An Oldster Discovers Kodak HC-110 Developer
What can I say? I'm a bit of a photographic oldster!
I have always loved to experiment with films and papers. I have nearly every imaginable material in my freezer right now as far as films go. I like to tinker. I like the personalities of different films.
However, with developers I have been a lot more conservative. I started with D-76/ID-11. I migrated to XTOL. I got intrigued with PMK and fell in love with it, and along the way discovered that I really like Rodinal for really slow films. I still use all of them (primarily PMK and D-76). PMK is my primary developer but I find there are some films, particularly T-grain emulsions, where it isn't my favourite.
Now comes the oldster part. I have a busy life and I don't get to the darkroom as much as I'd like. (I ashamedly admit that I just processed some film from last May.) I get discouraged when I have a ton of work to do to get started on the film backlog. My PMK stock solution is pretty much immortal, and Rodinal is pretty much as good. However, by the time I get back into the darkroom after any extended time away, any XTOL or D-76 is dead (or at least shouldn't be trusted).
On a bit of a whim last spring, I bought a bottle of Kodak HC-110. I'd never used it before. I'm not sure why. I thought it might make a convenient substitute for D-76 that I could mix up pretty much as needed.
This was the perfect opportunity. I had nearly 40 rolls to develop and a good dozen or so were films I didn't want to do in PMK.
To make a long story short, I started with Dilution B (mixed directly from syrup using an oral syringe) and I am quite happy with the results. The peculiar 1:31 dilution is really awkward when you are using metric measurements (and often when you are using Imperial or US measurements too, actually ) but rounding up to convenient numbers solved that problem sufficiently.
The negatives look generally snappy (I overdeveloped some bulk Delta 100 that a friend gave me, marked "TMX" ... silly boy ) and I certainly couldn't complain about the convenience.
I will be running some more experiments. And since this bottle of HC-110 is already 1/3 gone, I can see buying some more in the near future.
Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.
Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?
I to use HC110 a lot, although 510 Pyro is my main developer. Your rounding up is a good solution for the odd ratio problem.
Kodak has a list of alphabet soup ratios, but I don't think it makes any difference what ratio you use.
I've had good luck with HC 110 putting 1ml into 100ml of water. I like pouring to a line on the beaker. I also use the syringe to measure the HC110 concentrate.
Someone else here suggests 1ml of HC110 into 49ml of water.
Just pick a ratio that's easy FOR YOU and test for development. Then be consistent every time after that.
Last edited by mikebarger; 01-03-2009 at 10:26 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: at least one typo
I'm FINALLY starting to get a handle on HC-110. I am using it as a replacement for FX-39 (now defunct) after a brief dalliance with Pyrocat MC. I was clued in to what was bugging me (increased grain) by an APUGGER and how to solve it, and I now have that collared by much reduced agitation.
HC is a great developer, my steady with TXP for about 30 years. Too bad the new version of TXP is less HC friendly than the original, it was a match made in heaven!
I oz of soup to 31 oz of water, easy clean and works every time!
The concentrate lasts for ages, even once opened, so you have no need to feel you must use it up quickly.
I too am getting long in the tooth and I enjoy the the 'NEW' discoveries I make, that others have been enjoying for a long time. Happy for your discovery of HC-110. I never user D-76 and hc-110 is my 'standard' developer for when I play it safe.
Being a programmer, I see 1:31 as an easy binary ratio, powers of 2. So I started working out for my various tanks. A one reel tank 250ml/8oz is close to 256. So 256/32 is 8. 8ml plus water to make 256ml. So this is a bit of mental gymnastics but it leads to a simple short cut. Fill the tank to its ML mark. Look at the OZ marking on the tank. Use that value in ML of HC-110.
Originally Posted by PhotoJim
This is a ratio of 1:32.25 . While this is off ever so slightly it serves me well particularly when traveling when I avoid thinking. I can also serve a quick estimate for when doing it in your head.
To teaching old dogs new tricks
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The 1+49 dilution info and times can be found here:
Another graying dude here. Back in the 60s and 70s, I used D-76 and Microdol-X -- and occasionally Acufine ,according to the notes with some 1965 vintage Minox negs I just unearthed. Later I got away to only commercially processed color for 20+ years. For B&W I now using mostly HC-110, "Dilution H," (1+63) as a one-shot; couldn't be happier. Measured my tanks to leave a little room for better agitation, did the numbers and posted them on the darkroom wall. The syrup seems to last for years and I always have fresh developer when I get around to souping some B&W. Since my darkroom is in the basement with no outside walls, it barely reaches 68ºF even in the summer. I can microwave the water I use for the one-shot to get right to temperature.
In returning to B&W I have used a bit of D-76, as it seems nearly every manufacturer lists times for that. Using it right by the numbers is just about guaranteed to produce usable results. That's good to try a new-to-me film, but I try on some less important work to migrate to the HC-110 for the long term.
Have you considered a "pig warmer"?
Originally Posted by DWThomas
Never liked HC-110 with my main film, HP5+. Grain was mushy and poor tonal separation.
Yeah. HP5+ worked great with Paterson's FX-39 though, IMO.