Choosing a developer?

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stradibarrius

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I know when it come to developing my film I like D-76 and XTOL and everyone has they'er favorite film developer.

When it come to a paper developer I have only used Dektol. It is easy for me to get and is something most everyone is familiar with so it is easy to get help from you folks.
My question is, are paper deveolpers as different as film developers?

If so what are some good developers for someone who has limited experience enlargingnor is Dektol as good as any other?
 

Ian Grant

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Some yes. Stick with Dektol/D72.

But having said that the basic standard developers are quite similar, D72/Dektol is just a clone of earlier European developers from Agfa/Ilford etc.

All companies made a range of developers, Soft gradation Selectol Soft/D165, ID-3, Adaptal, Warmtone, Normal & Contrast.

Ian
 

Don Wallace

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I just got back into serious darkroom work a few years ago after a very long hiatus so I have no recommendations to make. I too am using Dektol with Ilford MGIV warmtone and toning in selenium. I think it is a good idea to start with something relatively common and explore its possibilities. I have calibrated MGIV warmtone for my dichroic head and will do the same for MGIV sometime soon. I intend to spend the cold months in the darkroom with this simple combination of papers and developer (I may try a warmtone developer too), working on getting good prints. Winter in Canada is the ideal time for the darkroom, with very occasional forays into the cold.:surprised:
 

Bob-D659

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Depends on how many prints you do in one session. It will keep for 24 hours or so if you cover it.
 

naugastyle

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I've very recently learned you can reuse it. I've only been back to printing for about a month now. I saved my 1+3 Dektol from the last session, we'll see how it looks at the next. My printing sessions are very long and only once per week, so I probably won't be using it more than twice.

Developers are definitely different. I decided to try out the Zonal Pro Warm Tone, but I don't think it really means much without side-by-side comparisons, so I've been printing A LOT of the same negatives over and over! So far I would say the increased warmth is visible but slight compared to Dektol 1+3 (but maybe a larger difference over 1+2...my test wasn't going to be THAT thorough!), but there is increased contrast with the Zonal. I quite like the results. And I saved the leftover of that one too :smile:. I tried both developers with both RC and FB, toned in Se and untoned, and am leaning a bit towards the Zonal for WT paper.
 

MattKing

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Do I only need enough in the tray to completely cover the paper?

I usually like to use a bit more, because it makes it easier to ensure even development. It also means that I'm less likely to have the developer exhaust during a session, and if I'm developing multiple prints at a time (e.g. the postcard exchange) it only works if there is a reasonable quantity in the tray.

Personally, I like using Kodak Polymax T developer, which is similar to Dektol, but liquid. Here is a link to a data sheet:

Kodak Polymax data j5

As I understand it, Polymax T may be going through a name change (liquid Dektol?).

I'm curious about Photo Engineer's new product, liquidol. Maybe you should pm him :smile:.

Matt
 
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