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Thread: Tmax 400 in D-76 correct dev time

  1. #1

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    Tmax 400 in D-76 correct dev time

    Hi, I know it's all over internet, but the data is not consistent. I want to develop 4x5 Tmax 400 sheet film in a tank (not processor), stock in 20C. Kodak recommends 6,5 min which I tried but it seams to be too short, i.e. it is printable but not dense enough. In another place Kodak suggests 6,75 min. The app on my iPhone "Massive dev chart" proposes 10 min. Steve Anchell in his "Darkroom cookbook" writes about 8 min. So what is the correct dev time for this combination? Has anyone tested the best option? I do not want to waste anymore film for trial and error.
    Best
    Jared

  2. #2
    Huub
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    Re: Tmax 400 in D-76 correct dev time

    I am afraid that there is not such a thing as the correct development time. There are just to many variables in play, like the quality of your water, the way you measure your light, the kind of enlarger or scanning device you are going to use, the developing technique you use, the thermometer, et cetera. So you're a bit on your own and you should take the trial an error route to establish a developing time that works for you in your personal circumstances.

    There are two things to consider in developing: shadow detail and contrast.

    First look at your negatives and check shadow detail. If there is still plenty of details visible in the shadows, you're are good. If not, adding exposure will help. The best strategy to do this depends on the way you measure your light, but remember that overexposure hardly ever leads to problems with negative film. There might be a slight increase in grain, but in 4x5 grain ain't much of an issue anyway.

    Second step is contrast. When most of your negatives print well on something like grade 2 or 3, your development time is good. Only when you need grade 4 and higher for getting decent prints with most of your negatives, you should increase your development time. As a rule of thumb: increasing time by 25% adds about one grade of contrast.

    So try to print a few of those negatives. When not happy with shadow detail, increase exposure times for the next set of negatives. And when you need grade 4 and higher for printing them, try 8 or 9 minutes next time. When printig times get very short on your enlarger, put a grey filter on your enlarger lens to increase them to a something between 10 and 20 seconds on an average aperture.

    And last but not least: don't fuz about 6.5 or 6.75 minutes as this won't make any noticable difference.

  3. #3

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    Re: Tmax 400 in D-76 correct dev time

    Thanks for replying. I am aware of many variables, however when I develop other films I always start with recommended dev times, and in 99% of cases they work unless I want to push or pull a film. In this case the recommended Kodak dev time seems to be wrong, especially that others propose much longer time for the same combination, and the difference is not one but almost 4 minutes.
    Has anyone tried it? What is your recommended starting point if Tmax 400 is properly exposed?

  4. #4

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    Re: Tmax 400 in D-76 correct dev time

    Hi Jared, just to check, are you reading the times for stock or 1:1?
    I'm seeing 7½min. for small tanks using Stock D76 (10m15s for 1:1), and 8¼ for large tanks on Kodak's datasheet and the Massive Dev app (Android version here) shows 7½min. Stock and 10m15s for 1:1.
    I use the latter (1:1 for 10m15s) in an SP-445 tank without issue.

  5. #5

    Re: Tmax 400 in D-76 correct dev time

    Quote Originally Posted by Jared09 View Post
    I want to develop 4x5 Tmax 400 sheet film in a tank (not processor), stock in 20C. Kodak recommends 6,5 min which I tried but it seams to be too short, i.e. it is printable but not dense enough.
    "Printable but not dense enough" doesn't tell us enough. Are you enlarging your 4x5 work? Contact printing? Alt processes?
    The more important question is: is these sufficient shadow information on the negative? IE: enough density to be printable? If the answer is unquestionably yes, than exposure is not your problem: increase development time by 25-50% (you pick where you want to start) and re-evaluate. If Kodak says 6.5 minutes, and Anschell says 10 minutes, that difference isn't likely going to ruin your negatives. Try it and find out. Or pick the middle ground of 8 minutes and see what you get. You're not going to suddenly jump from "too thin" to "unusable density" by applying 2.5 minutes more time.
    Another question is: how fresh is your D-76? Flat, underdeveloped negatives can result if your developer has aged too much.

    I looked up sheet format TMY on the Dev Chart, and I see it recommends 6:45 for D-76 undiluted (at 400 ASA) and 9:30 for D-76 diluted 1:1, 400 ASA. When looking up films on the Dev Chart, be sure you are looking at the right listing for the format, ASA and dilution.

  6. #6

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    Re: Tmax 400 in D-76 correct dev time

    Quote Originally Posted by Molli View Post
    Hi Jared, just to check, are you reading the times for stock or 1:1?
    I'm seeing 7½min. for small tanks using Stock D76
    I use the latter (1:1 for 10m15s) in an SP-445 tank without issue.
    Hi, yes I am reading the times for stock (undiluted). 7,5 min sounds reasonable. Have you tried it, or you use only 1:1 solution?

  7. #7

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    Re: Tmax 400 in D-76 correct dev time

    Quote Originally Posted by paulbarden View Post
    "Printable but not dense enough" doesn't tell us enough. Are you enlarging your 4x5 work? Contact printing? Alt processes?
    The more important question is: is these sufficient shadow information on the negative? IE: enough density to be printable? If the answer is unquestionably yes, than exposure is not your problem: increase development time by 25-50% (you pick where you want to start) and re-evaluate. If Kodak says 6.5 minutes, and Anschell says 10 minutes, that difference isn't likely going to ruin your negatives. Try it and find out. Or pick the middle ground of 8 minutes and see what you get. You're not going to suddenly jump from "too thin" to "unusable density" by applying 2.5 minutes more time.
    Another question is: how fresh is your D-76? Flat, underdeveloped negatives can result if your developer has aged too much.

    I looked up sheet format TMY on the Dev Chart, and I see it recommends 6:45 for D-76 undiluted (at 400 ASA) and 9:30 for D-76 diluted 1:1, 400 ASA. When looking up films on the Dev Chart, be sure you are looking at the right listing for the format, ASA and dilution.
    Yes, I am making a traditional silver print from 4x5 negative (enlarging). There is sufficient shadow detail on the negative after 6,5 min developing in a stock solution, however the negative seems to be weak (not dense enough), and the problem is not the exposure time because I am sure it was correct. I know that the best idea would be to experiment as you suggest, but the problem is that I have a series of exposed photos which are a part of a project and I don't want to ruin some of them by trying to find out what the correct dev time should be. This is why I am asking if you have any experience in this matter. And yes, D-76 was fresh.

  8. #8
    multi format
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    Re: Tmax 400 in D-76 correct dev time

    Hi Jared

    Usually times given by manufacturers and people on the internet are "starting points". Not everyone's shutters are exactly the same, people expose their films differently because their meters are a bit off, they may see light differently and they have found their happy place. Their times don't take to account that no 2 people process their film the same even using the same tank or tray or combi plan or rolling processor &c. I usually shuffle process 10-30 sheets of film in a tray my thin film is probably your "YIKES, this stuff is cooked!". You might expose a few sheets and do a few tests. I can't give you a time dilution and temperature for your chosen developer cause I've never used D76 before, im more of a ansco130 or d72(DEKTOL) or sprint systems, or caffenol person... and that is pretty much useless for you.. Don't forget to have fun . John
    enjoy your coffee

  9. #9

    Re: Tmax 400 in D-76 correct dev time

    Quote Originally Posted by Jared09 View Post
    Yes, I am making a traditional silver print from 4x5 negative (enlarging). There is sufficient shadow detail on the negative after 6,5 min developing in a stock solution, however the negative seems to be weak (not dense enough), and the problem is not the exposure time because I am sure it was correct. I know that the best idea would be to experiment as you suggest, but the problem is that I have a series of exposed photos which are a part of a project and I don't want to ruin some of them by trying to find out what the correct dev time should be. This is why I am asking if you have any experience in this matter. And yes, D-76 was fresh.
    Then make some new "disposable" exposures that you can experiment on, and then apply what you learn to the important film.

    Yes, I have experience in the matter, which is why I suggested to you that the range of times you found are not outrageous, and extending the time to even ten minutes is not going to be enough to ruin the film. But as I say, make some new test exposures and experiment on those, gather the data and apply what you found to the more valuable exposed film.

  10. #10

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    Re: Tmax 400 in D-76 correct dev time

    Many thanks for all your tips. I will expose another film and try 7,5 min for the beginning. Btw. is there any advantage of dissolving developer (apart from increasing volume) 1:1 or even more?

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