Newbie developer recomendations
Hi there, will be returning to darkroom printing after an absence of 10 years or so. I can't remember what developers I used in the past and would like some advice as to what to use. I will be shooting 6x6 120 film - Mainly Delta 100, FP4+, HP5+, Tri-x, but also some Neopan 100 - and printing on Ilford MG RC with a Magnifax 4 and Componon-S 80/4. Stop and fix will be Ilford Ilfostop and Hypam.
Question: what developer would you guys and gals recommend for developing the above films in a Paterson canister? Should I be looking at specific developers for specific films. Would D76/ID11 be good general purpose starting points? If so, how do I get the stock solution back up to working temperature when stored?
Any help much appreciated!
There are many options for film developers. I found Ilford DDX to be a good all round developer, also Agfa Rodinal which I use most of the time. I am sure you will get many different recommendations.
For developing prints I use Ilford Multigrade paper developer.
In my kitchen darkroom, to get solutions back up to temperature I put the storage bottle in a warm (not hot) water bath and check the temperature frequently by stirring the solution with my thermometer.
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D-76 or ID11 would be fine. If you don`t want to mix powder developers, then there are plenty of convenient liquid concentrates to choose from.
Originally Posted by antielectrons
There are probably far more film and developer combinations than there are winning combinations to win the National Lottery. I would tend to avoid rapid press type developers as they tend to provide developing times that are uncomfortably too short. Something like Ilfotec DD-X would work well with the films you have chosen. The most important thing is to get your exposure and processing up to scratch.
Developers can be Horses for courses and you would do well to standardise on a particular film and developer combination to start with and learn how to get the best from it.
Hi, thanks for the recommendations. I have no preference regarding powder or liquid developers, in as much as I don't know what the pros and cons of each are.... I presume that the powder stuff will have to be added to water to create a stock first, other than that they are both then diluted to working strength/temperature....?
It is hard to stay with just one film at the moment as I am still learning and want to see what each does. So far I have discovered that Delta 100 is nice for architectural stuff, FP4+/Hp5 are nice for portraits, and Tri-x is great all round, but especially for people.... Perhaps I could lay off the Neopan for the time being... and just have two fast films (HP5+ and Tri-x) and two slower films (Delta 100 and FP4+).
So far then good general purpose developers for the above films would be ID11/D76 or DDX/Rodinal... keep em coming!
I see there is a Film Cookbook on Amazon.com - would this be recommended reading for learning more about particular film/developer combinations for when I have had some more experience...?
Anchell & Troop's Film Developing Cookbook is an excellent place to start for an understanding of what to expect from particular developers. It doesn't talk a lot about specific combinations in detail, but does cover the generalities of developer types and how they work with classes of film, say slower traditional emulsions vs t-grain vs faster traditional films, with some specifics thrown in. It discusses the roles of specific developer ingredients, and then covers developer formulas classified by general types: fine grain, accutance, tanning, effect on film speed, etc. People report some mistakes in it, especially on guesses about equivalents to proprietary formulas, but it's very informative and will give you a good foundation. It has an appendix with times for many developer / film combinations.
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Yes D76/ID11 is the old tried-and-true standard developer
However, you can also use any of the clones that come in liquid form and can be used in 1 shot. I find that is the easiest way to control temperature.
Otherwose you'll have to dip your bottle in water at about the same temp you want for a while. (If you have to heat use water 3 to 5 degrees warmer, and if you have to cool them use water 3 to 5 degrees cooler)
Also consider the newer developers, such as DDX, Xtol or Paterson FX-39, but those can come later.
Originally Posted by antielectrons
Mama took my APX away.....
Why not use Ilford DD-X for a year, shooting and making pictures.
Also, why not settle on Ilford films, and why not pick the 'old fashioned' grain films, HP5+, FP4+ and Pan F ?
There aren't really ANY bad choices for film and developers... for that matter, most of them are remarkably excellent. Limit what you're trying to work with, make lots of pictures, and get a lot of your pictures into frames and on the wall.
And, limit your intake of data. Ilford has all the info you'll need. Look at this like learning to play a musical instrument and you won't go wrong. Nobody has ever learned to play a piano by reading books about building pianos.
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"
Hi, I had a look at the price of DDX... seems to be 29€ a litre over here in Spain compared to 2.70€ for D76, or 4€ for ID11. How come the big difference in price? I like the sound of DDX, but the price?
No problem in sticking with FP4+, HP5+ and PanF+ but I do like Delta 100 and Tri-x is something that I am really looking forward to working with.... seems a shame to be using less film when doing my own darkroom work than when I sent it off to a lab.
The COR will of cource always recomend Rodinal or alternatively the R09 from ADOX or Calbe which is said to be a more original formula.
Rodinal is a one shot developer which is diluted 1:25 - 1:100 or even more, I use it diluted 1:50.
It lasts forever a fact I find important. I would hate having my developer go off in the process of getting used to it.
It works great with almost any slow film like Efke 25, Pan F and Delta 100 in 35mm and MF
It works great with some faster films, I like it with Neopan 400 and 1600 in 35mm.
Depending on subject and the effect you are after you can use it with HP5, Tri-X, Tmax and Delta3200 and get great results.
I have used it with Tmax 3200 (35mm, great results) and HP5+ (120, wrong subjects)
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I seem to remember using Rodinal in the past. 1+25 I think.
A question about mixing powder developers (D76 or ID11), I understand that if I buy the packs for mixing 1L I will get 1L of stock solution that I can then dilute 1+1, or 1+3 etc. At 500ml a shot in my Paterons developing tank I think I will need to get the larger size however. I read somewhere that you have to mix the whole pack up though so my question is, if I buy a 5L packs of ID11 say, does it contain 5x1L packs or will I need to mix the entire 5L at once? What is the shelf life of stock solution?