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  1. #1
    mealers's Avatar
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    A 'basic' which developer to use question?

    I've been developing my own 120 film for about 5 months now and from the start I have been using Ilford chemicals ie. ID11/Perceptol, Iflostop, Hypam and wetting agent to develop my Delta400asa and FP4+ films.
    After reading that alot of people on here rate Rodinal developer I thought I'd give it a shot and to my untrained eye the only difference I can see is that the grain is alot more prominent with the Rodinal. Thats ok, no problem if I'm using 400asa film but if I want fine grain then what should I do? Go back to using Perceptol/ID11? Or maybe try another developer?

    I guess my question is how did you decide on your current favourite developer? Was it trial and error or did someone you know recommend one for you?

    Thanks
    Mike

  2. #2
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    My favorite developer was originally Kodak HC-110. I recently made the switch to Ilford HC instead, in order to give my support to Ilford and take it away from Kodak. With the exception of TXP320 in sheet sizes and 220 size, Portra 100T, 400NC sheet sizes, and RA enlarging paper, I already used all Ilford and Fuji products anyhow. Portra 100T is GONE, and I have switched to HP5 for sheet film. I still use TXP320 when I want a black and white 220 film, and I still use 400NC for when I want a 400 color film in sheet sizes. And I will use Endura paper until it is discontinued, as I like it so much better than Fuji paper.

    I like HC because it keeps well, it is economical, and is incredibly repeatable and versatile. I have never had any image quality issues with it, though some will swear on the Bible/Torah/Kuran/Other how crummy it is. I normally use it at 1:63 at 75F. I get extended times, more sharpness, more grain, lower contrast, and better shadow detail this way. These are all things I want.

    I switched to ID-11 for a while because I was told repeatedly that it is the better developer. I personally prefer HC-110, as it is easier to work with.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  3. #3
    Bruce Osgood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mealers View Post

    I guess my question is how did you decide on your current favourite developer? Was it trial and error or did someone you know recommend one for you?

    Thanks
    Mike
    I think we all find ourselves at a point you are at. We ask advice as you are doing and take heed with the replies that come back. There will be many and all will be right, or wrong, leaving you where you stand right now.

    When I find myself wandering about looking for the "right" developer I inevitably return to Kodak D-76 which I brew my own and is known as D-76H. It is tried and true, a bench-mark for all other developers to judged against and easy as mud to make.

  4. #4
    mealers's Avatar
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    Thanks Bruce.
    I realize my question is very open ended but the advice I have been given by alot of people is to find a developer/film combination and stick with it.
    One of my reasons for trying Rodinal is that it is alot more economic than ID11, is that the reason why you brew your own D-76H? Dont get me wrong, the ultimate outcome is that I would like is quality negatives but if I could get a fine grain developer like Rodinals 1+25 then all the better as far as I am concerned!

  5. #5

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    When I first came to APUG there was a number of threads on Rodinal. Some, I think described themselves as members of the "Church of Rodinal". Certainly there are devoted followers. I happened to have bought some from Jessops as I had heard of its long pedigree. Well I have only done 35mm with it and I accept that 120 is a different kettle of fish but in 35mm I found it incredibly grainy and not for me.

    I then tried Perceptol and it was for me. I have since tried DDX in 120 and this is another excellent developer. For a developer which delivers at least box speed and some say better( R Hicks rates ISO 400 film at I think 500 in it) it is remarkably grain free and it is probably the best Ilford dev for D3200, although Perceptol, surprisingly enough for a speed reducing developer, does a very good job at full box speed for D3200.

    I think that either you're a grain person or not and Rodinal is just somehow a match made in heaven or not. If you haven't found Rodinal to be a match made in heaven then I don't think there is going to be any way you can alter how to "cook " with it that will be magical.

    pentaxuser

  6. #6
    Uncle Bill's Avatar
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    Funny when I started developing my own, it was HC110 and later Rodinal entered the equation. Today my go-to developer is D76/ID-11 and I have a pretty good handle on what it can do with the films I take pictures with. That being said I am always testing out what else is out there as a result I have five litres of Xtol and give it a try.
    "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once and a while, you might just miss it."
    Ferris Bueller

  7. #7
    Bruce Osgood's Avatar
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    Mike,
    It is a fine question. We've all asked it at one time or another. I brew my own for a couple of reasons, 1) it is more economical but... 2) it is more convenient in terms of FRESH and not running out.

    It is obvious that grain is in the film, not the developer. My feelings are that 400 ASI film and faster have pronounced grain ("That is called grain. It is supposed to be there." -Flotsam ), where 200 speed or less will not show the grain as apparent. Choose your film accordingly.

  8. #8
    mealers's Avatar
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    So do some developers become exhausted easier than others? I mean are all developers capable of over/underdeveloping to N-2/N+2? My plan here is to use either Perceptol or ID11 for my slower films and keeping the Rodinal for medium speed films.
    Personally I havent had any problems doing this so far but is my unexperienced eye missing something?
    Please forgive the daft questions!

  9. #9
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    You've been developing film for 5 months and are already using 2 developers ?
    That's like playing a guitar for 6 months then switching to bagpipes.


    Stick to ONE developer for a year. Learn the process. Get a grip on
    the process. Become familiar with what you're doing. This is really about transforming yourself,
    not bending technology to your iron will. Keep notes. Analyze your results. When you're dead certain that
    you're going to get great negatives every time, become more severe with your analysis of your pictures.

    Learn to control the process and not be held hostage by it.
    Stick with ID-11. Learn to make it sing and dance. That done, you'll be ready to explore.
    But then, you might not feel like it.

    .
    "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"

    -Bertrand Russell



 

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