View Full Version : Poll: Your Favorite B&W Film Developer

Eric Biggerstaff
1-Sep-2006, 07:41
As an add on to the other poll, what is your favorite developer?

Christopher Perez
1-Sep-2006, 07:43

Rodinal at least 100:1

David A. Goldfarb
1-Sep-2006, 07:45
ABC pyro

Eric Biggerstaff
1-Sep-2006, 07:54
I guess I should put my answer in as well, I have been using DDX to develop Delta films that I dilute 1+4

steve simmons
1-Sep-2006, 08:02
PMK - in my 30+ years as a black and white photographer there is nothing that compares.
steve simmons

Ron Marshall
1-Sep-2006, 08:08
So far I have only tried three: D76, HC-110 and XTOL, with XTOL the marginal favourite over HC-110.

XTOL and TMY is my current favourite combination.

Soon I will try Rodinal and Pyrocat.

Oren Grad
1-Sep-2006, 09:15
Over the years I've tried every developer on your poll list except for pyro, but I finally settled on... D76.

Eric Biggerstaff
1-Sep-2006, 09:15
I would of guessed Pyro would lead but am surprised DDX is second

1-Sep-2006, 09:38
You left out Pyrocat HD. (No, it's not pyro.)

Eric Biggerstaff
1-Sep-2006, 09:41
Dang! Sorry Juan! I wish I had space for a few more lines, but it limits me to 10.


Ole Tjugen
1-Sep-2006, 10:01
Ilfosol-S, FX-2, Pyrocat-HD, Beutler's, Windisch' compensating Pyrocatechin, D-23...

They all have their uses.

1-Sep-2006, 10:23
PMK is great, of course, but a bit messy and time consuming.
For my commercial shots I use D76 but would like to try Xtol.
I'm shooting only on Tri-X 4x5 (ASA 320), any recommendations on average dev-times?
(I use double metal film-hangers in tanks).



1-Sep-2006, 10:37

Hany Aziz
1-Sep-2006, 10:48
Sprint Standard developer. Works great on my FP4+. It is meant as a liquid equivalent to D76 1:1 but uses phenidone instead of metol. Popular in schools and colleges at least in the northeast US. I have experimented with Xtol, Rodinal, DDX etc., but always keep coming back to Sprint probably because I have settled on a known and reproducible routine at least with it and FP4+.



Eric Biggerstaff
1-Sep-2006, 12:11
Pyro is in the lead, but Xtol is coming up fast! Could be neck and neck at the finish!

Jan Pedersen
1-Sep-2006, 13:06
Pyrocat is my favorite but since that is not an option i had to pick my second favorite and that is Xtol


Amund BLix Aaeng
1-Sep-2006, 13:18
I find myself using TXP and HC-110 for anything involving people, and PMK for mostly anything else. I also really like DDX, but that`s usually with TXP-120...

Eric Biggerstaff
1-Sep-2006, 13:20
The Pyrocat thing was my bad, as I don't use staining developers I made the mistake of thinking it was a Pyro formula, it could be placed under "Other" but hey, Xtol is looking strong!

Kirk Gittings
1-Sep-2006, 13:38
You left out Pyrocat HD. (No, it's not pyro.)

Perhaps a dumb question, but isn't Pyrocat a "Pyro" formula. Every time there is a pyro flamewar is it not usually about Pyrocat and PMK (and sometimes ABC and Wimberly and Hypercat?). Enlighten me please.

1-Sep-2006, 14:00
Perhaps a dumb question, but isn't Pyrocat a "Pyro" formula. Every time there is a pyro flamewar is it not usually about Pyrocat and PMK (and sometimes ABC and Wimberly and Hypercat?). Enlighten me please.

Kirk, it is just a matter of semantics. Strictly speaking some people only consider a pyro developer to be one based on the use of pyrogallol as the primary reducer. PMK, WD2D+ and Rollo Pyro use pyrogallol as the primary reducer.

Pyrocat-HD uses pyrocatechin (catechol) as the primary reducer, as do Diaxactol and several other of Barry Thornton's formulas.. Although I personally conside Pyrocat and Diaxactol to be pyro staining developers, some people do not because the primary reducer is not pyrogallol. In any event, the distinction is one of difference because the color of the stain of pyrocatechin based developers has characteristics that give different results in printing, at least on VC silver papers, than most pyrogallol based developers, WD2D+ being an exception.


Keith Pitman
1-Sep-2006, 14:14
PMK Pyro.

Jay DeFehr
1-Sep-2006, 14:45

1-Sep-2006, 15:42
Rodinal at the top, then

I'm about to start playing with Pyrocat-HD


Gary Samson
1-Sep-2006, 17:12
PMK Pyro
Pyrocat HD


Eric Biggerstaff
1-Sep-2006, 18:06
Pyro has a strong lead, but the outcome is still not final!

steve simmons
1-Sep-2006, 18:09
How about a poll on vc vs graded papers

steve simmons

Robert Ley
1-Sep-2006, 18:51
As I use mainly Ilford films (HP5+, FP4+ and Delta 100 in 120) I have standardized on Ilford DDX. I love the liquid that is easy to mix and stores very well. Use it at 1:4 and 1:9. I recently tried PyroCat HD and I like that very much as well.

Sergio Caetano
1-Sep-2006, 19:57

David Karp
1-Sep-2006, 20:31
Barry Thornton's metol 2 bath.

Merg Ross
1-Sep-2006, 20:34
Other! Metol/Acetone

Eric Biggerstaff
1-Sep-2006, 21:22
Thanks everyone, keep them coming!

brian steinberger
1-Sep-2006, 21:56

Rodinal at 1:50 is amazing with FP4. It is by far my favorite film developer. I also use DD-X with HP5.

Eric Biggerstaff
1-Sep-2006, 21:59

Have you ever used Rodinal on HP5+, that is a combination I am thinking about trying.

Gary L. Quay
1-Sep-2006, 22:21
PMK Pyro has womderful compensating properties. I like the results, although, not the occasional streaking. For consistancy, I like Clayton F76.


1-Sep-2006, 23:12
Pyrocat HD


2-Sep-2006, 00:27
Eh? What? Nobody uses Paterson FX-39 except me?! :(

Production has ceased, but there are rumours of a resurrection. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please.

Pete Watkins
2-Sep-2006, 00:39
Pyrocat HD, Perceptol was the one for many years though.

Eric Biggerstaff
2-Sep-2006, 06:15
This one is interesting. While the percentages for the various developers is about what I thought would happen ( with the break between pyro type developers at around 30% ) I find it interesting how many people use more than one developer (which is consistent with the other poll on film choice as so many use a variety of films).

Mark Pope
2-Sep-2006, 09:39
My current developer for HP5 plus is Perceptol. The film's rated at EI250 and developed 1+2 for 12 minutes at 24 degrees C. Just as Barry Thornton says in 'Elements'.
I've used ID11 and DDX on 35mm HP5 plus and I have an unopened bottle of DDX in my darkroom. I'm toying with the idea of trying it with HP5 plus, initially at 1+4 but I'd be interested to see results at 1+9 as well as I think it will help tame highlights better.
Thoughts anyone?

Eric Biggerstaff
2-Sep-2006, 16:33
I have used HP5+ and DDX 1+4 with a Jobo drum and it is not bad, that combination when combined with my meter and developing method created at EI of 640, so I am lookign for a different developer with that film.

2-Sep-2006, 18:00
ansco 130

( i have some 777, d23 and mortenson's glycin varient to make so in a month or 2 i may change and use something else ... )

Donald Qualls
2-Sep-2006, 18:47
Top three for me: Parodinal, HC-110, and Caffenol LC+C (the latter for microfilm-derived products like ADOX CMS 20).

Caffenol LC+C is a coffee and ascorbic acid low contrast, high acutance developer, reformulated by yours truly from Roger Bunting's original coffee developer. Parodinal is a Rodinal-like developer made from acetaminophen aka paracetamol (yes, the headache tablets).

Alex Hawley
2-Sep-2006, 19:41
Pyrocat-HD all the way.

Leonard Metcalf
2-Sep-2006, 20:38
D76 though I am thinking of giving Pyro a try, and this poll has helped convince me.

2-Sep-2006, 21:44
Harold Harvey's Panthermic 777 is my favorite.

BTW, "Pyro" (a term usually meant to refer to pyrogallol) is not a developer. It's an ingredient used in a multitude of various formulae, the most famous of which seem to be ABC Pyro and PMK.

Patrik Roseen
3-Sep-2006, 02:17
Eh? What? Nobody uses Paterson FX-39 except me?! :(

Production has ceased, but there are rumours of a resurrection. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please.
Hey, I also use Paterson FX-39 for TMX and also Paterson Aculux2 for traditional films.

(Being an amateur with limited space/time, it's all about convenience, just diluting out of the bottle i.e no storage dilution in between, no heating/cooling of chemicals etc)

Robert A. Zeichner
3-Sep-2006, 05:06

Ron Marshall
3-Sep-2006, 19:22
Looks like a four-way tie for second place.

Gerry Harrison
4-Sep-2006, 08:49

I have only used Rodinal and like the results very much at 1:50 for APX100 and 400 ( I stocked up ) .I could try the others I suspect.....but why complicate things. A good image does not care what developer is used.


4-Sep-2006, 09:34
:) Love D7 :)

5-Sep-2006, 00:21
XTol. Second is D-76

John Bowen
5-Sep-2006, 11:03
Pyrocat HD for 8x10 & ULF

HC-110 for 35mm & 4x5

brian steinberger
5-Sep-2006, 12:12

I have not used rodinal on HP5. I asumed the results would be too grainy. Rodinal makes FP4 look like a grainy medium speed film, but it's a nice tight grain and the gradation is beautiful. Let me know if you try it! And I'll let you know if do as well.


5-Sep-2006, 14:25
Rodinal on Efke 25, though the former is a bit of a PITA to find these days.

bob carnie
6-Sep-2006, 05:28
PMK Pyro and D76 equally for different reasons

6-Sep-2006, 14:02
Rodinal 1:50 for everything... It keeps, I'm tight...

6-Sep-2006, 14:06
Wow, was that my first post here? I've hung around for what seems ages... Brian says about big grain with Rodinal and FP4 & HP5. Yes it's BIG with 35mm film, but with medium and large format, who notices? We're not talking 'nograin' digital. ;-)

Miles Nelson
6-Sep-2006, 18:47
xtol 1:1 is current favorite but just starting to take a good look at precysol ef