Fancy trying a new dev - which one? DD-X, Ultrafin, tMax...?

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by a_spaceman, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. a_spaceman

    a_spaceman TPF Noob!

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    I've been developing for a while and have so far only used rodinal.

    I have only been pleased when using slow films (100 asa) but never really liked the grain, contrast and lack of sharpness i get when i'm developing higher speed films (mostly 400 asa).

    I definitely want to try different dilutions (i've mostly used it at 1+25) and less inversions/agitations (stand at 1+100?) but i would also love to try some other developers.

    Ilfotec DD-X, T-Max and Ultrafin Plus have all caught my eye, being simple in use and rather inexpensive. I also saw more than a few good results other people obtained.

    What are you experiences with these developers? Any other suggestions? HC-110 perhaps?

    Thanks very much for any sort of inputs!
     
  2. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    for my classes we use hc110 solution b, for my personal use i have been using pyro hd, semi -stand development.
     
  3. maris

    maris TPF Noob!

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    There is no magic bullet.

    The reason why there are still so many developers after 170 years of photographic research is because developers are not cure-alls for problems but instead offer nuances of expression. All good developers, Rodinal, HC110, Pyro (in its many variations), D76/ID11, Xtol, can be finessed to yield results that are remarkably parallel. Control of the subtle differences that remain is the mark of photographic genius; provided, of course, that you can find an audience sophisticated enough to respond to what you show them.

    In terms of grain, sharpness, and contrast, exposing more and developing less or exposing less and developing more makes far more difference than changing developers.

    Changing format, say from 35mm to roll-film, makes a dramatic difference. Remember, 35mm offers quickness and mobility to capture things other formats may miss but it does so at the price of the worst technical quality in regular photographic production.

    These days I use Xtol as a replenisher system for all formats, 35mm to 8x10. In the past I tested every developer I could get. While my photographs did not improve much the very discipline of testing and re-testing taught me a lot. And it was fun then.
     
  4. a_spaceman

    a_spaceman TPF Noob!

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    never heard of the pyro hd, will look into it. How does it compare to the hc110 in your experience?


    I'm obviously not looking for any "magic bullet".
    As per my first post in this thread, I'm only looking to try a new developer and am asking for experiences to chose one so trying it won't only be an experiment but also a way to develop good photos, hopefully.
    Seeing you tested so many different combination, what is your experience with the ones i mentioned? Do they have any distinctive traits? Any one in particular easier to use (forgiveness with temperature variations, reaction to different inversion/agitation patterns...). All these informations would be very much useful, would be great to hear about them!
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I like HC-110 Dilution B with agitation 10 seconds on the minute, using the old Bill Pierce "rolling pin agitation" method. Kodak's D-76 diluted 1:1 with water produces similar negatives. I've developed a lot of film in Rodinal--it's sort of an acquired taste. I think HC-110 is a good developer, but you must measure it out very,very carefully since it is so,so strongly concentrated and thick! Consistency of working is paramount with HC-110. If you mix it up from the thick, concentrated "syrup" each time, you absolutely must follow a rigorous pattern of rinsing the graduate the same number of times,since it only takes 1/4 ounce of the stuff to develop a whole roll of film!

    I think for the T-grain films, the old-school developers are not very good. If you shoot T-Max 100 or 400 films, T-Max developer is very good,and a host of other developers are NOT.
     
  6. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    it is hard to compare as there are much different. pryo hd is a staining developer invent for making negatives for alternative processes. When i first started using it i had to do a lot of serious testing for 35mm film as all the times were really for LF film.

    It has a very different grain pattern than hc110 and the negatives are very sharp from the semi stand development.

    I have used hc110 for over 30 years and like it very much, but for alternative processes i was needing something different and then switched to pryo hd for all my personal work.

    We still use hc110 for my classes as it is easier to use as a one shot developer , last a long time and the developing times are much easier for beginners to "stomach". They are not going to be happy with a development time of 21min. with agiation every 3 minutes ;)
     
  7. epatsellis

    epatsellis TPF Noob!

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    Tmax 400 (TMY) and D76 can yield wonderous negatives, bordering on a religous experience (YMMV...). It goes without saying, but to get the best out of any film/dev combo, you need to do an EI test and establish times to achieve your desired contrast index.

    Typically, most users under expose and over develop their film, the exact opposite of what you want to do to get low grain and smooth tonality in your negs.

    Here's a typical example of what I get with TMY and D76:
    [​IMG]


    Silver Gelatin 16x20s show beautiful detail, tonality and excellent overall image quality.
     
  8. a_spaceman

    a_spaceman TPF Noob!

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    thanks for the inputs.

    i tried the 1+100 semi stand dev with rodinal and loved the results, so rodinal is something i will stick to.

    to try something different and develop a couple of neopan 400 i shoot at 1600 i got some ilford id-11, can't wait to see how it works out.

    anyway, should you have any input or suggestion, keep them going. if not for me, it could be helpful for many others!

    alex
     

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