higher acutance variant of divided d- 76 ?

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I was wondering which variant of divided d-76 produces the best overall acutance/ grain balance with tri-x ? Perhaps with a similar look to d-76 1:1. I do love the results with the standard formula but sometimes it doesnt seem quite as sharp as i would like. If i were to reduce the amount of sulfite in bath a would this help me ? I have found a variant credited to Faber? at


In bath-A the metol is reduced from 4 down to 2 grams, the sodium sulfite from 100 down to 50 grams, hydroquinone is reduced from 7.5 grams down to 5 grams and potassium bromide is increased from .3 grams up to 1 gram. Bath b is unchanged with 60 grams of borax p/litre of water.

Would one expect such alterations to improve the overall definition of the image?

thanks in advance,

matt stanton

-- matthew stanton (stantos75 @hotmail.com), May 23, 2002


Simple answer: I don't think so.

Try HP5+ which has higher accutance (in my opinion). Delta 400 is also very good.

One simple way to increase accutance is to overdevelop a bit. Try carefully overdevelop to print well on 1/2 to 1 grade softer paper, in things like Perceptol 1+1 or 1+3. D-76 without hydroquinone is pretty good too. If you want to squeeze a bit more sharpness, try ascorbate version of D-76d, which I put up the formula on this site a while ago. D-23 is all right, but then why not one modification to Perceptol or D-76H?

-- Ryuji Suzuki (rsuzuki@rs.cncdsl.com), May 24, 2002.

The D-76 is divided, the proportions of all the ingredients are changed, and it's still called D-76.
Hmmm! Let me think about that.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), May 24, 2002.

If you want higher acutance with Tri-x (or HP5+, Delta 400, TMY or Fuji Neopan 400, all of which are sharper and finer grained than Tri- x) use PMK or Pyrocat-HD. You'll get less prominent grain, much better acutance and more pleasing tonality.

Of course these developers are not designed for divided use. I don't think I'd try this with PMK, but you probably could figure out a way to get good results dividing Pyrocat-HD. Since it's already divided, you could try mixing A and B parts separately at 2X strength, using each bath for 3-5 minutes. That should put you in the ballpark.

-- Ted Kaufman (writercrmp@aol.com), May 24, 2002.

Diafine will give you more of a punch also. I rate my TXP (4x5) at 400 and it sparkles!

-- Scott Walton (walton@ll.mit.edu), May 24, 2002.

Pete, maybe we should reserve the name D-76 as published by EKC and should use different name for all its modification including no hydroquinone version because omitting hydroquinone is very against the design concept of D-76.

By the way, D-96A mentioned in Troop's book sounds pretty good, but I cannot find it published in EKC literature... maybe I'm not looking at the right place. I know the HQ version, original D-96 is published everywhere...

Ted, I think divided formula has to pay attention to let the negative swell and absorb enough chemical in bath A by adjusting the pH just about neutral or slightly higher. In split stock practive, bath A is usually maintained as acidic as possible. Gelatin swelling is minimised around pH of 5, and gradually increases to moderate pH range (comparable to D-76 or 9) and more sharply increases above that or below 5, in typical plots I've seen. (I've never measured myself)

-- Ryuji Suzuki (rsuzuki@rs.cncdsl.com), May 24, 2002.

I'm with Scott. Have been using Diafine/Tri-x @800. Negs in 35mm and 120 are very, very sharp, excellent contrast, and really decent grain. An ei of 1200 would probably be a little better with this film as sometimes I find it necessary to print with a grade 1 filter. Definitely worth a try if you haven't used it already.


-- jim meisenbach (pacifica011@insightbb.com), May 24, 2002.

Thanks for your responses,

The reason i was interested in making a slight modification to divided d-76 is because i love the way it naturally compensates high-contrast scenes by nursing up shadow detail and holding back highlights beautifully. for normal contrast scenes. For normal contrast subjects Iam quite happy using tri-x pan 120 at 200 asa in d-76 1:1 it just has a nice look especially for skin tones which hp5 although a sharper looking film doesnt quite seem to match.

I have tried many developer and film combinations including pmk with hp5 plus and dp 400 and appreciate their respective qualities but have found that the way divided d-76 separates shadow detail in high contrast scenes to be quite remarkable, and much more pleasing than compensating by pulling the film via increased dilution or reduced time, which seems to flatten out the shadow and mid tones a bit more.

So basically what i wanted to do was have 2 backs for my blad normal development would be standard d 76 1: 1 the other back would be for high contrast scenes and souped in divided d-76 for the aforementioned reasons. I just thought there might be a simple way of modifying the conventional divided d- 76 formula to give the negs a little more sharpness much in the way diluting regular d-76 does. Diafine sounds close to what i am after however in australia it is impossible to find ! BTW in divided d-76 i usually rate tri-x at 200 also. I just prefer the extra shadow detail. I was hoping somebody might have had direct experience with the variations of this developer and the differences these variations make to the final image quality. I have tried divided d23 and it seems to be very mushy grained. any further ideas?


matt stanton

-- matthew stanton (stantos75@hotmail.com), May 25, 2002.

You might try Vestal's variant and simply split the sulfite between the two solutions; 50g in A and 50g in B.

-- John Hicks (jhicks31@bellsouth.net), May 26, 2002.

John may be on to something. I've found Vestal's Divided D76 (or similar) to be sharper than Divided D23. I've used the version without any hydroquinone as listed in either Darkroom Cookbook or the Film Developing Cookbook (I forget which one) Its a very good developer for all around use.

Another thought is to use your regular D76 formula with an afterbath of borax or sodium metaborate. Run the film for perhaps 70-80% of its normal time then move it into the afterbath and let it sit for a few minutes. This might give you gentler highlights and still good shadows. I've used this quite a bit with several developers and it does help but its pretty subtle (and I found generally not worth the trouble).

-- Henry Ambrose (henry@henryambrose.com), May 26, 2002.

Diafine also, here. Superb at IE 1600. Unbelievable, but true.

-- Stephane Bosman (stephane_bosman@yahoo.co.uk), June 02, 2002.

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