View Full Version : Best way to research film & developer Combinations

Tony Flora
21-Apr-2008, 16:12
I am attempting to research film and developer combinations prior to actually shooting with my new 4x5. I'm hoping to keep cost and experimentation time to a minimum. I have been thinking that it would be useful to have a thread that was just dedicated to x-film with picture posts and how they were developed. I think it would be easy for people to get an idea of what a particular film is capable of without flipping through a hundred threads (I'm not being lazy, I have already done this). Is there somewhere that this is already being done? Can we do this here? I am missing anything? Would this actually be useful, or are there too many other variables (exposure, scanning, etc)?


Ron Marshall
21-Apr-2008, 16:28
Have a look at The Film Developing Cookbook, by Anchell and Troop. It discusses the characteristics of films and developers.

Scott Kathe
21-Apr-2008, 17:05
I think there are a lot of variables with the way people visualize a scene. I would bet that two people using the same film and the same developer and the same subject and even the same camera and lens would come up with images that may or may not be similar, lighter vs darker, more vs less contrast... I think you may see differences just due to the lens used. To say nothing of the paper it's printed on if it is a print or how the scanning of the negative or print was done... It's probably best to pick one film and one developer and stick with it for a while. I'm getting a noticeably different look with my FP4+ developed with D76 1:1 in a Jobo compared to trays. Keep in mind I would still consider myself a beginner with this stuff.


Bruce Watson
21-Apr-2008, 17:07
Have a look at The Film Developing Cookbook by Anchell and Troop. It discusses the characteristics of films and developers.

What Ron said. That was one of the places I started doing research. There's a whole lot of information in this book but in a very readable format.

Ken Lee
21-Apr-2008, 17:32
I recommend that you find someone whose photographs you admire, and copy as much of their workflow as you can, at least in the beginning. This will save you a lot of time.

You can always makes changes later.

David A. Goldfarb
21-Apr-2008, 18:19
I think films have more of an effect on the overall look than developers, so I'd try a few films that interest you in a standard developer like D-76 or Xtol, and once you've got one you like, then try tweaking it in different developers.

Tony Flora
21-Apr-2008, 18:55
Have a look at The Film Developing Cookbook, by Anchell and Troop. It discusses the characteristics of films and developers.

I will take a closer look at that, thanks for the recommendation.

John Berry
21-Apr-2008, 23:23
R&D is a lot of the joy and discovery. Different films and developers are available to let you find what pleases you. The cookbook is an excellent recommendation. Remember LF ain't no wal-mart sport. Your not really going to know a film and what it will give you till you have 3 digits worth of sleeves filled with negs.

Bruce Barlow
22-Apr-2008, 05:31
I think you want to consider the kinds of photographs you want to make. For me, I need as much speed as I can get to capture the moving water I love as water, and not fuzzy moosh. So I go for a faster film like Tri-X. I've tested it with three developers I can stomach working with, first establishing proper film speed and development time through simple tests, and then making identical negs and developing one in each developer. Then I proof them side-by-side and see which one I like best.

There is no substitute for doing some testing yourself, and it can happen mostly within the context of making photographs. You will find no BAD combinations, and will learn which one (or ones) are your favorites.

I'll stress the "within the context of making photographs" part, since testing all on its own is about as boring as it gets...