For Ilford FP4+, Ilford Pan F, EFKE/ADOX 25, 50 and 100 I use and recommend either Pyrocat-HD, Pyrocat-MC (or Pyrocat P) with Minimal Agitation or Semi-Stand Agitation.
Everything is analog - even digital :D
I think it sounds like you're a little scattered in what you're trying to accomplish. Or maybe it's just that I'm not clear on what you're trying to accomplish. I think you might want to get a little more systematic about you're testing, depending on what you're looking for.
For instance, are you trying to pick a "standard" B&W film to use? If that's the case then I'd likely try a number of B&W films in the same developer (obviously development will differ) and see which you prefer.
If you're trying to come up with a developer then I'd shoot 1 film consistently and test it in a number of different developers.
But it sounds like you're trying various different films and then developing them all differently which means you're changing 2 variables at the same time, which will likely make things confusing.
Now if you're not sure on a film and a developer that's fine but again, I'd do a more systematic testing such as shooting all the films your trying and then developing them in the same developer (again, times will differ of course), then repeat the same test with all films in a different developer, and so on. This will allow you to determine which "looks" you like.
Replying to myself here, but I should add that if you are doing testing you should also try to keep your test shots as consistent as possible so that you can better compare the different shots. It's a lot easier to compare the same film in different developers if you have the same shot to look at.
Thanks to all your answers.
Yes - you are right - starting with too many films and developers is not a good idea, so let me reshape my ideas:
1) I thought my film choice over again and come up to conclusion that I would like to shoot two films for the beginning:
- fp4+ as a slow(er) one
- hp5+ as a fast one.
These two as far as I understand should work with most of the developers - I might go with D76 or ID11. So one developer only for the future. If you think that there is better option concerning developer - let me know. (Did I hear XTOL or Pyrocat ?)
2) I have already shot Delta 3200 and Ilford Pan F and I just NEED to develope them.
3) I have Efke 25 & 50 waiting at home - not exposed yet. What to do? :o
4) Concerning (2) and (3) - how much of a compromise would it be to develope them in the forementioned D76 (ID11)? I thought that I will get two dedicated developers (Rodinal and Microphen) as these will be experimental anyhow (I would develope some test rolls of them before going for the important ones)...
Starting with one combo is sound as otherwise you'll end up really confused. PCAT is fantastic with both FP4 and HP5+-should be good with Pan F too. Also good with Efke. D76 is a good allrounder to get the ball rolling.
"He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.
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I'll put in another vote for Pyrocat HD. It's terrific with a wide range of films, for normal, push and pull development, rotary, standard agitation and semi-stand/minimal/pick-your-term development. If you've never used a pyro developer before, you'll probably look at your first negatives from it and think they look flat and maybe a little thin as well. Reading the stain takes a little getting used to, but once you're used to it, you can tell by looking if you've got a good neg or not.
See the post by Roger above.
VP was one of the films with Cadmium verified by Carl Kohrt, but the last version had no Cadmium so there was a formula change in the interim.
Both films appear to have rave reviews from people.
I'm not sure about Delta 3200 or Pan F in Rodinal or Microphen but it's my understanding that the Efke films are quite nice in Rodinal. The other nice thing about Rodinal is that it lasts for years so that could be another nice consideration for a 2nd developer.
Originally Posted by slnce-z-gsi
If you are just starting out I would definitely recommend sticking to a small number of film and developer combinations and focus more on getting consistently good negs from them. What I mean by that is in terms of exposure and processing, subject matter's a whole other consideration (a good neg is not the same thing as a good photograph). Then maybe branch out with some other films and/or trying some other developers. I'd recommend sticking to stuff that you can get in small quantities or that has a very long shelf life so you don't have as many concerns about wasting something you're experimenting with.
For instance, in my case I've mostly used D-76 or XTol because that's what the local art college mixes up (more xtol these days), so I've tried some different films and I've learned what I like in those developers. Now I'm wanting to experiment with some other developers. I have some diafine that I got with some darkroom gear I bought so I intend to mix it up, I have no idea what I'll think about the look of it with my shooting but I also know that it will last for ages so I'll have the luxury of shooting the odd roll here and there and trying it in diafine to see what happens. The same for Rodinal, I'd like to try it and I know it lasts for ages so I'm less worried about having it kick around and I've read about a number of good film combinations with it (and seen examples) so I'm pretty sure I'll find something I like with this. I'm not taking any courses at the art college right now so I don't have darkroom access there and I'm considering doing some processing at home but I'm not sure how much I'll do, I noticed that HC-110 is pretty popular with the films I like so I bought that for my standard developer, again because the concentrated syrup has a very long shelf life so even if I only process at home infrequently it won't go bad.
At least those have been my concerns and my thinking. I know earlier I mentioned that you should limit your combinations and now I've just listed off 3 developers I'm using so it may be more a situation of do as I say, not as I do. As I said, I also have a good idea of what my favourite films are in a standard developer, and I intend to continue shooting those films and using that combo, so this is purely further experimentation from that for my own interest.
Whoops, this went iont the wrong thread.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
Pyrocat HD I have tried with most of the films you mention except D3200. For that I use Diafine. But you'll do OK with D-76 as well.
FP4+ and HP5+ are fantastic films. So are all the others. You are wise to purchase Ilford. They are likely to stick around for a while.
Why don't you think D76 could do well with D3200? It seems unreasonable to get a developer just to develop one or two rolls of film.
Take it from me. I've tried every film out there. It confused the heck out of me, and basically the negs I shot from my first two years of photography are difficult to print thanks to not understanding what's going on.
If you want to stop wasting time, just buy a packet of D76 or Pyrocat or whatever, and get a brick of HP5 or FP4, and start shooting. Shoot a film, bracket the exposures, and develop it according to the manufacturer's recommendation. Then to fully understand whether you did something right or not, the negs should preferably be printed or scanned somehow. See what you like, see what prints or scans easily and looks good. But unless you stick to one film or tops two, you will completely miss the patterns and what changes an alteration of your process will do. Seriously.
Plus, you'll have much more time to focus on what's important - making photographs.
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