General Characteristics of Developers... : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I am having a hard time finding information about developers and what they generally do with a given film. I am about to start processing my own film (TMX, HP5, Delta 3200 mainly) and want to know what various developers will do for my chosen film (i.e. grain, tonal range, sharpness, etc.). Basically, I just want a run down of the features, benefits, and etractors for each developer. Can anyone point me to such info? I am hoping this will give me a stating point from which to test for my own use.

-- Chris Gillis (, April 21, 2002


Try this book : 3D1019377049/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F0%5F1/103-7506762-7497449

-- George Papantoniou (, April 21, 2002.

In case you have a problem with the above link, it is referring to "The Film Developing Cookbook" by Anchell and Troop, Focal Press 1998. Do not be intimidated by discussion of developer formulas. The book is well worth its price for its discussion of films and commercial developers, and the characteristics of each.

-- Michael Feldman (, April 21, 2002.

-"- Ditto!

-- Doremus Scudder (, April 21, 2002.

Chris, you can download the info for Ilford film and paper developers from the Ilford website ( www. ). Look under products.

-- Eugene (, April 21, 2002.

I concur w/ the others. Spend the $27, or whatever it is, and buy "the Cookbook". It has become the Bible for developing since first published. Best overall guide I've seen. Also, film companie's claims are useless. They always say each of their "soups" are the best. They never really describe what TYPE of soup it is. And often, misuse terms like "acutance", "sharpness" , etc. In general, everything in the darkroom is a compromise. If you get one thing, - you lose another. For example, I have used Agfa Rodinal almost exclusively for the past 12 years. I came to this after trying all the other popular soups. Rodinal is a non-solvent type that gives maximum sharpness w/o increasing film speed. The price I pay is grain. However, the fastest films I use are HP5 or Tri-X. And I prefer slower ones. To me, Tmax3200 or Delta 3200 would be ugly in Rodinal. But I never shoot those films. If I did, I'd probably choose a "middle of the road" soup like Tmax Developer or D76. I'd still get fairly good sharpness, but much less noticeable grain. If I wanted no grain at all, I'd choose a soup like Microdol-X. But, I wouldn't - because I hate heavy solvent soups. They make prints look like mush. As for tonal scale and gradation,....well, it's all in what you like. My best advice is to try different chemicals till you find one you like. No matter what it is. And beware Darkroom Nazis who criticise anything different. Most of those folks are still repeating the nonsence they learned in college photo class. Regards, b30307

-- Warren Jackson (, April 21, 2002.

I concur on the Film Devloping Cookbook. It is exactly what you are looking for. After that, you can always post to the forum for more specific questions.

-- James Chinn (, April 22, 2002.

I just finished reading (and I intend to re-read) a wonderful book called "Edge of Darkness" by Barry Thornton. It is not a reference book where you can look up specific developers - I'm sure the book mentioned above will fit that purpose much better. I'm mentioning it here because, though it does have lots of information about how various developers and ingredients in developers work, it has much more. It discusses how the eye sees, how the brain interprets, what components make up the quality which we generally call "sharpness", and it draws from the author's personal history to relate all these things in a very personal way. I think it is a marvellous book. Since it does include much about the topic at hand here, I thought I would like to share it. Barry Thornton's web site address is:


-- Ollie Steiner (, April 22, 2002.

Edge of Darkness is a nice book, pleasant to read and containing much useful info and advice. The Cookbook contains much more hard data on chemicals. Thornton's book is fine, but made for a different purpose. If you like books on black and white with nice examples, I recommend it too.

-- George Papantoniou (, April 23, 2002.

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