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Old 13/04/12, 21:12   #1 (permalink)
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Default D-76 (question about development)

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Anyone have experience with D-76?

I am absolutely new to film development. A professional photographer was nice enough to take the time to write me an e-mail in response to a question about choice of developers. In part as a consequence of his advice, I decided on D-76 with the Tri-X film I have been shooting. I bought the D-76, or rather a D-76 clone, so I don't want to revisit the choice of developer.

My question relates to technique. He told me that D-76 is not a highly active developer and when it is diluted 1+1, it is advisable to process only one roll at a time in a two roll tank. Otherwise the film will not develop fully. It doesn't sound right to me, but it could also simply be a precaution he typically gives to beginners, in which case it might not be a bad idea. I don't know.

Any thoughts? If I did follow this advice where would I station the reel--at the top of the tank, in the middle?
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Old 13/04/12, 21:49   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: D-76 (question about development)

Hello and welcome.

Use 76 all the time. Kodak has a great downloadable sheet for mix and development times if you haven't already.

(Assuming you're talking about 35mm) I use 1:1 dilution with double's in the tank every time. No problem. I use a simple "slap" of the tank on the table then follow with regular gentle agitation. I've not had any issues nor have I seen any issues with 2-rolls at a once.

However, if his recommendation related to re-use of the chemicals I do not reuse a 1:1 dilution a second time. Once you use it (for 1 or 2 rolls together) it's mostly spent. You can get replenisher and do a different mix but I don't mess with it. When doing mostly small batches it just doesn't seem worth it to me.

Hope this helps. Loads of simple and easy to follow resources for b+w developing out there.

Good luck,
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Old 13/04/12, 23:48   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: D-76 (question about development)

Kodak D-76 is my standard developer since the 70-ties (oeps, I was a teenager then). Tri-X and FP4 were my standard 35mm films.
I have always used D-76 as follows: 125 ml stock solution + 125 ml water makes 250 ml 1:1 dilution. This dilution gives a slightly reduced contrast. I have many times developed full lengths of film and also many times shorter lengths. I have never seen problems like an exhausted developer. I have always used a small stainless 250 ml tank with stainless reel.
The only developer where exhaustion is something to keep in mind is Rodinal in a solution higher than 1:50. In that case it is recommended to use a 500 ml tank for one reel with one full length of film.
I have recently started developing B&W films again and it's a reel joy. Wish you the same pleasure!
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Old 14/04/12, 01:07   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: D-76 (question about development)

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.......If I did follow this advice where would I station the reel--at the top of the tank, in the middle?
I'm assuming here that you're using hand inversion rather than a rolling machine. So the tank is sitting upright when it's not being agitated by turning it upside down.

It's vital that the film be covered with developer, so the film is at the bottom of the tank. The tank need not be full as long as the film is covered when it's resting. Leaving a large air space above the film does make the inversion agitation a bit more energetic (imagine the movement of liquid: nearly full tank compared with a half full tank) but it's not a major difference.

I hope you enjoy your film processing. I've been doing it for 45 years and it is still a thrill to see the negs come out.
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Old 14/04/12, 05:07   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: D-76 (question about development)

@ traveler_101,

I develop Tri-X exposed at ISO 400 using D-76 1:1 regularly. I develop four rolls at a time in a 32 ounce (one liter) tank at room temperature. I do not reuse the 1:1 D-76. At that strength it's a one and done proposition.

I have had nothing but success so far - my negatives are always correctly developed. Based on my experience I can't agree with the advice you have been given to develop one roll at a time.

If you follow the information in Kodak's download which mdozier refers to, your negatives should come out just fine.

Agitation is crucial - being consistent in your agitation method is very important as is proper washing after development.
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Old 14/04/12, 14:52   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: D-76 (question about development)

Thanks for the help and the welcome to this site. I'll have to measure my tank to see what it's capacity is in ml. It's a plastic Paterson "universal" and fits in two reels for 35mm film. (35mm is what I am doing. I just acquired a IIIf and I also have a Bessa T, purchased about a year ago. So far I have been having my film developed at considerable cost).

I intend to use the developer 1:1 and discard it as several of you have advised. I am mixing up a one liter pack, and at 1:1 it seems that should be enough for 8 rolls of film (?) per pack.

I am trying to find small bottles for storage. It is much easier to find plastic than glass, but I've read that plastic is not adequate. I have 750ml wines bottles with screw on caps, but they are too large I think.

Another complication is that I'm actually using Fomadon P (W-37), a D-76 clone that is reputed to be closer to Ilford's ID-11, though like D-76 and unlike ID-11, it comes in a single bag that mixes up one liter. The advantage is price--25% the cost of D-76. The disadvantage is I am not sure whether I can use Kodak's charts or not--and we'll see about quality control with the Foma product.

Last edited by traveler_101; 14/04/12 at 14:53. Reason: clarity
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Old 14/04/12, 15:25   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: D-76 (question about development)

Fomadon P is a Kodak D-76d clone. D-76d is the buffered D-76 that needs 50% increased development times. This developer contains a higher amount of borax in combination with boric acid and is believed to give finer grain. Based on this information I think the times you found reported for the Formadon P are the correct ones. On the Fomadon P package you will find mentioned that this developer corresponds to D-76d. The devil is in the detail...

I recommend buying 100 ml glass bottles in the pharmacy, make up the developer in 500 ml warm water and fill upto 650 ml. Then fill 6 100 ml bottles to the rim and close them well. For each development you dilute one 100 ml bottle to 300 ml. This fills your tank sufficiently and corresponds to approximately a 1:1 dilution. Use the diluted developer only once. Optimize the develoment time for your needs and then always follow the same procedure.

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Old 14/04/12, 16:18   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: D-76 (question about development)

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Fomadon P is a Kodak D-76d clone. D-76d is the buffered D-76 that needs 50% increased development times. This developer contains a higher amount of borax in combination with boric acid and is believed to give finer grain. Based on this information I think the times you found reported for the Formadon P are the correct ones. On the Fomadon P package you will find mentioned that this developer corresponds to D-76d. The devil is in the detail...
Thanks, Maarten. Yes, I checked. The package clearly says D-76d, and it does come in two separate packs like the Ilford ID-11. The Massive Development chart has it @ 11 minutes for Tri-X @ 400 but that's stock; no 1:1 given. Take Kodak's figures and multiply by 1.5 for Fomadon . . . and experiment I guess.

Finer grain. Does the result differ markedly from D-76?

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recommend buying 100 ml glass bottles in the pharmacy, make up the developer in 500 ml warm water and fill upto 650 ml. Then fill 6 100 ml bottles to the rim and close them well. For each development you dilute one 100 ml bottle to 300 ml. This fills your tank sufficiently and corresponds to approximately a 1:1 dilution. Use the diluted developer only once. Optimize the develoment time for your needs and then always follow the same procedure.

Maarten
Thanks--that is very logical and very simple: no transferring of the stock from bottle to bottle. The one caveat is that the "apotek" is very expensive here, but I will look into it.
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Old 14/04/12, 21:24   #9 (permalink)
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Default

Hello all,
Why no plastic storage bottles? I've used the brown plastic bottles, jugs and accordion style bottles for ever. What is the problem I've missed all these years?
Also, I agree with the other views re D76 1:1 for a double roll tank being fine.
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Old 15/04/12, 15:10   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: D-76 (question about development)

Been doing a roll 1:1 with 8 oz total, single reel tank, for about 3 decades now. Never an issue.

A two reek tank with an empty reel on top and only 8 oz chemistry makes an extremely good agitation scheme for inversion. Impossible to screw up.

Best practice is to drop the reels into a tank prefilled with developer ,cap and commence agitation. Start your clock 5 seconds early. Turn out the lights, locate the reels and caps, start the clock, count 5, drop film, apply cap. I do reels with right hand holding tank on the counter with left, then pick up the cap which was located to the left of the tank with the left hand.

If you elect a plastic tank, 8 oz will not cover the film, but there are no capping or timing issues. Use twist stick only with initial agitation.

Do not fill a tank full. Just enough to cove film. If the tank is full, there is no space for chemistry to move and you want it to move.
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Old 15/04/12, 17:04   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: D-76 (question about development)

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Thanks Toby. One problem with my stainless steel tank with its plastic lid is getting the developer in quickly. I often feel the bottom of the film has had 20secs more developing than the top of the film. Your method has given me something to think about.
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Old 15/04/12, 18:59   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: D-76 (question about development)

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One problem with my stainless steel tank with its plastic lid is getting the developer in quickly. I often feel the bottom of the film has had 20secs more developing than the top of the film.
D-76 1:1, one-shot, has been the standard developer my students in basic classes have been using for over 20 years (that's over 4000 students, wow, scary to think about). It is always used with 2 rolls in a 2-reel steel tank (or 4 rolls in a 4-reel tank). There has not been a single instance of a problem due to chemical exhaustion. You'll be fine.

Streaking, however, has occurred due to the problem described above. Especially with a large tank (4-8 rolls) it can take some time to fill. Developer running over some parts of the film while other parts are dry causes these areas to get a head-start on development. We completely eliminated this problem by incorporating a pre-wet (H2O, 30 sec.). Not only does this reduce the chance of air bubbles sticking to the film and causing air bells, it also pre-loads the emulsion with water, requiring the developer to overcome the water for development to begin. This eases, rather than jolts, the film into development.
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Old 15/04/12, 21:43   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: D-76 (question about development)

Traveler,

Do not forget to mix your D-76 from powder form the day before you want to process film.

Do not mix and process the same evening.

Mix the 1:1 just before processing and discard.

D-76 is a really good developer.
So is HC-110, and X-tol, and Pyro.....welcome to the funny farm, a never ending exploration!
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Old 16/04/12, 20:50   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: D-76 (question about development)

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Best practice is to drop the reels into a tank prefilled with developer ,cap and commence agitation. Start your clock 5 seconds early. Turn out the lights, locate the reels and caps, start the clock, count 5, drop film, apply cap. I do reels with right hand holding tank on the counter with left, then pick up the cap which was located to the left of the tank with the left hand.

If you elect a plastic tank, 8 oz will not cover the film, but there are no capping or timing issues. Use twist stick only with initial agitation.

Do not fill a tank full. Just enough to cove film. If the tank is full, there is no space for chemistry to move and you want it to move.
I have plastic tanks and reels--Paterson Universal tank, and what I find hard to believe is that there are no instructions with the tank specifying how much developer is required to fill it. I had assumed that I would fill AFTER getting the reels into the tank and turning the lights on, assuming perhaps incorrectly that once the inner lid is closed shut light does not get in to the tank. Boy I have got a lot to get accustomed to.
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Old 16/04/12, 20:55   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: D-76 (question about development)

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Developer running over some parts of the film while other parts are dry causes these areas to get a head-start on development. We completely eliminated this problem by incorporating a pre-wet (H2O, 30 sec.). Not only does this reduce the chance of air bubbles sticking to the film and causing air bells, it also pre-loads the emulsion with water, requiring the developer to overcome the water for development to begin. This eases, rather than jolts, the film into development.
Just have a basin with water and stick the loaded reels into the water for 30 seconds? Does this effect the amount of developer used?
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Old 16/04/12, 21:31   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: D-76 (question about development)

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Traveler,

Do not forget to mix your D-76 from powder form the day before you want to process film.
I've been leaving mine 24Hrs. Is this over-the-top? What's the minimum recommended time to let it settle?
Pete
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Old 16/04/12, 22:28   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: D-76 (question about development)

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Thanks Toby. One problem with my stainless steel tank with its plastic lid is getting the developer in quickly. I often feel the bottom of the film has had 20secs more developing than the top of the film. Your method has given me something to think about.
Pete
Stainless steel tanks are excellent for temperature control and will last a lifetime. Remember to store them with the plastic lid off so the lid remains a tight fit and doesn't tend to split.

To get solutions into and out of the tank quickly hold it at 45 degrees as you pour the liquid in and start to return it to upright when it is almost full. The 45 degree angle allows the air to escape as you pour. Similarly when emptying the tank. With practise you can fill a 250ml tank in less than 10 seconds. You need to leave some airspace in the tank to assist with agitation when you invert it. Everytime I invert the tank I rotate it slightly before returning it to the water bath so that the tubulence generated is in a different area of film every time.

Bob.

Last edited by gravastar; 16/04/12 at 22:30.
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Old 16/04/12, 22:49   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: D-76 (question about development)

I, too, angle the tank to fill. The plastic lid I use has a very small distance from the orifice (can I write that mods?) and the light baffle. The tank has to be tipped or the fluid gets blocked by an air lock. There's only so fast I can pour it without it overflowing.
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Old 16/04/12, 23:53   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: D-76 (question about development)

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I have plastic tanks and reels--Paterson Universal tank, and what I find hard to believe is that there are no instructions with the tank specifying how much developer is required to fill it. I had assumed that I would fill AFTER getting the reels into the tank and turning the lights on, assuming perhaps incorrectly that once the inner lid is closed shut light does not get in to the tank. Boy I have got a lot to get accustomed to.
The volume of chemicals needed for different film sizes is indicated on the bottom of the tank. Paterson tanks fill so quickly that there is no need to fill the tank first and then drop in the reel(s). The inner lid acts both as a light seal and a big funnel for filling. I used stainless reels and tanks for many years. Then I tried a Paterson tank and haven't used stainless since.
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Old 17/04/12, 04:33   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: D-76 (question about development)

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Just have a basin with water and stick the loaded reels into the water for 30 seconds? Does this effect the amount of developer used?
Just fill your tank with water (after the film is loaded), agitate by inversion for 30 sec. (20ºC, 68ºF), dump the water out and fill with developer. The amount of water left behind in the emulsion is not enough to effect the amount of developer used or the development time.
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