Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
Stone, to a large degree yes fine grain and sharpness (you could call it crispness) are at opposite ends when balancing a developer's characteristics. It gets a little more complicated with more dilute developers where edge effects come into play, but don't worry about that. Just know that generally the finer grain a developer is formulated to produce, the less sharp the edges of the grain will be.

Most general purpose solvent developers like D76/ID11, DDX, XTOL, TMax RS, Ilfosol etc etc are designed to give a good balance of both fine grain and good sharpness, without going too far in either direction. Developers like Rodinal, FX2, Beutler, and Pyro favour sharpness over fine grain. Developers like Microdol/Perceptol favour fine grain over sharpness.

The differences become a little less clear if you alter dilutions, agitation etc. Generally the more you dilute a solvent developer the sharper it will get, with the tradeoff of higher graininess.

What I would say is that from a grain or sharpness perspective you won't have a whole lot to gain or lose by switching from Ilfosol to DDX or TMax. What DDX or TMax RS offer is somewhat higher speed, at least with tabular grained films.

How you use the developer is important and gives you some flexibility with respect to graininess and sharpness. And of course you can also control contrast (and film speed to some extent). So it is more about how you practice using the film/developer combination than switching developers. Many of the differences between similar types of developers are quite small. So I would not consider yourself limited in any way with Ilfosol. I have not used it myself but I'm sure it can do whatever you need it to do.

If you want to learn a little more about the general types of developers, films and how they work together consider buying a copy of The Film Developing Cookbook. It's a pretty good compilation of information from good sources, and is easy to follow. This might help you decide whether you should stick with what you are using or perhaps go in a different direction.
That was a very easy to understand and thorough explanation thanks! I wish you could "favorite" certain parts of a thread and save them so you don't lose them and can refer back to them without reading through 20 pages of response... Alas...

Ok (and sorry to hijack this thread) but I am not an optical printer, I use a scanner, so scanability is HUGE for me, if a scanner reads grain better, I can always sharpen in post (which I'm slowly learning how to do) but if a scanner likes sharpness over grain I would go that rout, all I know is for B&W of TX400@400, tmax400@400, Pan F+@50, D3200@3200 and TX400@3200 and a few others, all developed in Ilfsol 3, the best was pan F in both crisp looking at full image and grain at 1:1 viewing, D3200 was better at 1:1 in the grain not having a blurry edge over everything but tmax which was still blurrier than pan F.

This whole system is crazy haha I never used to think about this when I sent everything out, so I never really knew much and it's a bit overwhelming at times and if I had more $ I could risk just trying out different combo's but instead need to be more careful before I jump in.

I'm going to re-read your post a few times more, but, I thought Ilfsol 3 wasn't as good for high ASA's and only good for 50-100, at least I read that on ilfords site somewhere, I also get turned off by the words "general purpose" because I often equate that to CRAP like you would call Kodak Gold film a general purpose film... Haha.

I just want to know if I can get any more out of my Pan F+ from a different developer is all.

I also have some tech pan and some plus-x that I want to take advantage of so I was thinking Adonol and Acros is cheaper than Delta 100 so I don't know if acros is traditional or Tgrain and what best to use with that?

So, if I understand things, I've listed film combo's, would you change any of the following? And if its an OR, can you suggest a preferred choice?

New Stuff I'll use a lot...

Pan F+ - Ilfsol 3 OR Adonol?
Acros - Ilfsol 3 OR Adonol? OR ID-II?
Delta 400 - DD-X
Delta 3200 - DD-X

Old stock I want to take full advantage of...

Technical Pan - Adonol?
Plus-X - Adonol? OR ID-II?

I have a lot of 70mm C-41 (like a few hundred feet) that I think I may cross process as B&W so if one of the developers that would be best for only say one type of film up there, but I could also use for the x-process it would be ok to say get THIS lol.

Few! Ok I'll look at getting that book, thanks in advance for a second reply as well


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