Highest Resolution Fine Grain Developer

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FilmIs4Ever

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I'm sure I'm going to get 50 different answers with this post, but I just want a general survery of what everyone thinks the best developer is in this regard. By "highest resolution fine grain" I mean the developer that gives the sharpest pictures and finest grain without losing speed, disolving the grains in the image at the cost of sharpness and so forth. I was very disturbed to find that some developers actually have elements that eat away the edges of silver crystals in a negative as it is being developed merely to help conceal grain. I'd rather have grain than unsharp pictures. Any comments?

~Karl Borowski
 

titrisol

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IMHO DDX or Clayton F76+
I have heard wonders of Xtol but due to the large size of their packs haven;t boutght it.
 

Neal

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Xtol. Well worth trying. If you want to trade grain for acutance, dilute it. Lots of folks dilute as much as 1:3. Mix and store it properly and you should have no problems.

Neal Wydra
 

Will S

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pyro

The theory with pyro is that it fills in the area between grain with stain. I use prescysol (or however you spell it) and pyrocat-hd and hardly ever see grain in my focuser.

Best,

Will
 

JohnArs

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XTOL is the winner, tested in a german lab mag some years ago.
When I did an exibition from 35mm negs pushed up to 30x40cm many people asked me it is MF isn't it?
 

fschifano

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Count another vote for XTOL here. It's good stuff and doesn't go bad as long as you're careful about storage. Completely full small bottles is the key to keeping it. I like it diluted, but when I really want fine grain, I use it full strength. It will give you a little bit of extra shadow detail over the more common MQ developers as well.
 

garryl

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FilmIs4Ever said:
I'm sure I'm going to get 50 different answers with this post, but I just want a general survery of what everyone thinks the best developer is in this regard. By "highest resolution fine grain" I mean the developer that gives the sharpest pictures and finest grain without losing speed, disolving the grains in the image at the cost of sharpness and so forth. I was very disturbed to find that some developers actually have elements that eat away the edges of silver crystals in a negative as it is being developed merely to help conceal grain. I'd rather have grain than unsharp pictures. Any comments?

~Karl Borowski

I'm going to go on someones's kill list for this, but--
http://www.imx.nl/photosite/technical/BWinfo/BW-1.html
 

djklmnop

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XTOL seems to work better on T-grain films than it does on standard grain emulsions. How about Microdol-x and Perceptol? I've gotten amazingly fine grain when combined with Ilford Pan F 50.
 

Tom Stanworth

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A lot support Xtol, but this is not a sharp dev, but a fine grain dev and superb in its own right. It produces relatively low acutance tho. As for very fine grain AND acutance, this is a near impossible balancing act. The best I have seen in terms of balance was Exactol Lux which produced very fine grain and sharpness exceeding any other non staining dev I had used. In terms of fine grain and reasonable acutance DDX is pretty good but Aculux 2 is really fine and not mushy. So much depends on the film used......
 

Oldtimer Jay

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Hi All,

My favorites for this goal are PMK, Formulary FX2 and Xtol 1-2.

One of the nicest combinations I have found for sharpness, tonality and very fine grain is new Plus X in PMK. Old plus X was OK, but the new version is much superior in terms of both grain and tonality. If you haven't tried it in the past two years, believe me it is a revalation. FP4 + used to be my favorite but IMHO new Plus X has equally nice tonality and finer, crisper grain.

Jay
 

tbm

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I soup Delta 100 and Fuji Acros 100 in Microdol-X (1:3 at 75 degrees for 17-18 minutes) and get phenomenally gorgeous negatives and prints. The last two days I've been experimenting with Neopan 400 to determine which developer I will ultimately prefer with it. The first day I souped it in Xtol 1:1 and yesterday in Microdol-X 1:3. Analyzing the negatives with both 4x and 10x Schneider loupes, the Microdol-X negs reveal dazzling clarity, sharpness, and tonality and the Xtol negs slightly less re all three factors. However, I've got to make some prints in order to make a true analytical comparison and establish a preference.
 

Tom Hoskinson

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Pyrocat-HD with minimum or stand agitation.
 

Tom Stanworth

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Tom Hoskinson said:
Pyrocat-HD with minimum or stand agitation.

Yes, try it with HP5 for stunning acutance and crisp defined visible grain.

Acros with Dixactol (therefore I guess P'cat HD would be similar) gave grainless 20x24s (from 5x4) with acutance that clearly (from 2 ft away) blew HC110 away. I did side by side negs and the difference in acutance and halation prevention was enormous.

Exactol lux was very fine grained so great for 35mm and coarser 120 films when fine grain required.
 

Maine-iac

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FilmIs4Ever said:
I'm sure I'm going to get 50 different answers with this post, but I just want a general survery of what everyone thinks the best developer is in this regard. By "highest resolution fine grain" I mean the developer that gives the sharpest pictures and finest grain without losing speed, disolving the grains in the image at the cost of sharpness and so forth. I was very disturbed to find that some developers actually have elements that eat away the edges of silver crystals in a negative as it is being developed merely to help conceal grain. I'd rather have grain than unsharp pictures. Any comments?

~Karl Borowski

Any of the Gainer-inspired Phenidone/ascorbic acid variations. Super-fine grain, excellent sharpness, great tonal scale.

What do you mean by "without losing film speed?" I don't know many photographers who accept the manufacturer's ISO rating without personal testing to find the actual film speed for the camera shutter, lens, developer combo that gives you the best negs. I rate Fuji ACROS, for example, at ISO 50 when I'm shooting it in my Rollei SL66 with a yellow filter over the lens (which I almost always use). Without the filter, I'd rate it at ISO 80.

Larry
 
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