Same Developer for Tmax-100, Plus-X & Tmax-400, Tri-X?
It has been quite some time since I did a little film testing (shoot, it's been a long time since I shot any real B&W). But two things have occurred:
1. Gary's brother is sending me the Minolta enlarger and ...
2. I moved from Alaska to Southern California, and I have noticed the light is very different down here. Not just brighter, but the "color" and quality of light is just different. I'm hypothesizing this comes from the angle of the sun being so different in the extreme North compared to SoCal, but I'm not sure.
I do know that I need to re-evaluate my films I will use, and get used to it all again when the enlarger gets here. If you couldn't tell by my recent flurry of posts, I am just a little excited to build a darkroom again!
Should I use Xtol or D76 for all 4 films I will test again? I had narrowed my favorites down to Plus-X and Tri-X in D76 or Xtol in Alaska, but I also liked the fine grain of Tmax-100 for some applications. Fuji Across is a close second on that score.
Now, I want to re-evaluate them in this new light...I would also like to try the updated Tmax-400, as I may like it better than Tri-X for a faster film when needed. The real test will be if I still like the look of Plus-X better than Tmax 100, though, as I almost always shoot low ISO film.
I guess what I'm wondering is if there is a developer combo that will give me better result, in the sense that I would be handi-capping one film here by using all the same developer. Hopefully what I'm asking makes sense.
Long winded question, I know. Thanks for bearing with me.
D76 is intended as a fine grain developer. That being the case it should be a good match for all of the Kodak films you mentioned above as they are all classified from fine to extremely fine grained films. D76 and XTol are good choices indeed. HC110 is a little fast for some other films but would work as well. But if you have used and are fond of the first two then dance with who ya brung.
"Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti
A single developer will work for all those films, but a single film will work in many cases also. So, there must be some reason you are using so many film types. If it is to appreciate the differences between the films, then using different developers for each film will exaggerate the differences and may make it more worthwhile.
The light is like that in California because it's paradise. IMO
D-76 and Xtol are both excellent general purpose developers, so take your pick. I use Xtol instead of D-76 because it gives a little extra speed with increasing grain.
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I met a gentleman from Arizona and he said the light here in upstate NY is "Fantastic". I also assume it's the angle of the sun. For instance, November is generally crappy here, gray and cloudy, but when the sun does shine, all your sujects are side or backlighted as the sun is so low in the sky.
Both D-76 and X-tol are fine devs. From what I read here, X-tol gives a bit finer grain and a bit more film speed, but I think you'd have to look at prints side-by-side for several minutes to see it. x-tol is a bit more friendly to the environs.
Cost and availability are also factors.
Last edited by jim appleyard; 06-12-2009 at 03:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Finer but softer: it is a question of taste!
Thanks guys. I will probably stick with XTOL then, unless there is a compelling reason to break out the old D76 again.
Don't know if any of you know about the FX-50 Crawley style developer? Do they make that stuff anymore? I once read a great article by Roger Hicks about it...but then they had stopped or shifted production of it to a different supplier or something, and I never got to try it. That sounded like one amazing bottle of stuff! Any thoughts on where to get some?
IC-Racer, I hardly ever use high ISO films - on the rare occasion that I did, I found Tri-X was the best for me, because if it was to the point that I was willing to sacrifice for a high speed film, I wanted something I could push hard, over/under expose, etc - in other words, no finessing the shot.
This is in contrast to much of my shooting which is low ISO film, on a tripod, MLU, etc. The real test will be for Tmax-100 vs Plus-X again. I loved the tight grain of Tmax100 (seemed to enlarge with more detail), but the tonality of Plus-X was better. I don't know if this makes sense, but I could see the difference. The Plus-X had a more "old school" B&W look to it; more grey tones throughout. Longer toe, I think. But, this could all be down to my technique as well, and poor developing / printing skills. (I usually have shot slide film, so I need a lot of practice in these areas.)
That's the reason for so many films...and I have tried nearly every Fuji, Kodak, and Ilford B&W film available - the Kodak films listed above were my favorites, w/ Fuji Neopan 100 Acros a close second to Tmax-100. For some reason, the Ilford films were a distinct third, I just did not care for the style as much. But...that was all in D76 or Xtol at box speeds and recommended developing times, so...who knows. There's so much variation! :-)
YES! I used to talk to my students about grain and tonality. I asked them to imagine that their work was hanging in a gallery. I asked them which they would see first when they walked into the room, grain or tonality. Tonality screams at you rfrom across the room, grain whispers from 6 inches.
Originally Posted by Jedidiah Smith
I shot globs of t-max films and never did care for them. As soon as I went back to PX/TX, everything got better!
Another point that may matter to you is the volume of dev that you have to make. D-76 is available in gallon and (still?) 1 liter sizes. X-tol is made in the 5 liter size only. You should go thru a gallon of D-76 faster than 5 liters of X-tol.