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12-10-2018, 03:55 PM   #1
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Diafine?

I just stumbled across this odd developer, and I'm curious if anyone has experience with it? Its a 2 part developer (A+B, so times are written 3+3, meaning 3 minutes in A and 3 minutes in B) and from what I've read, it has some very counter intuitive features compared to most other developers I've encountered (these are things I've found reading):

A) Time makes no difference as long as enough time is used. Most films are developer 3+3, cubic grain films need a little more time so 5+5 is recommended.)
B) Chemical Temp makes little difference.
C) because of (A) there is no push processing.
D) Exposure determines contrast. With Tri-X about EI-1400 gives normal contrast. EI-400 gives low contrast, EI-1600 and above give high contrast.
E) because of (A) and (D) you can shoot different EI on the same roll of film, in fact thats recommended to tailor the contrast to the shot.
F) It lasts forever. (well, not quite, but you don't do one shot or replenishment, and you see reports online of a 1 quart mix--1qt A and 1qt B--lasting over a year and over 100 rolls.)
G) it is good as a compensating developer for the high contrast tech films that normally have expensive custom developers (Kodak Technical Pan, Adox CMS 20, etc.)
H) Most photographic films need to be shot about two stops higher to get normal contrast--FP4 at 400, Tri-X at 1400.
I) It gets better with age (until it peters out.) There are some suggestions online that since you reuse the chemicals, after you use the chems a dozen times or so, they start showing better tonality and a more "3D" look.

Most of the above is different from other developers--or at least very uncommon. I can get a quart of Diafine for $30 from Adorama, and $8 for 2 1qt datatainer bottles, and its less than $40 for everything I need to try it. I don't have a lot of use for shooting 2 stops over, but it might be be fun, for instance to try out Adox CMS to see how well it works. I'm just curious if anyone has tried it? Were there other less reported drawbacks?

12-10-2018, 06:40 PM   #2
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Works great. A little expensive to purchase upfront but it lasts so long (50 rolls or more per quart of developer) that it is about as cheap as it comes for a developer.

Just don't contaminate Solution A with any Solution B and it will last halfway to forever.
12-10-2018, 10:37 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by abruzzi Quote
I just stumbled across this odd developer, and I'm curious if anyone has experience with it? Its a 2 part developer (A+B, so times are written 3+3, meaning 3 minutes in A and 3 minutes in B) and from what I've read, it has some very counter intuitive features compared to most other developers I've encountered (these are things I've found reading):

A) Time makes no difference as long as enough time is used. Most films are developer 3+3, cubic grain films need a little more time so 5+5 is recommended.)
B) Chemical Temp makes little difference.
C) because of (A) there is no push processing.
D) Exposure determines contrast. With Tri-X about EI-1400 gives normal contrast. EI-400 gives low contrast, EI-1600 and above give high contrast.
E) because of (A) and (D) you can shoot different EI on the same roll of film, in fact thats recommended to tailor the contrast to the shot.
F) It lasts forever. (well, not quite, but you don't do one shot or replenishment, and you see reports online of a 1 quart mix--1qt A and 1qt B--lasting over a year and over 100 rolls.)
G) it is good as a compensating developer for the high contrast tech films that normally have expensive custom developers (Kodak Technical Pan, Adox CMS 20, etc.)
H) Most photographic films need to be shot about two stops higher to get normal contrast--FP4 at 400, Tri-X at 1400.
I) It gets better with age (until it peters out.) There are some suggestions online that since you reuse the chemicals, after you use the chems a dozen times or so, they start showing better tonality and a more "3D" look.

Most of the above is different from other developers--or at least very uncommon. I can get a quart of Diafine for $30 from Adorama, and $8 for 2 1qt datatainer bottles, and its less than $40 for everything I need to try it. I don't have a lot of use for shooting 2 stops over, but it might be be fun, for instance to try out Adox CMS to see how well it works. I'm just curious if anyone has tried it? Were there other less reported drawbacks?
Very interesting! Thank You!
12-11-2018, 09:17 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pioneer Quote
Works great. A little expensive to purchase upfront but it lasts so long (50 rolls or more per quart of developer) that it is about as cheap as it comes for a developer.

Just don't contaminate Solution A with any Solution B and it will last halfway to forever.
Thanks. Do you find any drawbacks? (other than the inability to use development time to affect the output)

12-11-2018, 09:26 AM   #5
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I used Diafine for one summer (2000), and despite assurances the stuff would just keep going and going, I eventually had to get rid of it and go back to my regular developers.

What weirded me out the most was how discoloured, slimy, and gross it eventually got. Little bits of .... something ... floated around inside. I did the filtering thing and got it looking clearer, but eventually it was getting too soupy for me.

Then there was just the fact that it was always a one-stop push developer, which was great if you wanted EI 800 out of HP-5. In fact, I got some hand-held shots from a moving boat in the Amsterdam harbour that turned out well, because I used Diafine when I got home.

In all, a very interesting developer, and I'm glad I got a chance to try it. But I think I had some sense of relief when I finally decided to dump it out.
12-12-2018, 01:22 AM   #6
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I used it fairly frequently for five years or so, only for shooting Tri-x at 1200. I got good results, but would toss it every six months or so ( OCD I guess ).
12-14-2018, 08:51 PM   #7
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Yeah, Diafine's 70F to 85F temperature range can be useful for people in hotter climates. Diafine is one of three Acufine Developers. I haven't used Diafine but I have used Acufine's ACU-1 developer for pushing film.
12-14-2018, 10:34 PM   #8
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Diafine was my developer of choice for many, many years. It is a low solvent developer, and gives a tighter grain pattern than Microdol-X and IIRC, D-76 as well, something I appreciated when I was shooting 35mm. I shot a lot of Plus-X using 320 as the base ISO.

12-14-2018, 11:17 PM   #9
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Thanks for everyone’s feedback. I don’t have a really compelling reason to try it, but I may anyway. The thing that is most interesting to me, is the potential reduction of contrast with high contrast document films like Adox CMS. Adox’s recommended developer comes to $5 per roll. Kodak’s Tech Pan developer is even higher (since your buying packets off ebay.)
01-28-2019, 07:28 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by abruzzi Quote
The thing that is most interesting to me, is the potential reduction of contrast with high contrast document films like Adox CMS. Adox’s recommended developer comes to $5 per roll. Kodak’s Tech Pan developer is even higher (since your buying packets off ebay.)
Caffenol CL-CN works well with CMS...
03-17-2019, 09:15 PM   #11
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I've always been curious about Diafine, a very intriguing developer. I wonder what effect it would have on expired film as in how it relates to the fog factor in that situation. Would fog be magnified or inhibited (like HC-110's reputation regarding long-expired films)?
04-08-2019, 08:07 PM   #12
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Diafine

QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Diafine was my developer of choice for many, many years. It is a low solvent developer, and gives a tighter grain pattern than Microdol-X and IIRC, D-76 as well, something I appreciated when I was shooting 35mm. I shot a lot of Plus-X using 320 as the base ISO.
My experience many years ago was similar to Wheatfield's. As a production aid for field work it was very efficient and more than adequate. The relaxed time and temperature standards were a blessing when on the move.


It wasn't the BEST developer but it was the best one that was always there when needed in less than ideal darkroom situations doing field work for accident investigations. Enough so that I used it for everything else for years. Any compromises in relative product quality was more than offset by convenience, economy and the bird-in-hand factor.


It does take some experimentation to choose an ideal ASA/ISO for the film used but two, well-planned 20-frame rolls for each film was adequate to provisionally calibrate equipment for most uses. There's a fair amount of info on line today, some of it contrary to my own experience, however.

I have enough reasonably fresh Diafine mix here (if I can find it after recently moving) to make up . . . mm, two fresh 1-quart sets. Easily enough for 10-20 rolls of 35mm or 120/220 film. If anyone would like to try a sample PM me.
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