Film developer advice : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

Hi, I use HC-110 developer and Kodak brand films (primarily Tri-x 400). I am looking to try other brands of films. I'm looking for all around good developer that I can use for all brands of film (Kodak and Ilford especially) that would render good contrast and finer grain...I have used Ilford Universal 400 and frankly was disappointed with the tonal quality (flat). Any imput or suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

-- Erin Conroy (, November 01, 1999


A good overall developer is the old standard, D-76 1:1.

-- John Hicks / John's Camera Shop (, November 02, 1999.

Try Kodak X-tol diluted 1+3. It works well with all films and especially well with 400 speed films.

-- Greg Rust (, November 02, 1999.

Rodinal is a great film developer, particularly if you are using a fine-grain slow film. I have an article on the unique properties of Rodinal, with developing times, on my site at

-- Ed Buffaloe (, November 02, 1999.

I've had excellent response for 35mm, 120 and 4x5, ISO's 125 to 400, using HC-110. I've used Agfa, Arista (a.k.a Ilford) and Kodak. I like its consistency. I have a cold light head, so I develop for a little higher contrast. HC 110 (1:7) works well for me.

-- Les Myers (, November 04, 1999.

Xtol. It has about the best speed/grain ratio. Higher dilutions have slightly more speed and grain. I use it 1+2.

-- Tim Brown (, November 04, 1999.

As you can see from all these great accurate responses, nearly all developers handled in the right way will give excellent results. Technique, from exposure through development is the key to satisfactory negatives. Most problems with bad negatives comes from bad exposure conditions right off the bat than anything else. Most people complain about contrast in their negs or thin shadow areas or even no shadows. Just blank black areas where they saw details. It's a system and you should learn the whole system to get the most from your efforts. If there was one truly great developer that was "the best" then everyone would use just that one brand. But the fact is that they are all good developers and you have to learn there individual charateristics. James

-- james (, November 05, 1999.

In small format, FP4 (ISO 125) souped in XTOL 1:1 - 1:3 is a great general purpose combination. XTOL provides full tonal scale, finer grain with most films, higer sharpness at 1:3, 1/3 - 1/2 stop increased speed. XTOL is environmentally friendly to people and earth. I make full frame enlargements and grain is minimal. I use Rodinal and XTOL with 120 film. Film developers roughly fall in to 2 categories, solvent or non-solvent. XTOL and D-76 are solvent or physical developers with dissolve silver. Rodinal belongs in the other category and is considered a acutance developer. If you want increased sharpness Rodinal works great. Others may disagree but these two developers are a great starting point. Most of us may never need anything else.

-- (, November 06, 1999.

My old favourite: Ilford ID-11 1:1 @ 20 C. My new favourite: Kodak XTOL 1:1 @ 20 C. I use Rodinal 1:25 on Agfapan 25 and I like the results. I use XTOL on everything else.


-- Jim MacKenzie (, November 30, 1999.

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