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  1. #1
    snaggs's Avatar
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    HELP : My first film/developer. Its very confusing.

    I've been reading a zillion pages on the net, and I've just got more confused as to what film and developer combination to use. I've got rid of a bunch of my digital lenses, bought a M6 w/35mm Sumilux and put a Focomat V35 on layby.

    For the first step, I want to get good at a single film and developer combo.

    Leave out super high speed, and super fine grain films. What do you suggest for a dawn till dusk film and whats an easy developer to use with it.

    Diafine sounds good, dont have to worry about temperatures, re-use the stuff forever, and I can get smooth tones without having to pull. The only pictures I found were here http://oberdorf.org/oly/index.php?se...ion=BWFilmTest, but I've read that TMX isnt an ideal film for Diafine, anyways, the diafine TMX100 shots here do show more detail, even if the sky has got a bit noisy.

    So, could I do alot better than Ilford HP5 developed in Diafine?

    Daniel.

  2. #2
    Canuck's Avatar
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    For a combo that did me well until I got more into things was Tri-X and D76 (or nowadays XTOL). Gave me nice printable negs with a nice look about them.

  3. #3

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    Combos

    Daniel-That combo is too limiting for a beginner. I agree-try XTOL 1:1 or even HC-110 which is a one shot developer. Just stick with something long enough to learn what it can do for you. Xtol will give you full rated box speed which is great. Mixes up in 5 minutes. If you were going to mix your own I would highly reccommend Pyrocat-HD. The great thing is you mix and the dev. is fresh every time. Results become predictable.And that's FUN!
    Spend your time making photos not experimenting. I used to make alot of different developers, etc. but it becomes tedious.
    Patterson Acculux is a great and overlooked product. Will give a slight "push" to your HP-5 and the negatives are dazzling. Try it!
    Best, Peter

  4. #4
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    I started with TMax, but I've had a lot of fun so far with Tri-X. Lots of forgiveness. D76 is easy to mix and use, and comes in smaller batches than XTOL. Though if you have a big jug go with the XTOL.

    I've found Rodinal a fun alternative to mess with. Very easy to mix up for a session, and fun to play with things like high dilution stand development. You can keep a bottle of that on the shelf for when you get bored with D76 or XTOL.

    Also look at Photographer's Formulary TF-4 fixer as an alternative to using an acid stop bath and acid fix. Seems to do the job very well and simplifies your mixing, processing and washing.

    Have fun!

  5. #5

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    I started with Ilford HP5 developed in ID-11. 30 years later, after improvements to the products it is still a great combination.

    David.

  6. #6
    snaggs's Avatar
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    Seems the vote is going for XTOL. I have done low dilution rodinol when my local lab said they couldn't process Tech Pan anymore. It worked really well 2nd roll, after I realised it was a bit understrength first time. Does anyone have a link to stand developing?

    One reason I was looking at Diafine was:

    1. I could change the ISO of the film mid roll
    2. Once mixed, you can re-use it forever
    3. Temperature doesnt matter
    4. Time doesnt matter

    Why is diafine too limiting?

    Daniel.

  7. #7
    Blighty's Avatar
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    I'd go with the HP5/ D76 (ID11) combo. I've found them to be both quite 'forgiving'. I've had pretty good results with HP5 and Ilford LC29, if you don't want to fart around with powders. BLIGHTY.

  8. #8
    Ole
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    Yet another post; yet another opinion:

    I don't think "reusing forever" is necessarily a good idea. Do you want to mess about with replenishers and such, or do you want to increase the developing time as a function of the number of films developed, or do you want to use two-bath developers with the extra bath to confuse with others? I think most of us here have at some time grabbed the wrong bottle, and tried developing film in fix! Now add another bottle to the two or three you have already...

    I like single shot developers. Back when I used a lot of film I used Ilfosol-S. Now I don't use that much, and find myself unable to keep up the necessary usage to ensure my local shop has a fresh supply (they tell me I was the only customer who used it!).

    There are two ready-made developers I buy: Neofin and Rodinal. Neofin has been one of my favorites for many years, not so much for the grain (large and sharp) as for the tonality it gives with "classic" films like EFKE, APX100 and FP4+. It works fine with other films too, like HP5+ and the (coming) MACO IR 820/400. After a few years your fingers get calibrated, and you can tell immediately if the developer is at 20C or 22C.

    I haven't tried Diafine, but I'm sure it's a fine developer.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  9. #9
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    You will notice few recommendations for Diafine. One reason is that "normal" developers allow more control over negative contrast by varying development time. This is not going to be a major factor for your first few rolls of film, but will allow you to make changes later on without learning a whole new developing sequence. Also, use a one-shot developer - it gives you the consistency from film to film that is particularly important at first.

    Keeping the developing film at 20 degrees C is not difficult as most homes are heated to close to that temperature and if you live in warmer climes then a wash bowl of water at 20C to 24C (the film and/or developer instructions will have a chart showing the developing times for different temperatures) is all that is needed for the 10 - 20 minutes it takes to process the film.

    If you are new to film entirely,you may want to reduce the ASA rating of the film somewhat (for HP5 try 200ASA) and reduce the manufacturer's recommended development time by 15% (unless you are shooting in dull/overcast conditions, in which case use the manufacturer's recommended times) - this is just a rule of thumb to give the inexperienced a better chance of good shadow detail and to avoid over-developing.

    If you intend using a tripod, give a slower film a try such as FP4+ rated at 80ASA so as to get finer grain. In this case, it might be worth giving Rodinal a try which is easy to use (but get a 50ml syringe to measure it with) and will last forever in the bottle. I would not recommend Rodinal with HP5+ as the grain, although nice and sharp, is getting a bit intrusive for my liking... I use ID-11 mainly (but that comes as a powder and you may not want to faff about with powdered chemicals at this stage) but I still have some Rodinal that I 1st opened about 3 years ago and it is still working fine... In practice any of the standard one-shot liquid developers will do a fine job and are easy to use.

    Have fun, Bob.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by snaggs
    Seems the vote is going for XTOL. I have done low dilution rodinol when my local lab said they couldn't process Tech Pan anymore.
    Daniel.
    You can still get Technidol for Tech Pan, but possibly not for long, so I'd be interested in your time/temp/dilution data. I have a freezer full of the film which should last me a while.

    David.

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