HC-110 vs. D-76 question
I am shooting more film than I have in the past, but I still find myself throwing away some of my mixed developer before I am able to use it.
Currently I use D-76, but was thinking about switching to HC-110 for the shelf life quality of the concentrate "syrup" and the advantages of one shot mixing whenever I would need it.
For those that have used HC-110, I was wondering if you could tell me your thoughts on this developer? Dilutions that you are happy with, comparisons to D-76 in developing etc.
I shoot mostly Tri-x and Arista EDU ultra 200 (Fomapan 200) a film which I really enjoy.
Why do you toss D-76. I keep my stock solution in 250ml bottles with good tight sealing caps, it lasts quite a bit longer than Kodak claims. I stash the bottles in a cabinet out of direct light and it lasts for nearly a year before it's used up.
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I like to use HC-110 from the concentrate syrup for its keeping properties and I also like the results I get with it. Hard to talk about direct comparisons as I never shoot two identical rolls and then develop in two developers. HC-110 is my usual developer, sometimes I'll mix up some Microphen for speed enhancement.
I like D76 and do something similar to Rick - mix up a batch, put in well cleaned pasta jars as full as possible, place some cling wrap over the opening, put on the lid and store in a cool dark place. It regularly lasts 6-8 months that way.
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HC110 and D76
HC110 does last a long time but it produces negatives that are far grainier than D76.
Tips on D76.
If you choose to mix less than the full amount of powder at a time make sure the powder is homogenous as possible. In dry form the components can separate. Stir the powder before adding to liquid.
Keeping liquid: Oxygen is the enemy. Store in full, tightly sealed, GLASS containers. NO plastic. When mixing minimize the air entrapment. Stir, don't shake and don't use a high speed mixer than has a whirlpool that entraps air.
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I've been using it for over 20 years and it's a great developer. As you know, it keeps forever and it's versatile. I haven't used D-76 in a long while, but if memory serves me correctly, D-76 has more of a silver solvent action to dissolve the edges of film grain more than HC-110. I'm sure there's an APUGer out there can correct me if I'm wrong. I use dilution "B" which is one part CONCENTRATE to 31 parts water. It also works as a great standing developer at 1:100 too. Ansel Adams loved the stuff.
B is the standard recommended dilution, but as you say people use it in all sorts of dilutions. Some people prefer to use it more dilute than B even with normal development since it is easier to control contrast. The very dilute formulations are typically for reduced agitation/compensation methods. I have not heard of many people using it for full stand. For compensation methods, there are other general purpose developers that will work just as well if not better in some cases (less speed loss).
There is not much preventing you from using dilute formulations of most any general purpose developer the same way. In that respect there is nothing particularly special about HC-110. It is just convenient that's all.
It is hard to compare it with D76 (or any other developer) because there are variables like agitation, dilution, development time etc that have an impact on image characteristics. But generally, expect slightly more grain and slightly less speed with HC110 compared to D76. The differences are not huge. HC110 is not an acutance developer as some people claim. It gives more acutance when diluted and when agitation is reduced, but D76 will do that also. In fact D76 at 1+3 is a very sharp developer.
This does not agree with Kodak's description.
Originally Posted by laser
The 2001 Kodak Professional Photographic Catalog contains a comparison chart.
Compared to D-76, this chart indicates that HC-110 (dilution B) produces:
o Slightly less shadow detail or true film speed;
o Slightly finer grain;
o Slightly lower acutance.
Apparently, HC-110 has somewhat more solvent action than D-76, but less than Xtol.
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There's a reason why D-76 is the developer to which everything else is compared. You can't go wrong with it. Even in a plastic Datatainer bottle with no special precautions against oxidation, you can expect it to last six months at least.
HC-110 is great stuff, too. The one thing to remember about HC-110 is that tends to be more highly active on average, so developing times can get short, under five minutes in cases. If you want to prolong the developing time, and/or want greater economy, just half the strength of dilution B and double the developing time (which is unofficial dilution H).
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I store my stock D-76 in plastic milk jugs with screw-on tops.
I try to transfer it to smaller bottles if the level gets low but, a lot of the time, I have a half full bottle just sitting on the floor in the corner.
Now, my darkroom is really a dark room. It is in the basement and the only window is blocked with plywood. When I'm not in there, the room is always pitch black. The temperature rarely goes above 70ºF, even in the summer. In the winter the temperature runs in the mid 50's.
The bottom line is that I rarely worry about storing chemistry because my stuff is always in a cool, dark place... about as cool and dark as it can get.
A half-full bottle of D-76 has lasted more than six months.
(Even so, I still run a clip test before I use any of my chems that have been stored for more than a couple of weeks.)