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I used Microdol-X to develop black and white films, largely Tri-X with good results twenty five years ago. I have begun to develop my own films again and been using D-76 and T-Max Film 400. I am interested in black and white as a high speed film. Microdol-X I see is listed as a fine grain developer (good) but there appears to be little interest in it. What is wrong with Microdol-X as a developer to standardize on? I was not impressed with the grain in D-76 T-Max 400. A second question, what is a good developer for Ilford 3200 shot at 1600-3200 if not Microdol-X?

Appreciate any information from your experience.

-- Sharon (sas33@psu.edu), January 02, 2001


Try XTOL. XTOL 1:1 gives fines grain, XTOL 1:3 gives superb sharpness, certainly with Ilford 3200 developed for IE 1600.

-- Marc Leest (mmm@n2photography.com), January 02, 2001.

With the overwhelming use of slow zoom lenses instead of fast primes, the need for film speed has displaced Microdol-X with concoctions which give more speed. Plus-X @ EI80 and Tri-X @ EI200 developed in Microdol-X are still two made in heaven combinations for beautiful negatives which yield beautiful prints. They seem to be less sensitive to small variations in time, temperature, and agitation compared to the T-Max films and developers. I have not tried XTOL because of all the reports of ruined negatives from bad batches of Kodak's product.

-- Bill Mitchell (bmitch@home.com), January 02, 2001.

> good developer for Ilford 3200 shot at 1600-3200

Ilford Microphen (powder) Ilford DD-X (liquid concentrate) Kodak Xtol 1:1 (powder)

-- John Hicks (jbh@magicnet.net), January 02, 2001.

Microdol-X loses film speed, so it is a poor choice if you are looking for high film speed. Used straight, it takes the biggest bite out of the speed, as much as a stop or more.

This happens because Microdol-X as it dissolves some of the silver halide particles during development, it softens the edge of the grain. But it is the grains themselves that gives speed, so it's taking away speed as it takes away the hard edge of the grain pattern.

Used at 1:3, the speed loss isn't as great, because it doesn't dissolve as much grain.

For highest film speed, use a high accutance developer, like Xtol (which seems to have a real increase in speed in addition to fine grain and decent gradation), Acufine, Beutler, FX-1, FX-2, etc. These will, however, accentuate whatever grain pattern there is in the film

In short, any film/developer combination is a trade off among speed, grain size, and gradation. You can pick one, and the other two will suffer.

-- Charlie Strack (charlie_strack@sti.com), January 02, 2001.

Thanks for the information everyone. It was extremely helpful.


-- Sharon (sas33@psu.edu), January 03, 2001.

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