Developer/Film Combination

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I am about to finally make the leap into doing my own darkroom work and I was wondering if I could get some feedback on everyones favorite film and developer combinations. I understand that there are different films and developers for different situations, but on average what would be your choice if you could use only one film and one developer for the rest of your life. Basically I am looking for a good starting point.
 

Alex Hawley

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Stephen, in 35mm, it would be Tri-X and Rodinal, PMK, or XTOL. XTOL when I needed to push the speed up real high (1600 or 3200), PMK or Rodinal elsewhere. I could get a long just fine with that.
 

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Right now I'm having a blast with Arista.edu/Fortepan/J&C Classic (all the same film) in 200 and 400 speeds with Rodinal 1:100 in 120, 4x5, and 8x10 sizes. I've also become a fan of TMax 400 (4x5) in D-76 1:1.

Depending on what size you're shooting, your choices should change. I doubt that I'd work with the Arista.edu/Fortepan/J&C Classic 400 in Rodinal if I was shooting 35mm, but my 35mm gear's not seeing much use these days. In larger sizes the grain from Rodinal doesn't bother me.
 

modafoto

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hmmm....I think I'll stick with Ilford Delta 100 rated at ISO 80 and developed in Rodinal 1+50 for 14 minutes.
It has a beautiful grain structure and superior sharpness in 35mm.

Morten
 

FrankB

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Ilford Delta 400 and developed in Ilfotec DD-X 1:4. Fast enough for the British weather, enough grain but not too much, and DD-X delivers lovely crisp negs from which to print!
 
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I, like others, have more than a favorite, but generally use TRI-X or delta 100 for film and Rodinal, D76 (or ID11) and microphen. If I should restrict myself to a single film and developer I would go for TRI-X and D76 for the great flexibility of both.

Yet I believe that your question should be interpreted as: "What do you believe is the best combo to start with?"
If this is the question, the answer is rather different: Tri-x or FP4 for ease of process and a good tonal range, depending if you mainly shoot in low or high light (I would had HP5 but I prefer the grain of TRI-X); rodinal for its ease of use, exceptional shelf keeping, tone rendition and it's ability to preserve the grain structure of the film.
 

photomc

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Stephen, will offer the same advice I was given when first starting - pick one film (I was a PlusX user, now use FP4+) TriX, HP4&5 are good, lots of film you get the point and then I would start off with D76 (Ilford version is ID11). Rodinal is my normal developer now, HC110 has not been mentioned, but is also good (the stock for these two will last a long time). Try a few rolls of your favorite film, use ID11/D76, take a spent roll of film, practice loading the reel, work out your process in your head or paper - write down how you plan each step, develop/stop (acid or water)/fix/wash/dry.

Good luck and have fun...
 

bobfowler

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Stephen J. Collier said:
I understand that there are different films and developers for different situations, but on average what would be your choice if you could use only one film and one developer for the rest of your life. Basically I am looking for a good starting point.

I'm glad you said that you understand that there are different films and developers for different situations. For portraiture (assuming 35mm), my film/developer of choice is Ilford Pan F+ in Rodinal 1:50. When I want a sharp but gritty look, it's hard to beat Tri-X in Rodinal 1:25 or 1:50. For general use, I'd have to go with FP4+ in Rodinal 1:50 or Tri-X in either HC-110 dilution H or Microdol-X 1:3 (I'm not a real big fan of D-76). There are as many opinions as there are photographers... :smile:
 

titrisol

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I tend to stick with one film (APX 100 last 2 years) that I bulk load.
But I always have a couple of specialty rolls of film in my bag (D-3200 or HP5)

APX-100 looks incredible in Rodinal 1+ 50, FG-7 or Ilfosol-S
D-3200 looks great in DD-X, D76, Diafine (1600)
 

erickson

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I like FP4+ developed in Perceptol (1+0). HP5+ developed in Ilfosol-S was my favorite for a long time, and I would happily default back to it if I started shooting handheld again.
 

removed account4

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i like outdated tri-x (sheet film) and ansco 130 72º 1:5 @ 7 minutes ( i DBI so i don't know the exact time i develop).
nice tonal separation, contrast and fine grain too.
 

AndrewH

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I prefer TriX in Microdol 1:3 ( a classic combination) and APX100 in Rodinal 1:50 for 35mm. For MF and LF I move to Rodinal completely.
 

gma

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ONLY ONE 35mm FILM FOR LIFE?

Tri-X rated 200 developed in Microdol 1:3 for normal and rated 1200 developed in Acufine for low light.
 

TPPhotog

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Mine would be Ilford Pan F (rated 50) and FP4+ (rated 100) both in Rodinal 1+50 and Ilford HP5+ (rated 400 to 1600) in DD-X 1+4.

Ok that's 3 films and 2 developers but it depends on the subject and light :D
 

BWGirl

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Ok, you guys....one film??? ?Come on! That's like only having one pair of shoes! :D Hm... come to think of it... I DO only use one film... I have no idea if it's good, bad or ugly, but I use Delta 100. I'm in the process of testing it's flexibility! I'm a recent convert to Rodinal ("Hi, my name is Jeanette and I use Rodinal"), and I like what I've seen in my first roll.
Jeanette
 

Francesco

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Probably 90% of all my photos (on my site) are made with Efke PL100 and Pyrocat HD. The remaining 10% are with Classic 400 and Pyrocat HD. I have used Efke PL100 in situations of N+2 (SBR 5/6) all the way to N-6 (SBR 13/14). Some have found its recoprocity characteristics to be far from favourable. In my experience that is simply not that case. I have exposed Efke PL100 in non-night photos of up to 10 minutes and the contrast and density are simply superb for AZO contact printing.
 

rogueish

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Was using Delta 100 & HP5 but just discovered Agrfa's APX100.I think the APX would be my choice for 35mm.
In my beat up old Yashica, it would likely be a Delta. I would leave the choice up to which ever washed up on the beach of the deserted isle with me.
As for developers, I have only used 3. Ilford S, Ilford HC and what ever was in the container at the night class I took. (I think it was D-76, but was told they switched occasionally). My choice (of the 3) would be Ilford HC.
 

VoidoidRamone

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For almost all general roll film shooting I like APX 100 and Rodinal 1:25 or 1:50. PanF+ is also a very nice film. Either film and Rodinal is a great combination.
 
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