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  #1  
Old 13th August 2010, 02:09 PM
TimoS TimoS is offline
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Default Developer suggestions for T-grain films

About a year ago, I re-started developing film, mostly Tri-X in Prescysol EF (thanks to the help of a number of forum members over here!), and I'm quite happy with the results I obtained.

Having come back from long-term use of digital cameras, I am still somewhat struggling with grain and its peculiarities when using a hybrid workflow.

This is why I now want to explore film/developer alternatives that promise finer grain - Kodak T-Max 100 & 400 as well as the Ilford Delta film range. I ran a number of T-Max 3200 films at EI 1600 in Prescysol EF, and I didn't like the results. This combo produces really ugly, irregular and coarse grain. I suspect this is not only due to the film's high sensitivity, but also to the film's T-grain technology.

Can you please tell me what type of developer you would suggest for Kodak T-Max 100, 400 and 3200 as well as Ilford Delta films.
  • I am looking for developers that deliver a viable compromise between fine grain and acutance, as well as reasonably flat contrast curve which would make negatives suitable for scanning.
  • Also, what EI would you suggest for those films if so that they can deliver rich shadow tonality while still offering sufficient highlight detail?
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Old 13th August 2010, 02:23 PM
Dave miller Dave miller is offline
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I can't help with the scanning issue, but can say that may main film of choice is Ilford Delta 400 rated at box speed and developed in Prescysol. Grain is not an issue.
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  #3  
Old 13th August 2010, 02:33 PM
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Miha Miha is offline
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Tetenal Ultrafin Plus.

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Old 13th August 2010, 02:59 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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I can't speak about scanning film as I have never done it but from what I have gathered on another site there are possible issues with films and developer combinations which are being scanned that do not arise when the negs are printed onto silver gelatin darkroom paper.

Neither have I tried the Kodak range except P3200 once in ID-11 which I didn't like.

I have however tried D100, D400 and D3200 in both DDX and Perceptol so I will speak about what I know.

DDX is a very good developer for all the Delta range and is particularly good for D3200 at 1600. I would expose for 1600 but develop at the time for 3200.

Strange as it may seem Ilford recommend Perceptol for D3200 although it is said that Perceptol is really meant for slower films for which you might lose up to a stop of speed so D100 and D400 should be exposed at 50 and 200 respectively.

It might depend on how much shadow detail you want to see but I was happy with 100 for D100 and 320 for D400 in Perceptol. However unless you want very big prints from 35mm negs, DDX at full box speed will give you negs that print as well as those negs done in Perceptol, in my opinion.

Same argument applies to D3200 but Ilford give a time for Perceptol and D3200 at 3200 and having tried it I can say it does work. However if you try this combination I'd recommend that you increase the time from 18 mins to at least 21 mins.

I think you'd need to experiment with different EI(Exposure Indexes) and vary development times a little to get to your best combination.

I was a little surprised that your experience with Prescysol and Tmax 3200 was unsatisfactory. However it may be that despite how the grain looked on a scanner, a darkroom print from such a neg might have been much better.

I think that the so called hybrid process is so different that a lot of what we have to say about the traditional darkroom process will be different.


If you have medium format cameras then any benefit of Perceptol in terms of grain may not show at all as the negs are so much bigger. So unless the prints are very large such as in the range 16x20 inches or more then Perceptol may offer very little benefit but have the drawback of reducing the speed of the film.

Mike
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Old 13th August 2010, 03:02 PM
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I can't speak generally, as the only t-grain film I use is Ilford Delta 3200, and currently I only use DD-X to develop this. I have used it at EIs from 400 up to 6400, and have generally found the grain to be acceptable at all speeds (but I am using it in 120 format). Also I cannot speak for scanning the negatives.

The following images are taken from a circus performance where the light was extremely contrasty. It was shot on Delta 3200, rated at EI 6400, and processed in DD-X 1:4 for 16 minutes (I agree with Mike, the Ilford times seem a little short to me, and I give around 25 - 30% more time than recommended), printed to approx 8x10. The performer was lit by a single lime from above (straight in her face), and the boy in the audience was lit by spill from the performer. There is more to be gained from her face in the negative, but the treatment I have given the print matches my experience at the time. The main image is almost full frame from a 6x4.5 negative, the crop is to show that, even with a contrasty print (this was printed at grade 4), there is still detail in the face.

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Last edited by SteveA; 13th August 2010 at 03:09 PM. Reason: Referencing earlier post
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Old 13th August 2010, 04:22 PM
Alan Clark Alan Clark is offline
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TimoS,
I presume you are using 35mm. I would try Delta 100 developed in Perceptol diluted 1+3. Not only does this produce negatives that scan well and print incredibly easily in the darkroom, but it also produces incredibly sharp and fine-grained prints.
I haven't tried every film /developer combination currently available, but Delta 100 in Perceptol 1+3 has given me the closest thing I have seen to medium format quality in 35mm.

Alan
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Old 13th August 2010, 06:03 PM
Neil Smith Neil Smith is offline
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When I asked in Silverprint a few months back about fast film/developer combinations for fine grain, they told me TMZ 3200 in T Max developer would be a good place to start. I have the film and I have the dev but haven't had a chance to test it yet.


Neil
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Old 28th November 2011, 08:28 AM
Tom Stanworth Tom Stanworth is offline
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I use Xtol 1+1 for Tmax 3200 and the results astonish me every time. Grain is uniform and very crisp, but of course it is there. I don't think you will easily find another combo that offers the same speed and grain as Xtol 1+1. It would seem a good bet for scanning.
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Old 28th November 2011, 09:03 AM
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dsallen dsallen is offline
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I can only comment on Delta 400 as this is the only film that I have used in the past 10 years. I develop it in a simple two-bath developer with an EI of 200 and am always pleased with the results of my prints.
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Old 29th November 2011, 05:17 PM
ShaunH ShaunH is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Clark View Post
TimoS,
I presume you are using 35mm. I would try Delta 100 developed in Perceptol diluted 1+3. Not only does this produce negatives that scan well and print incredibly easily in the darkroom, but it also produces incredibly sharp and fine-grained prints.
I haven't tried every film /developer combination currently available, but Delta 100 in Perceptol 1+3 has given me the closest thing I have seen to medium format quality in 35mm.

Alan
Ilford Perceptol at 1+3 developing almost any film that is suitable produces the most staggering results. I absolutely love this developer and Kodak T-Max 100.
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