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08-24-2009, 06:59 AM   #1
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First developer

For my first foray into developing my own film, I am thinking of using ID-11 (or D-76, they seem quite similar) or perhaps Acufine / Diafine. Even though Diafine is a two stage developer it looks fairly difficult to screw up.

What was your first developer? and what would you recommend for someone's first try?

Is there a recommended way to dispose of the used developer? The MSDs for quite a few of them are a little frightening.

08-24-2009, 07:38 AM   #2
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D76 or HC110 are excellent as 1st developers.
Those are tried-and-true and provide good results.

HC110 lasts very long and is hard to screw up
Rodinal will be my next choice but is one of those things that you either love or hate .
08-24-2009, 07:53 AM   #3
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First time I started with D76, back in a year whose digits were smaller than '76

This time around I went with T-Max developer to start with - it isn't as versatile as D76, it's higher energy (faster), and gives very good results. 1:4 dilution. No mixing of powder, and no finding a 1 gallon jug
08-24-2009, 08:19 AM   #4
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I use diafine. It is dead easy to use and it lets me take wonderful low-grain photos with tri-x up to ISO 1600.

edit: also, it lasts forever

edit edit: tri-x and arista premium 400 are the same. I actually use the arista film because it is so much cheaper than brand name tri-x. Also, you can just pour developer down the drain. Dont pour fixer down the drain though without getting the silver out first by using steel wool.


Last edited by david.elliott; 08-24-2009 at 08:42 AM.
08-24-2009, 08:22 AM   #5
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I usually suggest D-76 for starting out: (especially for those who are new to film photography in general: the fewer variables the better in that case) it's familiar to many and tends to give encouraging and predictable results. You could go ahead and use ID-11, I think, though, since I seem to recall you're an old hand at your exposure and all.

Diafine is neat, (especially for films where you get a speed boost) but you don't get much control: it does what it does. I actually have a box of the stuff right here, the first I've ever owned of my own. I've got plans for this stuff (And a pile of Arista Premium, which is supposed to be the same as Tri-X: I'm hoping to take advantage of the speed boost, particularly as the daylight hours wane. Presently I'm just not doing much volume of shooting, anyway: I haven't been feeling up to too much. )

As for disposal, I'm not entirely sure, myself: we were always told that you could basically flush household chemistry down the drain, no problem. I understand Boston has good enough treatment to handle it just fine, cause of the systems for harbor cleanup and all, (at least as long as things aren't going into the storm drain overflows, like in heavy rain) ...but it does seem Kodak has stepped up the environmental awareness of the stuff.

I basically just do the best I can down here, there don't seem to be very good options. But I have gotten hold of a more eco-friendly fixer by Silvergrain which is also supposed to be easier on the water use (kind of a factor down here) I also haven't used this, yet.

If you wanted to be especially conscientious I might be able to find out where you can go for disposal. I'm still in touch with someone I worked with in an area lab.
08-24-2009, 08:27 AM   #6
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ID-11 or D-76 are both excellent developers. Neither one has anything that is particularly toxic. If you have an automatic dishwasher you are pouring more toxic chemistry down your drain every time you do the dishes.
For that matter the ever popular antibacterial soaps and detergents are more harmful than D-76.
08-24-2009, 09:50 AM   #7
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I used HC110 for quite some time and like it very much.
08-24-2009, 09:53 AM   #8
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I got a batch of Harvey's 777 panthermic to play with on Friday. I may be too busy through Dec. to do much unfortunately. It was used by the Time Magazine guys back in the 40s and 50s.

08-24-2009, 10:04 AM   #9
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I typicall use Ilford DDX -- already liquified, so it cuts out error factors during mixing as well as airborne chemical dust.
08-24-2009, 10:19 AM   #10
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Don't ever pour chemicals down the drain!!!!

Unless you live in Canada or D.C then it's perfectly fine.
08-24-2009, 10:20 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by graphicgr8s Quote
Don't ever pour chemicals down the drain!!!!
....pour them directly into the sewer hole instead!!
08-24-2009, 10:24 AM   #12
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You could let the water evaporate then dispose of the residue in the trash.
08-24-2009, 11:16 AM   #13
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May I ask why?


developer is perfectly safe to pour down the drain
fixer may or maynot be safe depending how many times you use it

QuoteOriginally posted by graphicgr8s Quote
Don't ever pour chemicals down the drain!!!!

Unless you live in Canada or D.C then it's perfectly fine.
08-24-2009, 12:04 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
ID-11 or D-76 are both excellent developers. Neither one has anything that is particularly toxic. If you have an automatic dishwasher you are pouring more toxic chemistry down your drain every time you do the dishes.
For that matter the ever popular antibacterial soaps and detergents are more harmful than D-76.
Actually, you don't have to buy the seriously-nasty dishwasher soap, either. (We get some eco-friendly stuff that works fine here already. ) Though it does point out the matter of scale: if you use a dishwasher, you're better off making a change there and dumping your occasional tank of developer than continuing to use the nastier stuff all the time and driving around looking for a place to dump developer just cause it came labeled 'Chemicals.'

Fixer usually is the worst of it, though, it's where the metals end up. Places with silver reclamation will sometimes be glad to take it, though. Or so I hear. Also there are sometimes municipal facilities for household chemicals. I have no idea what they do with that, though.
08-24-2009, 01:25 PM   #15
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The first time I developed film, I used Caffenol C. It worked just fine. Kind of foggy, and grainy, but I liked how it looked.

Caffenol C is a mixture of instant coffee, Vitamin C, and Washing soda.

Now I am also using Ilfosol 3. It is a liquid, easy to store, easy to mix. Cheap.

I have some Diafine coming to me in the mail right now. Looking fwd to using it with Tri-x.
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