Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1997/03/31

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: Fwd: Favorite Film/Developer/Paper Combinations???
From: "BIRKEY, DUANE" <>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 14:50:16 -0500

>I'm getting back seriously into B/W again only to find that I am not
>familiar with the current lineup of Films/Developers/Papers the way I
>used to be.

>I would be very interested to hear of favorite combinations using
>today's mediums--but also please include WHY it is a favorite.  Trying
>to evaluate "GREAT RESULTS" is pretty difficult unless it is compared 
>something else.  

>Stephen Gandy

I think your chances of finding an individual who has tested many film 
and developer combinations
is pretty remote.  Darkroom and Photographic Techniques has published 
in the past such film/developer combinations rating sharpness and 
grain.   That would be a great  place to start. 

I personally use Tmax films and either D-76 1:1 or Tmax developer 1:7 
with one shot processing.  My reasoning, convenience,  I can develop 
both 100 and 400ASA in the same tank.  I prefer the Tmax developer as 
it doesn't seem to oxidize as much as the stock D-76.  But the D-76 is 
cheaper.    Either way  I can mix the stock solution quickly with 
warmer water to bring it up to temp.  ( I pitch it afterwards).  

I switched over toTmax from Plus-x and Tri-x as soon as it came out and 
I don't look back.  I've tried a few rolls of ILFORD Delta 400 and 
found the working speed to be much lower than my EI (exposure index) 
for Tmax 400, at least at my normal developing time and temp.  I've 
calibrated everything for the two films as far as exposure, temp and 
time to my system and it works. 
To be honest, I don't do this as a hobby and I don't have time to go 
through exhaustive testing to decide if something is slightly better or 
worse.  I rarely print anything larger than 11x 14,  and from three 
feet those prints (from Canon) look sharper than the images from my 
Hasselblad equipment.  (I've since sold the Hasselblad stuff and am 
planning to purchase a couple of M-bodies and a couple Summiluxes) 

I've done 20 x 24 prints from that are a bit grainy from 35mm Tmax 100 
and D-76 1:1, but are sharp and the people for whom I did them were 
very pleased (again from Canon FD and EOS EQ). 

There are lots of good film and developer combinations,  and the best 
combinations for me may not work well for you if you do a lot of 
shooting of very high or very low contrast situations.  I like Tmax but 
know some who wouldn't use it if you gave it to them for free.  I 
rarely use 3200 Tmax and APX 25 ASA is too slow for me personally.     

More important in my opinion, is giving sufficient (not under) exposure 
and proper (not over) development in fresh chemistry.  With that you 
should get good results with any film and developer.

Darkroom tip:  to keep developers fresher, store it in a number of 
smaller glass or plastic bottles.  I have some Plastic Coca-Cola 
bottles (remove labels and keep out of reach of kids) that hold 500ml 
of chemistry and I squeeze out the air,  When I want to develop 4 rolls 
of film, my D-76 is already measured out and I just add an equal amount 
of warmer water to bring it to temp.  Quick and consistent. 
I started doing this with E-6 chemistry as the oxidation is more 

There is no better example than one you've experienced yourself.

Duane Birkey