Developer comparisons

Light, film, exposure..
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Alastair Moore
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Developer comparisons

Postby Alastair Moore » 08 May 2013, 08:52

I shot and developed these last night, using manufacturer recommended times. Developers I used were: Kodak D-76, Ilfotec DD-X and Ultrafin Plus. The film was TMax 100 which I shot at 64 ISO and 100 ISO.

This is obviously not a scientific test but wanted to see what, if any, practical differences could be seen using different developers.

I've not really come to any conclusions yet, with the exception of DD-X looking a bit sharper than D-76 (I didn't apply any sharpening to the scans). The DD-X negatives actually looked much thinner than they scanned in - D-76 and Ultrafin Plus negatives were far more "full". That said, DD-X seems to have a better/smoother (I'm looking for the word!) range of tones than perhaps Ultrafin does (again, this definitely not scientific!) - if you look at the apple and orange in the middle of the scene, to my eyes there are mid-tones in those pieces of fruit that don't appear in the Ultrafin scans.

I'd welcome any comments or insights if you have any! Or any suggestions on how I can improve my testing! It actually did me a lot of good to do this test. I've been some bad developing negatives recently (all Fomapan 100) and I wasn't sure if it was me, the film or the developing method. I used trays to develop these tests below and I was really pleased with how the negatives look. So, I know I'm able to develop a negative fine, I need to test my BTZS tube developing method and see if that was the cause of the poor Fomapan negatives or something else. In the meantime, I'll be sticking with my tray/slosher combination for anything important.

D-76, ISO 64
Image
D-76, ISO 100
Image

DD-X, ISO 64
Image
DD-X, ISO 100
Image

Ultrafin Plus, ISO 64
Image
Ultrafin Plus, ISO 100
Image

Lachlan717
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Re: Developer comparisons

Postby Lachlan717 » 08 May 2013, 17:34

As for testing technique, there are some big holes in your process (sorry to say).

Without spending ages on this point, here are some things to consider:

*Did you scan at the same settings (i.e. the same 0-255 points for each)?
*Different films perform differently in the same soup, just as the same film performs differently in different soups. This is where film testing comes in to play. If you're lucky enough to find a film/dev combo that works first time at box speed, you're set to go. However, many people find that box speed and actual speed for a given developer differ, often in the favour of slower ISO/ASA. Dev time also comes in to play here.This could be the reason for your DD-X results having what you see as better mid tone. You might need to drop your film speed down to, say, 80 from 100 with the D76 and Tetenal*. This, of course, will only be known if you can be bothered running the tests, and, even then, you might not see a difference based on your work flow, end printing type (wet/dry) and/or densitometer testing.

But, the most important thing here is that you have developed confidence in your processing ability! Once you know that your technique is sound enough to get consistent, satisfactory results, you can move in to fine tuning.

*The (previously hidden) photos and their information just appeared. I see now that there are different ISOs in play. I think that they've all produced images that hold good detail; the 64 seem to have better tones in the dark hole in the middle of the fruit, though.

Lachlan717
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Re: Developer comparisons

Postby Lachlan717 » 08 May 2013, 17:39

After checking, any of the 64 images are fine to my eye.

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Alastair Moore
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Re: Developer comparisons

Postby Alastair Moore » 09 May 2013, 10:01

Lachlan717 wrote:As for testing technique, there are some big holes in your process (sorry to say).

Without spending ages on this point, here are some things to consider:

*Did you scan at the same settings (i.e. the same 0-255 points for each)?
*Different films perform differently in the same soup, just as the same film performs differently in different soups. This is where film testing comes in to play. If you're lucky enough to find a film/dev combo that works first time at box speed, you're set to go. However, many people find that box speed and actual speed for a given developer differ, often in the favour of slower ISO/ASA. Dev time also comes in to play here.This could be the reason for your DD-X results having what you see as better mid tone. You might need to drop your film speed down to, say, 80 from 100 with the D76 and Tetenal*. This, of course, will only be known if you can be bothered running the tests, and, even then, you might not see a difference based on your work flow, end printing type (wet/dry) and/or densitometer testing.

But, the most important thing here is that you have developed confidence in your processing ability! Once you know that your technique is sound enough to get consistent, satisfactory results, you can move in to fine tuning.

*The (previously hidden) photos and their information just appeared. I see now that there are different ISOs in play. I think that they've all produced images that hold good detail; the 64 seem to have better tones in the dark hole in the middle of the fruit, though.


Hi Lachlan,

I've no doubt there are plenty of holes in my process! It was more a curiosity than a scientific study really. I was partly expecting a much more significant difference between the different developers. What the difference I was expecting might have been, I'm not really sure!

I scanned them with the full 0-255 output settings and reduced the histogram settings so they weren't clipping (a la Ken Lee's tips on http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/scanning.php).

Anyway, it was an interesting little experiment for me - satisfied my curiosity a little and it a bit of practice which I need plenty of!

Photomark
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Re: Developer comparisons

Postby Photomark » 18 Jun 2013, 11:12

Very interesting test , maybe it is not that scientific but that's not as important as the end result anyway and this does give you a good comparison.

Was this all done with fomapan100 film ? I have never used this film but wish to due to the price I can get it for

I would also have liked to seen it souped in FX39 developer as well.

All being said non of the examples you have given look bad , just different.

I had a BTZS kit for 4x5 developing but did not like it in any way , not only that I could put a similar system together from parts from Bunnings for around 10% of the price of a BTZS set.
I am using a thing called a MOD 54 that you can get on eBay that allow you to process 6 sheets of 4x5 in a standard Patterson 3 real tank.

I know the BTZS system is popular and a lot of large format users use them but I have always found them clunky and awkward to use and very prone to uneven development and I think a single film tank is far better, just my choice

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Alastair Moore
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Re: Developer comparisons

Postby Alastair Moore » 18 Jun 2013, 11:46

Photomark wrote:Very interesting test , maybe it is not that scientific but that's not as important as the end result anyway and this does give you a good comparison.

Was this all done with fomapan100 film ? I have never used this film but wish to due to the price I can get it for

I would also have liked to seen it souped in FX39 developer as well.

All being said non of the examples you have given look bad , just different.

I had a BTZS kit for 4x5 developing but did not like it in any way , not only that I could put a similar system together from parts from Bunnings for around 10% of the price of a BTZS set.
I am using a thing called a MOD 54 that you can get on eBay that allow you to process 6 sheets of 4x5 in a standard Patterson 3 real tank.

I know the BTZS system is popular and a lot of large format users use them but I have always found them clunky and awkward to use and very prone to uneven development and I think a single film tank is far better, just my choice


There's a lot I like about the BTZS kit but I wasn't able to get consistent results from it, unfortunately. Definitely my fault rather than the kit but I'm happy and capable of getting the results I want from trays (and a slosher) so I'm sticking with that. It's simple and it works with less things to go wrong.


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