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  1. #1

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    Follow-up questions to jnanian's developer survey

    This is a follow-up to John's survey about which/how many developers people use.

    1. I'd like to know what chemicals, film and paper people started out with - the first stuff you used. Chemicals include film and print developers, fixer etc.

    2. In reference to the above, how did you come to start out with them? eg: Were you taught by somebody? Did you read about them in a book? Were they the materials your favourite photographer used? Were they simply the materials available to you? Etc.

    3. If you are not still using the materials you began with, why? Did you read more and want to try stuff? Were you disatisfied with what you were using? Did certain materials become unavailable? Did you get caught in the search for magic formulas, films etc? Did your style change?

    4. Have you come full circle with anything? For example in the case of film developers, did you start out with D-76, then explore everything from D-1 to FX-whatever, and ultimately end up back with D-76? Same question applies to films, paper, paper developers.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Rick A's Avatar
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    I started with a Kodak Holiday Brownie and 127 Pan X film in the early 60's. My first DR was an Ansco kit from Sears with universal developer and a contact printer. By the late 60's I was using Kodak products nearly exclusivly. My camera of choice by then was an Argus brick followed in 1969 by an Olympus FTL and a Yashica D. Still used mostly Kodak and Agfa papers with Kodak chems into the 80's.
    These days I use Pyro developers, along with D-76 and Rodinal for film. I use Ethol LPD for paper and Ilford, Forte, plus Fotokemika Emaks and Varikon papers.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  3. #3
    StoneNYC's Avatar
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    Follow-up questions to jnanian's developer survey

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    This is a follow-up to John's survey about which/how many developers people use.

    1. I'd like to know what chemicals, film and paper people started out with - the first stuff you used. Chemicals include film and print developers, fixer etc.

    2. In reference to the above, how did you come to start out with them? eg: Were you taught by somebody? Did you read about them in a book? Were they the materials your favourite photographer used? Were they simply the materials available to you? Etc.

    3. If you are not still using the materials you began with, why? Did you read more and want to try stuff? Were you disatisfied with what you were using? Did certain materials become unavailable? Did you get caught in the search for magic formulas, films etc? Did your style change?

    4. Have you come full circle with anything? For example in the case of film developers, did you start out with D-76, then explore everything from D-1 to FX-whatever, and ultimately end up back with D-76? Same question applies to films, paper, paper developers.

    Thanks
    1. Started shooting film 18 years ago but never developed my own till a year ago. So skipping to then, Started with Ilfsol 3 and I tried out most emulsions but was drawn to PanF+ being the only slow film available from my local lab. I tried a lot if emulsions from different vendors, read a lot and saw others post of old films that were gone and were so AMAZING so I've now shot on most of them, for the most part I disagree with the quality, but Tech Pan and Panatomic-X are both as nice as they say. The rest I can live without.

    2. Mostly I went to B&H to get my sink "darkroom" setup and the guy just handed me everything including all the ilford chems (Ilfsol 3/stop/fix) said nothing about wetting agent or hypo clear, and have me a dreaded JOBO tank which IMHO was a disaster, spills, etc, though he hooked me up with the Samigon plastic spirals which are WAY easier to load than JOBO/Paterson reels. I took them all home and watched YouTube videos and ended up following the ilford "developing for the first time" instruction manuals.

    3. I moved on to E-6 and loved it but hated the unavailability of chemistry, still on the search for that full setup. I also started trying developers that people often mentioned (D76/Dd-X/Rodinal/HC110(b)/Technidol) :wink: and found that Ilfsol 3 is pretty good but it's cost is high and it's shelf life short, but it has it's applications, both ailfsol 3 and HC-110 both seem to be good with highly fogged/old film. I've settled on Rodinal for most slower traditional films and DD-X for High speed T-grain films for the most part. DD-X also has a bad shelf life and costs too much (compared to Rodinal) but seems to be the best for the job. Tried every film I could, have settled on a few and still uncertain of many.

    4. I started with PanF+ and have to say its still my favorite if all. I use that for portraits and landscapes, it's really beautiful. I use Acros 100 for night photography for its reciprocity characteristics but if it didn't exist I might settle in PanF+ for that as well. HP5's tones I like but wanted a finer grain fit SOME applications so I also have yet to try Delta400 but did try Tmax400 but I did not enjoy, found it sort of... Boring, but I'm still experimenting and trying some techniques I was told about. Used both P3200 and Delta 3200 and both are similar, Delta is available in 120 so sticking with that. The tones are actually really nice and come out great if shot at 800 or 3200 during the day rather than at night, the grain is much better and details amaze. I went back to give Ilfsol 3 another chance, I still think it's a really good developer, and even though its a one use, I've developed up to 6 rolls (or 12 if using a 2 reel tank) in the same developer adding 30 seconds to each run after the first and seen no significant change or dev exhaustion. So in a pinch it can be extended. But ultimately shelf life and economy get higher priority and Rodinal gives really nice tones for what I prefer.

    I have yet to do my own printing so I cannot comment on that side

    Few that was longer than I expected!


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

  4. #4
    StoneNYC's Avatar
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    Follow-up questions to jnanian's developer survey

    Oh and I want to try pyro / PMK or whatever the Kodalk one is, it appears nice I'm just not sure if photographers formulary is the right one or there is another. But that's really the end if my "discovery phase", then it's in to wet plate stuff


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

  5. #5

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    Hi Michael,

    Boy am I going to date myself. When I was about 11 years old my parents gave me a Kodak ABC Photo Lab Outfit. It contained a contact printing box, Kodak Brownie safelight, trays, film clips, graduate, thermometer, a packet of Velox paper, and a Tri-Chem pack. The Tri-Chem pack contained foil packets to make 8 ounces of universal developer, stop bath and fixer. I have been hooked ever since.

    My camera was a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye which took 620 film. Film was developed by see-sawing it in the three trays. Most film those days was orthochromatic and so this was easy to do using the red cup on the safelight.

    Somewhat later I bought a copy of Kodak's book for mixing your own chemicals. I bought a Kodak balance and started mixing my own developers probably D-76 and D-72. A photostore near where I lived sold Kodak chemicals such as Elon, hydroquinone and hypo.

    A few years ago I was able to buy two Kodak ABC outfits. One is new in the box and never even opened.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  6. #6

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    Stone: Yes PMK is the Kodalk (ie Metaborate) one. PMK stands for Pyro-Metol-Kodalk. Formulary sells pre-mixed PMK which is handy.

  7. #7
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    Hmmm. When I began, back in the late Bronze Age (mid/late 1950s), I believe I used Kodak Tri-Chem packs and then graduated to D76, Microdol (I'm thinking that was before it was the -X stuff) -- and Dektol for prints. Exactly how I arrived at that, I'm not sure; it almost had to be a Kodak product, as local stores were pretty well saturated with yellow boxes (and cans!) and not too much else. I pretty well drifted into color and lab processing (once i had a real job) for several decades. I did do a bit of LF B&W in the late 60s and early 70s during which I may have used HC110 -- can't honestly remember.

    Then when I came back to doing some B&W here in the 21st C, I started with D-76. I see that as sort of the gold standard, practically every film maker mentions times for it; and using it is generally predictable. But simple practicality and economics caused me to switch to HC110, using 1+63 as a one-shot. I don't shoot massive amounts of film, and it tends to be in fits and starts, so the one shot from concentrate makes for much less waste, the concentrate lasts forever, and I like the results anyway. I have tried a couple of other print developers, but seem to be back at Dektol.

    Hopefully if the unthinkable happens, I can find and use some other maker's equivalents.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch View Post

    I bought a Kodak balance and started mixing my own developers probably D-76 and D-72. A photostore near where I lived sold Kodak chemicals such as Elon, hydroquinone and hypo.
    Gerald - very interesting for me to imagine actually walking into a brick and mortar store to buy Elon. There were only two or three stores here that ever had that kind of supply and variety. One of them was not too far from where I lived and when I was very young my father would take me there with him nearly every friday night where he'd buy film or developer or paper. Unfortunately that store closed before I got into photography but I still remember the shelves and shelves of everything you could imagine.

    As a chemist, did you ever find yourself wanting to try all sorts of developers over the years (staining, Crawley, etc) or did you basically stick with D-23/D-76/D-72?

  9. #9
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    I started off with Oriental Seagull paper in the blue-and-white boxes. When that went away, I switched to Bergger VCCB. I'm not sure what I would use now if I wanted to print silver gelatin enlargements, as I think they've changed the formulation of the Bergger (IIRC, Ilford now coats it for them, whereas it used to be Forte). I think I was using Sprint or Edwal paper developer at home, Dektol at school. I switched to Ansco 130 as my primary developer because I got tired of getting greenish bromide undertones from the Dektol on warmtone papers. I have also used (and still have a stash of) the Ilford Warmtone and Cooltone developers (the Cooltone developer is no longer made which is a shame... it was nice for either cooling down a warmtone paper or doing split warm/cool development to produce cool shadows and warm highlights).

    For film developer I started off with Edwal FG7, then I found Edwal TG7 which did a better job on the T-grain films like Tmax and Delta. I was mostly shooting Tmax 100 and 400. Then I moved to Rodinal for film developer. After joining APUG, I was taught about pyro developers for film, and started using PMK. After using PMK for a while, someone else clued me in to Pyrocat HD, which I have stuck with since. It makes more sense for me to use Pyro because I'm now almost exclusively doing alt-process printing, and the contrast-boosting properties of pyro developers make that easier. Today my films are primarily FP4+, Arista EDU Ultra 200 and TMAX 400 in b/w.
    Last edited by TheFlyingCamera; 02-22-2013 at 12:20 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #10
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    I started with a Kodak Brownie 127, Verichrome Pan and Johnsonson Unitoll developer and Johnsons fixer in the early 1960's, paper was a mistake as I was sold a Kodak contact paper and enlargements were painfully slow. The we were banned from the darkroom as a friend flodded it

    More serious photography with my first SLR was with FP3 and Promicrol printed on Kodak Bromide or Bromesko developed in D163 (Kodak's main UK print and universal developer). I also used very early ex-military surplus PE papers long before Ilfospeed was released.

    Ian

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