I would like to understand the reasons for other developers. I've been thru a mess of them, including two years with pyro, and am back with D76H 1:1.
Originally Posted by jim appleyard
Why use anything else, and I am really asking. To shape the curve differently?
Pyro wise, I found that I could match my pyro's with 76. Tried to get better grain with Xtol, no, not really. So what are the reasons for all the other developers?
The only thing I can think of is Microdol for that "look".
I think all of them exist because many b&w photographers are interested in the science of photography as well, much the same as golfers are interested in which clubs they use. I firmly believe that the people that bring forward new types of chemistry do so believing they can offer something better to photographers.
On some level there must be some very minor differences, but in my opinion I think consistency pays off. I've used Pyrocat exclusively for roll film and almost exclusively for sheet film for some time, and I must say my results are much better. But I'm convinced that is not due to the formula of the developer, I believe it's because I spent enough time with it to learn how to use it to my best advantage. No more no less.
That's my two cents, anyway. I don't want to trade my Pyrocat for anything because I'm getting good repeatable results with it that I know how to print.
Not to disregard the original poster - D76 is as good as anything else out there. I don't think switching developer from one formula to another is going to make you a better photographer and printer.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
Many years ago, an older and more experienced photographer than myself recommended that I use D76 1:1 with Tri-X. He said it was "the standard" and, although there were a lot of good developers, D76 was the best compromise for grain, speed and tonality. I ignored him. Old guys don't know nuthin' when you're young and full of hypo and vinegar. Cut to modern times...I finally tried D76 1:1 with Tri-X. And HP5 and FP4 and Plus-X and Pan F and whatever else I was shooting at the time. Old guys sometimes do know a few things after all.
The only developers I use now are D76 and Rodinal. Rodinal is another developer that's been around forever and is considered "the standard".
I use D76 1+1 most of the time and I am happy with the results. I have not tried Xtol yet, might do that in the spring.
"Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once and a while, you might just miss it."
I see D-76 as a reliable old friend.
Those who know, shoot film
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I think you answered your own question with the "look". D-76, FG-7, HC-110, D-23, et al belong to a "family" of devs. Rodinal belongs to another. Pyro, yet another. You (I do) may see a change from family to family, but not much, if any, within the family. I don't think I could see a difference in a D-76 neg compared to an FG-7 neg, but I can between D-76 and Rodinal.
Originally Posted by Alden
I like the Pyro's for their ability to keep highlights in check a bit better than other devs and for the punch midtones they give me.
Another thing to keep in mind is availability. D-76 is still mostly available worldwide. My localmom & pop pharmacy can order D-76, even tho' it isn't on the shelf. Some chemisty just isn't available in some areas. Germans tend to use German chemistry, the English use chemistry made in England...
Some folks simply started using D-76 or whatever the high school photo teacher used and never switched. If it ain't broke...
Hmm... I didn't realize that D-76 can ripen like PPD developers. I'll try to replenish D-76 and see what happens.
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
"The secret to life is to keep your mind full and your bowels empty. Unfortunately, the converse is true for most people."
Whoever said D-76 wasn't?
Used it for years.
Think about it. D-76 has been around since what, the mid 1920's? If the formula was no good, do you think it would have survived with the popularity it currently enjoys for nearly 80 years?
D76 and Tri-X is a real classic combo. Looks gorgeous and it's cheap.
A friend of mine used Divided D76 and I always used to marvel at the longscale negs it produced.
I think the highlights look better with DD-76, than in standard D-76 (sometimes they plug up)