Best developer for Ilford and potentially TMax

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by k_m|20, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. I am new to photography and bought my first few rolls of film. I got a roll of Ilford Delta 400, Delta 100, FP4 Plus, and PanF Plus. I may also get some Kodak TMY-2 later, but for now I think I'll shoot Ilford. I'm wondering what are your developers of choice for those Ilford films? And would they also look good with the TMY-2 if I decide to purchase some later? There are so many types of developers/stopbaths/fixers out there and I'm just not sure which to go with. Are different developers intended for different looks (along with the method/time/temperature of development, of course)? Thanks.
  2. Start with something tried true and tested like Ilford ID-11,Kodak D-76 or Kodak HC-110. I like the HC-110 as it last forever and I can mix it per roll and many dilutions.
    Stop baths are all about the same and as for fixer I use any Rapid fixer. The Delta and TMY-2 are hard on fixer so a Rapid fixer seems to last longer and works better with those films. As for a hardener in your fixer you don't need that with the films you have.
  3. You will get very different results using different developers.
    Some will go harder on the grain and increase contrast like Rodinal or Adonal, as they call it now.
    Some will go easier on the grain and give you a wider greyscale range.

    I agree with Larry, ID-11 is my favorite developer and I use it a lot with both Ilford and Kodak films, specially when developing pushed film to 1600 or 3200.
    D-76 is also a great developer.

    Another one of my favorites is Kodak Xtol, I like using it with Delta 400 and TriX 400.
    Kodak TMax Dev. is a very good all around developer even with Ilford films. I use it from ISO 25 to ISO 400. Above ISO 400 I always go for ID-11 or Xtol depending on the "hardness" I want for the images.

    Any of the developers will work just fine with Ilford and Kodak films.

    I use Ilford Rapid Fixer for 5 minutes and water as stop bath.

    Be careful with temperature it does influence a lot, stick to the standard 20C and you'll be fine.

    Some of the developers mentioned above are sold as powder. You will have to mix it with water to make the "stock" solution.

    I think this is the bible for times and dilutions:

    This is my blog with some recipes and sample images.

    PS: please forgive my poor English.
  4. I think your English is just fine. Good advice.
  5. Thank you Larry, that is most kind my friend.
  6. Thanks a lot guys. I'm not going to be pushing my film very far ahead of their intended speeds, so I think I'm mostly going to be developing ISO 400 and below. Does that change anything? You mentioned that you like that developer on faster films. What's good in the sub-800 range? Even as low at 50 or 100. And could you give me a rundown on the distinct looks of each of these developers, like the strong contrast and grayscale you mentioned for rodinal?
    Ilfotec DD-X
    Ilfotec HC
    Ilfotec LC29
    Ilfosol S
    Microdol X
    Those are all of the developers that Ilford lists in the package for the Delta 400 that I just finished.
  7. HC-110,ID-11 or D-76 will be fine for what you want to do.
  8. How fast do you plan to use developer? Can you use up a gallon (16 rolls worth) of D-76 in two to three months? If not, you want to consider a liquid concentrate developer that has long open-bottle life in concentrated form. Ilford DD-X can normally last a year in an open bottle, but the price per roll is steep. Kodak HC-110 is essentially eternal as syrup in the jar, but the highly viscous nature and high dilution ratio makes mixing one roll worth a bit tricky. (Use a dosing syringe.) HC-110 is very low in cost per roll.
    You might want to get a copy of Anchell and Troop, The Film Developing Cookbook to learn more about different developers.
    You have listed two discontinued developers, Ilfosol S is (thankfull) replaced by Ilfosol 3. Microdol-X is discontinued with no Kodak replacement, Ilford Perceptol is the closest equivalent.
    Start with D-76, HC-110, or DD-X, and learn how developing time and EI can affect the look of your film before you even consider experimenting with different developers.
  9. Hey John. For those who still want Microdol-X there is this. It is the exact same stuff.
    I get about 6 months from D-76 in a gallon jug. I though use up developer faster than that but in spurts so that is why I prefer the HC-110. I find mixing it no problem.
  10. I read that DD-X is intended for higher speed films, namely Delta 3200. I'm shooting 400 and below. Ilfosol 3 is recommended for these speeds according to amazon. Would you recommend that? And I read that Xtol is higher quality than D76. Is that false?
  11. Xtol is a better developer than D-76 BUT..... You have to make 5 liters of it at a time and it last about 6 months at the most. I break it down into 5 1 liter bottles and i use it 1-1 dilution. the problem is it can die without warning if you try to keep it too long. I can use up 10 liters in 4 months but I just don't like the thought that that last bottle may go on me at anytime. If you can use it all up in a few months well go for it as I find it about the best developer out there.
    I won't complain though about HC-110 and TMY-2.
  12. You will get very different results using different developers.
    Some will go harder on the grain and increase contrast like Rodinal or Adonal, as they call it now.
    Note: Rodinal does not give full box speed with modern films. If you choose a development time which is claimed to give full box speed, this actually involves push processing, hence the higher contrast. I would say different developers give somewhat (rather than very) different results.
    ID-11/D-76 is the accepted standard and, while not necessarily the best in every respect, will process ALL types of film well. You have the option of using it at full (stock) strength for slightly finer grain or 1+1 or 1+3 for slightly better sharpness, better consistency (since you use the developer once only when diluted) and a certain compensating effect, particularly at 1+3, if you need it.
    ID-11 keeps quite well as stock solution, the economics are that a five-liter pack costs only slightly more than two one-liter packs, so it is economical if you use at least 3 liters, and it doesn't matter so much if you throw away the last liter!
    Footnote: The "DD" in "DD-X" stands for "dip and dunk". This was originally intended for use in continuous processing machines, it works quite well in small tanks but it's stronger and more expensive than most tank developers!
  13. My film processing chemical line-up is: Rodinal, Kodak Indicator Stop and Ilford Hypam Rapid Fixer. I wash the film using the Ilford Method. I also use either Paterson Acuwet or Tetenal Mirosol wetting-agent for the final rinse. I choose Rodinal for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that it is the most robust and reliable developer I know.
  14. You are wasting your time trying everything under the sun. Pick a film that suits your style (400 for poorer light, 100 for better light) and just take photos. Most of the other issues make very little difference.
  15. At my age I have tested almost all the films and developers. Just like a carpenter I have more than one type of hammer for the jobs I do. But as I said in my OP I would suggest that one developer to start is the best. As for film well that changes these days almost weekly do to the supply and types. I think B&W self photography is getting to the point of doing more with less. :-(
  16. HC-110 Figure that out first, then learn some others. JMHO
  17. Also, pick up a copy of either Ansel Adams "The Negative" (Book 2) or John P. Schaefer, "Zone System for Fine B&W
  18. I wouldn't worry about whether DD-X is better for faster films and that Ilfosol 3 is suggested for slower ones. I use DD-X for everything and it's fine. The fastest film I shoot is 400iso. I also don't like Ilfosol 3 as much as I liked Ilfosol S because developing times are shorter and that led to uneven development for me.
    As others have said, start with one film and one developer and see what you like or dislike about the combo before trying others. There's a large number of possible combos - pick something common.
  19. [​IMG]
    I recently tried HC-110 for the first time. I love the contrast. I've been taking and developing B&W for 40 years starting as a teenager. Back then, I was worried about fine grain. In looking at some of my old negatives, I see that a lot of them are really flat contrast. (Do they still make Microdal-X?) This picture was taken a few days ago at the county fair (I'm in Rockville Maryland) on 120 Verichrome film and the contrast with HC-110 is much more pronounced then when I use the T-Max developer.
    This is the same film lot with the T-Max developer.
  20. I'm amazed how many people on here
    are from md.
    I just got a bottle of adonal, before I
    was using d76 which I liked alright. I'm
    basically in the same boat as the op,
    trying to figure a system out

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