Suggestion for beginners: start with D76, skip the monobath

Started 7 months ago | Discussions thread
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Kelvin L Regular Member • Posts: 444
Suggestion for beginners: start with D76, skip the monobath

Admittedly I'm an old crusty, and I've been out of the loop with what the kids are doing these days in their darkrooms.  Since joining this film forum I've been baffled by the handful of questions that a few people are asking about monobath developers - namely CineStill DF96.

I was left wondering why these enthusiastic beginners entering the world of darkroom are starting with such a monstrous brew? Perhaps it's a combination of beginner's anxiety, fear of the unknown, whispers of a magical potion, and the echo chamber quality of the internet.

Then I googled the price of a litre of DF96. Yikes, it's six times the price of a packet of D76! (In Australia, anyway.) "Three to six minutes development" - how on earth does one prevent uneven processing?

It saves one step. Honestly, just one step. Maybe one and a half, if you're not the sort of person to tip fixer in straight after you drained the developer.

What I'd like to do is encourage anyone who is keen to try processing their first roll of black and white film:

It's not that scary. B&W processing is really hard to screw up. Don't be afraid of separate developer and fixer. It's worth doing it properly.

Just get two litre/quart bottles; fill one with Kodak D76, and the other with rapid fixer. The fixer won't go off, it has excellent shelf life. Some water rinse between both steps will help. The D76 is cheap enough to not worry about tossing out if you didn't finish it in a month's time.

Once you've processed a few rolls with D76, you'll have an excellent reference point to compare any other future variations in your processing.

Best wishes and good luck!

 Kelvin L's gear list:Kelvin L's gear list
Kodak DC215
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