Ilfosol 3 and HP5+

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John Bragg

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For the last couple of years I have had to put my photography on hold to attend to family duties, but now with the enforced lockdown, I have had more time to restart my work. I have used HC-110 for most things over the last 10 or so years and have grown totally accustomed to it. I decided to take advantage of a recent Ilford offer of free shipping and ordered some developer from them. A litre of Ilfotec HC for when the HC-110 runs out, as I don't trust the new Kodak recipe to be the same, and a litre of Ilfosol 3 (2X 500ml), just because I had a fondness for Ilfosol S years ago when I started. I had found the older Ilfosol S worked well and was a very sharp developer, without excessive grain, which seems to be the price we pay with some accutance brews. I had a roll of HP5+ in my OM1n that was begging to be finished, so I used it up on family photos and decided that it was just right for a test with Ilfosol. It had been rated at ei200, as is my preferrence.
I made a few mental calculations and came up with a development regime as follows. 6 minutes in 1:9 dilution @ 20°C with agitation for 15 seconds at the start, then only 2 invertions at 2 mins and 2 more at 4 mins. I am delighted with the results right off the bat and will be using this combination a lot.

Derelict car by E.J. Bragg, on Flickr

Milestone by E.J. Bragg, on Flickr

Happiness is egg shaped by E.J. Bragg, on Flickr
 

tezzasmall

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For the last couple of years I have had to put my photography on hold to attend to family duties, but now with the enforced lockdown, I have had more time to restart my work.

...and a litre of Ilfosol 3 (2X 500ml), just because I had a fondness for Ilfosol S years ago when I started. I had found the older Ilfosol S worked well and was a very sharp developer, without excessive grain.
Welcome back to the fold John and the photos are great. :smile:

I too used to be a big fan of Ilfosol and loved the tones and small grain that it gave. But having a very small turnover of film, I found that the Ilfosol went off long before I ever got to the end of a bottle - even the really small one. But yeah, it's a great developer.

I'm now a fan of (home measured and mixed) D76 / ID11 and am an occasional user of Rodinal for stand developing my films used in my 'one shutter speed' compacts that I like to use. This helps even out the densities of the exposures taken under various weather conditions, making the negs easier to print.

Terry S
 
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John Bragg

John Bragg

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Welcome back to the fold John and the photos are great. :smile:

I too used to be a big fan of Ilfosol and loved the tones and small grain that it gave. But having a very small turnover of film, I found that the Ilfosol went off long before I ever got to the end of a bottle - even the really small one. But yeah, it's a great developer.

I'm now a fan of (home measured and mixed) D76 / ID11 and am an occasional user of Rodinal for stand developing my films used in my 'one shutter speed' compacts that I like to use. This helps even out the densities of the exposures taken under various weather conditions, making the negs easier to print.

Terry S
Thanks for the kind words Terry. I have decanted the first 500ml into smaller glass medicine bottles so hopefully storage will be a non issue. I used marbles in the past but 100ml brown bottles are a better solution.
 

Black Dog

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Welcome back, thanks for sharing those and keep at it!
 
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John Bragg

John Bragg

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Welcome back, thanks for sharing those and keep at it!
Thanks Black Dog. I am enjoying being Back. Hope to have more photos to share soon. I have a small backlog of film to develop so more in the same soup seems a good idea. I didn't want to commit until I had got good results from a trial film. Nice to have at least two developers to choose from. Different look etc.
 

NB23

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I am a ilfosol-3 advocate since forever. The sharpest, contrast boosting developer.

I think I can say it’s my favorite developer. My ilfosol-3 prints just always look so damn good.
 
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I wanted to try Ilfosol 3 more but was put off by it's extremely short development times and somewhat short shelf life. Makes it a poor choice for sheet film in a Jobo. For rolls doing inversion I'm sure it's wonderful!
 

pentaxuser

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John, on a kind of a technical note, I wondered when looking at the first two shots whether you time for 200 was a little too long compared to the Ilford time but then the third shot made me doubt my tentative conclusion about development time. That one doesn't look to have any signs of over-development. Are these pictures scans of prints or scans of the negatives?

Thanks

pentaxuser
 
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John Bragg

John Bragg

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John, on a kind of a technical note, I wondered when looking at the first two shots whether you time for 200 was a little too long compared to the Ilford time but then the third shot made me doubt my tentative conclusion about development time. That one doesn't look to have any signs of over-development. Are these pictures scans of prints or scans of the negatives?

Thanks

pentaxuser
From the negative. There is a lot of waggle room for personal interpretation in these negs. That was my whole reasoning for giving a little longer development and a lot less agitation. There is plenty of shadow detail and the whites are well graded and far from bullet proof. The boiled egg is an example. I may well print the final versions darker as you say.
 
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John Bragg

John Bragg

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That's how I felt about Ilfosol S, the previous incarnation. Storage seems much improved on the Mk3 version and from the Ilford tech sheet this quote;

"STORAGE Always store chemicals in their original containers and away from unsupervised children and pets. In cool, dry conditions, 4–20ºC (44–68ºF) ILFOSOL 3 developer concentrate should keep in good condition for: 24 months in full tightly capped bottles. 4 months in half full tightly capped bottles."

I plan to decant all into 100ml bottles which are then good for 2 sessions.
 

Andrew O'Neill

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Thanksho

How does the 1:14 compare image quality wise ? Is it better for long scale subjects?

It's more to compensate for the various exposures my students end up with on their roll of film. They shoot at EI 250. It's also for economy sake as it costs a bob or two to run a high school photography program. It also is very nice with FP4, which we also use (EI 80). This Covid thing got in the way just as I was planning on taking them into the darkroom to show them how to use contrast filters to their advantage....:getlost:
 

Colin Corneau

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This has got me thinking of Ilfosol...never really tried it but it's always good to have a Plan B in case you get caught short (or in my case, Plan D)

I'd want to try use it to get a lot more contrast and zip, but that's just my personal taste. HP5+ is very reliable but I do find it can get very muddy to my taste...low contrast. I normally rate it at 800 just to get a boost.
 
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John Bragg

John Bragg

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This has got me thinking of Ilfosol...never really tried it but it's always good to have a Plan B in case you get caught short (or in my case, Plan D)

I'd want to try use it to get a lot more contrast and zip, but that's just my personal taste. HP5+ is very reliable but I do find it can get very muddy to my taste...low contrast. I normally rate it at 800 just to get a boost.

I find it to have more vibrancy at ei200. I have never been a huge fan of pushing and feel that you loose too much shadow detail. There was a member here in Apug days that wrote quite a bit on minimal agitation and semi stand. His name is DF Cardwell. His mantra was expose for the mid tones, develop for the shadows and agitate for the highlights.
https://www.photrio.com/forum/resources/shaping-the-tone-curve-of-a-rodinal-negative.50/
That technique is what I have tried to apply here.
 
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John Bragg

John Bragg

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One of the reasons I appreciate TMY-2 is reasonable shadow detail at box speed. I guess HP5 Plus should be okay at 400 EI in something like DD-X but I've not used that combination for a long time.
I think another good choice would be Microphen. I tried HP5+ at box speed in HC-110 B and didn't care for the grain, espescially in skin tones. However in dilution H @ ei200, it seems like a whole different film. I don't care for solvent developers, and this is why I think I like Ilfosol 3. Good Honest grain and a subtle microcontrast that not all developers can produce.
 

Tom Kershaw

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I don't care for solvent developers, and this is why I think I like Ilfosol 3. Good Honest grain and a subtle microcontrast that not all developers can produce.

Yes, these are always comprimises. More recently I have tended to use XTOL for TMY-2 and HP5 Plus, but have gone back towards dilute developers for slower speed films, of the Rodinal type and Ultrafin in my case. Pyrocat-HD is a good option if care is taken over oxidation and speedy use of the working solution etc.
 
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John Bragg

John Bragg

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Yes, these are always comprimises. More recently I have tended to use XTOL for TMY-2 and HP5 Plus, but have gone back towards dilute developers for slower speed films, of the Rodinal type and Ultrafin in my case. Pyrocat-HD is a good option if care is taken over oxidation and speedy use of the working solution etc.

It is a fascinating craft, darkroom work. Many roads leading to the same place. I couldn't get Rodinal to play nice with Tri-X and so moved on to HC-110 and then I changed film stock to HP5+ and HC-110 was just as good, but I have heard that Rodinal with HP5+ just plain sucks. One day when I'm bored, I may try. I have learnt not to trust, or just plain disregard anecdotal evidence. Right now, I am content to have found another recipe that works for me without slavishly following Ilford's recommended time and agitation. It is good to dabble with new materials with a healthy dose of "what if".
 
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