Why So Many Kodak Standard Developers?

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So you have D76, XTol, HC110, TMAX, and I believe still a few others if they still make Microdol X.

D76 is D76, XTol is it's 'replacement'. Okay I get that. Lots of improvements, more environmentally friendly.

HC110 and TMax are also out there. I know some labs that use TMAX is their Refrema Dip & Dunkers.

Is there really so much of a difference between HC110 and D76, or HC110 and Xtol, or TMAX and XTol? I mean when it comes to Rodinal and D76, world of difference. XTol and Pyrocat HD, I get it. And it's not like TMAX is for TMax films, it's just another choice for standard developers and is supposed to be quite good.

Also I should say I'm not arguing that these developers should not exist, I'm just wondering why they do...if that makes sense.

---From someone still unhappy that I can't get Acutol anymore....
 

Lachlan Young

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HC-110 seems to have been conceived more to replace the older 'commercial'/ industrial/ technical developers like DK-50 and DK-60a which can tend towards more of an upswept curve than the more s-shaped curve of D-76 etc.
 

MattKing

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I doubt that many labs will continue with T-Max in their Dip and Dunk lines, because it looks like T-Max RS is discontinued, and that is the version that is both replenishable and suitable for large format.
The variety of developers probably stemmed from the variety of commercial processors out ther, along with the variety of end user needs. If you have a commercial line that is set up for D-76, you will most likely oppose any attempt to make you change.
I am afraid that Microdol X hasn't been made for years - but there are some substitutes.
 

bdial

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Xtol gives slightly better film speed than D-76 or HC-110. D-76 is the standard to which all others are compared.
 

voceumana

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They used to have many other developers, so their current offering is very much streamlined by comparison. The variety was to serve some different use purposes, though perhaps the differences are somewhat subtle.
 

Oren Grad

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It starts to make more sense when you think about the range of characteristics offered by Kodak and others, for which users might have different preferences:

* Physical form: powders vs liquids, highly-concentrated liquids with relatively long shelf life vs more dilute liquids that are easier/faster to mix.
* General-purpose developers vs push-developers vs fine-grain pull-developers.
* Traditional formulas vs developers reformulated to be less toxic.
* Replenishable formulas vs non-replenishable formulas.
* Special-purpose formulas.

The Kodak products are scattered around the "matrix" of characteristics that I've just specified. Take a moment and think about where each one belongs.
 

cmacd123

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The Kodak products are scattered around the "matrix" of characteristics that I've just specified. Take a moment and think about where each one belongs.

And the offerings have been cut way back. many other developers were once in the Kodak General Photography line. (not counting X-ray, Dental X-Ray, Graphic Arts, etc)

HC-110 besides being a demonstration of a concentrate that could be stored with NO water, was also intended to be used in place of other developers.

when I started out, their were MANY more developers on the market. when I first started I quickly standardized on Edwal FG-7 which is long gone at least from the Canadian market.
 

timmct

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D76 is bedrock...the best all purpose developer for B&W film development and will, probably, stand the test of time.

If you're an aspiring cook...you need salt and onions. Pepper and garlic are a bonus.

But few of us will remember what Kodak was...a HUGE part of the fabric of America and an incredible engine of development (no pun intended!) and innovation.

As someone mentioned; think of what the medical imaging, alone, was capable of and accomplished...what about cinema (direct positive colour process)...what about aerial surveillance and military applications. You gonna call Ilford for that?

Kodak had an engineering staff that were always involved with innovation and sound production; for profit.

If one, at this date, is astounded by the various developers that Kodak was able to bring to market; why not linger over the discontinued films and, often, the developers that were intended to be ideal for them (remember Tech Pan and Technidol??).

Rochester, NY may not look like Detroit but there was a collapse when Kodak went down. There are known developing agents and chemicals they can be combined with in order to reduce the silver halides that are in film stock we all buy that might provide an ideal negative for printing. Find your own ideal through trial and error.

Find your own ideal through diligent testing with your own film/camera choice.

Kodak did what it did because it could (and believed in what was going on as good for the country) and I bet there were a lot of dedicated professionals who felt severely let down when it all folded.

Kodak was amazing; as any study of it will reveal.

Anything now, for Kodak, must seem rather vestigial.
 
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Sirius Glass

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Here is a comparison. Choose the qualities you want. None deliver everything. It is a trade off.
XTOL.PNG
 

timmct

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Oh,

cmacd123...I grew up in Toronto and had a wonderful friend whose entire clan was from Stittsville...Go Stittsville!!
 

spark

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Between different developers and different films, Kodak served the needs of a wide range of photographic users. Everyone could find their ideal combination.
I've got a bit of a soft spot for old-time Kodak- my grandmother used to work for them in Rochester.
 

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I've always liked St Ansel's comment on film developers: "each photographer usually has his own favourites, not always determined by realistic assessment!"
I brought into the Pyro craze and used PMK for quite a few years, believing the hype that I was getting highlight separation that was unobtainable with any other developer. Later I printed the same scene with negs developed in D76 1:1 and PMK, the results were the same! On a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate the quality of light at the time the film was exposed at 9 and the choice of developer about 3 in determining how good our print looks. The paper used has a much greater influence on the final print than the film developer used. The one exception I would make would be for Tech Pan, I only ever got decent results using Technidol.
 

David Brown

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I've always liked St Ansel's comment on film developers: "each photographer usually has his own favourites, not always determined by realistic assessment!"
... On a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate the quality of light at the time the film was exposed at 9 and the choice of developer about 3 in determining how good our print looks. The paper used has a much greater influence on the final print than the film developer used. The one exception I would make would be for Tech Pan, I only ever got decent results using Technidol.

Yes, once upon a time I decided to switch to t-grain films because of one negative. Of course, after many more negatives, it became apparent that light had more to do with that one image than film choice. (Complete disclosure, I still use mostly t-grain film.)
 

Sirius Glass

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Yes, once upon a time I decided to switch to t-grain films because of one negative. Of course, after many more negatives, it became apparent that light had more to do with that one image than film choice. (Complete disclosure, I still use mostly t-grain film.)

t-grain as in traditional grain or t-grain as in tabular grain. Interested readers want to know.
 

timmct

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I agree with the Tech Pan and Technidol combination but I got really good results with the "Standard" film developer that Sprint Systems of Photography made (I was working at Sprint and wanted to "tweak" things a bit to formulate a new developer specifically aimed at high accutance negatives that would be "scanned" for digital printing profiles) if I added about 15 .per cent more Phenidone and lowered the Ph to about 7.8 with sodium metabisulfite.

My problem with Tech Pan was reciprocity factors (I think it was rated at ASA 25) when I wanted to use smaller lens apertures for greater depth of field. Regular developers would make the negatives too "punchy"; blowing both highlights and shadow detail without any good mid-tones. I never got it right.

Kodak was AMAZING...too bad.
 

laser

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Here is a comparison. Choose the qualities you want. None deliver everything. It is a trade off.
View attachment 229309
Beginning in 1980 I was involved in B&W films and developers. This resulted in T-Max Films, Tech Pan in 120 and sheets, Technidol, T-Max Dev, T-MAX RS, and DURAFLO. I was not involved in XTOL.

The chart shown in the response #11 is a good summary of characteristics.

The reader comment is accurate: there are so many developers because people buy them. I discontinued many professional film, paper, and chemical products. Products are discontinued when volumes are low causing unsustainable earnings. Another view is materials are not available and again the volume is so low it isn't worthwhile to redesign.

It is much easier for film manufacturers when a film is developed in one process i.e. E6, C41, K14. This means one chemical set with given time, temperature, and mechanical conditions.

For Kodak B&W films starting in 1981 D76 was the aim developer. T-Max Dev uses very different chemicals than D76. The design performance criteria for T-MAX Dev was a match for manufactured Kodak D76. (Manufactured D76 during this time had better keeping performance than published formula would provide). DURAFLO RT, a hardening developer for use in roller transport processors uses chemicals similar to T-MAX plus a developer hardener to protect the film from roller strikes. The imaging performance equals D76 in a tank.

The design of T-MAX and DURAFLO Developers was done by statistical experimental design and regression analysis. The measured response was sensi, MTF, RMS granularity, time range, temperature, and chemical stability. The control was on-aim D76. The films tested were current Kodak films at the time and experimental T-Max Films, HP5, and Neopan 400. When optimum formulation was identified testing was expanded to several emulsions of each film. Extensive trade tests were also performed.

For T-MAX Films and the 2002 reformulation for Building 38 Tri-X320, Tri-X 400, Plus-X, IR Films and a few others were formulated to give the best performance in T-Max Dev, DURAFLO, HC-110B, Xtol, and D76, D76 1:1. As the formulation matured performance in other developers was confirmed. Then trade tests confirm satisfactory performance.

During film manufacturing, film is processed in a modified DURAFLO Developer to confirm performance. A few weeks after coating the films are retested since all films harden with time.

The use of other developers gives photographers the choice of characteristics. Manufacturers can't be expected to test film for a wide range of developers. Kodak film is optimized the few developers they manufacture. The performance on other developers is more variable. Color film only needs to perform in one developer condition. A much easier task.

Sorry if I rambled.

www.makingKODAKfilm.com
 

NB23

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I go in streaks.

10 days ago I decided that I’d develop my last batch of 100 rolls of tri-X in Xtol 1:1 (2 bags), and 20 rolls of TMZ3200 of that same project would go into DD-X (one bottle).

Before that I decided that 20 rolls of TMZ3200 would go into microphen (2 boxes).

Before that I decided that 100 rolls of TMX100 would go in ilfosol-3 (5 bottles).

Before that I decided that 50 rolls of TRi-X of a project would go into D76. (3 bags)

Before that 120 rolls of TMX100 would go into HC-110 (1 full bottle)

And so on. I ended up using all the kodak and Ilford stuff.

My next project involves 100 rolls of TMX100 and will probably be developed in HC-110, and 100 rolls of Pan-F that I definitely look forward to develop in Microphen 1:1 or 1:3. I’m also keeping 2 liters ilfotec-HC exclusively for a project shot entirely on HP-5.

I have 60 rolls of acros 120 left, and I plan on using up my rodinal for those rolls and flush down the toilet the remaining rodinal I’ll have left after those rolls. I’m fed up with that stuff. Especially since the time it went bad and I ruined about 10 important rolls last year. I dont trust Rodinal (Blazinal) anymore.
 
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Grim Tuesday

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Beginning in 1980 I was involved in B&W films and developers. This resulted in T-Max Films, Tech Pan in 120 and sheets, Technidol, T-Max Dev, T-MAX RS, and DURAFLO. I was not involved in XTOL.

The chart shown in the response #11 is a good summary of characteristics.

The reader comment is accurate: there are so many developers because people buy them. I discontinued many professional film, paper, and chemical products. Products are discontinued when volumes are low causing unsustainable earnings. Another view is materials are not available and again the volume is so low it isn't worthwhile to redesign.

It is much easier for film manufacturers when a film is developed in one process i.e. E6, C41, K14. This means one chemical set with given time, temperature, and mechanical conditions.

For Kodak B&W films starting in 1981 D76 was the aim developer. T-Max Dev uses very different chemicals than D76. The design performance criteria for T-MAX Dev was a match for manufactured Kodak D76. (Manufactured D76 during this time had better keeping performance than published formula would provide). DURAFLO RT, a hardening developer for use in roller transport processors uses chemicals similar to T-MAX plus a developer hardener to protect the film from roller strikes. The imaging performance equals D76 in a tank.

The design of T-MAX and DURAFLO Developers was done by statistical experimental design and regression analysis. The measured response was sensi, MTF, RMS granularity, time range, temperature, and chemical stability. The control was on-aim D76. The films tested were current Kodak films at the time and experimental T-Max Films, HP5, and Neopan 400. When optimum formulation was identified testing was expanded to several emulsions of each film. Extensive trade tests were also performed.

For T-MAX Films and the 2002 reformulation for Building 38 Tri-X320, Tri-X 400, Plus-X, IR Films and a few others were formulated to give the best performance in T-Max Dev, DURAFLO, HC-110B, Xtol, and D76, D76 1:1. As the formulation matured performance in other developers was confirmed. Then trade tests confirm satisfactory performance.

During film manufacturing, film is processed in a modified DURAFLO Developer to confirm performance. A few weeks after coating the films are retested since all films harden with time.

The use of other developers gives photographers the choice of characteristics. Manufacturers can't be expected to test film for a wide range of developers. Kodak film is optimized the few developers they manufacture. The performance on other developers is more variable. Color film only needs to perform in one developer condition. A much easier task.

Sorry if I rambled.

www.makingKODAKfilm.com

This is quite fascinating, please ramble more!

Knowing so much about the intricate testing of developers, which one do you use? Or do you use a different one for each film?
 

laser

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The developer choice depends on the photographer's taste. I prefer D76 or T-Max Dev. Some readers may object to the following: I would not mix film and developer manufacturers products without testing. You can't expect a film manufacturer or developer manufacturer to test for every possible combination for the product use. You should expect that Kodak and Ilford will make sure their proprietary products i.e. HP-5 and ID 11 or TX and D76 work well together. If the photographer is tolerant of differences you'll probably never see the difference in mixing manufacturer's products. If you are very observant you will see differences.
 

voceumana

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The Film Developing Cookbook said of divided developers (such as two-bath D-23, D-76, etc.) that they are for photographers who want quality negatives and don't want to obsess about developers. It is a good book that provides an understanding the differences in developers. Ansel Adams mentioned that perhaps too much is made of the differences in developers.

That said, to see a difference in developers you need to have excellent technique in exposure and processing.
 
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