Best film/developer combo for crisp mid-tone separation? : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

Although we all want great separation in all zones (as well as great sharpness and limited grain - we want it all), I am much more interested in getting a high degree of crisp separation in the mid-tones than in highlight details. In fact, shadow detail is more important to me than highlight detail. I shoot medium format, and would prefer to be in the moderate film speed area - 100-200 ASA - to keep grain at under some control. Recommendations/favorites?

-- Ben Crabtree (, March 10, 2002


Plus-X in D-76 1+1 at 20C. APX100 and FP4+ aren't bad at all either, but I like the midtone of PX the best.

TMX when used appropriately gives you very good midtone and nice clear highlights.

-- Ryuji Suzuki (, March 10, 2002.

Try Fuji acros in phenidone-catechol developer with a little Glycine. You will be amazed at the results. For more info look and check the phenidone HD formula, or Pat Gainerīs Vitamin C developer, I think you will be pleasently surprised.

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (, March 10, 2002.

getting good separation in mid-tones and full shadow detail is more a function of where you place these values when you take the picture than what developer you use. changes in developers will be quite subtle compared to proper placement of your tones.

-- r (, March 10, 2002.

By no means an expert opinion, but I'd say be sure to keep off the toe of the film. If you want separation, it won't happen down there. Most Zone System film speed tests result in an EI of about half the manufacturers recomendation because serious b&w shooters want higher quality in the shadow areas. Use clean lenses and a lens shade because flare will wreck separation. Be sure the camera is properly blackened. I agree with Ricardo that development is a minimal factor, but also think glycin developers are really great. My tonal quality has never been better since mixing my own glycin soups. Just a theory, but I think the brain reacts to overall print appearance, and changes in the highlights or shadows will change your evaluation of the midtones. Or any other combination. I say this because dodging and burning part of a print will completely change your perception of the areas that received no treatment. Thus, you probably have to consider the full range of the print to enhance the part you want.

-- Conrad Hoffman (, March 10, 2002.

Also, papers distribute their contrast differently. You might want to get a step tablet and try a few different papers. See Ctein's Post Exposure for more info on this.

-- Conrad Hoffman (, March 10, 2002.

I agree with Ryuji about PX and D76 but I would use the Divided version of D76 and with your prints, Ethol LPD. Very nice tones and seperations when used in combination.

-- Scott Walton (, March 11, 2002.

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