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Jerry Flynn
5-Aug-2007, 17:55
I thought there was a thread on this already, but I was not able to find it. I know that many people have taken issue with Anthony Guidice's perhaps overwrought prose in describing thei developer, but I just wanted to add my personal experience here.

Currently FA-1027 is available from Photographer's Formulary. They picked up this item when they took over Fine Art Photographic Supply. They tell me they intend to stock it for the foreseeable future.

I had been working though several developer options to use with Ilford FP4+. Many years ago, I had been happy with the tonality I got from FP4 and HC110-B. Having left the photo world (as a shooter) for 15 years, I was a bit dismayed to find out how much things had changed when I decided to take up shooting again in the late '90s.

I found that FP4+ and HC110-B gave me a very dense negative. I tried Xtol, which seemed to give very fine grain and decent tonality, but very low accutance.

Hearing the widespread praise for pyro among members of this forum as well as from other photographers, I tried PMK. I found it hard to work with (uneven development regardless of care in agitiation) and, to my subjective standards, poor shadow detail unless I shot at a speed of about 24. The accutance was superb, however.

I tried Pyrocat HD in Glycol. I found it was easier to work with - more even development and a slightly better film speed (about E.I 50) but still not the shadow separation and tonality I was looking for.

Finally, for whatever reason, I tried the FA-1027. I found that it gave me the negative I was looking for. Decent film speed (E.I. 64) great shadow separation, smooth tones and delicate high values. I don't really care that it may not be an original idea or that the copy describing it is full of hyperbole, it is giving me 11X14 prints from 4X5 that look like contact prints.

Now, I know I could compound my own developer from scratch - I've done it before - but I prefer a premixed, liquid concentrate which allows me flexibility in temperature control in mixing, I feel.

So, to each, one's own. I'm not trying to convince anyone to change, just reporting my own experience.