Developer with good shelf life that can be used to push HP5 a bit

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by tomspielman, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. Still relatively new to processing my own film. I've used D76 and caffenol and had decent results with both. What I've noticed, especially for the time of year we're heading into is that I shoot a lot of B&W indoors. Last year I was mostly using a rangefinder with a 40mm 1.7 lens. This year it will be an Olympus SLR with a 50mm 1.4 (though I have other options).

    Given that it's indoors, lighting isn't always ideal. If I could shoot the HP5 400 at 800 ISO, that would provide a little bit more flexibility. So I'm hoping to find a developer that I could use to push the HP5 a bit but still has decent shelf life. D76 doesn't have very good shelf life. Caffenol isn't so much of a problem in that can I can mix up small batches, but it's not great for higher speed films.

    HC-110 has a great shelf life but is not so good for pushing HP5, - at least that's what I've heard.

    So what are some of my better options?
  2. I've used HC110 for pushed Delta 3200, and it works quite well. In this thread I shared a result. But I never tried HC110 for pushing HP5, but routinely for HP5 at ISO400, which works excellent. I'd give it a try.
    If storage life wasn't an issue, Microphen would be another option.
  3. XTOL in a wine box bladder will last >1 year. It maintains film speed (D-76 loses ~1/3 stop) and is pretty decent for pushing. I also suggest Ilford Delta 3200 at 1000 or 1600 for indoor B&W work. Not much more grain than pushed HP5+ but with much better shadow detail.
  4. I have done some "serious" blunders with 100 film rated at 250-400, & a 40% increase in developing time with my Obsidian Aqua has saved my bacon. I am sure PMK-Pyro & PyrocatHD could also do the same. PMK-Pyro might not last as long as the HD (I am still on a 2013 bottle ) since the HD is in a glycol base, not water as the PMK. I can not say how long my OA would be good for, since I mix up just 100ml each batch. . .about3-4 months at my present rate of exposures. Bill
  5. Ilford says D-76 will do fine at 800. It works on Tri-X.

    Rick H.
  6. Ilford Ilfotec DD-X is a speed-enhancing developer, great for pushing, and the stock solution in the bottle lasts well over a year. Not as eternal as HC-110, but I'm quite happy with it. Not cheap.
    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  7. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    And how many GOOD things are? :D
  8. Well, at least two: HC110 is quite cheap, and Rodinal is cheap too (but not that good for the question of the OP possibly) ;)
  9. Kodak T-Max developer lasts a very long time, especially when refrigerated. Mix just enough when you're ready to develop your film and then discard. It's also a good push developer -- much better than D-76.
  10. It is already mentioned: Tmax developer and DD-X.
    Due to the Benzotriazole in HC-110 to suppress the base fog means a none optimum speed for most films. It will cost in general 1/3F stop in speed loss for most films. BTW. Rodinal/R09 has the same: Speed loss 1/3F-2/3F stop for most films: Acros 100 E.I. 64, Fomapan 100 E.I. 80 etc. Although the newer Rodinal formulations do not have an eternity in life span, approx. 3-5 years, depending how it is stored.
  11. HC-110 used to come in 16 fl.oz bottles, but then they switched to 1L bottles.

    It is very cheap per roll, but you have to buy the whole bottle.
  12. I ended up getting some HC-110 which I likely would have anyway so I'll give it a try and see how it works. I was a little slow responding to a craigslist add selling a bunch of darkroom stuff including almost full and relatively new bottles of rodinal and HC-110.

    Nevertheless I should be set for developer for awhile. Fixer will be the only thing I'll need to purchase much of going forward.
  13. Donning my Nomex underwear, because I'm going to get flak for this, but if pushing worked well, it would be the standard recommendation. You're going to lose shadow detail and increase grain and contrast. Indoor shots usually already have a problem with shadow detail and contrast. Anything you can do, like quietly switching bulbs for ones a bit brighter, adding an extra lamp here and there, using a monopod or other improvised steadying device or finding faster film (hard these days), will make shooting a bit easier. That said, I've used my share of Tri-X and Acufine in the bad old days to good effect. Diafine seems more popular today. I'm not a big fan of dilute developers and for years used D-76 and HC-110 at the higher dilutions because that's how I was taught. One day, for some reason, I tried D-76 full strength and was much happier with the sharpness and grain pattern. IMO, the right grain pattern helps a pushed shot look better because it can put something in otherwise blank highlights. Don't be afraid to experiment a bit.
  14. Somewhat. Note, for example, that for Tri-X KodakAlaris recommends no development time change for EI 800. They still call it a one stop push, though.
    They provide times for EI 1600 and 3200.

    Yes you will lose some shadow detail, but maybe that is fine. If the choice is less shadow detail or no picture at all, what do you do?

    And yes you increase contrast, but sometimes that isn't so bad. And you can print with the appropriate paper or filter, to reduce it some.

    Compensating developers like Diafine, and stand development otherwise, help bring up the shadows, while not overdoing the highlights.

    As I understand it, the reason for discontinuing TMZ (TMax 3200, an actual ISO 1000 film, but designed for pushing) was that TMY pushed to 3200 about as well.

    If it didn't work, manufacturers wouldn't provide the push times. But yes, it isn't as good, but sometimes good enough.
  15. Some of my favorite pictures last year were from indoor group settings: restaurant, Thanksgiving at someone else's home, a chalet, large resort condo, etc. Think of it as indoor street photography but it's my family and friends rather than strangers. The lighting is what it is, and I'll take a few pictures here and there, but mostly it's not about photography. So I'd rather not use a tripod or a monopod, just snap a picture of my 97 year old uncle talking to my 20 something cousin once removed, etc, then get back to enjoying whatever we're doing. This is an example:


    I cheated on this one I think and had the camera sitting on the counter. Anyway, a lot of the time 400 is good enough or almost good enough with the 50mm 1.4 but the DOF is limited at wide apertures and I've got to be careful about keeping the camera (or subjects) still. Another stop would help. It was hard for example to get everyone in focus at a large table.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2017
  16. Be Brave Conrad!! Some times I wear my three layer Nomex racing suit (see avatar) when posting around here! Since before Brook's I have NEVER rated film at box speed. . still do not! With exceptions of dark caves or Jazz Bar's, the 400 rated films work great at 250. . . Just increase developing time 20-40%. Bill

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