Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan R View Post
Even if I could change my future negatives, I still have those existing problem negatives to print!

Actually I am shooting 35mm (diverse subjects on each roll), and I always use the Thornton 2-bath (T2b). I settled on this through about 25 years of frustration, trial and error. I'm very happy with my choice for many reasons and I am not going to change, so please don't suggest it. A real joy of my negatives since settling on T2b is that long 'tails' of shadow and highlight detail are recorded on the negative, contributing to a very rich tonality when everything goes right. The cost is that in a small minority of shots where the the mid-tones matter more it can be hard to inject any sparkle. This is fairly easy to correct digitally using Curves, accepting some compression in highlights or/or shadows, but still retaining the detail at those ends of the scale. What I'm looking for is the analogue equivalent. I thought maybe the answer would be different print developers?
The answer is in the printing technique I gave you in post #3. Base your paper grade on the most important values, and use printing controls to ensure the shadows and highlights are good.

This is something you'll have to live with when using some two-bath negative developers. Rather than preferentially reducing highlight contrast like "compensating" developers, they sometimes give a more linear - but lower contrast curve (which people who scan seem to like). So midtones are compressed somewhat.

Printing skill is what is needed. Careful burning and dodging of shadows and highlights with multiple filters so that you can work them around the desired midtone contrast which is determined mostly by the filter grade for the main exposure.