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  1. #1
    analoguey's Avatar
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    Reliable/ consistent BW developer/fixer Combo?

    I know there are a lot of discussions on development, but I would like to know if there is a reliable developer/fixer combo (Ed- emphasis on supply and consistency of supply)

    I am mainly looking for them to be powders and not concentrates(as apparently they arent really allowed to be shipped - or so I got told!). I am also looking to get consistent results - and most crucially, availability.

    I would mostly be trying to get them shipped to India after ordering online - and would like one reliable/fall -back set. I would try other developer/fixer combos but these would be mainstays.

    (Ed) My Current issue is that I am depending on individual stores or Ebay suppliers (and response times are nothing to write home about)

    Problem so far has been in getting either reliable or quick supplies. I would prefer either ilford or kodak chemistry I suppose but ilford is not very widely available for shipment to India (or costs too much) and D-76(on ebay) is where the dates vary wildly - I could very well be trying to use stuff older than my camera. :|

    What would the recommendation be?


    (Updated/rephrased for more emphasis on the supply bit - not doubting manufacturing of any of the biggies!)
    Last edited by analoguey; 07-30-2013 at 11:05 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Better framing of Question!

  2. #2
    darkosaric's Avatar
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    Every developer and fixer from Ilford, Kodak and Adox is 100% reliable and consistent. I tried them almost all - never had any problem with fresh chemicals from well known companies.

  3. #3

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    It doesn't get any more proven than D-76 and Professional Fixer from Kodak. For decades, photographers have relied on these two. Unless damaged, the foiled bag these products come in will keep them fresh well beyond the stamped date.

    Can you not buy them in stores other than eBay? For you, what's most reliable may be, the stuff you can actually buy locally, regardless of what it might be.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    It doesn't get any more proven than D-76 and Professional Fixer from Kodak. For decades, photographers have relied on these two. Unless damaged, the foiled bag these products come in will keep them fresh well beyond the stamped date.....
    If you have to get them shipped from a western country, it would be hard to go past these two, unless you could get developer in tins (as Acufine was, and may still be).

    I notice that there is a photo club in Bangalore. Perhaps there are some black and white photographers there who could help.

  5. #5

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    Are you looking at film or paper development? If film, which film? Certain developer/film combinations work better than others.

    If you are just looking for any good developer, the easiest is probably to make some for yourself. You can make parodinal from paracetamol (pain killer) capsules, sodium sulphite and potassium hydroxide. It stretches very far, and lasts a long time. One can use the chemicals one buys in the supermarket or hardware stores too, but lab grade is more reliable. Another alternative, using instant coffee, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and washing soda, is Caffenol. If you can get hold of metol or phenidone, there are a host of yet other possibilities. The internet (and APUG) is awash with developer formulas, you just have to look.

    For fixer, it is slightly more difficult, but still entirely possible to make your own. If I am correct, some of my chemicals come from Alfa Aesar, made in India. If so, I'll see if I can find contact details on the packaging. A basic formula uses ammonium thiosulphate, sodium sulphite, acetic acid, boric acid and potassium alum. All of those are cheap and readily available, as they aren't only used for photography. Some are even available in supermarkets. Sodium thiosulphate is mentioned in older formulas, but is not the best choice for modern films. It is best to make as much as you will use up in say three to four months. The dry chemicals can be stored indefinitely.

    Alternatively you could find out whether Ilford or Kodak have local agents. You may also order via mail from Maco Direct, Ag Photographic etc. Liquids may be sent as long as the packaging does not exceed 1 liter. For powders, things are more complicated, and you may find some of the more useful chemicals on the restricted list. Dimezone S is a prime example. Even getting 10 g from overseas is a daunting task. Crazy if you ask me.

    I hope this doesn't seem overwhelming. It is best to start out with commercial products, but if they are unavailable or very expensive, then home-mixing is a very viable alternative. In addition, it is rewarding and adds to the fun.

  6. #6

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    Reliable/ consistent
    The OP states reliable/consistent! With that criteria in mind the best of the best for the developer side has to be Diafine developer. So simple even a Chimpanzee(close cousin of mine) could use it, lasts until the cows come home, usually increases film speed slightly(works good for long exposure night shots), comes in powder form(should ship no problem), works with most films out there, works over a wide range of temperatures, can develop hundreds of rolls? and gives very nice consistent results with little trouble for printing or scanning. Diafine is a very good developer for somebody that doesn't shoot much since it lasts forever. It might not be for everybody, but it could be.
    Fixer would be less trouble picking and Kodak, Ilford, Sprint in that order along with many others should be just fine.

    Oh, I forgot to add, Diafine comes in powder-form sealed in two separate tins(cans). I just checked on eBay and it goes for $35.00 a gallon. Sounds like a lot, but it will do so many rolls you'll lose count and it last nearly forever.
    Last edited by John Wiegerink; 07-30-2013 at 09:17 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7

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    I also like D-76 and sometimes T-max developer.

    Jeff

  8. #8
    MattKing's Avatar
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    For fixer, if you are able to find someone who supplies chemicals to labs that process colour films (C-41) and colour photographic prints (RA-4) you can use that fixer for black and white as well.
    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. #9
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I just performed an experiment.

    Freestyle Photographic charges $111.00 for insured SIMS shipping of 4 one gallon packets of each of Kodak D-76, Dektol and Fixer plus an 8 ounce bottle of Photo-flo.

    The total cost of your order would be just under $200.00 USD.

    The shipping is expensive, but that would last you a long time.

    If you add a selection of their Arista EDU Ultra VC RC paper the shipping price would go up, but 225 sheets spread between 5x7 (100), 8x10 (100) and 11x14 (25) would only add $30 in shipping and $103 for the paper itself (shipped Priority Mail International).
    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
    analoguey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Wiegerink View Post
    Reliable/ consistent
    The OP states reliable/consistent! With that criteria in mind the best of the best for the developer side has to be Diafine developer. So simple even a Chimpanzee(close cousin of mine) could use it, lasts until the cows come home, usually increases film speed slightly(works good for long exposure night shots), comes in powder form(should ship no problem), works with most films out there, works over a wide range of temperatures, can develop hundreds of rolls? and gives very nice consistent results with little trouble for printing or scanning. Diafine is a very good developer for somebody that doesn't shoot much since it lasts forever. It might not be for everybody, but it could be.
    Fixer would be less trouble picking and Kodak, Ilford, Sprint in that order along with many others should be just fine.
    Thank you, I shall try looking for that. Ilford doesnt have a powder fixer does it? (I generally run with ilford films, so would prefer their chemistry). And especially the ease of usage bit!

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