d-76 problem with hp5+

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Ok, I just started using d-76 about 1 month ago. I'm using a nice 68 degree water, in a 8x10 tray for 5x7 film 1:1 dilution of stock. Each time I process film I get a pretty good one at 11 min, then the next one will be thin, then the next even worse even though I'm end up after the 2nd one cutting down on the length of time film is in the soup. I even cut out the before water bath, but that hasn't helped. I'd think perhaps it is a pre-processing trouble, but...it has happened exactly the same way the 3 times I have processed this last month. All ideas welcome. Since I usually overlook some incredably simple truth I will try and prepare myself for your answers, and of course scathing remarks about my obvious lack of intelligence will be tolerated. The thing I try to remember about life is "a mistake made is a lesson learned" Sincerely, and thanks jh

-- jules hancock (poppster@wccta.net), January 13, 2002


How much developer are you putting in the tray? How many negatives are you developing at the same time? Are you reusing the same developer for more than one negative or group of negatives? It sounds to me as though you may have too little developer in the tray and/or you're reusing developer that is partially exhausted but it's hard to know for sure without knowing exactly what you're doing.

-- Brian Ellis (bellis60@earthlink.net), January 13, 2002.

Jules: This is probably pretty simple. Pick one of these: (a) your developer is starting out at 68 degrees and cooling off, causing thinner negatives [not too likely, but it would cause this effect]; (b) you are wearing out your developer [more likely -- without having any tables to look at I'm giving you a guess, but if you're developing more than two sheets of 5X7 film in one quart of d76 diluted 1:1, you're pressing your luck. Many people use it one shot. But one thing you state in your email suggests you may not understand that more time in the developer makes the negatives more dense (thicker) not thinner. It sounds like you are trying to stop your negatives from getting thinner by pulling them sooner from the developer ("soup") in which case you have it backwards. By cutting down the time you are guaranteeing yourself thinner negatives. Hope this helps, and feel free to ask any other questions.

-- Kevin Crisp (KRCrisp@aol.com), January 13, 2002.

Jules -

Kodak recommends using 8 oz. of D-76 per 8x10 sheet of film. (At 1:1 this would of course work out to 16 oz. of working developer per 8x10.) This equals approx. 8 oz. of D-76 1:1 per 5x7 sheet. If you're developing multiple sheets, work out how much soup you need for the batch and develop them all at the same time in a large tray. This way they'll all get the same development. Otherwise (as you've found out) the later sheets will be thin. Or do them one at a time, but use 8 oz. of 1:1 solution per sheet then throw it out.

As to pre-soak (the "before water bath"), Ilford films incorporate a wetting agent which they say eliminates the need for a pre-soak. I pre-soak anyway, but I incorporate the pre-soak water into the developer. (i.e. I add water to the tray, soak for 4 min., then add the same amount of D-76 and restart the timer, thus beginning a 1:1 development with the wetting agent still in the solution.)

I'm doing almost exactly the same thing as you (HP5+ with D-76 1:1 in trays, although I have to do one sheet at a time because I'm using 12x20 film). I use the above pre-soak method with very good results and my times are around 10 min., so your 11 min. should certainly be in the ballpark assuming you have enough developer in the tray. And yes, less development time will give you even thinner negatives.

Good luck!

-- Mark Parsons (polar@thegrid.net), January 14, 2002.

Thanks for the help, right away I saw my error. One shot means one shot! I was under the impression that one shot was don't save it for the next batch!!! WOW!!! Really like the quality of tone on the d-76, but don't know if I can afford to keep using this developer when used correctly. Sometimes self-taught leaves something to be desired! Thanks for all your info, everyone! Til next time! jules

-- jules hancock (poppster@wccta.net), January 14, 2002.

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