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Thread: Have you found exotic developers worth it for 8x10?

  1. #11

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    Re: Have you found exotic developers worth it for 8x10?

    My developer of choice is HC-110. Not very exotic, but it works and I've used it for some 25 years. I develop either in drums on 1 gal tanks, HC-110 works fine with either. Every time I try something else, I go back to HC-110. If it was good enough for Fred Picker and Oliver Gagliani, it's good enough for me. L

  2. #12

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    Re: Have you found exotic developers worth it for 8x10?

    Quote Originally Posted by sperdynamite View Post
    But when it comes to 8x10, stop me if I'm 'magic bullet chasing.'
    There is a magic bullet:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is understanding well practical sensitometry and what impact it has in your images.

    After that film, developers and papers are not magic bullets anymore, they become technical and aesthetic resources.

    At all it's not necessary to dominate sensitometry to craft impressive images, but today Ps edition allows hybrid and digital works to be very well crafted, while a pure optic workflow is as demanding as always.

    If you are to scan then developers are way less relevant for 8x10, you just ensure having film exposed enough, and later you get fun by bending curves in Ps ...and digital sharpening works the acutance.

    _________________________


    ...but if you want to make optic prints then start with 4x5, you'll waste 1/4 of the film, or you will make x4 more tests for the same cost, 4x5 allows developing sheets individually, so it's a good size for adjusting your process. When you have a sound workflow then move to 5x7 or 8x10.

    with 4x5 you can easily get an enlarger to make sound optic enlargements.

    8x10 is great, but you should consider if it has drawbacks and that 4x5 can be way better to learn or to adjust your workflow.


    _________________________


    Grain is irrelevant for 8x10... and acutance is another war.


    Acutance developer vs Acutance development


    Please note that you have different factors.

    An Acutance Developer is tipically one with less solvent action, say Rodinal, but solvent action can be modulated with dilution, and also even stock Xtol (with controlled agitation) can be well sharper than Rodinal.

    Then we have edge effects, bromide diffusion/production in the development is what makes the effect, rather than developer exhaustion/diffusion, so controlling agitation may be a main concern for big optic enlargement factors, with the rotary you lose control over agitation and highlight control, rotary is amazing, but it also has painful drawbacks in process control.

    Anyway 8x10 is often enlarged with lower factors... acutance do not come much from grain or edge effects, but we have other resources like IQ, scene illumination and USM masking in the optic enlargement.


    _________________________


    I'm still in my learning process, I find BTZS book, 4x5 format and tray development a good set of tools to learn/adjust the thing.
    Last edited by Pere Casals; 2-Oct-2019 at 07:29.

  3. #13
    Angus Parker angusparker's Avatar
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    Re: Have you found exotic developers worth it for 8x10?

    Rodinal for its longevity and cost. Itís just so easy and no one is worrying about grain at 8x10. XTOL if you develop regularly. I mix the 5L pack and pour into wine bottles and vacuum the air out with those pump plastic corks.

  4. #14
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Have you found exotic developers worth it for 8x10?

    I'm not sure what "exotic" means. Once some new developer catches on, then it's something routine. Maybe developing film in steer manure would be classified as exotic.

  5. #15

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    Re: Have you found exotic developers worth it for 8x10?

    Exotic? Caffenol, I guess. Pros: it's a staining developer like Pyro, and the ingredients are household substances, so it's fairly safe.

    Not so exotic:
    D-23 Pros: cheap to make from scratch, some say doesn't block up highlights as much as D76. Cons: might not be appropriate for TMAX films, some people are allergic or become allergic to Metol, one of the two ingredients.
    Xtol Pros: also pretty safe, people like it for scanning as well as printing. Cons: need to use distilled water & avoid trace contaminants in your glassware.
    HC-110: really shelf stable liquid, easy to mix to working solution. Lots of zone system examples with this stuff. Cons: contains Hydroquinone, I think, which makes it not as harmless as Xtol or Caffenol.

  6. #16

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    Re: Have you found exotic developers worth it for 8x10?

    a variant of Pyrocat HD is Pyrcat M and it looks about the same. No Phenidone failure or mixing issues. Nice gradations with FP4, HP5, and Delta 100 in 4x5. I tried Ansco 130 1:10 10Minutes for HP5 and it was a bit contrasty and lacking in shadows compared to what I am used to, so you could explore other dilutions if you like using a single developer for everything. Testing is part of the fun but you might want to get a 4x5 back for that.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
    http://www.searing.photography

  7. #17

    Re: Have you found exotic developers worth it for 8x10?

    I use whatever developer and go through the necessary hoops I need to (order chemistry, mix it myself and wear breathing masks and gloves) in order to gives me the look on the print that I am after. Tried the conventional developers (D76, HC110, Xtol, T Max, DDX) and the produced images looked acceptable but visually I felt that something important was missing. Give me Pyrocat HD and its marvelous options as well a pyro and i am good to go. Modern emulsions still respond marvelously to these options. Exotic in this literary context is a point of perspective, nothing more.

  8. #18
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Have you found exotic developers worth it for 8x10?

    Plain ol' HC110 does everything I could expect. I suppose I could dress the bottles up in sexy doll-size lingerie, like an "exotic" dancer and see if it made any difference...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  9. #19

    Re: Have you found exotic developers worth it for 8x10?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    Plain ol' HC110 does everything I could expect. I suppose I could dress the bottles up in sexy doll-size lingerie, like an "exotic" dancer and see if it made any difference...
    If it meets your expectations, then stock up on HC110 and stay the course. in this situation there is no right or wrong. There is only what limitations or satisfaction criteria we place on ourselves. At the end of the day the resultant print is all that matters.

  10. #20
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Have you found exotic developers worth it for 8x10?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Kadillak View Post
    If it meets your expectations, then stock up on HC110 and stay the course. in this situation there is no right or wrong. There is only what limitations or satisfaction criteria we place on ourselves. At the end of the day the resultant print is all that matters.
    Good advice, and it's what I've done. I went through that early phase of this developer vs. that developer, and found that while there were differences, they were all pretty good. HC110 has the added convenience of very long shelf life and easy-to-mix liquid concentrate form, so I stocked up long ago.

    But wet plate still tempts me with different developer variations...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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