D-76 vs. HC-110

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by david_drennon, Oct 25, 2006.

  1. I'm trying to decide what developer to go with for B+W, D-76 or HC-110. Does
    anyone have experience with either of these or both? Advantages or
    disadvantages? I'm initially drawn to the HC-110 for the amount of film a small
    bottle can produce, but I've also heard that it can be less forgiving than D-76
    when it comes to accuracy of developing time. Your thoughts?
  2. It depends a bit on your technique, but both are great developers. HC-110 is "maybe" a bit sharper, where I would be more inclined to use D-76 to manage tonal range. There are a lot of opinions to be had though, and I'm sure others will jump in with theirs. The best thing you can do is try them both and see what you like. Also, it's hard to generalize without knowing the film being used. As for D-76 being more forgiving... hmmm, it could be due to dilution errors when mixing HC-110, but I would tend to start with the assumption that your entire end-to-end image process is as precise as you can make it (from exposure to print).
  3. HC-110 probably has the misnomer of "less forgiving" due to using dilution b, which can give quite short developing times, which in turn require more exacting time management. However, most books I've read, and experience using it, have shown Tri-x and HC-110 to be an amazing combination. I pretty much use HC-110 on most films now, due to it's long lasting syrup and ease of use. Look up the dilution H on the web for times when the dev time is shorter than 4 minutes. It's double the dilution of B, and double the time. I like HC-110 on tri-x, APX 100 and 400. I like D-76 on the Ilford films FP-4 and HP-5 (although HC-110 is good on HP-5 also).
  4. There's nothing wrong with HC-110. We used it as the standard every day developer at least one of the papers I worked for. But if you're just starting off definitely start with D-76 and use it until you learn everything about it before moving on to anything else. D-76 has been the standard for B&W developing for 40 years, losing ground only to Tmax since the Tmax films came out. D-76 is to film developers what the 50mm f/2 used to be to lenses or what the Kodak Carousel was to slide projectors. Or what Tri-X was to black and white film. Virtually every high school or college photography course and every how to develop film book I've ever seen has started off with Tri-X in D-76. As they say, learn to walk before you try to run.
  5. We used HC-110 in my first course at a local college. My second course at a different school used D-76. Both are fine developers HC-110 being the more economical to use. However at home I use Rodinal for everything except for Delta 3200 which I use Clayton F76+.
  6. if everything else was equal, hc-110 comes in a very convenient liquid form. you can even dilute just enough for one reel using a syringe.
  7. I did a Master's Thesis on the densiometric comparisons of the two developers some 25 years ago in college. In a nutshell, I found that HC-110 formed sharper grain structures and I was able to get finer edge sharpness. I don't have my paper handy to give you specific numbers, but from my study I became a pretty loyal user of HC-110 as a result. BTW my film was Plus-X and Tri-X 4x5 sheet. I don't consider the cost as a factor, just results.
  8. I used D-76 for years but switched to HC-110 about 3 years ago. You can make either work well.

    The key for me was the convenience of HC-110. I just draw what I need with a syringe, dilute, process. When the bottle is empty (a long time) I buy another. You never have to think about how old it is. I like simple processes that work and developer that keeps forever, HC-110 is both. Following that philosophy, my "other" developer is Rodinal.
  9. I use both one may work better with one film than the other (you may prefer one with one film type and one with another film type).

    I prefer TriX in HC110 dilB over D76 1:1 but D76 1:0 give a nice fine grain with TriX. I prefered Agfa APX100 in D76 1:0 or 1:1 grain seemed to be more mushy in HC110. I like Tmax400 in D76 1:0 but did not like it so much in HC110 again grain seemed larger and mushy in HC110. Iford HP5(120) looks better to me in HC110 compared to D76. Just depends what you like and maybe what you get used to.
  10. This fight will never end so I use both... HC dil-H is one of my favorites..... D-76 strait and 1-1 depending on my mood... Dil-B has longer times than Diafine so why worry just make sure you use more chem than tank-reel.

  11. HC110 is so-o-o-o convenient and easy to use. As others above have said, just use the concentrate straight out of the bottle with a syringe and mix as a one-shot and throw it away.

    It is very forgiving of minor variations in time, temp and agitation, although you should always strive for consistency.

    I use it for TXP 320 (120 & 4x5), TX 400 (120) and PlusX (120). Dilution H (twice as diluted as Dil B) is the way to go...

    Here are some examples:



  12. I started to develop b&w not long ago and hc-110 was my first choice and I just love the way we can get shadow detail out of it. Have not enough experience to talk about d76.
    Good luck, Joao
  13. Joao

    Wonderful and powerful full of tones....


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