finicky single bath developers?" And the answer for me would be versatility for + and - developing and convenience of being more readily available, maybe a few other reasons.
But nobody bothers to ask someone who uses D76 or Rodinal or Xtol or HC110 or even self mixed D23 why they do so, much less if the image actually benefits from these developers.
There is no magic, all these can produce good results, but two bath is very simple and easy to use and does have some advantages.
Originally Posted by Harry Lime
I got full speed out of Tmax 400 and Fuji Acros with Thornton's 2-bath.
Tri-x and HP5 only 250 ASA.
Thanks to everyone for their replies and input, all intersting.
I was intrigued by the reported capabilities of a 2 bath system for coping with fairly mixed lighting on a roll of film and what appears to be a different way of handling/dealing with low/high contrast lighting than the zone system route. I get (for me) very good results with ID11 dilute 1:1 and the zone system especially where I can control the lighting/contrast e.g. studio style but occasionally when "out & about" it can be difficult to match varying lighting situations to the chosen +1/N/-1 dev pattern for the loaded film - only so many film backs! Any speed gains were less of a primary concern.
Seems like it might be worth trying out one of these 2 bath systems, just to see what happens and perhaps have another route to follow, in certain circumstances!
More suggestions welcomed.