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Thread: Developer Test: D-76, Rodinal and FD10 Head to Head

  1. #1
    RR
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    Developer Test: D-76, Rodinal and FD10 Head to Head

    Here is an informal personal test of 8x10 sheet film processed in 3 different film developers: Kodak D-76, Rodinal and Fotospeed FD10.

    I've been using Kodak D-76, the classic powder developer, but to make developing easier I would rather not use powder. So I bought some Rodinal R09 One Shot and some Fotospeed FD10. (Fotospeed FD10 is a fairly inexpensive developer widely available in the UK, and often used in photography schools etc. But I'm not sure it is widely available worldwide. Looking at the recipe, it seems a bit like a more dilute version of Rodinal, but my chemistry knowledge isn't good enough to be sure).

    I took 6 shots at the same time and exposure using Fomapan 200 film. I used my Jobo processor to drum-develop two sheets in D-76, two in Rodinal diluted 1:50, and two in FD10 diluted 1:9.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by GPX; 10-Mar-2015 at 16:11.

  2. #2
    RR
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    Re: Developer Test: D-76, Rodinal and FD10 Head to Head

    They all came out looking surprisingly similar. To do a first quick check of the results, I put them on a LED light box and photographed them.

    Here is the D-76 (showing first the negative, and then the same negative flipped into a positive):

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  3. #3
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    Re: Developer Test: D-76, Rodinal and FD10 Head to Head

    Here is the Rodinal (showing first the negative, and then the same negative flipped into a positive):

    Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #4
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    Re: Developer Test: D-76, Rodinal and FD10 Head to Head

    Here is the Fotospeed FD10 (showing first the negative, and then the same negative flipped into a positive):

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Re: Developer Test: D-76, Rodinal and FD10 Head to Head

    Of course it is hard for you to see the detail because I can't post huge photos on the forum. But to attempt to show a little more, here are crops of each:

    D-76:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Re: Developer Test: D-76, Rodinal and FD10 Head to Head

    Rodinal:

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    Re: Developer Test: D-76, Rodinal and FD10 Head to Head

    fd10

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  8. #8
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Developer Test: D-76, Rodinal and FD10 Head to Head

    Nice test. How did you make sure that the films were developed to the same contrast index?
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing You Don't Already Know

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    Re: Developer Test: D-76, Rodinal and FD10 Head to Head

    So what do I make of these results?

    Well, the differences are quite subtle. I would happily use any of these film developers. The tonality, contrast etc seem similar. But in the crops, notice the grain in the background: the Rodinal and FD10 are significantly grainier. The FD10 and Rodinal produce results I cannot tell apart (maybe FD10 is indeed a more dilute version of Rodinal, or something close to it).

    I like the Rodinal in terms of ease of use: add a 10ml syringe of Rodinal to 500 ml of water, easy. Plus apparently Rodinal has the best shelf life of any developer. Plus it works out cheapest.

    However, D-76 has less grain. Perhaps the Rodinal has subtly better tonality or sharpness, but if so, the difference is too subtle to see in these photos. I'd have to take more photos to form a view on that. (Because I shoot mostly fashion and people, and I'm using large format film, the ultimate sharpness is not that important to me. But tonality is important. However tonality is rather subjective.)

    So my overall finding is that the differences between these developers are smaller than I expected. But if D-76 came as a liquid, perhaps I would keep using that. For now, I'll happily use up the Rodinal and FD10.

    Does anyone have any other developer suggestions that would be significantly different/better than these, that would be worth me trying?

  10. #10
    RR
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    Re: Developer Test: D-76, Rodinal and FD10 Head to Head

    Good point Peter. Clearly this is only a rough personal test. I simply did the best I could to develop to a standard degree of contrast. But I should probably experiment more with development times. I'm not sure it would change the graininess or tonality that much though.

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