1: I take an unexploded strip of film and develop and fix it. You are looking to only get a minimal amount of base fog. That will indicate black limit of the developer. A little fog is okay,as the clear will take care of it. Too much and your image will get too thin. This test is handy to figure out solutions and development times.Originally Posted by mr.datsun
2: see above.
The solvent (hypo) does not really just take care of the highlights, but think of it as applying a curve to your image. The above to be applying the lower curve. You will know what to adjust by what you see.
Some films work better than others. Foma 100 is about perfect, and no hypo was required with dektol. Plusx was my favorite before that. Neopan 400 is wonderful, but across 100 is disappointing. I have never liked the results enough from tmy to keep using it.