View Full Version : Film/developer/paper/developer combination

Sal Santamaura
31-May-2004, 10:11
After extensive trials I've standardized on Acros for 4x5 black and white. Optimum development is in Perceptol 1:3 using Fuji's agitation scheme (continuous during first minute, then 5 seconds at the beginning of each subsequent minute) for 18 minutes 45 seconds at 68 degrees F. This gives an 'N' negative, i.e. contrast index 0.56, and an exposure index of 125 based on Zone I density of 0.1 above film base + fog. Since the 68 degree F time is so long, those of us living in warm climates have the added advantage of manageable 'N' equivalent times at elevated temperatures.

To enable using sufficient developer quantity and ensure perfectly even results, carry out processing in a Jobo 2551 tank. Load four sheets on a 2509n reel, then place another empty reel above it on the core. For all steps use 2 liters of liquid. Start with two sequential water presoaks of several minutes each to wash out the wetting agent Fuji apparently incorporates. Failure to do so will result in bubble marks from foaming, no matter how hard one bangs the tank after agitating. Add 500 ml of Perceptol stock to 1500 ml water (save and reuse once, i.e. four more sheets), a plain water rinse, then alkaline fix in TF-4. The TF-4 should also be saved and reused. Two liters of working solution can fix at least 100 sheets.

Iíve tested a number of paper/developer combinations with the Acros/Perceptol negatives; my preferred combination was grade 2 glossy Bergger NB in Agfa Neutol Plus for two minutes. Outstanding whites, neutral image tone and a perfect match to the negatives' scale for typical sunlit outdoor scenes. Flatter lighting works well with grades 3 and 4. I strongly suggest that anyone interested in similar results give it a try.

Doug Howk
31-May-2004, 14:26
Also like Fuji Acros; but have only used the 35mm - can't find it in 4X5 except for quickloads - too expensive. So, been using Efke 100 for 4X5. My normal film processing is Diafine, water rinse, TF-4 fixer, then water wash. For paper, have used Agfa Neutol with good results; but also like Photographers Formulary dektol (TD-30) & Sprint Quicksilver.

Chris Gittins
31-May-2004, 15:59
Out of curiousity, have you tried Bergger NB with Dektol? I tried the two together simply because I had some of each - actually had an article which warned against that combo, but I figured how bad could it be? Answer: pretty bad. The untoned prints were passable - maybe a touch green, but took on a very 'eggplant' color after selenium toning (1+9, KRST). The conclusion I came to is that I should have used a different developer. (Admittedly, I don't actually know if the eggplant was more a function of the paper or the developer.) I think the article I'd read recommended Selectol Soft. I've heard enough good things about Bergger NB that I want to work more with it. (I mainly use MG IV FB at present.) I'd be interested to hear from someone who's tried NB with multiple developers and could comment on the pros and cons of each.


Sal Santamaura
31-May-2004, 18:23
I've tried Bergger graded NB with Polymax T developer, which is billed as "liquid Dektol." Prints were as you described for Dektol -- green and not too impressive. Never bothered to tone them.

I am very pleased with Neutol Plus (not WA). Results described at the start of this thread are for untoned prints. The ability to achieve a look -- tonality, image color -- without selenium is a big plus. I don't have a permanent darkroom or anywhere near the time available that Bruce Barlow spent doing his recent comparisons!

It seemed extremely important to approach this topic from a system standpoint. Subject matter, film, film developer, paper and paper developer all combined to give the print appearance I sought. Others' desired print qualities may differ, so keep that in mind when considering which materials to try.

Sidney Cammeresi
31-May-2004, 21:53
I am developing my Bergger NB graded paper in Ilford Multigrade developer, mostly because that's what I had on hand when I first tried it. I'm pleased with the prints, as they come out fairly neutral, perhaps ever so slightly cold. Given a several-minute dip in selenium, however, they warm up a bit, turning a brownish/purplish color.