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#1
Since I started developing film I’ve been using ilfosol 3, mainly as it’s cheap. I don’t use it a huge amount though and as the shelf life once it’s been opened isn’t amazing I was wondering if there is another developer that has a similar cost but a longer life once it’s opened. I use the 1:9 ratio and I have a 600ml tank so I get about 8 tanks of developer out of a 500ml bottle which costs about £8
 
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#2
HC-110 or Rodinal if you like grain (you could always stand develop with Rodinal though). Diafine if you want to keep it simple, but it is expensive initially. I re-used the same 1 quart kit for 5 years, I think I still have it somewhere. Now I usually just mix up a 5L batch of XTOL and develop 20 rolls over the course of a few days.
 
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Ben johns
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#3
I just looked at rodinal actually, how much grain does that give with slow film? I usually use fp4 or delta 100 at box speed but I also push hp5 to 800-3200 so I’d need another developer for that
 

robhooley167

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#4
I just looked at rodinal actually, how much grain does that give with slow film? I usually use fp4 or delta 100 at box speed but I also push hp5 to 800-3200 so I’d need another developer for that
It's not worth worrying about, until very recently I exclusively used Rodinal for all film developing from ISO1 upwards and couldnt complain at the grain. Sure it might be grainier than some other developers, but grain is always going to be there...

This was Ilford PanF in Rodinal, 6x9 negative but cropped a bit, probably scanned at 2000DPI

A Work in Progress
by Rob Hooley, on Flickr
 
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Ben johns
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#5
It's not worth worrying about, until very recently I exclusively used Rodinal for all film developing from ISO1 upwards and couldnt complain at the grain. Sure it might be grainier than some other developers, but grain is always going to be there...

This was Ilford PanF in Rodinal, 6x9 negative but cropped a bit, probably scanned at 2000DPI

A Work in Progress
by Rob Hooley, on Flickr
That looks cool, I’ll probably try some then, stand development looks interesting too.
What do you do about pushing film? For 35mm I pretty much just use hp5 from 800-3200. Isn’t ddx meant to be good for pushing film? Just not sure on how long it lasts once it’s open
 
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Ben johns
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#6
Also what effect does the different dilutions have? There’s a lot of different dilutions for the same iso, I assumed the more diluted the less grain?
 
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#7
Flickr's sharpening will probably accentuate the grain there as well so it shouldn't look so pronounced (considering it's 6x9 + Pan-F) with the real scan.

For comparison's sake, here's Ilford FP4+ in XTOL, I think I overexposed it by a third of a stop and just developed it with Kodak's recommended times. 6x6 neg scanned at 1600DPI, also when wet printing the grain is surprisingly fine under my grain focuser:

Edited:


Raw scan inverted:


100% Crop:
 
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#9
Since I started developing film I’ve been using ilfosol 3, mainly as it’s cheap. I don’t use it a huge amount though and as the shelf life once it’s been opened isn’t amazing I was wondering if there is another developer that has a similar cost but a longer life once it’s opened. I use the 1:9 ratio and I have a 600ml tank so I get about 8 tanks of developer out of a 500ml bottle which costs about £8
I've been using Ilfosol 3 since I started developing my own in 2015. I'm on my second bottle, so can't complain about the shelf life! I also use 1+9, but only 200 ml a time as I use a Rondinax tank, so 25 tankfulls...

I have heard that HC110 has a very long life, and it does appear to give very nice results. I have also heard that the modern formulations of Rodinal have much shorter life than the Agfa originals, and can go from fine to dead from one film to the next with no obvious prior indication.

I think @joxby of this parish is another who uses XTOL, but having to make up 5 litres and then use it fairly rapidly wouldn't suit me!
 
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Ben johns
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#10
I've been using Ilfosol 3 since I started developing my own in 2015. I'm on my second bottle, so can't complain about the shelf life! I also use 1+9, but only 200 ml a time as I use a Rondinax tank, so 25 tankfulls...

I have heard that HC110 has a very long life, and it does appear to give very nice results. I have also heard that the modern formulations of Rodinal have much shorter life than the Agfa originals, and can go from fine to dead from one film to the next with no obvious prior indication.

I think @joxby of this parish is another who uses XTOL, but having to make up 5 litres and then use it fairly rapidly wouldn't suit me!
Oh, I heard that ilfosol 3 goes bad after a couple of months open.
Just bought a bottle of rodinal but I’ve wanted to try stand development with hp5 at 3200 anyway so I’ll give that go. Massive dev chart only gives one time for 3200, am I right in that going from 1:25 to 1:50 just doubles the amount of time it takes for development?
 
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#11
Oh, I heard that ilfosol 3 goes bad after a couple of months open.
I add marbles every time I use it, to keep the level up to the brim and so exclude air. Seems to work fine. When it got full of marbles and started to go lower, I think I did decide to replace the first bottle.
 
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#12
Just bought a bottle of rodinal but I’ve wanted to try stand development with hp5 at 3200 anyway so I’ll give that go. Massive dev chart only gives one time for 3200, am I right in that going from 1:25 to 1:50 just doubles the amount of time it takes for development?
No, not neccesarily. In any case the times given on the massive dev chart are for 'regular' development. As I understand it for stand development, regardless of the EI you've used, you just leave the film in the dev for an hour or two with gentle agitation at the start and then about every half an hour.
 

sirch

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#13
Personally I mainly use HC 110, the results seem good .I just mix it up as I need from concentrate, 9ml (IIRC) concentrate for 300ml solution. I use a syringe to measure it out and then ditch the solution once used for a couple of films. As Chris said above I add marbles to the bottle to keep the air out.
 
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Ben johns
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#14
Personally I mainly use HC 110, the results seem good .I just mix it up as I need from concentrate, 9ml (IIRC) concentrate for 300ml solution. I use a syringe to measure it out and then ditch the solution once used for a couple of films. As Chris said above I add marbles to the bottle to keep the air out.
Wish you could buy small amounts of different developers to try out. £35 for hc110 is a bit of a punt
 

sirch

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#16
Wish you could buy small amounts of different developers to try out. £35 for hc110 is a bit of a punt
It is a bit steep but I don't think you can go far wrong and it reputedly keeps for years. Not sure where you are in the country but I'd give you a sample of mine if you are anywhere near South Lakes.

Ilford Delta 400, 120 roll film in HC 100
Fake-Up
by Chris H, on Flickr

Agfa APX 100, 35mm in HC 110
Smallwood Vintage Rally
by Chris H, on Flickr
 
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Ben johns
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#17
It is a bit steep but I don't think you can go far wrong and it reputedly keeps for years. Not sure where you are in the country but I'd give you a sample of mine if you are anywhere near South Lakes.

Ilford Delta 400, 120 roll film in HC 100
Fake-Up
by Chris H, on Flickr

Agfa APX 100, 35mm in HC 110
Smallwood Vintage Rally
by Chris H, on Flickr
I’m from Essex. The one in delta does look good actually, might be worth having a go
 
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#18
Personally I mainly use HC 110, the results seem good .I just mix it up as I need from concentrate, 9ml (IIRC) concentrate for 300ml solution. I use a syringe to measure it out and then ditch the solution once used for a couple of films. As Chris said above I add marbles to the bottle to keep the air out.
I was reading about HC 110 last night, the spec sheet said it was very viscous and they said to rinse a measuring cylinder out with water that then goes into the mix, in order to use the remnants. How does that work with a syringe?
 
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#19
Both HC110 and Rodinal are very long lasting in my experience - they need to be since you only need a very small amount for each film. I've had a bottle of HC110 since about 2003 and a bottle of Rodinal that's only slightly newer. Both were fine when I last dev'ed some B&W film at the end of last year.

HC110 is a jack of all trades developer and because of its shelf life, particularly good if you only develop film occasionally. £35 is a bit steep, but if you use dilution B (1:31) you'll get around 52 600ml tanks out of a litre bottle, so that works out about 2/3 of what it costs you with the Ilfosol-3. If you switch to dilution H (1:63) it becomes even more economical, and you don't have such short development times.

Also, you can pick up Ilfotec HC, which is Ilford's version of HC110, for around £28 a litre. I've not used it myself though so I'm not sure if it has the same longevity as HC110.
 
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#20
I was reading about HC 110 last night, the spec sheet said it was very viscous and they said to rinse a measuring cylinder out with water that then goes into the mix, in order to use the remnants. How does that work with a syringe?
I've never bothered with that - just syringed the appropriate amount of concentrate into the water and mixed it all up. I've never had any particular problems doing it this way.
 
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Ben johns
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#21
Both HC110 and Rodinal are very long lasting in my experience - they need to be since you only need a very small amount for each film. I've had a bottle of HC110 since about 2003 and a bottle of Rodinal that's only slightly newer. Both were fine when I last dev'ed some B&W film at the end of last year.

HC110 is a jack of all trades developer and because of its shelf life, particularly good if you only develop film occasionally. £35 is a bit steep, but if you use dilution B (1:31) you'll get around 52 600ml tanks out of a litre bottle, so that works out about 2/3 of what it costs you with the Ilfosol-3. If you switch to dilution H (1:63) it becomes even more economical, and you don't have such short development times.

Also, you can pick up Ilfotec HC, which is Ilford's version of HC110, for around £28 a litre. I've not used it myself though so I'm not sure if it has the same longevity as HC110.
I did wonder what ilfords hc was actually.
Do you have any experience pushing film with it? Although I do it less often nearly all my 35mm is pushed hp5, ideally I’d like a developer that both well, or 2 long lasting economical developers
 
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#22
I just sook some water into the syringe and squirt it into the dev beaker a few times. Then top up to the required volume.
 
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#23
Have you considered Microphen for push processing?

I have just about finished my first batch - I made it up as the stock solution (1 litre) and re-used it 10 times (adding 10% development time each time it is re-used), I have been using the same bottle since February, just kept in a 1L drinks bottle, no marbles - no obvious issues up to now. It does go a little black over time, but if poured carefully, the sediment can be left behind. I don't have any examples to hand as I am at work, but can add a couple when I get home

I'm probably going to try HC-110 or Rodinal next, more out of curiosity than anything.
 
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Ben johns
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#24
With hc110 and ilfotec hc do you just mix it up straight from the bottle or dilute it twice? I read something about making a stock solution then diluting it further from that?

I should add I like as little grain as possible with slower speed film as I use it only in medium format for landscapes. I don’t mind it in 35mm as long as it’s not crazy
 
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#25
I did wonder what ilfords hc was actually.
Do you have any experience pushing film with it? Although I do it less often nearly all my 35mm is pushed hp5, ideally I’d like a developer that both well, or 2 long lasting economical developers
I haven't used HC110 for more than a one stop push (Tri-x @ EI800) which was fine. As a general purpose developer, it will give reasonable results when pushing film, but something speed increasing like MIcrophen or DDX would probably be better.

With hc110 and ilfotec hc do you just mix it up straight from the bottle or dilute it twice? I read something about making a stock solution then diluting it further from that?

I should add I like as little grain as possible with slower speed film as I use it only in medium format for landscapes. I don’t mind it in 35mm as long as it’s not crazy
I've always used HC110 as a one shot developer mixed directly from the bottle. Making up a stock solution seems like an extra hassle.
 

sirch

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#26
I was reading about HC 110 last night, the spec sheet said it was very viscous and they said to rinse a measuring cylinder out with water that then goes into the mix, in order to use the remnants. How does that work with a syringe?
I just sook some water into the syringe and squirt it into the dev beaker a few times. Then top up to the required volume.
^^^ This (suck?). For 300ml of solution you only need 9ml of concentrate so a measuring cylinder isn't really an option.

With hc110 and ilfotec hc do you just mix it up straight from the bottle or dilute it twice? I read something about making a stock solution then diluting it further from that?
I've always used HC110 as a one shot developer mixed directly from the bottle. Making up a stock solution seems like an extra hassle.
Again ^^^ this. I guess if you are resuing it lots and loosing a little each time it is easier to mix a small top-up from stock solution rather than concentrate but at 35p to 50p per session and not running a commericial operation it doesn't seem worth the effort.
 
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Ben johns
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#27
^^^ This (suck?). For 300ml of solution you only need 9ml of concentrate so a measuring cylinder isn't really an option.



Again ^^^ this. I guess if you are resuing it lots and loosing a little each time it is easier to mix a small top-up from stock solution rather than concentrate but at 35p to 50p per session and not running a commericial operation it doesn't seem worth the effort.
That’s what I thought. I watched a guy develop hp5 with hc at 1:31 and he took it straight from the bottle, just went against what Ilford said. Maybe because it’s easier to mix up a stock then dilute it to get accurate measurements? I use a syringe already for some stuff
 

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#28
I've switched to using replenished Xtol. It's simple, requires little time or effort to get a developing session started, and should work out quite cheap in the long run. I pour 500ml of developer into a cylinder, measure the temperature and alter the dev time based on the Ilford developer compensation chart: https://www.ilfordphoto.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Temperature-compensation-chart.pdf

I originally mixed 5l of stock, and put 2l of working solution into a large fizzy drink PET bottle (keeps the oxygen out and it's easy to squeeze). The rest of the Xtol is the stock, used to top up the working developer at a rate of 70ml per film. I split this into six 500ml PET bottles.

It's enough developer for almost 50 films, so it costs around 30p each. The cost should drop again if I keep the working solution long term.

Most importantly, the results have been excellent with the T-max and Delta I've developed with it so far.
 
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#29
I can only assume that the 5L thing puts people off, I dunno.
Like you assume you're not going to use it, or by the time you get round to using it its gone off.
But 5L is 20 tanks if you use 120, so only 20 rolls of film, ok it'd be 40 rolls of 35mm which even I'd find difficult to shoot, but then I'm not a 35 shooter really.
If I shoot 20 120 rolls a year, I shoot miles more than that but if I did, I would have no problem cracking open stock bottles 6 or 12 months after they were mixed.
Its all about how you keep it.
I've got 7 250ml bottles of stock left from my last mix, they must be 8 months old, I won't even clip test, they'll be fine and there's no faffing about with pipets, syringes and 5ml graduates, its all man size quantity's..:)
 
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#30
Kodak D-76 bought as packs of powder seem to last well beyond their use by dates with no issues. A mixed batch seems to keep ok for a year or so too. Ilford ID11 is extremely similar.

This is HP5 shot as 400 developed in a 1+1 mix of D-76. (neg is 645)


Delta 400 as above


TriX 400 as above but a 6x7 neg.
 
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#31
Has anyone tried Fomadon Excel? Supposedly very similar to XTOL, but available in a pack to make 1 litre. XTOL is a bit cheaper per litre, but only if you can use most of a 5 litre batch before it goes off.
 
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#32
I was reading about HC 110 last night, the spec sheet said it was very viscous and they said to rinse a measuring cylinder out with water that then goes into the mix, in order to use the remnants. How does that work with a syringe?
When you first mix the HC110 and the water, make up a little less than the required amount. Then, draw up some more water into the syringe and add that to the mixed solution. Repeat as often as necessary, until there is no more HC1110 sticking to the side of the syringe.

I am firmly of the view that developer choice makes very little difference to image quality, but just to join in the image sharing fun, here's a 4*5 Fomapan 100 developed in HC110 Dilution B:


Cecil and friends
by Kevin Allan, on Flickr

I think that the only combination of film and developer I've used where the choice visibly affected the outcome was some 35mm Tri-X developed in Rodinal 1+25, on a misty day on Harris: a bit grainy for my taste but some people like that.

2012-5, Pentax MX, Tri-X, Hebrides, Rodinal 1+25 7 mins, 002.jpg
 
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Ben johns
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#33
just scanned a test roll of 35mm fp4 that i developed as semi stand in rodinal, 1:100 for an hour 2 inversions at 30min. came out really well, couldnt really see a difference between the stand and normal development that i did in ilfosol 3, maybe a little more grain but not much. got a roll in 120 that im waiting to use when my rb67 turns up so ill be testing the semi stand on that, might be the new way i process my film, used basically no developer :)
doesnt seem quite as sharp though, but then again i used a 28mm lens so you have to zoom in a lot to really see whats in the photo
 
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