I'll chime in with my favorites and the reasons why.
- XTOL - Probably the best compromise of speed, fine grain, acutance, and resolving power. It's all I use for T-grain and similar films. Works very well when diluted anywhere from 1+1 to 1+3, but be sure that you use at least 100ml for each 80 sq. in. of film or you are asking for trouble. Some fellow published a chart out on the net somewhere (I wish I could remember now) claiming that he get six stops of latitude on TMX with D-76 and seven with XTOL. While I've never measured this myself, I do find that it's a lot easier to control contrast with XTOL and TMax films, especially TMX, than with D-76.
- D-76 - A gold standard, one that works well with just about every commonly available conventional B&W emulsion. I can't imagine not having this developer at my disposal. It is cheap and reliable. I almost always use it diluted 1+1 as a 1 shot developer. Grain is a little bit more pronounced thsi way, but the results are much more consistent. It's a compromise I can live with. Mated with Plus-X, FP4+, Tri-X, or HP5+, you can do anything you like with it. It works fairly well with T grain emulsions too, but you can do better with something like XTOL.
- Rodinal - Another standard in the B&W world, though I don't find it terribly useful with fast or small format films. This developer is at its best with slow to medium speed films as long as you're not using it on 35mm stock. I use it at the 1+50 dilution mostly for 120 roll film and 4x5 sheets in a tank. Always be generous with your exposure if you plan to use this developer.
- Diafine - One of the very few real speed enhancing developers available. This developer and Tri-X at EI 1250 are a match made in heaven for the low light photographer. HP5+ is fairly good at EI 800, and FP4+ at EI 250 is also very good. It is not particularly good with T-grain films, nor am I particularly fond of pairing this developer with Plus-X.
How much film you shoot a month? D 76 is still available in quarts (and you can get replensiher and keep a batch going for years), Rodinall and Dinafine (which ships well) lasts a very long time. I think once mixed XTOL has a limited shelf life.
Till now approx 2-3 films a month, guess that's not too much.
Originally Posted by Paul Howell
And I'd argue you can do anything you want/need to do with film with HC-110. In a hurry? Use Dilution B, at slightly elevated temperature, you can get development time down to three minutes with hard emulsion films like Tri-X. Want acutance? Dilute it -- Dilutions H or G are excellent for acutance, without much increase in grain. Need to reduce contrast without losing speed (usually a tough one)? Dilute and reduce agitation, then extend development; I give TMY nineteen minutes in Dilution G with agitation every 3rd minute to get normal contrast and full toe speed; if I need higher contrast (a "push") I can increase agitation to every minute and get the equivalent of N+1, while reducing agitation to every 5 minutes gives pretty close to N-1. Similar adjustments work with Tri-X and Fomapan 100, likely with any other film (even those not normally known to respond well to contrast controls).
Originally Posted by kaiyen
Need to push A LOT? Develop in stock solution. :o
It's great for old film, too, because of the strong anti-fog agent in it.
And yes, it keeps very well -- I just finished off the last of a bottle of concentrate I opened in December of 2003; it was the same color, and worked just as well, when I slurped up the last of the syrup from the small bottle I'd decanted into as it was when I opened the pint. With minimum air in the bottles, it'll literally keep for years.
I do recommend stock solution for one application: when you need to make small quantities of high dilution, it can be very difficult to measure the syrup accurately enough, even with a syringe, for good consistency. In that case, the lower viscosity and larger volume of stock solution are a great help. I mix four ounces at a time, and use it when I need 2 ounces of Dilution G for a roll of microfilm from my Minolta 16...
Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.
I agree with Donald that HC 110 and Tri X is a great match, at this point you may want to try D 76 and HC 110 to see which developer you like the best.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)