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Milton Tierney
12-Jun-2008, 16:17
Hi all!
Iím new to this forum and hope you all can help. Iíve jumped back into to soup again after 15+ yrs absent. WHOW has things changed! Everything is going digital. I love digital, but still enjoy LF.

I have my own small darkroom and did b/w & E6 processing. Iíve discovered that a lot of chem is hard to find and some photo papers are no longer made. All of my pro shops in my area are no more. :eek:

I did stash 600 sheets of 4x5 15 years ago in my deep freezer. After testing; the only film that made it was the TMX100 & 400. Everything else; all E6, Try-x & plus-s was fogged. This left me with 300 sheets of TMX100 + 100 sheets of TMX400. In the past I used HC-110 or D76. I did use Kodak paper and Ilford. Oh, I did find one roll of Kodachrome 25.

My question is this, what are the best b/w developers and papers today? :confused:

Thanks,
Milton :)

John Kasaian
12-Jun-2008, 16:42
Good ol' D-76 for film. john nanian who posts here and on APUG turned me on to Ansco-130 and I can't thank him enough for that tip.
If you're a graded fiber base paper guy check out Kentmere, Slavich and Fotochemika. Galerie and Oriental are still around---I don't know if Oriental is the same legendary stuff of days past since I haven't used it in quite awhile.

Jim Galli
12-Jun-2008, 16:43
Welcome Milton.

Lots of good resources out there but one worth mentioning is Freestyle Sales Co. out in Hollywood California. They have been working hard importing good materials from far E Europe and beyond trying to keep prices reasonable and give a good range of materials. They have a good web site. Call and get a catalog. Lots of folks are mixing their own developers now. Some of the old fashioned stuff like PyroCatechol is proving to be excellent and inexpensive. I mix all of my own film and paper developers. I still buy Rapid Fix just because I'm lazy. Have fun.

Wayne Crider
12-Jun-2008, 16:58
Developer wise it's a matter of choice. A alot of people have gone to the different incarnations of Pyro, a tanning developer, some for alternative work and some for just standard printing. There's a few iterations of it out there that has some great keeping qualities if that matters to you. For TMX I don't think you could go wrong with a less toxic developer such as Xtol for a start, a solvent fine grain developer that acts as it's own replenisher and gives you about a 1/3 to 1/2 stop speed increase. Dilution increases speed and sharpness; 1:2, 1:3. You could also go with a non-solvent high acutance developer as well such as FX2 or a step down, Rodinal a popular favorite. Best to read one or more threads on the subject and take it from there. You'll get a basket of recommendations from people who have years of trying many different ones and have their personal choices. If it gets too mind boggling use D76 for the first round and go from there.
Since your stock is a little old, there have been a couple or more updates to the film since it was produced. The grain has gotten finer, so your stock will have some different characteristics over the new stuff. Maybe buy a box/roll and check the differences for fun.

Greg Lockrey
12-Jun-2008, 17:25
I'm a Plus-X fan and I like HC-110 over D-76. Grain structure is measurably cleaner. You're right, a lot has changed with film-developer-paper availability in the past 15-20 years.

Ron Marshall
12-Jun-2008, 18:01
Another vote for XTOL, but HC-110, and D76 also do a great job with TMX and TMY.

John Kasaian
12-Jun-2008, 18:05
FWIW my preference for developing TMY is TmaxRS (when I can get it!)

Milton Tierney
13-Jun-2008, 05:10
I've used a lot of developers yeaaaaaaaaars ago. I take it XTOL is new. What are the characteristics of and problems with XTOL?

Milton Tierney
13-Jun-2008, 05:15
Does anyone know of any good pro shop left in the Wash. D.C. area?

al olson
13-Jun-2008, 05:54
It's been 4 years since I lived there, but check Abbey Camera. They were a small chain in the area.

I primarily used Fuller & d'Albert in Fairfax. Their business was more oriented to inhouse company labs and commercial shops.

Ken Lee
13-Jun-2008, 10:10
I returned to photography in 2002 after a break of almost 30 years.

Back in the 1970's, I shot Tri-X at 250 and developed it in HC-110, as per Fred Picker, who got it from Ansel Adams.

Now I shoot TMAX 400 at 250, and develop it in Pyrocat MC.

Wayne Crider
13-Jun-2008, 17:01
I've used a lot of developers yeaaaaaaaaars ago. I take it XTOL is new. What are the characteristics of and problems with XTOL?

The problems are long gone and was a packaging thing. Apparently they couldn't market it in a smaller 1 liter amount so had to stick to the larger 5 liter 2 part package. If kept stoppered and full it will last a year plus a little. I flood my partial bottles with nitrogen and have no problems. Once it starts to go bad the color will change from champagne to various shades of yellow. It also works as it's own replenisher so you pour out a little used stuff and top it off. I use to keep it in deep tanks with floating lids and tops on the counter when not in a bottle. Works great and is a safer concoction with less health hazards to the user. Since it came out there are a few home spun recipes now using ascorbic acid, otherwise known as vitamin C, which it uses as a hydroquinone replacement. It has no restrainer, is highly buffered and not very sensitive to bromide. It's actually the recommended developer by Kodak for TMAX films. I use it diluted 1:3 for LF film even tho the times are not recommended by Kodak, mostly because I think people were just not using enough stock developer in their dilutions per square inch of film and having development failure. I usually use a minimum of 125ml per 80 square. I use 1:2 for MF and 1:1 for 35mm. It maintains sharpness even tho it is a solvent developer. It's actually a dam good developer and is somewhat known as a D76 update. I find in comparison tho that Xtol is better.

Milton Tierney
14-Jun-2008, 01:38
thanks for the tip

Milton Tierney
14-Jun-2008, 12:38
It seems that Abbey Camera is no longer in business.
They is always B&H