FP4 & HP5 in HC-110 dilution H

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by bob_king|2, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. Hi

    In my search for a long shelf life general-purpose developer for FP4 and HP5 in
    both 35mm and 120, I've decided to give HC-110 a serious try. Up till now I've
    been using Rodinal 1:50 - great for FP4 but not as successful for HP5 (for me).

    I've decided to use HC-110 dilution H so as to give more development time
    (double dilution B times) but I would like some input regarding times and
    agitation. I've read that its best not to agitate HC-110 too much - I want to
    preserve highlights with shadow detail. I've checked the Massive Development
    Chart but I'd like to hear from people who use this combination of film and
    developer. I use plastic tanks and develop at 20 deg C (68 deg F). I'm
    particularly interested in agitation regimes as well as the times.

    Cheers, Bob
  2. One inversion every minute regarding the time given by the Massive Development Chart, (10 minutes for dil H) that works fine with HP5, this combo is what I use most of the time. Yes, Rodinal and HP5 don't match
  3. Rodinal is OK for FP4+, though definitely not among my favorite brews for this film. And rest assured that you are not alone in your distaste for the the HP5+/Rodinal combination. There are more than a few people who don't like the combination, though you'll probably never hear much of that in this forum. It is in my estimation, right up there in the top 10 things to avoid in the darkroom.

    HC-110 isn't too bad. though it would not be my first choice for preserving detail at both ends of the scale either. The developer was designed for the press photographer who needed speed, convenience, and good keeping qualities more than the ultimate image quality. You can make it work, but the results will never be as smooth as they would be with D-76/ID-11, or XTOL. Ilfotec HC is a virtual clone of HC-110, so I'd suggest that you start out by reading the tech sheets for HP5+ and Ilfotech HC that are available from the manufacturer. Then read the tech sheet for HC-110. Start with that information and make adjustments to one variable at a time until you to where you want to be. This can take a few tries, but no one ever said this was going to be a walk in the park either. Minimal agitation is, in most cases, a big crock of you know what. You need to agitate vigorously and often enough to wash away the byproducts of the development process. Failure to do so will result in streaking and uneven development. Links to the documentation follow:



  4. HC-110 is very easy to get along with. Do everything pretty much by the book and you'll get great results.

    While it may seem cliched it's nonetheless true:

    Shadow detail is determined by exposure. Expose HP5+ at 250-400, FP4+ at 64-125, (depending on the quality of the light) and avoid underexposure.

    Highlights won't be a problem. Just agitate normally, avoid overdevelopment.

    With HC-110, as with most common developers, the risk of overdevelopment comes from too much time in the soup, not so much from agitation technique. Unless you're talking about continuous agitation, there's very little risk.

    Twist paddle agitation is fine for plastic tanks and reels. Paterson and the Spanish made plastic tank/reel systems have a little bump in the bottom that mates with the spindle to cam the reels up and down while also twisting side to side. It's a very thorough form of agitation and in my experience with many films and developers, normally exposed and pushed, it works just as well as inversion. Avoid under-agitating. Either twist fairly vigorously or twist steadily for 10-15 seconds every minute. I have some arthritis in my right hand so I tend to agitate smoothly for longer times rather than more vigorously. Works fine.
  5. Here's how I develop HP5 + in Hc-110. I use 5 reel Patterson tanks. I use 50(ounces) parts distilled water to 1 part(ounce) HC-110. This is sometimes referred to as dilution "E". This 51 ounces fillls the Patterson 5 reel tank. I develop at 68 degrees for 7 minutes using inversion agitation 5 seconds every 30 seconds. I rate the Hp5+ at EI 320. Using distilled water allows you to develop anywhere in the world without having to worry about different water creating different development times.
  6. Forgot to add the film is processed for printing with a cold loght.
  7. For a while I almost exclusively shot HP5 Plus and developed in HC-110 dil. H. I developed for 10' at 24C with 2-3 inversions per minute. The results were always very reliable. Your mileage may vary, so all you can really do is try it for yourself with some non-critical rolls.
  8. Hi.

    I use the combination of Ansel Adams in his book "The negative":
    I expose Hp5+ at 160, developed with 1+31 (dil. B) for 6.5 minutes at 20C degrees.

    In "the negative", Ansel Adams just recommends dilution H when you are looking for a compensating effect.
  9. I just switched to HC-110 for similar reasons. Long life, easy batch mix upetc... I got the little 4oz brown glass storage bottles from B&H and it's super easy to pour out an ounce or half ounce etc as I need it. So far I am getting really favorable and consistent results using both dil B and H. While I don't have it completely dialed in yet, I think I am getting images I like better than the D-76 I used for a number of years prior.
    I agitate the same for most runs. I use Paterson tanks for roll and dip and dunk 4x5. Five inversions after pour in. For normal, five inversions every minute after for Dil B (dip and dunk five times).
    If attempting N-1 in dil H I do same five intitially and then two slow inversions every minute. This I may change. And I haven't tried highly dilute yet. It is an active developer, even at dil H. But H is nice for longer times offereing more control. I have had good results with development times as short as 3-1/2 minutes !
    Aside from my own exposure errors, I seem to be getting really nice shadow details and textures in higlight which were blocking up oftenin D-76, esspecially with the film that most surprised me when I swithced. Besides more traditional emulssions like HP-5 and TRX 320, I was trying to figure out Acros. When I switched I noticed an improvement in the highlights. I haven't tried FP4 yet, but having a few rolls of Fuji Neopan SS I took it on a recent road trip. Shot at 64 and figuring my own times for it and being a forgiving film, everything looks really good with a variety of lighting conditions.
  10. Hi.


    Do you try HP5+ rated at 160 in dil.H? I don't find times for this combination.

  11. Massive has a Dilution H for HP-5 at 3200 using semi-stand development
    (agitation only every 5-10 minutes). Since H is fairly dilute (1:63), bromide
    drag, streaking and mottling will not be a major issue if you vigorously agitate
    for the first minute but then increased periods between those agitations-- the
    "semi-stand" method that I generally use (there are also higher dilutions to be
    found at websites listed below which will further enhance these effects). The
    higher dilutions will provide some accutance enhancement plus reduce overall
    contrast, and the semi-stand agitation will increase this effect, but if you are
    looking for finer, smoother grain and less effect on contrast (keeping in mind
    that HC-110 does not tend to produce a classic "S" curve in the tones of the
    developed negatives), then lower dilutions plus more traditional methods will
    work better. However, see the Covington websites discussion of the "G" dilution
    (1:119) and semi-stand method (3 minutes between subsequent agitations) that
    Ansel Adams used to improve his film's shadows without blocking up the
    highlights, something that HC-110 ought to be very good at doing.

    Also try these pages for info:




  12. Hey guys, thanks for your input - much appreciated!

    Cheers, Bob
  13. When using dilution H, just be careful to include enough of the developer in your dilution for the number of films
    you are processing. For instance a litre of developer at dilution H contains 15-16ml of the syrup. This is just
    enough for 2 x 36exp 35mm films or 2 x 120 films. Don't be tempted, because you have a litre of developer to try
    and develop 3 films in a 1 litre tank... Just thought I'd mention it as its an extra factor to take into account when
    working with Dilution H.

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