Suggestion for beginners: start with D76, skip the monobath

Started 9 months ago | Discussions
EmmaNems Regular Member • Posts: 277
Re: Here's why
1

Kelvin L wrote:

"They were very challenging to print using my condenser enlarger, and are still difficult to scan. The highlights just get really dense due to the linear response - it’s almost like slide film when overexposed. Printing with grade 0 or 1 paper to try and preserve highlight detail led to very flat mid tones."

The reason everything is challenging to print with a condenser enlarger is that the light is collimated. The light does not penetrate all negative densities proportionally. The more dense a portion of the negative is, the more light is scattered and the more blocked highlights will be in the print. Such doesn't happen at lower densities. So it is impossible to print a negative true to its range. It's the Callier Effect. Interestingly, it doesn't happen with chromogenic films like Ilford XP2, because there is no silver left in the developed film to scatter light, just dye.

I can't guarantee it's the same thing in scanning, but my experience points that way. If I'm shooting black and white film to be scanned, I shoot XP2. It scans better without the exaggeration of the negative densities through scattered light.

Tomm111 Contributing Member • Posts: 863
Re: Suggestion for beginners: start with D76, skip the monobath

Steven Seven wrote:

D76 or ID11 are probably best for beginners

Why? What is so special about them to be "best for beginners". Why not Xtol or DD-X or HC-110?

OK if you are using Tri-X or HP5 you can't really go wrong with D-76 or ID 11. BUT I feel it is better to go with a liquid developer and not to have to mix anything, I stopped using D76 ID11 years ago when Sprint came out with their developer, I knew the owner worked with him for a while and did testing for him, it was as close to D76 1:1 as you could get. When TMax films came out they didn't work well with Sprint so I switched to TMax developer, sounded right and I have goten good results. Anyway I would now start with HC110 or TMax developer, no mixing to scew up, yes folks do, much simpler to work with but yes more expensive. TMax costs me $1.80 per 500cc tank at 1:4 dilution, but with slower films 1:9 works best so less expensive.

I worry about XTol due to needing distilled water to mix, haven't used Ilford developers as they weren't that available when I started photography. Photographers are so locked in their ways.

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EmmaNems Regular Member • Posts: 277
Re: Suggestion for beginners: start with D76, skip the monobath

LinusZ wrote:

Ok, I actually just created an account to reply to this.

Ive been shooting film for about a year and recently started developing bw myself. My first choice was ID-11 but after hearing about the cinestill monobath I decided it was a better fit for me. Let me give you some reasons why.

  • Push/pull is entirely based on the temperature, not on the developing time. It’s a self completing process and longer development times just lead to longer fixing. It’s impossible to overcook your film, which i really appreciated, especially during the first few rolls where you’re not familiar with the process yet. Every roll came out perfect so far, even when I made tiny technical mistakes the chemical seemed to be very forgiving.
  • The quality is great, I’ve developed Hp5 at 400, 800 and 1600 and the results are perfect in my opinion (After 5 rolls Now I’ve never had any problems with uneven development btw)
  • may be different for you, but for me the price would have been almost the same if I built a chemical kit around ID-11
  • its reusable so I don’t have to worry about where to dispose the used chemicals
  • And of course it’s simply faster, which is an added bonus

That being said, I will probably try ID-11 or D76 next as I’m familiar with the process now, but I still don’t regret buying the Cinestill product because it made the first attempts more comfortable for me.

I just don’t like people throwing shade on a product they haven’t even properly read the descriptions of, let alone tried it themselves. I did a lot of researching before buying Df96 and came across so many people that just didn’t trust the convenience of it and assumed it too good to be true without even knowing the characteristics of it.
In the end everyone can decide for himself what he wants to use, but one sided posts like these don’t really help beginners to make a decision IMO.

just my two cents on this topic, I’m looking forward to other replies!

I have a question, as I have never used the product. You say it can be reused. How many times? Does it never deplete? That would be truly amazing.

Of course, if it does eventually deplete, then it was weakening all the time it was being used prior to full depletion. That would mean inconsistent results the whole way.

I have one more question: In regard to your first bullet point, why would an extended development time require extended fixing time? Isn't fixing the act of removing the silver halide that hasn't been chemically reduced to silver metal? If, as you say, an extended development time doesn't reduce more halide, shouldn't fixing time be the same?

Bob 1
Bob 1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,633
Re: Suggestion for beginners: start with D76, skip the monobath

EmmaNems wrote:

LinusZ wrote:

Ok, I actually just created an account to reply to this.

Ive been shooting film for about a year and recently started developing bw myself. My first choice was ID-11 but after hearing about the cinestill monobath I decided it was a better fit for me. Let me give you some reasons why.

  • Push/pull is entirely based on the temperature, not on the developing time. It’s a self completing process and longer development times just lead to longer fixing. It’s impossible to overcook your film, which i really appreciated, especially during the first few rolls where you’re not familiar with the process yet. Every roll came out perfect so far, even when I made tiny technical mistakes the chemical seemed to be very forgiving.
  • The quality is great, I’ve developed Hp5 at 400, 800 and 1600 and the results are perfect in my opinion (After 5 rolls Now I’ve never had any problems with uneven development btw)
  • may be different for you, but for me the price would have been almost the same if I built a chemical kit around ID-11
  • its reusable so I don’t have to worry about where to dispose the used chemicals
  • And of course it’s simply faster, which is an added bonus

That being said, I will probably try ID-11 or D76 next as I’m familiar with the process now, but I still don’t regret buying the Cinestill product because it made the first attempts more comfortable for me.

I just don’t like people throwing shade on a product they haven’t even properly read the descriptions of, let alone tried it themselves. I did a lot of researching before buying Df96 and came across so many people that just didn’t trust the convenience of it and assumed it too good to be true without even knowing the characteristics of it.
In the end everyone can decide for himself what he wants to use, but one sided posts like these don’t really help beginners to make a decision IMO.

just my two cents on this topic, I’m looking forward to other replies!

I have a question, as I have never used the product. You say it can be reused. How many times? Does it never deplete? That would be truly amazing.

Of course, if it does eventually deplete, then it was weakening all the time it was being used prior to full depletion. That would mean inconsistent results the whole way.

I have one more question: In regard to your first bullet point, why would an extended development time require extended fixing time? Isn't fixing the act of removing the silver halide that hasn't been chemically reduced to silver metal? If, as you say, an extended development time doesn't reduce more halide, shouldn't fixing time be the same?

I believe this may answer most, if not all, of your questions concerning Cinestill...

https://cinestillfilm.com/products/df96-developer-fix-b-w-monobath-single-step-solution-for-processing-at-home?variant=16000208044066

HAGD and Stay Safe!

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peripheralfocus Veteran Member • Posts: 4,558
agreed, differences are often small

Ranger 9 wrote:

When it comes to developer selection, the brutally honest truth is that you need to be a long, long way down the film-photography rabbit hole before choosing one developer over another makes that much difference.

Completely agree. The differences between general purpose developers with most films are very small compared to many of the other variables in the photography process. You have to be doing very finely calibrated work for it to matter, IMHO.

The art and craft of photography has always included a culture of intensely meticulous technical analysis -- what, in digital, we often call "pixel peeping". There's nothing wrong with that, and for some photographers it can be an important part of achieving what they are trying to accomplish. For many others, it's just part of the fun. Again, that's perfectly okay. If it makes you happy and doesn't scare the horses, it's all good.

But IMO, that technical culture has always had an oversized influence on the conversation among photography enthusiasts. It's easy to get caught up in worrying about these things when, in fact, they don't matter very much at all to one's own actual pictures. I've certainly been there.

EmmaNems Regular Member • Posts: 277
no, it did not

Bob 1 wrote:

EmmaNems wrote:

LinusZ wrote:

Ok, I actually just created an account to reply to this.

Ive been shooting film for about a year and recently started developing bw myself. My first choice was ID-11 but after hearing about the cinestill monobath I decided it was a better fit for me. Let me give you some reasons why.

  • Push/pull is entirely based on the temperature, not on the developing time. It’s a self completing process and longer development times just lead to longer fixing. It’s impossible to overcook your film, which i really appreciated, especially during the first few rolls where you’re not familiar with the process yet. Every roll came out perfect so far, even when I made tiny technical mistakes the chemical seemed to be very forgiving.
  • The quality is great, I’ve developed Hp5 at 400, 800 and 1600 and the results are perfect in my opinion (After 5 rolls Now I’ve never had any problems with uneven development btw)
  • may be different for you, but for me the price would have been almost the same if I built a chemical kit around ID-11
  • its reusable so I don’t have to worry about where to dispose the used chemicals
  • And of course it’s simply faster, which is an added bonus

That being said, I will probably try ID-11 or D76 next as I’m familiar with the process now, but I still don’t regret buying the Cinestill product because it made the first attempts more comfortable for me.

I just don’t like people throwing shade on a product they haven’t even properly read the descriptions of, let alone tried it themselves. I did a lot of researching before buying Df96 and came across so many people that just didn’t trust the convenience of it and assumed it too good to be true without even knowing the characteristics of it.
In the end everyone can decide for himself what he wants to use, but one sided posts like these don’t really help beginners to make a decision IMO.

just my two cents on this topic, I’m looking forward to other replies!

I have a question, as I have never used the product. You say it can be reused. How many times? Does it never deplete? That would be truly amazing.

Of course, if it does eventually deplete, then it was weakening all the time it was being used prior to full depletion. That would mean inconsistent results the whole way.

I have one more question: In regard to your first bullet point, why would an extended development time require extended fixing time? Isn't fixing the act of removing the silver halide that hasn't been chemically reduced to silver metal? If, as you say, an extended development time doesn't reduce more halide, shouldn't fixing time be the same?

I believe this may answer most, if not all, of your questions concerning Cinestill...

https://cinestillfilm.com/products/df96-developer-fix-b-w-monobath-single-step-solution-for-processing-at-home?variant=16000208044066

HAGD and Stay Safe!

It actually raised more questions. There is contradictory information about development time. It seems like there is an effort to be strategically silent on some issues.

Bob 1
Bob 1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,633
Re: no, it did not
1

The short response is that it isn't the perfect development solution... but for a hobbyist like me, it beats the hassle of mixing multiple solutions, workspace, storage, setup, etc. If your enjoyment in shooting film, is complete control over the development process, then it's not for you. If I find a shot I really like, I scan and then digitally process and print with a inkjet printer... no wet printing.

I shoot mostly digital (for the past 22 years) and take one of my film cameras along as a "fun" backup. A one bottle solution works fine for me. YMMV. HAGD and Stay Safe!

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EmmaNems Regular Member • Posts: 277
Re: no, it did not

Bob 1 wrote:

The short response is that it isn't the perfect development solution... but for a hobbyist like me, it beats the hassle of mixing multiple solutions, workspace, storage, setup, etc. If your enjoyment in shooting film, is complete control over the development process, then it's not for you. If I find a shot I really like, I scan and then digitally process and print with a inkjet printer... no wet printing.

I shoot mostly digital (for the past 22 years) and take one of my film cameras along as a "fun" backup. A one bottle solution works fine for me. YMMV. HAGD and Stay Safe!

OK, now we're getting there. It's a convenience thing. There has always been that choice in photography; convenience versus quality. You're all about convenience and expediency. Most people are. You're free to make that choice and I appreciate that you're being honest about it.

CortoPA
CortoPA Forum Member • Posts: 67
Re: no, it did not

If it brings more people and money in to the film world it's all good.

People like different methods and results, there are no rules.

The easier and faster we can develop film, the more we buy, the more they make etc etc

Doesn't take anything away from the boomers that dig hiding from the wife in the darkroom for a day, you can still do it.

Deardorff Senior Member • Posts: 1,587
Re: Suggestion for beginners: start with D76, skip the monobath

D76 is a good solid standard developer that has been in use for decades. It has one problem in that it gains a bit in activity after mixing and sitting a bit.

Ilford ID11 is basically the same - without the drawback of gaining in activity after mixing and sitting a bit.

I don't use either these days, instead I mix my own and Sandy King's Pyrocat HD is my developer of choice.

Gesture Veteran Member • Posts: 7,388
Re: Suggestion for beginners: start with D76, skip the monobath

Is that metol vs. phenidone?

Steven Seven
Steven Seven Regular Member • Posts: 362
Re: Suggestion for beginners: start with D76, skip the monobath

Tomm111 wrote:

Steven Seven wrote:

D76 or ID11 are probably best for beginners

Why? What is so special about them to be "best for beginners". Why not Xtol or DD-X or HC-110?

OK if you are using Tri-X or HP5 you can't really go wrong with D-76 or ID 11. BUT I feel it is better to go with a liquid developer and not to have to mix anything

Makes sense. I asked the question above 3 months ago, and since then I've been pretty busy every weekend developing 2-4 rolls per session, trying different developers and reading relevant literature in between. I have been using various flavors of D76, DD-X and Xtol.

I think I now understand where this "D76 is great to start with" advice is coming from. D76 just never looks bad with any film. The development time / agitation published for this developer by film manufacturers are usually a great starting point.

Xtol and DD-X have been brilliant for some emulsions (T-Max, Delta) and subpar for others. For me, HP5+ did not work with them nearly as well as with D76, in fact in DD-X I've gotten nothing but garbage output with it, with several rolls. My technique may be to blame here, but this only reinforces the D76 advice, where a beginner's technique has not been a problem, I was getting good results with D76 consistently and on the first try with every emulsion I tried.

Strangely, I much prefer powders to liquid, precisely because I don't have to mix every time: just pull the amber glass bottles with a pre-mixed solution out, adjust the temperature slightly by holding them under hot water for 30-50 seconds, and start cooking! Mixing DD-X with water before each use was more annoying.

I worry about XTol due to needing distilled water to mix, haven't used Ilford developers as they weren't that available when I started photography. Photographers are so locked in their ways.

Due to my relatively high volume, I haven't had a chance to see Xtol longevity with tap water (I can't buy distilled locally due to hoardres). I go through 5L rather quickly and I really, really, love the low-toxicity of it. There's less smell and it's better for the environment, so I think I'll be moving primarily to Xtol and will keep a few 1L packets of ID-11 for couple of emulsions where Xtol doesn't deliver, HP5+ primarily.

Deardorff Senior Member • Posts: 1,587
Re: Suggestion for beginners: start with D76, skip the monobath
1

Here's Richard Knoppow's explanation from Pure Silver:
The published formulas for ID-11 and D-76 are identical but the
packaged developers are not.
One big reason for the difference in recommended time is that Kodak
and Ilford use different contrast indexes or average contrast to
determine the contrast. Kodak bases all of its pictorial film
development times on a CI suitable for contact printing. For average
condenser enlargers the time should be reduced from 15% to 25%
(depending on the film) with a consequent decrease of film speed of
about 3/4 stop. Ilford bases its times on an average CI midway between
diffusion and condenser times. Plus, Ilford does not use the ISO
method for determining speeds. They don't say what system they use but
claim their speeds are more nearly practical. Oh, dear; so much for
standardisation in the modern world.
The CI required by the ISO speed method is actually close to that
required for diffusion printing on normal grade paper given an
"average" scene brightness range. Lots of room for qualification
there.
Lots of film makers give times for D-76 these days, but not all
indicate what CI they are developing to.
Heigh-ho, time to dig out that old densitometer again.
----
Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles, CA, USA
dickburk@ix.netcom.com

-- hide signature --

In regards to ID-11 vs. D-76, the published formulas are identical,
but neither Kodak nor ILFORD produces a product exactly like the
published formual. Both commercial products have additional buffers
and preservatives. In some films, they will produce slightly
different results. Sometimes, the differences are enough that ILFORD
ends up with different recommendations for the two developers, but
because of rounding, the difference may not be as much as it appears.

<p>

In practical applications, it is safe to use the published time for
ID-11 with D-76, and vice versa. If you are doing precise work, you
will need to pick one developer and stick with it.

<p>

David Carper
ILFORD Technical Service

DigitalJay Senior Member • Posts: 1,507
Re: Why?

Steven all the examples of HP5 feature one commonality: a bright sky. Your Tri-X also has a commonality: very little bright highlights (not much sky).

A true test would be to expose the same scene with both films. Then a good comarison could be made.

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1cb
1cb Regular Member • Posts: 372
Re: Suggestion for beginners: start with D76, skip the monobath
3

I went from the new55 monobath and dealing with the bromide drag (sprocket hole streaking) on my 35mm negatives to HC110 and never looked back.

I love using the HC110 and I have never had issues with it while using any Kodak or any Ilford film.

and the bottle lasts a  very long time.  (15ml for a 16oz tank)

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