View Full Version : FG-7,D-76 1:1, and comparison question

brian steinberger
31-Jan-2006, 18:35
Well I orderd a small amount of FG-7 tonight. I'm planning on comparing D-76 1:1 with FG-7 with both FP4 and HP5 to see if accutance is significantly higher with the FG-7, and also to see how much the grain is visable with the HP5. My questions, first is to see if anyone has run a test similar and what their results were. I'm shooting 4x5 and developing in tanks with hangers. My main question is how I should test. Should I shoot identical scenes, 2 with each film, and develop two (one FP4 and one HP5) together in D-76 1:1 and then the other two in FG-7? Or can I just shoot a white card at zone V and look at the grain there? Thanks for help

Michael Graves
31-Jan-2006, 19:30
If all you're interested in is grain, the neutral gray might work. But I would think some contrasting areas would be good, too.

31-Jan-2006, 21:03
with 4x5 film printed to only 20x16 acutance or sharpness should not be a problem regardless of film/dev combination. D76 is a general purpose film developer. It is not a high acutance developer but I don't know why you need one.

One word of caution. Don't judge sharpness by looking at the negative. Print it. If its not sharp then the most probable causes are bad focusing / incorrect camera movements / wrong aperture at the taking stage and/or bad enalrger alignment/focussing. Trying to fix any of those things by using a magic developer won't work. I beleive that many photographers get seduced by the look of a negative and aim to get negative which looks etched. That will not necessarily give you the best looking print IMHO.

Personally I think HC110 gives very sharp negatives when everything else is correct. The grain in HC110 negs looks "mushy" but they print sharp. I think this is because of the smooth gradation of tones which I like in HC110. But if you prefer a harsher look to your prints then d76 or rodinal may be just what you are looking for but only you can know that. Until you have experimented with many different film / neg combinations you won't know.

Al D
1-Feb-2006, 06:58
I've used both D-76 1:1 and FG-7 1:15 (with and without a 9% Sodium Sulfite solution added) fairly extensively, albeit with Tri-X in 35mm and 120.

FG-7 without sulfite will be slightly sharper but the difference will only be evident (but not dramatic) in a side-by-side comparsion at 7X or greater. The grain in FG-7 will be larger but reasonably sharp.

I see no advantages in using FG-7 with the Sulfite solution except perhaps a very, very slight gain in film speed. The grain gets mushier, not smaller (undesirable), the development times get shorter (undesirable), and highlights get harder to control (undesirable).

I've used FG-7 over D-76 only because it's relatively inexpensive, convenient (liquid vs. powder) and I don't have to worry about the relatively short life of D-76 stock solution. There are no tremendous differences in regards to image quality in smaller formats, so you can't really go wrong with either in 4x5.

Ultimately, though, I've switched to Patrick Gainer's PC-TEA over FG-7 because I consider it to be noticeably sharper with equivalent grain size, the formula is well-documented, and the shelf life seems to be very, very good.

PC-TEA is worth a look if you are willing to mix your own chemistry.