Help with delvelopment times & dilution. (Tri-X and HC-110)

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by matt_factor, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. This is my fifth roll of B&W and my first time trying HC-110. I was
    not pleases with Rodinal and Tri-X I used before because there was
    simply too much of the wrong kind of grain for my taste.

    I took two rolls tonight and I need some help.

    Roll # 1 was rated at ISO 800 due to lack of light. The Tri-X I'm
    using is ISO 400. So, I guess I need to "push" one stop with the

    Roll # 2 were 5-30 sec. long exposures of water. I wasn't sure how
    to compensate with Tri-X for reciprocity law failure, but I guessed
    rating it at ISO 160 might be good. Maybe I should have made it
    simple by choosing ISO 200.

    Can someone help me come with the right dilution and development
    times for these rolls. Thanks sooo much!
  2. Fifth roll and yuo are changing developers already. You will never get anyplace that way.

    The idea is to experiment first, prove the process, and than take pictures. Take about 6 pics and pull out 12 inches in the dark and process that much. Repeat as necessary.

    Someone else can comment on push processing. My opinion is film has one speed and that is what you get out of it, maybe a bit more with a few developers, HC110 not being one of them. When pushing, all you are doing is developing longer to raise density in the brighter tones of the neg to allow easier printing. It will not magically add density to the very darkest tones that were supposed to register on the neg but did not because you underexposed.

    You should have consulted the reciprocity charts for tri x on Kodak`s website. You still use the rated speed, but increase the exposure either by time or lens opening. With tri x you need to cut development too based on how long the exposure is. The extra time gets you sufficient shadow detail as the film is not as sensitive to low light as rated and you cut development to keep the highlights in control.

    For EI 200 with tri x, dilute 1:45 from stock and develope 4 1/2 at 68 deg. Agitation is 5 sec twice a minute. Patterson tanks is 1 or two inversions, stainless steel ones, 5 in 5 sec. Only use enough developer to cover the reel when at rest. 230 cc with stainless, 300 with Patterson. This is a guaranteed time for a condenser enlarger and you will get fantastic negs with full shadow detail and no blown highlights.

    1:45 is my own dilution I made up because it meets my needs. It is not an official Kodak dilution. Their 1:31 is too short a time for me. If I tried again, I would use 1:50. Some use 1:64, but that makes too much grain to suit me.

    Measure carefully as repeatability is very important. Rinse the measuring device with mixed developer to pick up all the concentrate in order to insure consistency.
  3. Dear Matt,

    Here is an address for the HC-110 technical publication:

    Here is an address for the Tri-X technical publication:

    I would like to suggest that you use D-76 as your first b&w developer rather than HC-110 or Rodinal. It's cheap and easy to find and generally produces finer grain than either of the others. It's almost a benchmark of comparison for all other developers.
  4. I strongly agree with Ron on this one. Pick a film and a developer and learn about their characteristics. Understand what pushing film does before you push film. Understand what your developer does at full strength, and at dilutions. Understand how to rate film properly depending on the lighting conditions.

    People here keep telling those starting in black and white these things because they are important. If you just jump around and try random things, your results will always look poor and you are likely to get discouraged quickly. Try reading the "Film Developers Cookbook" to learn about developers. It will tell you about how they work, why they do what they do, most importantly, the different types of developers. It is easy to understand and the information will be very valuable to you very quickly.

    A little bit of time spent on learning to understand what is happening will pay off greatly in the form of improved results and the ability to control the process.

    - Randy
  5. Stick with the HC-110 for now. The results will be virtually indistinguishable from those produced with D-76/ID-11 so there's no point changing until you've used up the HC-110.

    While many folks recommend HC-110 as a one-shot developer, using a tiny bit of the syrup for each batch, there's nothing wrong with mixing up a larger batch of ordinary stock solution if you can use it up within a couple of weeks. It'll be handier (and this happens to be be the way Kodak recommends using it). Your results may also be more consistent.

    Expose the Tri-X at 400. Don't fool around yet with push processing. Nothing wrong with pushing but you don't even know yet what good negatives look like. Concentrate for now on good basic exposure and development technique. You could spent a year just doing that and still have lots to learn.
  6. If you'd like to read some about HC-110, try

    Also check out the developing times at and the Massive Dev. Chart at
  7. Okay, now that Ron (the All Knowing) has told you you can't do what you want/need to do, let me tell you how to accomplish it, with little if any grain growth (and certainly less gritty, jagged grain than Rodinal).

    Use Dilution E, 1+79 from syrup (or 1+19 from stock solution). Develop for 31 minutes at 68 F, agitating continuously for the first minute, then five inversions in 10-15 seconds every 3rd minute for the remaining time -- for both rolls (do them together, if you have a double tank). You'll get EI 800 with good shadow detail, no "pushed" look, little increase in grain over a normal process, and just incidentally (at least partially) compensate the contrast increase that stems from reciprocity failure on the water shots. I'm recommending this for the water, BTW, because EI 160 isn't anything like enough compensation for reciprocity failure on exposures that meter from 5 to 30 seconds; Tri-X requires 2x exposure for 2 seconds metered, and by the time you're up to 30 seconds it wants 5x or so (instead of 1 1/3 stops, that last would be about 2 1/3 stops) -- so pushing the water shots will help them as well.

    I agree with Ron on one point -- stick with one developer where it will do the job. HC-110 will do everything you want to do *except* make jagged, gritty grain; keep your Rodinal around (it'll keep forever, even after opening the bottle) for when you want that, or when you shoot slower film where grain is less an issue and want maximum sharpness.

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