Patterson FX-50 - anyone tried it?
I've been looking at trying some developers aimed at giving good film speed (at least the manufacturer's guide), small but tight grain and good accutance for my new adventures in 35mm. I'm a big fan of catechol developers for my MF stuff , but find that with pyrocat and prescysol I'm getting speeds of up to 1 stop less which is fine with a tripod, but not so good for hand held RF photography.
FX-50 strikes me as a possibly good option, reported good speeds and high accutance with low grain, and a little less harmful to the environment than others - so other's experiences back this up? I havent heard of anyone using it before other than Roger Hick's review a few years back.
I use FX 50 quite extensively.
I use it with a range of films, for example Delta 100 and Paterson 100 (which is the same as Foma 100, i think).
I am very happy with the results, if you have a look at my gallery, you will find several examples of the use of FX 50.
I use it as a 2 bath developer, as recommended in the instructions. I test all my films with a standard greyscale and test the results with a densitometer, to get the contrast I want. I find that using FX 50 in this way it gives me better mid tone control.
In terms of speed increase - it depends. I found that I get a lot out of Delta 100 (400 ASA), but almost nothing out of Pan F (64 ASA) - both for normal contrast.
I tried it after Roger Hicks article in B&W Photography magazine. I followed the instructions for single bath and got really thin negs. A few months later I found out that the printed times were way out (as if I couldn't have guessed!), but by then I'd discovered Xtol and Rodinal. Xtol is supposed to have similar environmental benefits to FX-50 being based on ascorbic acid. I must admit I threw away the rest of my FX-50.
to me it has all the faff of pyro devs ie not single solution etc. If I want that hastle I will go for pyrocat where speed is not an issue.
Have you thought of trying FX-39? It gives superb acutance, full speed and grain is still reasonably fine and also controls highlights of t grain films. I have read a test somewhere on the web where a bloke tested it with delta 100 against DDX, ID11 etc and it gave as fine grain as the finest with acutance that stood out as far higher than the rest. I also saw some curves from it with various films and it seems to produce a nice S with many films. I know Roger Hicks swore by the stuff. I think this in partnership with Aculux 2 when you want finer grain and exception a tonality is a good one.
Worth a thought. I am certainly really impressed by their devs as as much as I like the speed of DDX, the acutance is only fair and the price silly (at 1:4 esp).
thanks tom et al - the only problem I have with fx-39 is that all the references suggest it isnt advised with conventional films about iso200 - i am planning to be using delta 3200 and hp5 ... maybe aculux is the answer although I am wanting to see grain, but tight and sharp grain is what I am after ...
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I don't know if Paterson has made any improvements in the formula but early shipments of FX-50 suffered from the same "sudden death" syndrome as Kodak Xtol.
I bought a package of it from B&H in New York a year ago, left it in my refrigerator for 6 months, developed a roll of Fuji Acros in it at ISO 200 pursuant to Geoffrey Crawley's recommendation, and discovered that my negatives, exposed in standard sunlight at a street scene, were very thin and unprintable. Thus, the FX-50 had gone bad before I used it! I bought another package of it from B&H a few weeks ago and put it in my fridge. I'm going to shortly expose another roll of Acros at ISO 200 and see if this package, too, is dead. Makes me wish Patterson had packaged the liquid in small amber bottles rather than plastic ones! Damnit!
I think this is because of the acutance effect and grain. Still, some like rodinal with trix and HP5. Wont be coarser than that or even close....
Originally Posted by Leon
Aculux is very nice IMO with HP5. Printed on polywarmtone, some shots of my kids just glowed! Grain is not bad, but not havving done 35mm hp5 for a while i did not know what to expect. I will be trying fx39 with neopan 400 as this is very fine grained and whilst super smooth otherwise, FX39 might give a great acuatnce optio for crisp more prominent grain. Neopan 400 at 400 in DDX is way finer than HP5 (I have side by side negs AND the neopan was more heavily developed). I reckon neopan is about 1/3 stop slower at 400 in DDX. Hp5 gives at least this.
I think your problems are caused by slipshod techniques. You seem jump from one product to another without bothering to figure out for yourself what really went wrong. You start by keeping a bottle of developer in the fridge for 6 months without trying it first, then you compound the error by shooting an unfamiliar film/dev combination at twice Fuji's recommended ISO speed, expecting great results the fisrt time out. Then when you get poor results, you chuck the developer down the drain and conclude it's no good. For what it is worth, getting full ISO speed out of most films is optimistic at best. Most people end up shooting a film at half to two thirds ISO to get acceptable results. I personally would have started out by shooting Acros at EI 50 to EI 125 with FX 50. This would have given me a range of negatives that could tell me if there was a problem with the developer. This is why I tend to only use films and developers that I know well. I want pictures, not failures. Life's to short to be endlessly doing film testing. That said, I still occasionally test film when my curiosity gets the better of me, I just don't risk important shots to unfamiliar films or processes.
Originally Posted by tbm
End of rant....
Grunthos the flatulent
Last edited by Grunthos; 06-10-2005 at 12:06 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Life! Loathe it or ignore it, you can't possibly like it!:D
I agree with Grunthos the flatulent!
I have used FX 50 quilte a lot now, and I am very happy with it. can not say anything negative about it, but you have to know what you are doing.