I find that if you like the look of different papers for different subjects then you will end up having different film-developer combinations. For several years, I was like that. But for the last 18 months I have standardised all my photography for output onto AZO paper. As a result I only use 2 films (one medium and one high speed), one developer and one paper dev procedure. Saves space and time, and I do not need a darkroom. Good luck with the wife, it is a daily battle.
Developers are like our girl friend, wives or other lovers. They are all genetically about 99.999% alike and in appearance and function about 90% alike. But the small differences really count.
Originally Posted by rogueish
There are subtle differences between developers, even within classes. The most significant difference is between pyro staining and non-staining developers, but even within the category of pyro developers people who really understand how these developers work will find subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, differences in results between PMK, Pyrocat-HD, WD2D, Rollo Pyro, ABC Pyro, etc.
At this time I use Pyrocat-HD for about 80% of my film developing. It is close to ideal for me since I formulated and adjusted it specifically for my own needs. However, for specific situations there are some things that Pyrocat-HD does not perform as well as some other developers. For example, when exposing negatives in very low contrast scenes for printing with AZO or one of the alternative processes the very energetic 1:1:1:7 dilution of ABC Pyro will give better contrast with more reasonable development times. Another example would be when exposing negatives in scenes of very high contrast for printing on silver VC papers. In this situation PMK might well give better results.
So while it may well be true that there are no magic bullets in developers it is equally true that people who understand the characteristics of different developers and how these relate to their printing process know the choice of developer can add significant refinements to printing.
However, for beginners my advice would be to stick with one developer until you understand the reasons why another might give better results.
That's a clever one!
Originally Posted by sanking
Curitiba - nice place to live, if you don't care about the weather...
Well, film and developer combinations do look different, no matter what anyone says. As I have reimmersed myself in the B&W world over the last two years, I have tried different combos and as such, I can plan, shoot, develop and print to a certain look that strikes me as I am photographing. I am a continual explorer of new looks, even if I have not mastered the nuances of each combination as I work through it. Personal issues, I guess you could say.
So, I am in the process of exploring what 777 does on several films/exposures/developments. I am pretty happy with the preliminary negatives of Classic200 @ E.I. 160 for 7 minutes @ 75F. This is good, as this is the film I use in most of my wierd sized Press camera film holders. I am not happy with the tests so far of HP5 in this developer, but I also know it's a matter of reeling in the process times for this film. 777 on Tri-X has promise but that part of the equation is not a pressing issue right now.
I like the results I have of APX100 4x5 and 120 in W2D2+. Make that I LOVE the results I have gotten. I am waiting on a color transmission densitometer to bring this one into the BTZS testing and then will fine tune my shooting with this film in my Speed Graphic for the majority of my LF work in the near future.
I use Diafine for Tri-X shot at 1250 or so, 1000 with flash. I use this combination for some of my older MF and 135 cameras that either don't have a rangefinder, or have a marginal RF that benefit from an increased DOF using smaller apertures.
And finally, I use Rodinal (1+50) for picking up the pieces of everything else and for shooting PanF in my MF folders. These PanF films are stand developed at 1+200 for 90 minutes. An ongoing project utilizing the bright California sun and my decades long interest in recording interesting architectural detail I find as I wander through the Oceanside country. So far, the negatives of this experiment make really good enlarged positives (and negatives) for Alternative process work.
I have used FX-39 (blah) and of course, my two years at NESOP were consumed with the understanding of the intricacies of Tri-X in D-76 1:1. That combo is technically very good, yet I suspect I shot too much of it.
tim in san jose
I keep D76, Rodinal, A49, Diafine and the makings for Gainer's Metol-C on hand at all times. D76 because it works with almost any emulsion made and does a consistently excellent job at what it's made for, ie good film speed and low apparent grain. I use it with TX, FP4, Forte-Classic Pan-EDU types, and Maco/Efke 100. I use Rodinal when I want a little extra sharpness and/or very crisp grain, but not with the Forte type films. I just don't like it with those. The A49 is for the Forte type 400 films. Very nice tones and small tight grain for this film. Diafine for TX if I need it to go faster. The Metol-C is like D76 the way I see it-almost. For some reason it does a little extra for landscapes with TX in MF. I can't put my finger on it, but I like it better than anything else for those kind of shots.
For fixer I use Kodak powder type and Paterson Accufix. The Kodak for prints-it does what it's supposed to, and I've always done it that way. Just a habit that I can't see a reason to change. The Accufix because it's fast for film, (clears the films i use in about a minute) and it has a better capacity than anything else I've tried (Ilford, Kodak).
For print developer I use mostly Dektol because I think it's the best paper developer there is...for me anyway, and that's what counts! Most every paper seems to like it. I also use Agfa Neutol because I like it with Luminos paper, and it is very robust, (long-lived), and economical. Zonal Pro Warm if I want warm (natch).
Yes, you may have opened a can of worms, but you've caught quite a few fish.
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