Originally Posted by abeku
Try the following for very fine grain and very high sharpness and long tonal scale:
1 liter water
1/2 teaspoon Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C powder or crystals)
1 teaspoon Sodium Metaborate (Kodalk Balanced Alkali)
4ml 1% Phenidone stock (diluted in 90% isopropyl alcohol)
Delta 400--6 minutes at 70 degrees
Delta 100--9 minutes at 70
FP4+--8 minutes at 70
ACROS--9 minutes at 70.
Sodium carbonate can be substituted for the metaborate with barely noticeable increase in grain, but with considerably shortened development times due to higher alkalinity.
I mix it fresh each time and use it as a one-shot. The simplicity of three ingredients makes the mixing time hardly any longer than keeping an already mixed stock and diluting it.
i have also heard that those who have used FX-39 from paterson with Pan-F have had great results as it is designed for T grain films aimed to tame hot highlights and increase acutance, both of which are issues with Pan-F. A lot of people are suggesting home brews, but I wwould reccommend off the shelf stuff while you familiarise yourself with the 'looks' and then make your own equivalents/similars when and if you feel it makes sense.
For acutance try-Rodinal, Acutol, FX-39 (still quite fine grain)
Fine grain - Perceptol, Microdol X, Xtol, ID11, d76,Aculux 2.
FWIW altho as many have said 'grain is not your enemy', erm, somethimes IT IS. I love grain sometimes, but it is not always appropriate. For example....
You are shooting trees in fog with the sun glowing through on 35mm and want to produce large prints for the wall....
You are unlikely to benefit from acutance devs much as the emphasis is on smooth tonality, smooth enveloping tones and low contrast is likely to mean any attempt at boosting perceived sharpness (acutance) is pointless. The LAST thing I would want would be clearly visible grain. Even with Pan F, you will get grain if your set up is properly aligned and you enlarge a 35 neg dev'd in rodinal to 20" or so !!!!
All I am saying is horses for courses and fine grain does have a place, but for me, th.t is less often than acutance. You asked about fine grain and most have spent more time telling you that actually you dont want fine grain. Maybe you do...
This dilution effect is interesting, I've noticed this sharpness effect especially in the dark areas of a print. The reason you loose the soft grain because of a dilution, is it because the sulfite get's too diluted to work? Or do you see this with other non-sulphite developers as well?
Originally Posted by Mongo
As a follow up question to severe dilution of an developer, what makes it to become compensatory when diluted? What are the chemical characteristics of such an developer?
I learn a lot from this thread...
You're spot-on with why Perceptol becomes a much sharper developer with dilution: If the sulfite level gets too low then it won't dissolve the edges of the silver grains so you get a sharper grain rather than a mushy grain. (You usually lose some film speed as well, but I find that a small price to pay for the sharpness of Perceptol at 1+3.)
The compensation is due to the fact that the developer will quickly wear out in the highlight areas (where it's developing a lot of silver) but will keep working in the shadows (where there's less action, so the developer doesn't exhaust as quickly). The extreme example of this is stand development; with a very dilute solution of the correct developer (I've used Rodinal at 1:300 and Pyrocat-HD at 1:1:500) you agitate for a minute or two and then just let the tank stand for a very long time (I usually go for 60-90 minutes). The developer will wear out in the highlights but keep developing the shadows, and since you're not agitating during the development you're not moving fresh developer around to start up development in the highlights again.
There are a number of threads on APUG about stand development, but be aware that it's not a "silver bullet". Drag marks and fog are real possibilities...if you want to try it I strongly suggest that you start out with Rodinal as it seems to be a very safe developer for stand development.
Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.
I have had fine results with the Neofin Blue which is based on the original Beutler.
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On the subject of Xtol (which I have only used briefly a long time back) I was under the impression that this gives excellent speed (like DDX), fine grain (10% finer than D76 according to Kodak) but that it a rather low acutance developer? Can anyone shed authoritative light on this. Metol, Pyrogallol, Pyrocatechin are acutance agents, but vit C? I have heard plenty of people say such contradictory things regarding Xtol acutance. I realise that dilution willl increase acutance, but what is Xtols general position re acutance?
Kodak lists Xtol as an acutance developer in their product literature. By comparison, Kodak does not list D-76 or Microdol-X as acutance developers.
Everything is analog - even digital :D
As you dilute solvent developers, the sulfite goes down and acutance goes up. The FDC lists straight D76 as a solvent developer, but diluted D76 as a non-solvent one. You should get edge effects with diluted D76, in that case, which is why sharpness goes up.
I'm a little unclear myself at what point D76 "makes the change." Certainly by 1+3 the sulfite level is very, very low.
Have you come up with a Hypercat that does not use sodium hydroxide? I will not use the stuff as a darkroom product, but as I have the chems for Pyrocat, would otherwise be easily able to make up hypercat activator if is is a carbonate. Is there a reason why it has to be NaOH for B? I know this is your preference, but for many it would be a show stopper.
I can't really speak to your main question, but you might want to remember that XTOL doesn't use vitamin C as its sole developing agent; rather, it's phenidone (or actually a phenidone variant -- I believe it's Dimezone S) in combination with vitamin C. This is much like D-76 using metol with hydroquinone; the two developers are superadditive and have effects in combination that aren't apparent when they're used alone. Likewise, they interact with other agents in the developer, such as sodium sulfite.
Originally Posted by Tom Stanworth
I don't know of an exact published formula for XTOL, but you could check its MSDS sheet. (Freestyle has them available. I'm sure you can find them on Kodak's site, too, but I don't happen to have a URL handy.) I've also seen one attempt at a reverse-engineered XTOL, called XP: http://www.udmercy.edu/crna/agm/phenvitc.htm; see Table 3. I've never used this developer, though.
FWIW, as my first foray into self-created developers, I did a sort of cross between PC-TEA and Rodinal that I call PAC-TEA: 4.5g of para-aminophenol hydrochloride and 9g of ascorbic acid in enough hot (121C) triethanolamine to make 100ml of solution. Dilute ~1:50 for use and develop for a fairly long time -- Rodinal 1:50 times or greater seem to be in order. The result produces noticeably better acutance than XTOL with (to my eye) similar graininess. I haven't yet done any direct comparisons to Rodinal. Note that I don't claim to be a photographic chemist; I was basically just playing around, but I rather like the results. No doubt somebody who knows what s/he's doing could improve this.