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  1. #1

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    Compensating film developers

    Finished re-reading AA's The Camera and now finishing The Negative.

    He mention's characteristics of compensating and semi-compensating developers that would seem useful, promoting shadow detail in the lower zones while not causing over-development of the highlights (higher zones).

    He did not mention any specific developers that are current/pre-packaged.

    1) what are the modern, readily available (commercial) developers that could be said to be compensating/semi-compensating?

    2) could D-76 be classified in that sense?

    3) as a general rule, would a compensating developer promote effective "box" speed so less adjustments would have to be made on the ISO dial of the camera?

  2. #2
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    Ilford advises using ID-11 1:3 and I would expect such use would give good strong compensating effects as well as good "sharpness." No reason D76 could not be used the same way. For a proper Exposure Index, Ilford used to list an EI for various films at this dilution.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  3. #3
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    There's still a PDF on the Ilford site with the different Dilutions/EI's, it in the Powdered Developers pdf.

    You can use developers like Rodinal, Pyrocat HD, HC110/Ilfotec etc at higher dilutions than normal for greater compensation as well.

    Ian

  4. #4
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    Probably the most compensating developer available (from the Formulary) is POTA, with which ~20+ stops of range is possible. POTA is supercompensating. The drawback is that it has very short life once mixed from powder. But if you need the range, nothing compares.

    Kinda hard to say what a compensating thing like POTA will do with the true speed of the film- it depends what you're after. Offhand I don't see any reason why the extra range would be added equally to both ends of the curve; rather, I suppose that it tends to bring up extra detail in the highlights (sort've as if you had shot the highlights with a slightly slower film). So then if you wanted more shadowdetail you might conclude that the highlights are well protected and rate the film a tick slower. But obviously your logic might be different if you didn't need more shadow detail. And honestly I don't know how much extra range is added to each end of the range, so that is worth checking. (Ron?)

    Anyway, let not your mind be taxed by the zone system! POTA is so compensating that such considerations won't be necessary for normal use.
    Last edited by keithwms; 06-04-2009 at 07:48 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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  5. #5
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Compensating developers are different to Low contrast developers in that they compress the highlights but retain good shadow and mid-tone detail.

    Ian

  6. #6

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    Diluting most devs makes them compensating and gives a higher EI. You can also use divided devs for compensation.

    Diafine is often used for compensating effects, but you get a one-stop speed increase.

  7. #7
    kodachrome64's Avatar
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    Does dilution alone give compensating effects? For instance does diluting Xtol to 1+3 give it compensating effects or is that obtained by reducing agitation and allowing developer exhaustion in the highlights? I'd always thought that just diluting a developer didn't necessarily give more shadow detail than an undiluted one.
    Kodachrome
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  8. #8
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Diluting D76/ID-11 and Xtol to 1+3 gives a reasonable degree of compensation, compensation is about restraining the highlights while maintaining the shadow detail. It's related to the exhaustion of the developer.

    Ian

  9. #9

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    What Anscojohn and Ian Grant wrote is the unvarnished truth. ID-11, or D-76 if you prefer, works reasonably well as a compensating developer and so does XTOL. For me D-76 at 1+3 is just about perfect for PanF+, which can be difficult to control especially if the light is harsh. Souped in D-76 at that dilution though, it's almost perfect when rated at box speed - still punchy enough through the middle tones to get your attention, but controlled enough in the highlights to retain detail without excessive burning in. Shadows hold pretty well too.
    Frank Schifano

  10. #10

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    I have less experience than probably all of the posters here (put together), I have tried Ansel Adam's compensating development using HC-110 (4ml[US sryup]/500ml[water]). Low dilution and low agitation. My results with TriX at 250 have been good, I don't have a densitometer, but I like the shadows and highlights are pulled. Feel free to point out any errors I may have made, as I say I'm not that experienced and I, like ymc226, would like to learn.

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