View Full Version : D-76, 1:1 or 1:3?

brian steinberger
30-Jan-2006, 21:47
I've determined that I'd like to use D-76 with my Ilford FP4 and HP5. But I'm not sure which dilution to use. I realize that the 1:3 will provide more acutance, but also longer development times. I'd like to develop at 68 degrees if at all possible. When working with 4x5 and making enlargements up to 16x20, is the difference in acutance between 1:1 or 1:3 even visable? I'd also like to keep wet time to a minimal. What about Edwal FG-7? Is that a true high acutance developer? Thanks

David Karp
30-Jan-2006, 22:11
According to Anchell and Troop in the "Film Developing Cookbook" FG7 is considered a developer with good acutance, giving normal speed, less grain than other acutance developers, and excellent midtone gradation. They say that FG7 gives good acutance "visibly higher than D-76" diluted 1:3. The authors also do not recommend the option of adding sodium sulphite to FG7.

Will you notice the difference between D-76 1:1 and 1:3? Some will probably say "yes," others "no." I think I used D-76 mostly on roll film at 1:1. Then I went to X-Tol, which I used 1:3, so I cannot comment on a 4x5 negative processed in D-76 1:3. Why not make a test and do a direct comparison using your own processing procedure?

Andrew O'Neill
30-Jan-2006, 22:28
You also have to realize that increased dilutions don't only increase sharpness. They also have an effect on tonalities. You may like the crispier grain with 1+3, but might not appreciate the overall "look" of your prints. You should try both dilutions and see which works for you.
Which method do you use to develop your film? Trays? Tubes? I've found that tray is best if you want to play around with sharpness (one sheet at a time). I don't understand why you would want to keep wet time to a minimum. Agitation plays a role, too. Constant agitation can cut down on development time.
Oh ya, the difference between the two dilutions at 16x20 enlargements, especially with HP5+ is noticeable.

David Karp
30-Jan-2006, 22:55

Andrew is correct. Dilute compensating development (which is what you have with D-76 1:3) will have an impact on the midtones, compressing them. An alternative to consider is a two bath compensating developer. We had a discussion on this recently: http://largeformatphotography.info/lfforum/topic/504374.html. You might find it interesting.

Brian Ellis
31-Jan-2006, 09:02
There was a thread here within the last six months or so in which someone made a pretty convincing case for using D76 undiluted. I've always used it 1:1 and all my testing has been done that way so I'm not inclined to change at this point but if I were just starting with D76 I think I'd use it undiluted for the reasons given in that thread (sorry I can't remember what they were, maybe someone else can). If you search here under "D76" you perhaps can find the thread I'm talking about and see for yourself.