How do I use Paterson FX-39 for best results with Ilford 400 Professional please ?
I am new to black and white photography, and this combination of developer and film was recomended to me by my next door neighbour. Would this be correct, and if so, would it be possible to know how to use it best please.
Last year I did a short course in black and white photography at the local college, and recently bought a Paterson single spiral developing tank.
I am aware that the ISO can be changed in manual mode on my Nikon F80, and that film can be exposed at lower ISO readings than stated on the film.
My next door neighbour said to ask around for the best combination of ISO, developer concentration, developing temperature and development time, because film companies change their emulsions and that the settings he used may probably be different than now.
I would sincerely appreciate any advice that can be given,
Thanks for reading,
Skip FX-39. How about Ilford DDX?
Unfortunately Paterson discontinued their chemistry line late last year or early this year. Even if you can find the FX-39, which is possible, you would likely have to change to another developer soon. You are better off starting with a developer you are likely to find next year. Would recommend starting with Ilford's own DDX, or Kodak Xtol (probably at 1:1) or D76 (or the Ilford equivalent ID11). In general stick to one film and one developer untill you are reasonably comfortable with the combination. DDX is a good initial choice. It can be somewhat expensive but many people use it at other dilutions than the Ilford recommended 1:4 with adjustment of development time. The advantage of 1:4 is you then have Ilford's recommended times etc to use as your starting point. Kodak Xtol may be a more economical choice specially as 1:1 dilution but you do have to dissolve the powder. I find liquid developers more convenient. If I am right in guessing that you are based in the UK you may find the Ilford developers more easily available (I am purely guessing here). I would start with Ilford's PDF of Delta 400 downloadable from their website and they also publish a very well written how to develop your first roll document (you may have done that at your college).
Last edited by haziz; 11-05-2006 at 05:00 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I was a FX-39 user and got caught flat-footed Paterson's move. I have found that FX-37, a formula that is publicly available, is a very close substitute in terms of acutance and grain, particularly if you use at a 1:5 dilution instead of 1:3. TX400 for 6 minutes at 1:5 and 72 degrees is a good starting point. Delta 400 for 7 minutes at the same dilution and temperature ought to get you in the ballpark.
I'm not sure where you're located, Puretranquility, but my understanding is that Paterson changed their supplier of chemistry and FX-39 is still available. It certainly is still available here in Australia (even if the main supplier has expired stock on their shelves). I'd recommend using small brown bottles to store it once opened, so that shelf life is maximised. HP5 Plus (the Ilford ISO 400 material) works fine for me in FX-39 using Paterson's recommended development times. Maybe you were thinking of uisng the Ilford Delta 400? I haven't tried that in FX-39 but recently shot some Delta 100 and the FX-39 times were again spot-on.
I contacted Paterson via email about a month ago and they still had not found an alternative manufacturer for their developer line. It is definitely not available at this time in the US. I would be willing to bet that the bottles on the shelves in Oz are old stock.
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