View Full Version : HC110 Dilution H

13-Sep-2010, 19:26
I have tried developing my 4x5 Ilford Hp5 using HC110 Dilution H (1:63) at 10 minutes using the taco method. I mixed 11ml of concentrated syrup with 693 to make 704ml of solution for my reel tank. I agitated for the first minute and for 10 seconds after that for every minute of the developing time.

The negatives have low contrast from what I see. See one of photo here (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showpost.php?p=627045&postcount=124) which already been adjusted in Photoshop using the curves.

Is HC110 Dilution H causing the low contrast? Should I tried dilution B instead ?
Thanks :)

Wayne Aho
13-Sep-2010, 20:30
I use HC-110, almost always dilution B. The H dilution is "unofficial" to get longer developement times. Its not always linear, you might go 8 minutes on your next try. The agitation sequence seems good. You'll have to experiment to get the negatives that you are looking for. The photo you linked to actually looks good with some dark blacks to clean whites, and printing on VC paper with a higher filter grade should provide more contrast. Keep track of your exposures, development times and temps, until you get the negatives you like.
I had a hard time getting good contrast in my personal BW photos, I was military trained for low contrast shots to improve the "information" available on the film, not for pictoral quality, and I still sometimes have to filter up to get pleasing photos.


Louie Powell
14-Sep-2010, 04:04
You can't simply apply a formula that works for someone else and expect to automatically get the results you expect.

I routinely use HC110 in dilution H. I mix the entire 16 concentrate bottle to make a gallon of stock solution. The recommendations on the label call for mixing 64 oz of concentrate, and then diluting that to reach B. Basically, I double the water component when mixing the stock solution, and then I use the recommended dilutions of the stock to make my working solution. That is, I use my diluted concentrate at the label recommendations for dilution B, but because my concentrate has twice the recommended amount of water, I get something close to H. I know it's not precisely dilution H (and dilution H is actually an urban legend - Kodak never endorsed it), but because I use it consistently and am calibrated around it, it works just fine for me.

To make the working solution, I have a graduate that is marked to show how much concentrate is required for 200 or 400ml of working solution. I make 800ml for sheet film - that's enough for six sheets in a slosher in my 11x14 tray.

In my case, I am using Efke 100 film. My testing (my meter and my lens) tells me to expose it at EI50. And development testing tells me to use 11 minutes as my normal development time. YMMV - in fact, I can almost guarantee that if you do the testing, you will end up with different numbers.

14-Sep-2010, 06:33
Is HC110 Dilution H causing the low contrast? Should I tried dilution B instead ?
Thanks :)

In general the higher you dilute a developer the more it tends to work compensating on the contrast. If you want to achieve higher contrast you should work with stronger, less diluted developer or you increase your time. Your scene seems to be not very contrasty, so the standard times for the different dilutions may be generally too short. Try one test shot of an similar low contrast scene in dilution H and as a starting point increase the development time by 10 % if the contrast is only a little too low or by 25 percent of you need much more contrast.


14-Sep-2010, 06:35
sorry, just a little error

14-Sep-2010, 19:17
ok thanks for all your input.. very helpful. I will try to change one variable at one time. I will start with increasing the development time and see how it turn out.

15-Sep-2010, 03:15
I would think shortening his development time would decrease, not increase contrast.


Jim Michael
15-Sep-2010, 09:14
The concentration of the developer is a factor. In high dilutions the developer near areas of higher exposure gets exhausted faster than that near areas of low exposure, which allows for contrast compensation. If agitation is constant then that becomes a non-factor and the activity of the developer proportional to the concentration becomes more of a factor.

I would think shortening his development time would decrease, not increase contrast.


Samuli Haataja
17-Sep-2010, 13:07
I use dilution H and hp5+ regularly with no problems. My EI is 200 and dev time 8 minutes. I use soft tubes which are basically the same as tacos. I print with diffuser enlarger. I also scan with cheap flatbed and I've noticed that scanners and scanning softwares have often really hard time producing good contrast compared to traditional printing. It is possible your problem is more a scanning problems than developing problem... I'd suggest buying stouffer 21 step wedge. It is cheap and gives you a rough idea of the density of your negs.

Bruce Watson
17-Sep-2010, 13:22
Is HC110 Dilution H causing the low contrast?

No. You are the cause, not dilution H. As long as you have enough developer concentrate in your mix to avoid developer starvation, it comes down to your technique.

The easiest thing you could change is to increase your development time. All other things being equal, this will increase your Dmax.

Alternatively, you could increase your agitation. All other things being equal, this will increase your Dmax.

If you change your dilution, you'll also have to change your development time. Since you are using intermittent agitation, a reasonable rule of thumb is that if you cut your dilution in half (that is, go from H to B), then cut your development time in half. Won't be perfect, but it'll likely be close enough that you can make minor adjustments to get where you want to be.

Bottom line -- don't be afraid to experiment. The time/temp/agitation listed on the sheet that comes with the developer are just starting points. They'll get you in the ballpark. To find your seat inside that ballpark, you'll have to hunt a bit. That's just the way it works; everyone's process is a little different compared to everyone elses'.