View Full Version : Favorite B+W Film / Dev Combo

Scott Rosenberg
28-Jun-2005, 19:11
hey fellas,

with the help of a good friend of mine, i am currently testing various b+w films and developer combinations. the current combo to beat seems to be ilford fp4+ developed in pyro hd (1:1:100) at 70 degrees for 13 minutes.

my previous favorite was fp4+ developed in ilford dd, but when developed in pryro hd, the negs have a wonderful tone and sharpness that i've not seen with other films/developers.

just wondering what your favorites are?


Eric Biggerstaff
28-Jun-2005, 19:49

This is sure to get you a bunch of answers.

I like the following:

Fuji Neopan Arcos 100, rated 64, developed in Xtol stock

Ilford HP5+ Rated 200, in DDX 1+6

Bergger BFP 200, rated 100 in Rodinal 1+25

TMaxx 100, rated 64 in TMax RS diluted from stock at 1+9

T Max 400, rated 200 in TMax RS diluted from stock 1+9

Of these I use Ilford HP5+ 70% of the time and Fuji the remaining, just whatever I have in the cupboard or can get a good deal on.

It is kind of tough to say I have a favorite, I just use what ever I can get! :-)

Have a great one.

Brian Ellis
28-Jun-2005, 21:16
D76 1-1, HP5+ except with Readyloads, then it's D76 1-1, TMax 100. Except for some extensive testing of PMK a few years ago I haven't used any developer other than D76 for about 10 years.

Mike Butler
28-Jun-2005, 21:21

I'm not personally a rabid pyro fan, but just last weekend I saw some lightjet black and white prints in person done by a photographer from San Francisco (Chris Honeysett) that were stunning.

I don't have a vested inerest in this guy, but for your information he shoots 4x5 FP4 Plus rated at 64 developed in pyro (pmk, if I remember right.) He told me that pyro works great for scanning, and he feels that he has got digital black and white printing down to a point where he doesn't need to spend time in a wet darkroom anymore.

I don't want to start a big flame-throwing contest, just tossing out what I know for the time being.

Scott Rosenberg
28-Jun-2005, 22:38
thanks for the replies fellas.

i previously ran some tests on tmax, acros, hp5+, and fp4+, as before then i was skeptical that there would be any difference. boy was i wrong! 100% of the time i found that i preferred fp4+ to the 'modified grain' films. i found the hp5+ to be nice, but a touch too grainy and not quite contrasty enough for my liking. the fp4+ really popped by comparison.

more recently, after seeing some of my friends stuff developed in pyro hd, i became curious about developers too. my fp4+ was all previously developed in ilford dd, but as i mentioned earlier, this first round of tests is leading me to think that fp4+ in pryo hd is going to be a tough combination to beat.

certainly you guys have goven me some other combinations to consider.

thanks again,

28-Jun-2005, 22:51
I know what ABC Pyro is, and PMK, but what is Pyro HD, please? And at what ISO speed do you shoot the HP5+?

Scott Rosenberg
29-Jun-2005, 00:06
bill, pyro (pyrocat) hd is a two-part, less toxic, deveolper developed by sandy king as an alternitive to pryo pmk.

find more info here:

mark blackman
29-Jun-2005, 03:12
Interesting. Anyone here tried Speedibrews Pyro (as stocked by Silverprint) with FP4? As I've nearly run out of Ilford HC and no one seems to have any in stock at the moment I'm ready to experiment.

Jim Rhoades
29-Jun-2005, 06:03
I find this whole thread confusing. You mean there's something other than Tri-X & D-76 1+1? I don't think so.

Walter Foscari
29-Jun-2005, 07:01
I'm also a fan of fp4+ I rate it at 100 and develop in either D76/ID11 or Pyrocat HD in rotary process. Both produce excellent negs.
Scott, 13min for Pyrocat HD seems a bit long (I do 8.30). Do you use trays? tanks? rotary? Also at what speed do you rate it?

Scott Davis
29-Jun-2005, 09:06
I'm a big fan of FP4+ in PMK Pyro - 12 mins @ 70F for enlarging on silver bromide papers, 13mins @75f for alt-process (Platinum, Azo, etc) papers.

As an aside, if anyone tells you Pyro developers are no good for fleshtones, they're smoking something.

Bruce Watson
29-Jun-2005, 10:09
It all depends on your application and tastes.

I do mostly landscape work. My biggest enlargements from 5x4 negatives are about 10x, so grain doesn't begin to enter the discussion. What I need, is speed. Hate to stand around waiting for the foliage to quit moving in the breeze...

My film is Tri-X, which I develop in XTOL 1:3, in a Jobo 3010 tank. An excellent combination.

David F. Stein
29-Jun-2005, 10:12
Tri-X @ 200 in D-76 1:1 for 8-1/2 minutes.

Any 100 speed film in Divided D-23.

Jay DeFehr
29-Jun-2005, 10:30
HP5+ in 510-Pyro or Hypercat; long, straight curve, full emulsion speed, no grain, excellent sharpness.


Richard Littlewood
29-Jun-2005, 11:42
FP4, home brewed ID-11 (near enough), 1+2 in a Jobo. N+ and N- no problem, ace contrast, smooth as you like, and sharp.

Scott Rosenberg
29-Jun-2005, 12:19
thanks for all the suggestions guys. lots of interesting combinations here.

walter, i rate my fp4+ at 100. the solution used is 1:1:100 at 70 degrees in Combiplan tanks. constant agitation for the first 30 seconds, followed by slight agitation once a minute thereafter. slower development times were tested, but 13 minutes produced the best negs.

what are you doing to get results in 8:30? i suppose the difference could be your rotary tanks vs my dip and dunk?

Frank Bagbey
29-Jun-2005, 21:51
JIM, I agree with you.

What would make my ears wiggle is a chart showing the times and temperatures for every film brand in D76 and D76 1:1. Wow, that would be good! Anyone have such an animal?

By the way, since Kodak could not care less about black and white it might be prudent to download all their developing charts before they decide the data is "outdated" by digitial and remove it all.

Walter Foscari
30-Jun-2005, 07:17
"what are you doing to get results in 8:30? i suppose the difference could be your rotary tanks vs my dip and dunk?"

Yep, the rotary process must be it (plus the temp. I use 20c/68f). Sandy King in his article on unblinkingeye.com suggests 8 min for fp4 in rotary if I recall correctly.

1-Jul-2005, 05:30
I love Sandy's pcat hd and have used it alot. Here recently I've been using j&c 400 in wd2d+ 1.5: 2: 40 @ 70 degrees for 8:30 min. brush development. beautiful negs with a DR around 1.5

1-Jul-2005, 10:39
Film: 6000E-HS Digital Scanning Back

Developer: Adobe Photoshop CS2, development by inspection at 70 degrees, 2 minutes to 2.5 days, in Dell Dimension Desktop Towers

Phil Schmeckle
4-Jul-2005, 09:43
And my 6 year old asked......

"Daddy, what's film?"