Suggestion for beginners: start with D76, skip the monobath

Started 7 months ago | Discussions thread
Steven Seven
Steven Seven Regular Member • Posts: 362
Question from a beginner

A real beginner here. I've never heard of CineStill DF96. Honestly, the biggest mystery to me is the existence of multiple developers from a single manufacturer. I would expect them to have at most two: one liquid and one powder.

The descriptions make zero sense, take Ilford's explanations for example:

  • ID-11 - This developer gives a best overall performance for all our film products - it is economic, versatile, enables fine grain, good sharpness, good tonal rendition, and does not result in any speed loss.

Alright, looks like the best overall developer! But then we get:

  • Perceptol - This developer enables extra fine grain to be attained.

So... ID-11 which, as I just read, also enables fine grain, isn't really "best overall" then?

  • DD-X - This developer gives a best overall performance for all our film products. It enables fine grain, good speed (no loss) and has a smooth transition with tonal range from shadow detail through to bright highlight detail.

Looks like ID-11 and Perceptol do not provide a smooth transition from shadows to highlights? Why the hell did they name ID-11 as "best overall" above?

  • Ilfosol-3 - This developer enables fine grain and excellent sharpness.

What? I thought that Perceptol does that, but also DD-X and ID-11 are both "best", so which one is the "bestest"?

Basically W-T-F is going on here. Kodak's the same with their D76, HC-110, T-Max and Xtol. According to this article , Xtol is strictly superior in both grain and sharpness so why are HC-110 and D76 still in production?

I have given up and tried two developers: Xtol from Kodak and DD-X from Ilford. I don't see any difference in my negatives and I'm giving up and standardizing on DD-X. The mystery lives on.

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