What Chemicals to use?

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Im soon to finaly start my new adventure into B&W Darkroom. I normally shoot Kodak Tx 400. Is this a good film to start with and if so what chemicals should I use? If I shoot Kodak Film should I stay with Kodak Chemicals? What would you recomend for a beginer for Chemicals and Paper( I prefere Matt, is there a difrence in what you do that differs from glossy?) Thanks

-- Mark (mark4583@aol.com), November 24, 2001


Sure is Kodak Tx400 a good film to start with. Use it with XTOL 1:1 and experiment. Sooner or later you will give your photography a personal touch (when you have mastered the basics) and you start out new film/developer/print combinations. The combination e.g. I use the most is Ilford Delta 100, developed in Kodak XTOL 1:1 or 1:2, printed on Forte Polywarmtone Plus FB PW-15, with Agfa Neutol WA. Just a matter of taste. The main difference between glossy and matte that matte has a lower Dmax (maximum black). A nice, easy paper to start with is Ilford Multigrade IV RC, pearl matte, or for fiber based papers Agfa Multicontrast 118.

-- Marc Leest (mmm@n2photography.com), November 24, 2001.

I agree with Marc, Xtol is a good dveloper to begin with. It mixes at room teperature and for me delivers consistent results. Use distilled water for the stock and dilutions. No need to stay with Kodak chemistry. To keep things simple, i would use the Ilford universal Rapid Fixer. it comes as a liquid that is diluted for either film or paper. No mixing required.

For paper chemistry you can use either Ilford liquid developer (agian avoiding the need to mix a powder) or Dektol. Personally I still use dektol and a home brew selectol-soft.

For paper I think you best choice is the Ilford MG IV RC. It is relatively inexpensive, processes easily and will allow you to get good consistent results while learning your way around the darkroom. I think the best way to learn is to stay with one paper and set of chemistry untill you have the technical aspects of printing down. Then begin to experiment. I would also buy a couple of books as references for the darkroom, "The Darkroom Cookbook" by Steve Anchell and he also has an excellent book on printing with variable contrast paper, but I don't remember the exact title.

-- James Chinn (jchinn2@dellepro.com), November 26, 2001.

TriX (TX 400) is a great film to start with. I am using the SPRINT line of chemistry which mimicks D76/ID11. All of them are liquids that are mixed at room temperature. Very easy to work with. I'm still a beginner at this, only been working with B&W for about a year now.

-- Johnny Motown (johnny.motown+bwworld@att.net), November 26, 2001.

Tri-X is a nice film, but I find it quite fussy WRT to handle. Any little slip and the contrast goes crazy. I find Ilford HP5+ much more forgiving, easier to handle, and produces lovely prints even from badly processed negs. About chemistry, I'd recommend sticking to good old D76 or Ilford ID-11. These are the standard developers EVERY b&w film is tested with, and you can't go very wrong with these. Personally I prefer HC-110, though, since it's liquid and can be diluted to working strength solution very easily.

-- Vincent. (nospam@hotmail.com), November 28, 2001.

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