greenspun.com : LUSENET : B&W Photo: Alternative Process : One Thread

Anybody tried this developer before? Why isn't this formula available in any of the manufacturers' trade name formulae out there? What kinds of film are more suited for this developer? I read that it demands a first class lens- why?

-- xosni (xosni@gega.net), February 17, 2001


FX-1 is a developer formulated by Geoff Crawley back in the '60s. He was the editor of the British Journal of Photography and published the formula for all to use. Paterson, a UK company, is the only concern to market FX-1 commercially.

However, FX-1 is a very slight (some would say negligibly slight) variant upon the famous Willi Beutler formula that was published in the '50s. With only 3 ingredients, it's one of the simplest formulas to mix and one of the most economical to use, since it operates at high dilution.

Slow films tend to benefit most from FX-1/Beutler, since the idea of this class of formula is to reduce overall negative contrast while maintaining or even enhancing detail contrast (microcontrast), at the same time developing only the surface of the emulsion, where the latent image is the sharpest. Due to these constraints, the layer of developed emulsion must be developed fully, which leads to higher than normal graininess in the print, so while some might like the effect on ISO 400 film, it is too "grainy" for many. With this tradeoff in mind, the results can be very sharp looking indeed, and this is why a tripod and good lens are recommended.

The formula(s) can be found in books that publish b&w developer formulas-- usually older ones, althrough there's been a recent resurgence in interest. Check your library or the rec.photo.darkroom newsgroup.

-- Walt Brand (wgb_3@hotmail.com), February 18, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ