Help me out. What's your recommendation? : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I have a Jobo processor and expose ONLY 35mm HP5+ film. I wish to pick ONE developer and learn all that I can about it while producing excellent quality negs, and while not new to photography, relatively new to B&W film processing. Questions (all for 35 mm film): 1. If 2-bath developers are so great, why don't more people use them? I've used them and they appear OK. Easy, quick, foolproof. 2. Pyro + for Jobo. Worthwile? Is the trouble worth the time? 3. D-76H ( I've got the scales, the chemistry, and the desire to mix my own. Is this the one to learn?

I've also tried XTOL, where it was OK, the dreaded failure has forced me to shy away from this product, also, I've heard that Kodak is no longer producing the 1 litre packs.

One last comment. I don't have a wet darkroom, but rather a DIGITAL darkroom and use Piezography BW for printing. Just thought this might make a differance in your recommendations.

thanks to all who have devoted their time and knowledge. Don

-- Don M (, November 12, 2001


People have been using D76, HC110, Ilford universal, Rodinal, and a wide variety if developers for ages. Pick any 1 and then go for it. Rotory isn't good with pmk pyro so stay away from that with rotory. There are pyros out there that work with rotory but there's not that wuch difference in the quality so sdtick with standard developers. And take 30% off your time with rotory. And overexpose it 20%. Lovely densities. James

-- james (, November 12, 2001.

Go to There is an article by Patrick Gainer describing how to make your own vitamin C developers similar to XTOL. I have experimented with the original and improved versions A &B. Results very similar to XTOL although I have not looked at the densities of the negs via densitometer. As far as XTOL, I have used it with 35mm for almost 2 years and never had a failure. I got the bug to mix my own chemistry about 6 months ago and have found it a most rewarding endeavor. Good luck, Jim

-- James Chinn (, November 12, 2001.

I've been very pleased with Divided D76H. I've only used it with HP5 in 120 size (great negatives) but I think it'll be nice in 35mm as well. If you want low to moderate contrast film this is a good answer. The negatives scan quite well. For very narrow range scenes other developers may be better. (I use Xtol)

I mix it by table spoon measure. For one liter or quart of each: Start with 120 degree F distilled water, part A is 1 tsp of Metol, 6 of Sodium Sulfite, part B is 6 tsp Sodium Sulfite, 1.25 tsp Borax. 5-7 minutes in each bath, no stop in between. I doubt that I would ever use my Jobo for this - but you could. Its just so easy to do it by hand. By the time I set up my Jobo I can have hand processed film in the washer.

OTOH, Xtol works very well and a 5 liter package is cheap. Buy a set of brown glass pint bottles, mix your chemistry with distilled water and fill them to the top. If you use it 1:3 all the time you might even store it in smaller bottles - like 125ml - and its already premeasured for 500ml of working solution. My last batch of Xtol is 5 months old and still fine.I'm down to the last bottle now. I think the key is proper storage. Small bottles keep better because of less exposure to air. Glass is better than plastic for the same reason.

If you like Xtol, don't worry about throwing it away if you think its too old. A 5 liter pack is so cheap that you could use it for 1-2 months, toss it and start over with a new batch. I don't like to waste anything but when I look at the cost of a 5 liter bag of Xtol spread over a short period of photography its just not very expensive. If you only processed 10 rolls of film it cost about a $.70 a roll!

-- Henry Ambrose (, November 17, 2001.

I use Diafine as my primary developer, except for 120 Tech Pan. With Diafine, the use of a rotary processer is unnecessary since precise agitation, temperature and time control is not needed. As you mention, 2 bath developers are very easy and fool proof to use. I never have a development failure any more, all I have to do is to be sure I get the exposure right. The results are quite beautiful.

-- Gene Crumpler (, November 19, 2001.

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