Need fine grain B&W film, develop in HC-110 : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

For high speed and medium speed B&W films I've standardized on TMZ3200 and Tri-X developed in HC-110 and I'm pretty happy with the results. I'd like the option of finer grain and higher sharpness at times and I'm wondering which slower film would be best, given I'd like to stick with a developer I know (HC-110). My options seem to be Agfa 25, Iford Pan F (50) or T-max 100. Tech Pan is out for HC-110. Has anyone any experience with any of these films in HC-110?

-- Bob Atkins (, July 19, 1999


I can't speak to your question about HC-110, as I'm a D-76 (and occasionally XTOL) guy. However, don't discount some old classics: Agfapan 100 is a very good film, with quite fine grain and a nice old- tech look a la Tri-X. And good old Plus-X is still a very nice film too - a little bit grainier than APX 100, but a lovely emulsion with a unique look.

And T-Max 100 is indeed remarkable stuff; its grain and resolution are a (small, but still) quantum leap beyond APX 100 and PX. But T- Max 100 can be finicky; you have to be very careful in exposure and development, and even then, you may end up with more contrast than you want, and the infamous blocked-up highlights and opaque shadows. No question, TMX will give you the added detail you're looking for, but at a cost. If you only need slightly more resolution and finer grain than Tri-X, APX 100 or PX are both good bets, and you'll likely get great results with them right out of the box, as opposed to the learning curve many folks have with TMX...

(I've never used APX 25 or Pan F, but for my purposes - 5x7s from half-frame 35mm and Minox negatives - I've found that APX 100, PX, and, of course, TMX are all plenty fine-grained!)

-- Michael Goldfarb (, July 19, 1999.

Bob, out of the films you spoke of i would suggest the Agfa.. it has a nice grain structure, tho if you are looking to reduce the grain size, you might want to move to a different developer. HC-110 is a beautiful developer, and i use it almost on a daily basis, however it does not have as fine of a grain as ID-11 (or D-76) ,tho it renders better shadows. i tend to like the agfa films in the agfa developers.. give the apx 25 and rodinol a try. The combination produces a neat tonal scheme... Sean

-- Sean (, July 19, 1999.

I have used HC-110 and Agfa APX 25. Agfa is really easy to develop, but I recommend that you dip it in a drying agent after you finish washing it. I have used Kodak Photoflo with good results, and I now use Edwal LPN with distilled water. One commercial lab I've used, which incidentally uses Rodinal, very often put irremoveable streaks on the film due to faulty drying.

I have used T-Max 100 with excellent results, but I am extremely precise with all of my developing procedures.

Tech-Pan is fine with Technidol. I haven't yet used it with Xtol. Just mix the developer as directed, and it's fine. Technidol can't be used with anything other than Tech-Pan.

If you want to compare the film grain between the Kodak products, take a look at Kodak's book of black & white films. There is a page in there which compares about eight of them, and Tech-Pan comes out the undisputed winner. A violin (some similar stringed instrument, anyways) was photographed with each of the films, and then a section of a 13x enlargement was published next to the film. Tmax 100 was excellent, but Techpan was the clear champion. The enlargement looks like a contact print.

Believe it or not, Kodak produces Techpan in 8x10 sheets.

-- Brian C. Miller (, July 19, 1999.

well, I'll expound a little....I prefer pan-f because I like the long tonal scale of it....and the grain structure..what little there is! I spent alot of money trying to hammer down apx 25 and could never find a good combo...plenty that worked but none as pretty as pan-f...what i found about apx25 was that the highlights compressed some no matter what I tried and like tech-pan the image falls apart(much sooner than tech-pan) at higher mags...this is not to say you can't with some testing....I only have access to about 6 developers that are sold here and really needed to be able to standardize to them in case of emergency...of those tested apx worked best for me in Atomal....good luck Bob. otherwise i shoot techpan

-- trib (, July 19, 1999.

Thanks for the comments. Maybe I'll give Pan F a try. The extra stop over Agfa 25 could be useful. I suppose if I get serious I'll have to go the Tech Pan route like everyone else does, but then I'll have to start working with a new developer. I do use Tech Pan in HC-110 when I'm film testing with resolution charts. Works OK, but the contrast is a bit high for pictorial work I think.

-- Bob Atkins (, July 19, 1999.


Once you get hooked on tech pan, there are a number of developers available. Examples, Rodinal, Ethol TEC, Technidol, Xtol, Dafine, three developers from Photographer's Formulary, or make your own POTA.

I've not tried Agfa, but my testing indicates that T-max 100 is a little less grainey than Pan F.

-- Gene Crumpler (, July 23, 1999.

Techpan iso12 hc110 1:100 20 mins agit 15secs first then let sit next 2 mins then one twist every 2 mins there after or one pull/tip for sheet film. fix well and wash. Works great on the Bristle cones.

-- james (, August 07, 1999.

Efke KB-25 is certainly fine grain and long scale if dev in HC-110 diluted 1 to 125. Dev 5min at 730. Agitate at 4m and 2.5m. That's twice not counting fillup. ASA 14. Water stop, rapid fix just over 1min. turbo washer, no wash aid. And yes the film has same color as Adox KB-14, purple. You can find a relatively accurate calibrated eye dropper to repeatably do 8cc in a litre of w

-- Larry Welker (, August 22, 1999.

If you run into excessive contrast with any of those slower films and have an uncomfortably short development time, be sure to experiment with more dilution of HC-110.

-- John Hicks / John's Camera Shop (, August 22, 1999.

You didn't say what format your using, but I develop my 4x5 Ilford Delta 100 and 400 in HC110 with excellent results. When printing the 100 16x20in. I often have trouble finding the grain to focus. The 400 grain is easier to see when focusing, and there is no difference in the prints that I can see with the naked eye. If you use the 400, the development time given by Ilford for HC110 (solution B), 8 1/2 min. is too long for normal exposures, unless you want really dense negs. I usually develop for 7 min. With the 100, the recomended time of 6 min. works fine.

-- John Laragh (, November 05, 1999.

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