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Thread: T-Grain Developers

  1. #11

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    Re: T-Grain Developers

    This is just not correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    "fine grain" developers aka D76, T-Max RS and such became popular due to 35mm and roll film B&W negatives need to reduce the film grain effect when prints are made from these negatives. All sorts of gyrations are made in an effort to achieve an essentially grain free print from these smaller roll film formats.

    The brute force solution to the grain and contrast gradation issues so difficult to tame using small film format roll film can be essentially "hammered" by sheet film 4x5 and larger with enlargements not more than 4x. Once the obsession with fine grain developers and such is removed, the many other aspects of B&W print making can be achieved with reasonable effort.


    Developers like Kodak HC-110, Rodinal, Beutler "blue" and similar developers work better for sheet film where the obsession with fine grain is not an issue. Suggest down loading this book about developers by Jacobson, purchase a gram scale, proper lab glassware, magnetic mixer and stir bar, powered chemistry, filtered water and mix your own chemistry as needed. This affords FAR fresher chemistry, better consistency once mixing chemistry skills are properly developed and applied and allows experimenting, discovering developers and related to suit your print making needs.

    http://www.processreversal.org/publi...developing.pdf

    Once upon decades ago there was a publication known as the Photo Lab Index, another trove of darkroom chemistry recipes from a time when lots of photographs mixed their own as needed.



    Bernice

  2. #12

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    Re: T-Grain Developers

    Holy cow guys! You are all amazing for such detailed responses. I find I have to re-read this thread a lot to catch up to you!!!!
    Anything in life worth having is worth sharing.

  3. #13

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    Re: T-Grain Developers

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    Thank you for the book
    Adam
    Anything in life worth having is worth sharing.

  4. #14

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    Re: T-Grain Developers

    Ok guys, I’ve reread the thread a couple times now. Maybe this can help guide the follow up question....

    First, I don’t do contact printing or enlarging. After I get my negative, I use a DSLR to scan off a light board. Then I work with the file digitally. If a shot is really good, I’ll have it printed, but printed using the digital file, not the negative with a pro. If I ever get a crazy good image, I might consider that. I clearly don’t have that problem to deal with now. Haha....

    Anyway, I like Delta 100 because of the way it looks. I like the deep blacks and bright whites and I like the very fine grain look.

    That being said, would I benefit from using a different developer for Delta 100 based on my workflow? Is there something I should try that will out preform HC-110 and get the blacks blacker and the whites whiter and keep the grain down and smooth and make my okay images pop more?

    No is a good answer. I’m not looking to add more variables, just curious if there’s a better developer for the way I work with my images.

    Thank you for your posts. Very helpful.
    Anything in life worth having is worth sharing.

  5. #15

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    Re: T-Grain Developers

    At a proper analytical level most of the 'fine grain', more solvent developers are often actually sharper and exhibit less granularity than the developers that claim to be high acutance. The latter tend to produce less actual edge effect and higher visible granularity levels - which lowers the ability of the film to usefully resolve the finest details. Most film emulsions engineered after the 1950s seem to exploit the potentially useful relationship with more solvent developers to ever greater extents.

    HC-110 was designed as a highly concentrated, long lasting non aqueous developer for use in a wide ranging array of industrial/ institutional settings to replace multiple prior developers - it does not seem to have been designed as the last word in sharpness, visual granularity or shadow speed. What it sounds like you are looking for is something finer grained that you can then use to develop to a higher contrast index. ID-11/ D-76 is going to be hard to beat, but if you want finer grain, Perceptol in various dilutions. The rest is printing/ post production skill. There are no magic bullets - and bear in mind that Delta 100's higher sharpness etc comes with a small granularity penalty.

  6. #16

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    Re: T-Grain Developers

    Not really. Black blacks and white whites have little to do with either the film or the developer. If you would like a little more contrast in your negatives just develop longer. HC-110 is a fine developer and can do whatever you need with Delta 100, so I would tend to suggest sticking with the combo unless there is something specific you don’t like. That’s really the key here, rather than just looking for “better”, which has little meaning. Once you are using a middle-of-the-road developer like HC-110, it is difficult to point to something that would just be plain better overall. Technically, XTOL and D-76/ID-11 can give you slightly better sharpness and slightly finer grain with Delta 100 than HC-110. DD-X should give you slightly finer grain than HC-110 but not better sharpness. However these differences are relatively small and have a lot to do with the film, and as I said before depending on magnification, might not be visible at all when working with 4x5 film.

    On balance I would agree with the post by interneg. The “pop” is primarily an editing matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamD View Post
    Ok guys, I’ve reread the thread a couple times now. Maybe this can help guide the follow up question....

    First, I don’t do contact printing or enlarging. After I get my negative, I use a DSLR to scan off a light board. Then I work with the file digitally. If a shot is really good, I’ll have it printed, but printed using the digital file, not the negative with a pro. If I ever get a crazy good image, I might consider that. I clearly don’t have that problem to deal with now. Haha....

    Anyway, I like Delta 100 because of the way it looks. I like the deep blacks and bright whites and I like the very fine grain look.

    That being said, would I benefit from using a different developer for Delta 100 based on my workflow? Is there something I should try that will out preform HC-110 and get the blacks blacker and the whites whiter and keep the grain down and smooth and make my okay images pop more?

    No is a good answer. I’m not looking to add more variables, just curious if there’s a better developer for the way I work with my images.

    Thank you for your posts. Very helpful.

  7. #17

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    Re: T-Grain Developers

    Good additional advice from interneg and AdamD. I agree, I would stick with HC-110 if you're satisfied with it. Contrast, deep blacks and gleaming whites are a matter of careful editing, as already mentioned. If you wanted to venture off and try another developer, I'll restate my choice of Clayton F76+ for Delta 100. I've used HC-110 for 40 years for several different film stocks, but F76+ is my "go to" specifically for Delta 100.

  8. #18

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    Re: T-Grain Developers

    Great discussion. The book link is great. Thanks. FWIW - the TMAX 100 4x5 sheet film data sheet says “Do not use TMAX developer with sheet film” I’m glad I saw that as I was thinking of trying it.

  9. #19

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    Re: T-Grain Developers

    So I really really like the feedback. I love how you guys are tailoring your advise to my targeted interest.

    I find the argument to keep using HC-110 a very sound one being it is such a good middle of the road developer. I find it interesting that the changes I might see are more subtle than obvious.

    While at the same time, I find trying out a new one to be intriguing as well on account that I don’t “love” HC-110 yet I don’t know any better. It’s all I know.

    So this is where I am....I think. I’m too inexperienced to know and see the difference and value. I’ve developed about 80 sheets of film and about 10 rolls of 35mm. I figure I should get really good at HC-110 for another couple of hundred sheets and THEN, make a switch and see what happens. My eye will be able to detect the difference in a more meaningful way. I think.

    Very helpful thread!
    Anything in life worth having is worth sharing.

  10. #20

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    Re: T-Grain Developers

    Well, there isn't much harm in trying some other things either. After all as much as we all pontificate about focusing on the seeing and practice, and how none of this developer and film stuff matters, in the end the vast majority of us have tinkered with plenty of these more trivial details. It is part of the fun.

    You certainly won't find a magic developer that blows HC-110 away, but trying things is OK. On this subject, it is a myth that you need 1,000 sheets of the same film in the same developer under your belt before trying other things. Contrary to what some people say, it really doesn't take very long at all to "dial in" a film/developer and get the most out of it. It just ain't that complicated. Where we really have control and what we really have to work on, whether analog, hybrid or digital, is editing/manipulation of the negative or capture file. In the hybrid approach you use, that means how you digitize the negative, edit in Photoshop or whatever, and print (if applicable). In analog/darkroom, it's what we do under the enlarger.

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