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04-23-2009, 05:51 PM   #1
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Darkroom: Developer mixing or straight?

In class I've been developing film with a developer that was mixed with water 50/50. The developer is called D-76.

Last week when I developed the Ilford SPX 200 infrared film, the teacher told me to us the developer straight without mixing so I can get a higher contrast. I forgot to ask him if that was something that was just for infrared film or is that a common practice with normal bw film as well.

04-23-2009, 06:23 PM   #2
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I'm about to mix up my first batch myself tonight (HC-110 tho) and debating going with "A" or "B" dilution. So I'm curious to see what the general consensus is too. The only "wisdom" I have gleaned thus far is a weaker solution gives you a bit more leniency on your timing.
04-23-2009, 06:42 PM   #3
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I commonly use D-76 straight up with just about everything. Generally, it'll be more contrasty that way, and you get a look I find 'cleaner,' ... The 1:1 dilution is well-regarded, as well, you can get subtler midtones and the like, but sometimes beginners get a bit of a muddier result that's less satisfying, so I would tend to say to start with it undiluted, to be sure you're getting your highlights and shadows where you want, and then start refining your tastes from there. I think these negatives are also easier to learn print darkroom work on.
04-24-2009, 02:49 AM   #4
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You can use it either way.
I personally rpefer 1+1 (50-50 as you called it) as a one shot developer to have consistent results, and becasue development times are in the 10 minute range, which is easier for me to control and makes small errors in timing less important.
Negatives are less contrsty but that makes them easier to print and get a looonger tonal scale.

As per HC110, have you checked the covington innovations page on HC110? oodles of good info there

04-24-2009, 06:41 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by titrisol Quote
As per HC110, have you checked the covington innovations page on HC110? oodles of good info there
Bookmarked! Thank you!
04-24-2009, 07:13 AM   #6
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Ooh, and I forgot something obvious, it's possible the teacher may have actually meant she wanted your class to do all your negs in straight D-76, just for consistency's sake to start.

Might be as well to ask.
04-24-2009, 10:19 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by SuperAkuma Quote
In class I've been developing film with a developer that was mixed with water 50/50. The developer is called D-76.

Last week when I developed the Ilford SPX 200 infrared film, the teacher told me to us the developer straight without mixing so I can get a higher contrast. I forgot to ask him if that was something that was just for infrared film or is that a common practice with normal bw film as well.
Generally, developer is diluted for two reasons.
One is to make development times more managable, the other is to decrease grain, though this happens at the expense of acutance.
When diluting developer, the time in solution will increase, and if increased sufficiently, will yield the same contrast as stock developer, but the exposure slope will change, generally showing more mid tone seperations. This is why pictorial photographers tend to use diluted developers, it allows the film to show more detail in the range of zones from 4 to 6, which is where most image detail happens in this type of photography.
Be aware when diluting developer that it is possible to over dilute. You must have the minimun required amount of stock solution in the tank that is required to process the amount of square inches of film in the tank.

As a general rule with inversion agitation type developing, you want the processing time to be at least five minutes to avoid uneven development. With HC:110, I don't think you can get this with dilution A.

It is a good idea with B&W to use a water presoak prior to developing. This removes the antihalation layer from the back of the film, and softens the emulsion somewhat to allow for more even emulsion saturation of the developer. It does require that you extend the processing time somewhat, perhaps 1/2 minute or so to account for the exchange of water to developer from the film emulsion.
04-24-2009, 10:48 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
It is a good idea with B&W to use a water presoak prior to developing. This removes the antihalation layer from the back of the film, and softens the emulsion somewhat to allow for more even emulsion saturation of the developer. It does require that you extend the processing time somewhat, perhaps 1/2 minute or so to account for the exchange of water to developer from the film emulsion.
I don't want to derail this thread too far, but I'm curious...are you speaking in generalities or for a specific developer/film?

The reason I ask is...wouldn't making the developer "stronger" with a pre-soak decrease the time the developer is in the tank?

I do everything "by the book" with DD-X and have very consistent results without a pre-soak...

04-24-2009, 10:59 AM   #9
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Thanks for the tips, Wheatfield. I ended up going with Solution B since that's what all the spec sheets I have specified. I also did a 60sec pre-rinse before the developer. I went 7:15 on developing time (2min extra for the push) and probably could have gone another minute on developing time and I understand why now, so thanks for that.
04-24-2009, 11:00 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote
I don't want to derail this thread too far, but I'm curious...are you speaking in generalities or for a specific developer/film?

The reason I ask is...wouldn't making the developer "stronger" with a pre-soak decrease the time the developer is in the tank?

I do everything "by the book" with DD-X and have very consistent results without a pre-soak...
Well, essentially it means that there's water on the film when the developer gets there, which means that it'll take a little time for that water to be exchanged for full-strength developer.

I got out of the habit of pre-soaking in places where I doubted the water, but yeah, this goes better with a little extra development time. (actually, to my experience, it's a little redundant with any *other* reason you might add development time: I've always just leaned toward a bit more of a denser negative in almost all circumstances, with everything but Neopan Acros, which won't thank you for it.)
04-24-2009, 07:10 PM   #11
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Wow lots of reply.

Thanks everyone who replied especially wheatfield for going in detail. I have a little bit better understanding of it now. I still have a few more week to play around in the dark room before the semister is over. I will try both way with two different roll of film shooting the same exposure.
04-24-2009, 11:12 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote
I don't want to derail this thread too far, but I'm curious...are you speaking in generalities or for a specific developer/film?
Generalities. I presoak all B&W film for a minute.
Don't presoak colour if you are doing your own. It throws the colour off (really)

QuoteQuote:
The reason I ask is...wouldn't making the developer "stronger" with a pre-soak decrease the time the developer is in the tank?
Well yes, but what would be the point?
QuoteQuote:

I do everything "by the book" with DD-X and have very consistent results without a pre-soak...
DD-X looks like it has nice long development times. This makes for nice consistent developing. It's debatable how much more evenness you'd see with presoaking at these times and with roll film in an inversion tank.
Do you agitiate once per minute or twice? This is a good way to subtly affect contrast. If you want to take the contrast down a little, slow down your agitation.

I use a Jobo for film processing and find that the presoak does give me more even developiment, but in a Jobo, development times are in the 3 minute range, so there isn't a lot of wet time.
04-24-2009, 11:52 PM   #13
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Yeah, DD-X is pretty "slow" averaging in the 8-13 minute range in a stainless tank with stainless reel. The least amount of dev time I've researched is Neopan 100 at 5 minutes.

For agitation, I do it constantly for the first minute (slow, quarter-turn inversions) then 4x inversions in the first 10s of every minute. Doing this, I find I have to turn up the contrast in PS but maybe that's my style. The negs are very "close" with just a couple Levels adjustments.
04-25-2009, 09:24 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote
Yeah, DD-X is pretty "slow" averaging in the 8-13 minute range in a stainless tank with stainless reel. The least amount of dev time I've researched is Neopan 100 at 5 minutes.

For agitation, I do it constantly for the first minute (slow, quarter-turn inversions) then 4x inversions in the first 10s of every minute. Doing this, I find I have to turn up the contrast in PS but maybe that's my style. The negs are very "close" with just a couple Levels adjustments.

That sounds like a pretty good agitation scheme. It used to be that processing times were based on a twice per minute agitation (5 seconds every 30), I suspect they still are.
This might be why you have to increase the contrast in post.
You could probably save yourself some post processing effort by extending your development time out a bit to increase contrast on the neg, but it is much easier to add contrast when there is not enough than to remove it when there is too much, so care must be taken with this.
04-25-2009, 11:12 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
That sounds like a pretty good agitation scheme. It used to be that processing times were based on a twice per minute agitation (5 seconds every 30), I suspect they still are.
This might be why you have to increase the contrast in post.
You could probably save yourself some post processing effort by extending your development time out a bit to increase contrast on the neg, but it is much easier to add contrast when there is not enough than to remove it when there is too much, so care must be taken with this.
The agitation process was from a guy on youtube, J Brunner. I liked the simplicity so I went with it

I'll give a roll a little more time, just to try it out. Since HP5+ is the "control" with consistent results it should be very obvious how much time is too much for adding contrast.

Thanks for the tips!
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