B&W chemicals suggestions?

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by a_spaceman, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. a_spaceman

    a_spaceman TPF Noob!

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    Hi all, I'm about to start developing my b&w films at home and would love a little guidance about which chemical to use.

    What I need is a nice dev/fixer pair that's inexpensive, has a decent shelf life (without being a big chunky 5l tank) and allowes different dilutions to affect the final contrast (i like my b&w nice and contrasty, and don't mind a bit of grain).

    The films I will be shooting for the first few experiments are Fomapan 100 35mm.

    Been thinking about rodinal as a dev as it seems to match my requirements and, as i'll be using slow film, shouldn't get too grainy, but please feel free to prove me wrong and/or come up with other alternatives.

    thanks in advance
     
  2. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am admittedly an old fogey, but it seems as if your requirements can be well-met by D-76 and plain pipe rack Kodak fixer.

    My tank requires about 15 oz of solution. To ensure good shelf life I apportion out a gallon of developer into 8 16oz Snapple(r) bottles, add just enough water to each to almost reach the rim, and then cap them. Same with the fixer. The developer and fixer are then used once and discarded.
     
  3. a_spaceman

    a_spaceman TPF Noob!

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    thanks for the infos.
    been looking at d76, too, which looked interesting.
    will need to have a look at some oz to litres converter to get a better idea though.
    still, i've been checking a good london supplier and it comes for as cheap as a fiver for the 1 gallon sachet.
    that said, their website also says it's rather similar to the ilford D11 which mixes more easily than the D76. and inputs on this?
     
  4. the Virginian

    the Virginian TPF Noob!

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  5. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Theoretically, D76 and ID-11 are the same formula. However, it's been said
    that Kodak includes some additives (for preservation purposes and to aid in
    mixing with hard water, etc) which Ilford does not so ID-11 is the "purer"
    developer. AFAIK this hasn't been confirmed by either manufacturer and I
    doubt there would be any perceivable difference in actual use in any case.

    D-76 (and many other developers) can also be made up from scratch
    almost as easily as buying commercial versions to provide the freshest,
    purest form if that is something you seek.

    BTW, high contrast images are more easily achieved via the film rather
    than the developer or via darkroom printing at higher contrast. Developing
    film for higher contrast can introduce other less desirable traits. Slower
    films tend to give higher contrast than faster films when processed normally.
    A good slower film is Ilford Pan F+ (ISO 50), in my opinion. There are others.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2010
  6. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy TPF Noob!

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    HC-110 or Rodinal.
     
  7. nb_ken

    nb_ken TPF Noob!

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    Hmmm? I've never heard of playing with negative contrast by trying to customize your developer strength. I guess it would work in theory, but it's much easier to use a standard mixure and vary the time/temperature. Same results, but you won't have different jugs at different dilutions laying around the lab.

    Do some tests to see which combination will give you a generally acceptable result. Say the recommended time/temp is 8 min. @ 68 degrees. If you like things contrasty, maybe bump the time up by half a stop (9.5 minutes). Not contrasty enough, go a full stop (11 minutes). If you're blowing out your highlights, maybe pull back on your exposure a tad. The overdevelopment will hold your shadows and midtones, but will still give you an expanded tonal range.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that you can alway adjust the contrast with polycontrast paper when making prints. Your negative is for keeps. If it's significantly too contrasty, it's hard to correct that. If if your neg has average contrast, you can bump it or pull it back while printing.

    I've got no opinion on developer. Processed many thousands of rolls in D-76. Seemed to work fine. Always had a bottle of HC-110 in the lab, but didn't use it enough to form an opinion. I'm sure I tried others, but D-76 was my go-to solution.
     
  8. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Contrast can be increased by increasing the frequency of agitation during development.
     
  9. Danny_Dulieu

    Danny_Dulieu TPF Noob!

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    Like many other said : D76 (or ID11). Those are "classical developpers" and they are good for beginning.
     
  10. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    For today's films, it's hard to beat D-76 1:1.
     
  11. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For shelf life, go with a liquid concentrate developer like HC-110. The concentrate will last for years on the shelf, and you can mix up very small amounts of working solution when you need it. Powder developer can't be accurately mixed up in small batches, and doesn't have a very long shelf life once diluted.

    For contrast it's all about agitation, unless you want low contrast which would mean you'd want to go with a very dilute solution.
     

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