View Full Version : Panic reaction?

Richard Littlewood
13-May-2005, 09:55
Hi all,
I'm reading all the threads here and APUG regarding film developing, and all those folks around the world who rave about Pyro, X-tol, FX whatever etc and I'm convinced that I've got to alter the way film is developed, not because the way I do it now is letting me down, but right from college days when TRI-X went through D-76 I've been a little care- free regarding this vital stage.
I currently mix from raw chemicals ID-11 (D-76) and process in a Jobo, 68f, 1+1, and the negs are pleasing about 80% of the time. I'm keen to stick with the film/dev combo, but I rightly or wrongly think a weaker dilution 1+2, 1+3 would give slightly better edges, slight widening of the scale, and ditch the solvent effect of the developer. Any body rotary process using D-76/ID-11 at 1+2 or 1+3?.
I'm going to keep this developer, but I wouldn't mind trying another also. The D-76 'look' is OK most of the time, but I would appreciate all those who have a fave rotary processor developer to respond and let me know just how good they are! I've been using the same dev for far too long - I think, or is it just time to sling out the internet so all these (provoking) threads pass me by.

13-May-2005, 10:25
Why not experiment, a bit at a time?

You don't have to waste any time doing it. Just change one variable at a time, and not by that much, and you can do it while processing your work (instead of film exposed specifically for a test). If you're worried, or want to be a bit more scientific, make two exposures of everything, and separate them. I like to do this anyhow, just as insurance against dust, mistakes, etc.

I followed this process all the way from using d-76 to using a custom formula that bears no resemblance to d-76. But I changed one thing at a time, so the change was never radical. In a year of doing this, I only wrecked one batch of film (and this was when I was experimenting with selenium intensification, and went way too far). But I never produced a neg that wasn't at least reasonable to print outside of that incident.

Since you're curious about changing dilution, just go for it. Increase the time a bit to compensate and see what differences you notice.

Bruce Watson
13-May-2005, 10:39
I'm developing 4x5 Tri-X in a 3010 tank on a CPP-2, using XTOL 1:3. Very happy with it.

My previous favorite developer for Tri-X was HC-110, but I couldn't tame the beast for rotary processing. HC-110 is just an active developer - no way around it.

XTOL at 1:3 is just a little better in just about every way than HC-110H for what I'm doing. And... I get about 2/3 stop more real film speed. My EI for HC-110H was 250, my EI for XTOL 1:3 is 400.

Of course, YMMV.

John Cook
13-May-2005, 11:11
Richard, I think you are definitely on the right track with D76/ID-11 and HP5/Tri-x. I wouldn't switch to something else just yet. I have always done dip-and-dunk processing, never Jobo, so take my suggestions with that in mind.

My idea is to fiddle with the dilution. I have found that D76 at 1+3 gives better acutance with just a bit more obvious grain (something I like).

It might be fun to push the dilution thing a little further. According to Ilford's tech sheet on ID-11: http://www.ilford.com/html/us_english/PDF/ID-11.pdf, it's capacity is 10 films (35mm, 120, 8x10) per liter of stock. That means a liter has enough active ingredient to process 40 sheets of 4x5.

My math indicates that the 6 sheets my Combi tanks hold will therefore require an absolute minimum of 150 ml of stock developer. (6/40 X 1000 = 150) So I would dump 150 ml of developer into the tank and fill it to the top with distilled water. This represents the weakest dilution possible. The actual dilution is less important than the amount of active ingredient per sheet. Perhaps a slightly less radical dilution will prove best for you, after testing.

My experience for times with this technique usually lengthen from just under ten minutes (normal dilution) to just over twenty minutes (maximum dilution).

When you have found a dilution you prefer, if you were tank processing you could try reducing the agitation. Perhaps one 5-second cycle every other minute, to start.

Conrad Hoffman
13-May-2005, 14:15
IMO, you're doing the right thing by mixing from scratch. Unlike seemingly everybody else, I prefer D-76 full strength, not diluted. I don't find much difference in actuance by diluting developers, in fact I don't find much difference between even specific high and low acutance developers. Not that it doesn't exist, it just isn't as big an effect as sometimes made out to be. Nor have I found that minor tinkering with basic MQ or PQ formulas yields any dramatic difference in tonal quality. If you want to see a useful difference, go to a completely different type of soup- pyro, PPD, etc. Interestingly, sometimes the biggest difference between different developers isn't how the prints look, but how the negs or prints scan!

Brian Ellis
13-May-2005, 15:53
I use D76 1-1 in rotary processing (BTZS tubes) and have for years. When there's a problem with a negative it's usually either me or an equipment malfunction, not the developer. Recently I read a pretty convincing series of messages here to the effect that using D76 straight produces "sharper" negatives than diluting it and one of these days when I feel up to having The View Camera Store do the zone system testing for me I'll probably switch to undiluted D76.

David A. Goldfarb
13-May-2005, 16:41
Since you're mixing it yourself, if you want to reduce the solvent effect, you could also try reducing the amount of sulfite and seeing what happens.

Richard Littlewood
14-May-2005, 04:10
I've had a good think about this issue this morning, and more or less decided to tinker around with the dilution - starting with 1+2. If there is no difference or a very slight difference 1+2 would at least be less expensive! Secondly I'll mix some up with 25% less sulphite and take it from there. Another step would be to stop reading posts on developers - I've used ID-11, 1+1 for years and have masses of negs dev'd that way, and some good images too, so a mild fine tuning is possibly the way to go.