Why did you (if you did) move on from D76/ID-11
A completely honest question and not intended to start a religious war. As someone new to analog photography, I have started with D76 and want to learn that as much as I can, but am also curious about other developers. I have obviously looked at other threads here and have "some" idea about the characteristics of other developers, but am more curious about why you personally elected to work with the developer you use? Economy of use? Higher acutance? Better tonal separation? Again, interested in your subjective reasons as to what you like in your developer that D76 wasn't doing for you (assuming that is where you started or that you have previously worked with it).
Thanks in advance,
"Once the amateur's naive approach and humble willingness to learn fades away, the creative spirit of good photography dies with it. Every professional should remain always in his heart an amateur." - Alfred Eisenstadt
I think D76 is the best thing since sliced bread. I realise that the formulation is the same as ID11, but it has a better name and when you mix it up from powder, it is a bit like Draught Guinness. You have to wait for it.
“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”
HC-110 is now my brew of choice. Economy and ease of use, combined with reliability and rediculously long shelf life won me over. It is similar in look to D76 but doesnt go off and is THE perfect one shot developer for use with Tri-X.
I have used D76/ID11 for as long as I've developed film because it works. If I'm not happy with my photographs I do not go looking for a magic chemical bullet. A weak image in D76 is also a weak image in Pyro, or anything else. I think there's much more to gain by improving ones metering, putting the subject and the the edges where they belong, and learning to print effectively than by dabbling with new to you developers. Once you've 'learned' a developer, stick with it and be as consistent as possible.
Well, somebody gave me several gallon kits of D76, so I am actually moving TO it from Xtol and Edwal 12 until I have used them up.
There is no developer that is as interesting as a good picture, and there are zero pictures that I photographed where I had wished I had used a different developer.
Here's the deal: It's nice to use the same developer over and over again, because it's reliable, consistent, and we learn EXACTLY what to expect that way. That is very good for darkroom exercises, because it leads to less paper waste and less frustration. That is definitely so.
That doesn't mean that other developers aren't interesting too, just from either an academic stand point, or even something we're just curious about. While I love replenished Xtol, D76 that cost me no money at all must be just as good. I doubt it will make enough difference for anybody to truly notice, after I develop the film to the same contrast.
Among other gifts, I also have a gallon kit of Microdol-X, and a bottle of Sprint film developer. The Sprint is what I'm currently using, and it's a fine developer too. The prints look very nice.
I find it more valuable to learn exactly how to use a particular material, and find that there is infinitely more strength in that than any one product in itself. D76 / ID11 is great stuff. So is Xtol, Rodinal, Pyrocat, HC-110, Microphen, Microdol-X, Ilfosol, Moersch, Foma, Adox, Tetenal, Edwal, Formulary, etc ad nauseum. They are all great products - in the right hands.
It's all about making nice negatives that helps us make nice prints.
"Make good art!"
- Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera".
- Yousuf Karsh
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit".
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Another vote for HC110. It is easy to prepare and lasts a whole life.
D-76 / ID-11 or XTOL are fine. I tend to use XTOL, mix up 5L and use it fairly quickly without a problem.
Been using D-76 for 50 years. I experiment with Pyro developers for LF, but D-76 is still my go to for everything else.
BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"
Nothing bad to say about D76 here. I've used it for almost two decades. I like it at 1:1 dilution as it is convenient to get it to temperature by adding in a hotter/colder and the two temps average to the final mix temp.
I played around with Xtol and it was also good. I got away from both because I wanted to not deal with chemical dust in the darkroom or the whole mixing process of hot water, slow dissolving, letting it cool when I wanted to simply process some film, but needed a batch of developer.
I mostly use Pyrocat HD in glycol from formulary. It's simple to use; 10ml of A, 10ml of B, 1L of water, a quick stir and it's ready to go. It's quite affordable (less $ than d76) and could be more so if I mixed it myself. I sometimes make alt-process prints, so the staining is useful for that and otherwise harmless. It lasts forever, both in terms of concentrate shelf life and rate of consumption. It retains the box film speed where some develops you take a film speed hit.
I have moved from D76 to ID11 since Ilford/Harman has made it clear they want to supply us with product.
Same goes for paper developer, and Fix, and selenium.
where all possible I use the Brits product.