Originally Posted by Alan Johnson
The general conclusion I keep coming to based on all this, Perrin, Altman etc. and descriptions/photographs of the formation of image silver during development in Haist's book, is that barring extreme situations, adjacency effects and graininess are the primary characteristics people are observing (consciously or unconsciously) when they describe a particular developer as "sharp" relative to some other developer. The typical comparison is between high pH, low sulfite developers vs say D-76. So I would tend to argue when we talk generically about "edge sharpness" in the context of developers, we're speaking mostly about micro-contrast (and I think graininess plays an important role in the subjective impression of sharpness too), not acutance as traditionally defined.
Strictly speaking, there is not really any such thing as a sharp developed silver grain, and at that scale I simply can't accept that differences in the amount of sulfite grain etching per se (compare say D-76 1+1 to Rodinal) have any material impact on traditionally defined acutance.
It then follows that on balance we are generally (depending on the film) better off with plain old mildly solvent developers from the standpoint of image structure. It would seem even where acutance increases are observed with so-called high acutance formulas, a very disproportionate price is paid in granularity/graininess.
Last edited by Michael R 1974; 07-03-2013 at 08:44 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: clarity (I hope!)