Categorising Developers : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

In many previous threads, it has emerged that different developers optimise on different characteristics, or perhaps try to obtain a reasonable compromise between different characteristics. For example, I believe that Ilfotec-DDX is primarily a speed enhacing developer (which is presumably associated with some loss of other qualities - such as fine grain, tonal range, or acutance?). I also believe that ID-11 (or D76) aims to balance different characteristics.

Does anyone know of somewhere (book or website) where developer characteristics can be found? For example, what type of characteristics do the following developers optimise on: Ilfotec-HC, Tmax Developer, Xtol, Ilfosol-S, Rodinal? And what is the cost (in other words, how much is lost in other characteristics in order to be good at what they concentrate on)?

Piecemeal information, or a site where such information can be found, would be very welcome! Many thanks in advance...

-- Ed Hurst (, January 19, 2002


A link on the Net

A recent book about developers:

The Film Developing Cookbook, by Stephen G. Anchell, Bill Troop

-- Marc Leest (, January 19, 2002.

I second The Film Developing Cookbook. It's a wonderful resource for developer information.

-- Ted Kaufman (, January 19, 2002.

Many thanks for the help so far. I have had a quick look at the website, and will get hold of the book.

It seems that in order to use these resources, in most cases, I will have to base my conclusions on understanding the active ingredients of branded developers, and establishing the properties of these ingredients.

Is there anywhere that describes the properties of the branded developers directly? If not, perhaps we could discuss them here?

-- Ed Hurst (, January 20, 2002.

The Film Developing Cookbook, by Stephen G. Anchell, Bill Troop discusses brands and the formulas that are used. Believe me, you will not be disappointed if you read this book.

-- Michael Feldman (, January 20, 2002.

I agree that the "Film Developing Cookbook" is a must-have, but it's impossible to find something dealing with the most important element in B&W: tonality. All the literature dealing with developers are restricted to graininess and speed but nothing about tonality and the effect of different developers on film curve.

-- Xosni (, January 20, 2002.

I don't think that ddx is "primarily a speed enhancing developer"... the msds says it contains 30 - 60% potassium sulfite, which seems to have similar properties to sodium sulfite, with which i am more familiar... such a large amount of reducer would indicate that the chief aim of ddx is reduced grain, which would be necessary with fast (or pushed) films...

as for resources, get a copy of henry hornstein's _beyond_basic_photography_ ... he gives you all the chemical info you could want, and then compare what you get from that to any MSDS, and you get a pretty good idea of how a chemical works

-- colin lieberman (, March 03, 2002.

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