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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by StoneNYC View Post
    Wait is DD-X the equivalent developer to Tmax?
    Well, not really. Both are designed for high speed, and are very good for push processes.
    But DDX delivers finer grain (I did side by side comparisons under identical test conditions).

    Quote Originally Posted by StoneNYC View Post
    I thought there was NO true equivalent?
    There is one: Tetenal Ultrafin Plus. This developer has an almost identical formular compared to T-Max developer. You cannot distinguish the results of these two developers.

    Best regards,
    Henning

  2. #22

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    Stone: apples and oranges.

    DDX, TMax RS are fine grain PQ general purpose developers. They are designed to give full emulsion speed, good sharpness and grain. TMax RS was originally developed to get the most out of TMax films (which are finer grained than more traditional films). Later XTOL became another option which still gives good speed but with finer grain. Ilford presumably developed DDX primarily for its tabular Delta films since it is recommended by Ilford for those films. Compared with say D76/ID11, DDX and TMax RS developers will tend to give slightly higher grain and slightly higher speed.

    Perceptol is an extra-fine grain developer. It is a D23-variant designed for finer grain (Metol/Sulfite/Sodium Chloride) via lower pH and a high degree of solvent action. In exhange you get reduced sharpness and a speed loss of at least one stop. You can dilute it for slightly more grain and better sharpness but in my testing even at a 1+3 dilution it is best to accept at least 1 stop of lost speed or else you lose the extra fine grain effect and gain virtually nothing else.

    Most people tend to favour sharper developers with more speed than Perceptol with tabular films since they are already relatively fine grained to begin with. I would say Perceptol with a fast tabular film like Delta 3200 is an odd match. It's not as though a super fine grain developer is going to make D3200 look fine grained. You'll just get mushier-looking grain. There's only so much you can do to alter a film's inherent image characteristics - and if you do you inevitably make compromises.

    Michael

  3. #23
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    Developer for Ilford Delta 3200

    Quote Originally Posted by Henning Serger View Post
    Well, not really. Both are designed for high speed, and are very good for push processes.
    But DDX delivers finer grain (I did side by side comparisons under identical test conditions).



    There is one: Tetenal Ultrafin Plus. This developer has an almost identical formular compared to T-Max developer. You cannot distinguish the results of these two developers.

    Best regards,
    Henning
    So DD-X delivers finer grain than Kodak's T-Max? Is this the popular opinion? So DD-X with delta then for sure?

    Except maybe D3200 which would go best with Microdol(or whatever the name is) and pan F with perceptol(or whatever the name is) but what about Ilfsol 3? I thought THAT was the best for low ASA fine grain?


    ~Stone

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    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

  4. #24
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    Developer for Ilford Delta 3200

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    Stone: apples and oranges.

    DDX, TMax RS are fine grain PQ general purpose developers. They are designed to give full emulsion speed, good sharpness and grain. TMax RS was originally developed to get the most out of TMax films (which are finer grained than more traditional films). Later XTOL became another option which still gives good speed but with finer grain. Ilford presumably developed DDX primarily for its tabular Delta films since it is recommended by Ilford for those films. Compared with say D76/ID11, DDX and TMax RS developers will tend to give slightly higher grain and slightly higher speed.

    Perceptol is an extra-fine grain developer. It is a D23-variant designed for finer grain (Metol/Sulfite/Sodium Chloride) via lower pH and a high degree of solvent action. In exhange you get reduced sharpness and a speed loss of at least one stop. You can dilute it for slightly more grain and better sharpness but in my testing even at a 1+3 dilution it is best to accept at least 1 stop of lost speed or else you lose the extra fine grain effect and gain virtually nothing else.

    Most people tend to favour sharper developers with more speed than Perceptol with tabular films since they are already relatively fine grained to begin with. I would say Perceptol with a fast tabular film like Delta 3200 is an odd match. It's not as though a super fine grain developer is going to make D3200 look fine grained. You'll just get mushier-looking grain. There's only so much you can do to alter a film's inherent image characteristics - and if you do you inevitably make compromises.

    Michael
    Sorry I had miss-typed, I meant Microdol with D3200...

    Also, ok so then what exactly is "sharpness" I know being that I have done this for 18 years I should know but it's still confusing you would think finer grain would inherently give a sharper look, this is NOT true, so I would prefer my images look sharper (can i say crisper?) to finer grain since no one is looking at the grain on a wall.

    Of all the ilford and Kodak films I've developed I found Pan F+ to be the sharpest/fine grain looking images and I developed it all in Ilfsol 3 because that's all I have since that's what B&H stocks on the shelves and I seem to like liquid over powers (all the color developing I have done was with powders).

    But I'm ready to buy more developers and I just don't want to get stuck with something I don't like but I realize using Ilfsol 3 only is limiting and it's supposed to be best for low ASA films only. But should I even use it? No one ever talks about it, but it's ilfords newest developer I THINK so maybe it's better but no one has tried it?


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

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    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by StoneNYC View Post
    Sorry I had miss-typed, I meant Microdol with D3200...

    Also, ok so then what exactly is "sharpness" I know being that I have done this for 18 years I should know but it's still confusing you would think finer grain would inherently give a sharper look, this is NOT true, so I would prefer my images look sharper (can i say crisper?) to finer grain since no one is looking at the grain on a wall.

    Of all the ilford and Kodak films I've developed I found Pan F+ to be the sharpest/fine grain looking images and I developed it all in Ilfsol 3 because that's all I have since that's what B&H stocks on the shelves and I seem to like liquid over powers (all the color developing I have done was with powders).

    But I'm ready to buy more developers and I just don't want to get stuck with something I don't like but I realize using Ilfsol 3 only is limiting and it's supposed to be best for low ASA films only. But should I even use it? No one ever talks about it, but it's ilfords newest developer I THINK so maybe it's better but no one has tried it?


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

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    Stone, to a large degree yes fine grain and sharpness (you could call it crispness) are at opposite ends when balancing a developer's characteristics. It gets a little more complicated with more dilute developers where edge effects come into play, but don't worry about that. Just know that generally the finer grain a developer is formulated to produce, the less sharp the edges of the grain will be.

    Most general purpose solvent developers like D76/ID11, DDX, XTOL, TMax RS, Ilfosol etc etc are designed to give a good balance of both fine grain and good sharpness, without going too far in either direction. Developers like Rodinal, FX2, Beutler, and Pyro favour sharpness over fine grain. Developers like Microdol/Perceptol favour fine grain over sharpness.

    The differences become a little less clear if you alter dilutions, agitation etc. Generally the more you dilute a solvent developer the sharper it will get, with the tradeoff of higher graininess.

    What I would say is that from a grain or sharpness perspective you won't have a whole lot to gain or lose by switching from Ilfosol to DDX or TMax. What DDX or TMax RS offer is somewhat higher speed, at least with tabular grained films.

    How you use the developer is important and gives you some flexibility with respect to graininess and sharpness. And of course you can also control contrast (and film speed to some extent). So it is more about how you practice using the film/developer combination than switching developers. Many of the differences between similar types of developers are quite small. So I would not consider yourself limited in any way with Ilfosol. I have not used it myself but I'm sure it can do whatever you need it to do.

    If you want to learn a little more about the general types of developers, films and how they work together consider buying a copy of The Film Developing Cookbook. It's a pretty good compilation of information from good sources, and is easy to follow. This might help you decide whether you should stick with what you are using or perhaps go in a different direction.

  6. #26

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    This is grainy film - no way around that. As such you should focus on tonality and acutance. Realize that the nominal asa is closer to 1000, not 3200. If you want good tonality, rate it at 1000. Someone has already rightly pointed out that low light scenes are inherently more contrasty than not. Attempting to squeeze more film speed with extended developer times will lead to insanely dense highlights, blocked middle tones and no increased density in the shadow areas.

    I used to have a job shooting this stuff for aerial night photography. The preliminary part of the job was to test it with numerous developers. Surprise!...I discovered that compensating developers gave negs that yielded the most pleasing, easy to print results. At the time Cachet AB55 worked best(since discontinued) , followed by dilute ddx (gentle agitation scheme), and diafine. Now I prefer rodinal stand precisely for these reasons - eminently printable and razor-like acutance. There's really no point in using fine grain developers with high speed films like delta 3200. The results will look soft and blotchy.

    Now, at some point you'll have to stop asking questions about the myriad developer formulas and try it out yourself - either shoot or get off the pot!

  7. #27
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    I've shot a lot of D3200. Probably a few hundred rolls. I tried everything from D76 to XTOL and ultimately I got the best results shooting it at 1600asa and developing in DD-X. As has been mentioned earlier Ilford kind of intended the two to go hand in hand. Tonality looks great and the grain is reasonable. As has been mentioned, this is not a fine grain film, but it's not going to look like popcorn either. Another advantage of DD-X is that it is a 1L liquid concentrate and easy to handle. XTOL is a powder that mixes up in 5L batches, which is a lot more work.

  8. #28
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    What is "sharpness"? What a wonderful question

    Sharpness is made up of three inter-related components, and should probably be referred to as "perceived sharpness" because it is both objective and subjective.

    One of the components of "sharpness" is resolution - the capacity to render fine details. It can be objectively measured, and people tend to obsess over it, but relatively speaking resolution contributes the least amount to "sharpness".

    Generally speaking, with respect to films the finer the grain, the higher the resolution. With respect to developers, see below.

    The next component of "sharpness" is contrast. By contrast I refer to both overall range of light to dark - dynamic range - and so-called micro-contrast - the contrast between adjacent small details with different tones.

    The perception of sharpness is strongly affected by both the overall dynamic range of the image and how clearly contrasts between adjacent tones reveal themselves. For this reason, high key images don't usually strike the viewer as being very "sharp" even when they reveal a tremendous amount of detail, whereas images that have both deep shadows and sparkling highlights tend to look sharp even when they reveal minimum amounts of detail.

    High contrast films (like copy films) tend to give results that appear sharper for a number of reasons, including the fact that they have high inherent contrast.

    Some developers enhance the contrast capabilities of films (think lithographer's materials).

    The most important component of perceived sharpness is acutance - how accurately the film renders sharp edges of details. We perceive edges of details very well, and the rendering of those edges has the greatest effect on our perception of sharpness. Techniques such as unsharp masking are used to emphasize edges, and therefore enhance perceived sharpness.

    Where edges are rendered using discrete film grains (more accurately: discrete clumps of grains) the smaller those grains are, the better they are at representing a fine edge. So one would think that finer grain film would inevitably appear sharper. There is, however, another factor that comes to play. Our ability to perceive edges is very advanced. So advanced, in fact, that the rendering of the individual clumps of grains influences us. If the edges of the grains appear sharp, the image will appear more sharp to us. This effect actually manifests itself in a way where film that exhibits sharp edged large grain will often appear sharper than film that exhibits softer edged small grain.

    This is where the choice of developer is so important. Developer has a large effect on the appearance of grain. A higher acutance, normal grain developer used with a film that has larger grain (think Rodinal and Tri-X) appears sharper than a small grain film in a mid-level acutance developer (think X-Tol and TMY2), even though the resolution capability of the latter combination is much higher.

    So-called "fine grain" developers do reduce the size of the grain somewhat, but more importantly they reduce the appearance of the grain by softening the appearance of the edge of the clumps of grain. The graininess of the image is reduced, at the expense of the acutance - thus reducing the appearance of sharpness.

    When choosing films and developers, be careful about emphasizing "sharpness" or "graininess" over other concerns.

    As an aside that is only slightly relevant to APUG, the "sharpen" controls available in photo editing software all work by artificially enhancing edges. Both analogue and digital capture methods disrupt the rendering of edges, due to the fact that they break the details into discrete entities (either film grains/dye clouds or pixels) so a tool that attempts to "repair" that disruption is needed, but any such tool really can only at best approximate reality.
    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

  9. #29
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    Developer for Ilford Delta 3200

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    Stone, to a large degree yes fine grain and sharpness (you could call it crispness) are at opposite ends when balancing a developer's characteristics. It gets a little more complicated with more dilute developers where edge effects come into play, but don't worry about that. Just know that generally the finer grain a developer is formulated to produce, the less sharp the edges of the grain will be.

    Most general purpose solvent developers like D76/ID11, DDX, XTOL, TMax RS, Ilfosol etc etc are designed to give a good balance of both fine grain and good sharpness, without going too far in either direction. Developers like Rodinal, FX2, Beutler, and Pyro favour sharpness over fine grain. Developers like Microdol/Perceptol favour fine grain over sharpness.

    The differences become a little less clear if you alter dilutions, agitation etc. Generally the more you dilute a solvent developer the sharper it will get, with the tradeoff of higher graininess.

    What I would say is that from a grain or sharpness perspective you won't have a whole lot to gain or lose by switching from Ilfosol to DDX or TMax. What DDX or TMax RS offer is somewhat higher speed, at least with tabular grained films.

    How you use the developer is important and gives you some flexibility with respect to graininess and sharpness. And of course you can also control contrast (and film speed to some extent). So it is more about how you practice using the film/developer combination than switching developers. Many of the differences between similar types of developers are quite small. So I would not consider yourself limited in any way with Ilfosol. I have not used it myself but I'm sure it can do whatever you need it to do.

    If you want to learn a little more about the general types of developers, films and how they work together consider buying a copy of The Film Developing Cookbook. It's a pretty good compilation of information from good sources, and is easy to follow. This might help you decide whether you should stick with what you are using or perhaps go in a different direction.
    That was a very easy to understand and thorough explanation thanks! I wish you could "favorite" certain parts of a thread and save them so you don't lose them and can refer back to them without reading through 20 pages of response... Alas...

    Ok (and sorry to hijack this thread) but I am not an optical printer, I use a scanner, so scanability is HUGE for me, if a scanner reads grain better, I can always sharpen in post (which I'm slowly learning how to do) but if a scanner likes sharpness over grain I would go that rout, all I know is for B&W of TX400@400, tmax400@400, Pan F+@50, D3200@3200 and TX400@3200 and a few others, all developed in Ilfsol 3, the best was pan F in both crisp looking at full image and grain at 1:1 viewing, D3200 was better at 1:1 in the grain not having a blurry edge over everything but tmax which was still blurrier than pan F.

    This whole system is crazy haha I never used to think about this when I sent everything out, so I never really knew much and it's a bit overwhelming at times and if I had more $ I could risk just trying out different combo's but instead need to be more careful before I jump in.

    I'm going to re-read your post a few times more, but, I thought Ilfsol 3 wasn't as good for high ASA's and only good for 50-100, at least I read that on ilfords site somewhere, I also get turned off by the words "general purpose" because I often equate that to CRAP like you would call Kodak Gold film a general purpose film... Haha.

    I just want to know if I can get any more out of my Pan F+ from a different developer is all.

    I also have some tech pan and some plus-x that I want to take advantage of so I was thinking Adonol and Acros is cheaper than Delta 100 so I don't know if acros is traditional or Tgrain and what best to use with that?

    So, if I understand things, I've listed film combo's, would you change any of the following? And if its an OR, can you suggest a preferred choice?

    New Stuff I'll use a lot...

    Pan F+ - Ilfsol 3 OR Adonol?
    Acros - Ilfsol 3 OR Adonol? OR ID-II?
    Delta 400 - DD-X
    Delta 3200 - DD-X

    Old stock I want to take full advantage of...

    Technical Pan - Adonol?
    Plus-X - Adonol? OR ID-II?

    I have a lot of 70mm C-41 (like a few hundred feet) that I think I may cross process as B&W so if one of the developers that would be best for only say one type of film up there, but I could also use for the x-process it would be ok to say get THIS lol.

    Few! Ok I'll look at getting that book, thanks in advance for a second reply as well


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

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    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by frotog View Post
    This is grainy film - no way around that. As such you should focus on tonality and acutance. Realize that the nominal asa is closer to 1000, not 3200. If you want good tonality, rate it at 1000. Someone has already rightly pointed out that low light scenes are inherently more contrasty than not. Attempting to squeeze more film speed with extended developer times will lead to insanely dense highlights, blocked middle tones and no increased density in the shadow areas.

    I used to have a job shooting this stuff for aerial night photography. The preliminary part of the job was to test it with numerous developers. Surprise!...I discovered that compensating developers gave negs that yielded the most pleasing, easy to print results. At the time Cachet AB55 worked best(since discontinued) , followed by dilute ddx (gentle agitation scheme), and diafine. Now I prefer rodinal stand precisely for these reasons - eminently printable and razor-like acutance. There's really no point in using fine grain developers with high speed films like delta 3200. The results will look soft and blotchy.

    Now, at some point you'll have to stop asking questions about the myriad developer formulas and try it out yourself - either shoot or get off the pot!
    Have you actually tried it at 3200 in contrasty light or just giving the standard spiel?

    Like TMZ this film is inherently low contrast, so when pushed the contrast increase is less than one would expect and tonality still looks good.

    No doubt they look better at 1000, but I don't see the point in shooting Delta 3200 (or TMZ for that matter) at 1000. For that I personally like Tri-X in Diafine a lot better, unless you WANT more grain (though Delta 3200 and especially TMZ will certainly be sharper.) These films are made to push. I push the hell out of 'em. I go up to 6400 with TMZ at need and like the results. I've not tried Delta 3200 at 6400 but will have to do that.

    Oh BTW, WRT Cahcet AB55: I tried the stuff once. With Tri-X at least it gave me too much contrast, or at least more than I wanted though certainly easily printable, and grain like giant golf balls. I have never, ever, seen grain like that from Tri-X. Others seem to have had very different results but it put me off the stuff. No matter since it's gone anyway.

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