D76 Looks Very Grainy

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by m_stephens, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. I've been using T-max developer for 2 years. I wanted to save shipping, so I got some D76 in pouches. Mixed per the instructions, and developed my first roll in stock D76. Ouch! A very noticeable grain that was never an issue on the T-max. Film is 120 Arista 400ASA. I followed Arista directions for D76. I may have over agitated. I used about 15 seconds of end over end at the pour, and then 5 turnovers every minute. Temp was 68F.
  2. Try swishing it gently like a glass of wine, instead of turn overs. It will tend to lower contrast, so swish more often.
    What dilution are you using?
  3. Peter Carter,
    I am using undiluted. And I will try the wine swish - thanks.
  4. Full-strength D-76 should have solvent effect to soften grain.
    Could you simply need shorter developing time? Are the black areas of the negatives denser than they were with TMAX developer? Are the edge markings denser than they were with TMAX developer. Developing harder makes more grain.
    As for developing less, I'd rather shorten the time than risk under-agitation. Kodak says inversions, not swishes. I've seen lots of folks showing their negatives with bromide drag from under-agitation.
    Also, how long had it been since you mixed the developer? Was it in an air-tight container filled to the brim? If stored in a container with air in it, D-76 will gain a good bit of activity about a week after you mix it. Best way to store freshly mixed D-76 is in 8 or 16 ounce (as appropriate) brown glass bottles filled to the brim, which are each single-use. That avoids the "activity increase" problem.
    Another way to lower your shipping costs over TMAX would be HC-110. The dilution is so much higher than TMAX (or other 1+4 dilution liquid developers like DD-X) that you won't pay as much shipping. Also HC-110 is really cheap per roll.
  5. John Shriver,
    Thanks for the good info there. First, I mixed the D76 an hour before, so it was brand new. The overall effect on the negatives was very dense blacks and very bleached whites. But I can't disconnect the scene exposure which was probably too dynamic, and I probably was under exposed as well here.
    I do hope I can smooth this out, because I bought four bags of D76. Not a fortune of course, but I hope I don't have to waste it. I also bought some Diafine, but since I will need to shoot the film differently for Diafine, I will try that next week.
  6. If that is the case, the gentle 'wine swirl' should be all you need. It's a technique I picked up when developing with rodinal.
    Generally D76 favors stock or 1:1 to get the best from it, so I would be looking at your agitation, expose and dev times.
  7. Peter Carter,
    Sounds like I should try 1:1 also, right? That's easy enough.
  8. Your film is over developed. I'm with John -- I would agitate as you did, but decrease development time, assuming you're processing at something like 68-70F. Since your developer was freshly mixed, might it have been still warm? 1+1 is another option for decreasing contrast, but it will also slightly increase grain compared to stock.
  9. I would suggest you are over-agitating. I give six inversion in the first 30 seconds and then one inversion every 30 seconds after that. Also, fresh D76 can be a bit 'harsh'. Try dropping a length (e.g. 6 inches) of exposed film into the developer stock and letting it develop to black in order to put some bromide into the developer. It's a trick I have heard of being used to 'take the edge' off fresh D76.
  10. More good suggestions - - - thanks.
    First, I went ahead now and diluted this batch to 1:1, and I am going to do another roll now using 1:1, and less agitation - per Chris Waller above.
    Because that first roll was essentially ruined, I went back this am and re-shot the scene. Sadly, this time was minus the more stormy sky I had first time. I will wait until I have this D76 debugged a bit before doing this new roll.
    I'll report back later.
  11. Ooh, you don't want to dilute the whole D-76 batch to 1:1, it's very short-lived at that dilution. You do that right before developing, 8 ounces of D-76 and 8 ounces of water to develop one 35mm reel. (If you do 4 and 4 ounces, you're supposed to add 10% to the times.)
    Also, 1:1 will be grainier, since the 1:1 dilution eliminates the solvent effect.
    Certainly, you film sounds overdeveloped. Maybe underexposed as well. TMAX is a "speed enhancing" developer, so you may get more real shadow speed with it than D-76.
  12. John,
    How short lived? Hours or days?
  13. I was taught to let D-76 set for 24 hours before using. Always did the 1:1 dilution right before using. On Tri X film this gave very good grain.
  14. http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/j78/j78.pdf
    says to agitate for 5 cycles in 5 seconds at first then 2 to 5 cycles in 5 seconds every 30 seconds thereafter.
    At the end of the first inversion cycle rotate the tank two turns right and at the end of the second cycle two turns left, continue alternating the direction for each agitation cycle thereafter.
    I agree with Randy, let freshly mixed chemicals sit 24 hours before use.
  15. The roll I completed after lunch with 1:1 and less agitation did come out better than the real grainy one the other night. However, there is still more grain that I am accustomed to with my Tmax developer.
    So, I ran down to our one camera store praying they might might have some Tmax (usually they have nothing I ever need). Well praise to the leprechauns, they had a small bottle of Tmax. I just got done developing my remaining rolls with the Tmax, and when I get them scanned later I'll see if the grain is better.
    Does anyone know then how long the D76 mixed at 1:1 will last? I have about 1/2 gallon left. No big loss if I have to dump it. But if it will last a few days I'll use it up.
  16. Does anyone know then how long the D76 mixed at 1:1 will last? I have about 1/2 gallon left.​
    The old adage "when all else fails follow the directions" apples here except substitute tech pub for directions and read for follow.
    The tech pub was linked in my previous post and on page 7 is "working solution in trays 24 hours" with NA (not applicable) for other storage/usage means. Assume 24 hours for any 1:1 mix.
    Try Xtol or HC110 as both give finer grain than D76 and excellent results.
  17. Charles Monday,
    Thanks. I should have read it straight away.
  18. You can also manipulate exposure/development in conjunction with rotation in agitation to hide the grain with D76.
  19. D76 is not a fine-grain developer. I mean, it's sometimes labelled that way, but that's in relation to other developers being 'ultra fine grain.' D76 is a moderate-quality, low-priced developer engineered for reasonably fast developing times and consistent results from a wide variety of films.
    If you're looking for finer grain, TMax (or another brand's T-developer) will give the best results with 400 film at box speeds. I don't remember if Arista's 400 is a t-grain film or not, but if it is then that will help too.
    HC-110 is/was a good choice too. With a normal dilution it works very much like D76, but at weaker dilutions contrast is much better controlled.
    Have you considered rating your film at 200? That helps too. For the best scans, I often shoot at 100, and develop at 200 for very low contrast.
  20. When working with B&W some time ago, Acufine gave good results developing Tri X. Maybe it still does using T-Max. A search turned up this link
    which talks to its properties.
  21. Zack Zoll,
    "For the best scans, I often shoot at 100, and develop at 200 for very low contrast."
    You are referring to Tri-X 400 there, right?
    My preference is good contrast, fine grain. I don't really want to reduce contrast into the blah area.
  22. What exactly is it you want to do - try a new film/new developer? I use D-76 1:1 for Delta 100 and the results are magnificient. Tack sharp, fine accutance, good contrast.
  23. D F,
    Right. By now I am sure it seems a bundle of confusion. Initially, I wanted to save money on shipping. So, I went from gallon bottles of Tmax to pouches of D76. But I wasn't happy with the new D76 as it seemed to be more grainy that the Tmax. The goal was to replace the bulky Tmax.

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