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  1. #1
    Marco B's Avatar
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    Advantages of using dilute (1:1) film developer?

    I was taught to use D-76 at 1:1 dilution from stock to develop film, instead of using full strength stock. This is also mentioned on the D-76 developer package as an option. However, what are actually the advantages of using diluted (1:1) stock instead of full strength, besides saving the planet by using less developer
    Last edited by Marco B; 12-20-2007 at 09:36 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2
    Marco B's Avatar
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    Well, OK, I just remembered one, controlling temperature, but are there others, e.g. finer grain?
    Last edited by Marco B; 12-20-2007 at 06:37 AM. Click to view previous post history.

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    I rarely use D76 nowadays. But I prefer the tonality 1+1 gives with efke films compared to using straight developer. Some users report that they get sharper grain when diluting D76, but I find very little, if any, difference myself.

    However, after reading “Black and white photography” by Les McLean I did try D76 1+30 - a process that results in very sharp grain indeed...

  4. #4
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    One is economy, particularly if you prefer one-shot development, which brings about the advantage of consistency, though one could also make the case that a seasoned replenished developer also produces consistent results and is more economical, if you process a sufficient volume of film on a regular basis.

    With developers that have a lot of sulfite, like D-76, you'll get higher acutance and sharper grain at higher dilutions. It's not as noticable at 1+1, but if you like that effect, try 1+3. Some people add sodium sulfite to developers like Rodinal to soften the grain a bit.
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  5. #5

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    While you can use D-76, and many other devs, at 1+0, there are advantages to working with 1+1: you can reach a working temp solution faster with 1+1, you always know how many rolls have gone through 1+1 as with 1+0 and pouring back into the bottle, it's easy to forget, especially in a classroom situation.

    What I like best about 1+1, or greater, is highlight control. The more you dilute a developer, the less chance you have of "burning-out" the highlights of the photo.

    Diluting developer gives you courser grain, not finer. However, this can make a photo look sharper.

  6. #6
    Marco B's Avatar
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    Thanks for these first useful replies. Interesting to read that using diluted developer actually gives coarser, instead of finer grain, maybe due to the longer development time needed?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco B View Post
    Thanks for these first useful replies. Interesting to read that using diluted developer actually gives coarser, instead of finer grain, maybe due to the longer development time needed?
    The time spent in the dev may have something to do with coarser/finer grain, but I believe most of has to with dilution. When diluting a dev like D-76, you are cutting the amount of sodium sulfite that reaches the film. Sulfite acts as a preservative for the film, as a alkaline agent which allows the dev to work, but sulfite also "eats" silver halide molecules and when diluted, there just isn't the amount of sulfite there to "eat away" the grains of silver, thus a sharper image.

    This is, or course, a very simple explanation. I'm sure you can read whole books on the subject.

  8. #8

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    The 1+1 dilution produces "sharper" grain, not coarser grain. The concentration of sulfite in undiluted D-76 dissolves the edges of the grain clumps, thus rendering them "fuzzy".

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uhner View Post
    However, after reading “Black and white photography
    ” by Les McLean I did try D76 1+30 - a process that
    results in very sharp grain indeed...
    Diluted 1:30? An hour in 2 liters? I use developers very
    dilute but wouldn't suggest a D-76 dilution greater than
    1:7 and 16 to 20 minutes; 1/2 liter one roll. Dan

  10. #10

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    Use plenty of solution, agitate for 5 minutes and let it stand for 6 hours at 24 degrees C.

    Apparently it’s called DD/FF (dilute developer/fast film) and was used by some press photographers when they found themselves in low light situations without a flash. McLean was told to expose Tri-X at EI 400, 800 and 1600 on the same roll of film and use this technique.

    When I tried it I got rather strange but usable and sharp negatives from EI 400 – and a very dirty Paterson reel.

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