Diafine as a standard developer?
I sometimes use Diafine in case I need a speed increase (TRI-X @ 1000 ASA) and I know I face rather high contrast (indoor). I like it because it's a kind of no-brainer (same developing time for all films whatever they are, no need to be picky with temperature).
But would you use or recommend it as a standard developer for everyday use (with a slower film like Plus-X)? What would be the main disadvantages compared to D-76 or HC-110 for instance?
If you like the negatives you get with Diafine there is no reason to switch unless you are looking for different image characteristics. So you should probably try it out with your slower film before deciding on a new developer. Best to only change one thing at a time and since you're trying a slower film, use the same developer. Then go from there.
Having said that if you want to use D76 or HC-110, these are both fine general purpose developers capable of excellent results with most films. HC-110 can be a little more convenient than D76 simply because it comes in liquid concentrate form and lasts very long, so it is economical.
I'm lazy, I use diafine for everything except large format. Get's me printable negs with minimum of fuss.
I usually rate up and down different films.
olleorama, this is exactly my plan. What films do you use?
I can't speak to Plus-X, but I've used Diafine with a few slower films---mainly Fomapan 100, a little bit of Efke of various speeds, Kentmere 100---and gotten results that struck me as "OK-not-great". It's not especially fine-grained, not especially sharp, of course tends to low contrast, and generally doesn't seem to give a special "look" with these films the way it does with Tri-X. But it's convenient, and if you don't mind having to print at higher contrast (or stretch the histogram if you're scanning) and the grain/acutance compromise, it might work out fine.
Try it---you've already got the developer, so the worst that can happen is that you waste some film finding out that you don't like the results, right?
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fp4+, acros, neopan 400, tmx, tmy and shanghai.
With Diafine, exposure makes a big difference in the results. I can see using it as a primary developer if I worked in a studio, but for most of my picture taking I cannot rely on achieving the idea light and exposure.
Originally Posted by BetterSense
According to your experience, in what the sensitivity to exposure differs from a standard developer like D-76 for instance?
Diafine does the same thing every time. You have very little control over the outcome.
Your single control is: Exposure.
With normal developers you can alter developing time and agitation to completely change the contrast of a negative. You don't have that luxury with Diafine. So while Diafine might be easier, you can't do every single thing with it. You can't expand the contrast of a negative, for example.
The developer is good at taking a high contrast scenario and compressing the tonal range such that it's printable. It may be one of the very few truly compensating developers out there.
In normal contrast lighting you have a developer that doesn't really add anything that's exceptional to your work flow, and in low contrast lighting you have a developer that is pretty helpless.
But, it is easy to do it in a simple manner every time. 4 minutes in part A and 4 minutes in part B. Call it good. It's just a matter of whether you can live with the compromise in picture quality or not.
And don't let my comments discourage you. There are photographers that have produced exceptional work using Diafine. You really need to try it for yourself to see how you like it. Nobody else is going to tell you that.
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I have found that FP4+ rated at 250 gives very fine negatives in Diafine.