Whats is the best developper for film

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

I use 3 black and white films: Ilford Delta 100, Agfa APX 100 and Tmax 100. What kind of developper film can be the best for this 3 film, for keep fine grain, sharpness and contrast?

Michel Bérard

-- Michel berard (michelberard@sympatico.ca), May 24, 2002


Hey - you will get 6669.7 different answers on this one. I'll stick my neck out and recommend Rodinal 1:100 for all of them.


-- Christian Harkness (chris.harkness@eudoramail.com), May 24, 2002.

I have to agree with Michel, Rodinal 1:100 for 22 min is excellent. Also Ilford Ilfotec DD-X (liquid) 1:4 for 7 min is excellent as well. Get ready for the onslaught of different receipes.

-- Mark Smith (marksct@earthlink.net), May 26, 2002.

for 35mm: XTOL 1:1

-- marc leest (marc@leest.net), May 28, 2002.


Since this is the Alternative Process forum, I have to say split D23, as it is a proprotional developer and gives a long scale neg without blocking up the highlights. That is just what is needed for Pt/Pd printing which is my field of interest.

The best films I have found for that purpose are T Max 400 & 100, exposed at half the rated speed. T max 400 is likley the best as one would never have a grain problem with contact printing, but I had a box of 100 T Max 100, so I used it and it is great.


check out teh Palladio website and their wonderful little book on preparing negatives for contact printing.


-- RICHARD ILOMAKI (richard.ilomaki@hotmail.com), May 30, 2002.


The best film developer Ihave ever used (And I have used all mentioned in this thread) Is Gordon Hutchings Pyro formula, PMK. If you are looking for tack sharp grain and controlled contrast, its probably what your looking for. I highly recommend you purchase Gordon's book "The book of Pyro".

Here are the highlights Pyro is a very old developing agent which was used in the thirties and forties for large format. people like Edward and Brett Weston used it fairly exclusively. There were many formulas including the kodak ABC formula and Weston's own personal recipe. The problem with Pyro was that it was notoriously hard to control, which made it almost useless with small roll films. The PMK formula adds metol to the Pyro formula and brings it under control. Pyro is a staining developer. It leaves a green yellow stain on the negatives. The stain is highly desitrable because it acts as a mask and allows for printable highlight detail that can otherwise blow out with conventional developers. The stain also benefits VC printing by acting as a lower grade filter for highlights. The result is less of a need to burn in highlight areas. The developer produces razor sharp grain. A good test is to load a conventional negative in the enlarger and focus with a good grain focuser. Then load a Pyro negative of the same subject and focus with the grain focuser. You will easily see the difference in grain sharpness.

I used d-23 prior to the Pyro discovery. I shoot mainly HP5+. I can tell the difference between prints made from each negative at a glance. PMK was designed with Ilford films in mind. You will get excellent results with HP5+ or FP4. I have also had excellent results with the Delta and Trix films, although I don't use them much.

Pyro can be purchased from the Photographers Formulary. If you don't want to mix up your own, I see now that the developer can be purchased prepackagesd in some professional camera stores.

Good luck


-- Don Sigl (donsigl@hotmail.com), May 30, 2002.

PMK is great, but for Pyro I vote for the Wimberly formulation. It gives you that extra stop which may be more of a priority with the 100 speed films you're using.

-- Paul Martinez (paulmartinez@telocity.com), May 30, 2002.

I will jump in with the D-23 as a two part developer. Works just dandy for making pt/pd negatives.

Note to Richard Ilomaki - Do you have a URL for the Palladio web site?

-- Joe Lipka (joelipka@earthlink.net), June 03, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ