Calling all HC-110 users....

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Dickless Cheney, Oct 15, 2004.

  1. If there are any ;=)

    I love dil B, and have used it primarily for the last year or so on a host
    of film types, but am finding a fork in the road.

    Some development times are getting so short, that it's almost laughable
    (Fuji Acros 120, 4.5 minutes).

    Has anyone used HC-110 at some of the higher dilutions? And with good
    results? What might I expect to be different than dilution B? I mix my B
    straight from the syrup at the 1:31 ratio.

    I am also debating buying some raw Metol and trying to mix my own D23 to
    develop film too. Can that be mixed in 8, or 16 oz batches, just prior to
    developing a roll of 120?

    Thanks for any help....
    Dickless Cheney, Oct 15, 2004
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  2. Has anyone used HC-110 at some of the higher dilutions? And with good
    I use LC-29 in 1:39 dilution, which is an HC-110 H (1:63) equivalent. I can
    hardly see any difference between B and H on 18x24 prints from 35mm.

    With Neopan 400 I get very smooth grain, even on some generously overexposed frames.

    What is really useful about HC-110 is it's linear dilution/dev time
    characteristic. You may safely double dilution doubling the development time.

    Stanislaw Salik, Oct 15, 2004
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  3. I can't help you with D-23, except to say that if you have a formula,
    you can multiply or divide all ingredients (including water, of course)
    by the same factor and mix any size batch you want/need -- and the
    ability to mix just before use, directly to final dilution, is one of
    the selling points of making your own developers from raw chemicals. If
    you like to work rapidly in the darkroom, some formulae even work well
    with all the chemicals premeasured and stored in a single vial or
    envelope; when ready to develop, just drop the contents into water and
    mix, without stopping to weigh ingredients (others don't; some require
    mixing in a particular order and don't work well if you dump everything
    in at once).

    For HC-110, I've used Dilution H (half strength of Dilution B) and
    Dilution G (1:119 from syrup, or preferably 1:29 from stock solution)
    almost exclusively for the past year -- I've done Dilution B a couple
    times, and a few tests with my monobath formula, which is at Dilution A
    strength for rapid working, but the bulk of my film, including both old
    TX and new 400TX in 135, TMY in 120, Fomapan 100 in 9x12 cm sheets,
    Kodak Imagelink HQ and Agfa Copex Rapid microfilms (at pictorial
    contrast), have been done in Dilution H or Dilution G.

    For H, I find I need somewhat less than twice the process time; in fact,
    for scanning (which typically works best with less density and contrast
    than printing) I find H at the recommended B time isn't far off; IIRC my
    last batch of TMY done in H was at 7 minutes.

    Dilution G is strongly compensating, with less grain solvency than B,
    and makes contrast control very simple -- find the time that gives fully
    developed shadows, and then agitate more or less to obtain the required
    contrast. With TMY, I've mostly given fifteen minutes at 70 F, though
    others are likely to want a bit more (again, I've been scanning my
    negatives, which pushes toward keeping them thinnish). With semi-stand
    development (agitation continuous first minute, then one cycle halfway
    through development only), I get pretty nearly N-2; agitation on a five
    minute cycle, I get effectively an N-1 (approximately; I don't have a
    densitometer to measure this); three minute agitation gives something
    very close to N, and one minute agitation gives about N+1. Longer
    development with one minute agitation would, of course, give additional
    N+ levels if needed, but probably little if any additional speed
    increase; the basic process with three minute agitation seems to give a
    toe speed better than Dilution B at recommended times and agitation
    regimes -- and unlike most N+ to N- controls, speed changes very little
    if at all from one minute to semi-stand agitation, because the shadows
    get the same development even while dilution and reduced agitation rein
    in the highlights.

    Also, Dilution G, with very low agitation (five minute or longer cycles,
    up to full stand development) works well for contrast control of
    microfilm stocks that would typically call for special contrast
    controlling developers like Technidol LC, POTA, Nanospeed, etc. I've
    gotten a one stop speed increase over normal pictorial speeds (Imagelink
    HQ at EI 50, Copex Rapid at EI 100) using Dilution G with very low
    agitation. My experience is that five minute agitation is best; longer
    cycles allow too much edge effect for my tastes in the 16 mm film sizes
    for which I use these films (doesn't take much edge halo or contrast
    enhancement to look really odd in a 10x14 mm frame -- and that would go
    double in an 8x11 mm Minox frame).

    From all this, I guess you'd say I've been happy with my results in
    higher dilutions than B -- in fact, the versatility offered by using
    different dilutions is one of the big selling points for HC-110, IMO.
    You won't find many times listed for these higher dilutions, but my
    working rule of thumb is to add 40-50% to the recommended Dilution B
    times for Dilution H, and double to triple B times for Dilution G (many
    workers prefer doubling B times for H, and approximately quadrupling for
    G, but I find I need to cut my times with B, and this factor compensates
    that). As with any process, these are just starting points that you
    will need to adjust for your particular preferences and needs in
    negative condition, metering and camera techniques, thermometer
    calibration, tank and chemical handling, etc.

    Very important points: first, be sure you have enough working solution,
    especially at Dilution G. You must have at least 3 ml of original syrup
    for each roll of film (135-36 or 120 -- twice that for 220, of course)
    or sheet equivalent (8x10, or 4 4x5) in order to avoid capacity
    failures, typically characterized by intermittent problems with loss of
    contrast due to exhaustion. Second, for dilutions equal or weaker than
    Dilution H, and especially in small quantities (like the two ounces of
    working solution I use for my two-foot strips of 16 mm film from a
    Minolta 16), it's much, much easier to mix accurately from a stock
    solution made in sufficient volume to allow accurate mixing of the
    concentrate. One drop of syrup more or less makes a huge difference in
    concentration when you're using 0.5 ml of syrup to mix 2 ounces of
    working solution at 1:119, but when you're mixing 2 ounces of stock and
    using 40 ml of syrup to do it, a couple drops either way hardly matters
    -- and then using 2 ml of stock to mix the working solution, a drop or
    two makes little enough difference to live with. The stock keeps just
    as well in a four ounce bottle with tight lid as it would in a liter
    bottle, and you'll use up four ounces pretty rapidly if you develop at
    all regularly. Of course, the syrup keeps almost forever as long as the
    lid is sealed...

    I may be a scwewy wabbit, but I'm not going to Alcatwaz!
    -- E. J. Fudd, 1954

    Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer
    Lathe Building Pages
    Speedway 7x12 Lathe Pages

    Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
    and don't expect them to be perfect.
    Donald Qualls, Oct 15, 2004
  4. Dickless Cheney

    Nick Zentena Guest

    I do that. I mix it up diluted already.

    Nick Zentena, Oct 15, 2004
  5. Michael A. Covington, Oct 15, 2004

  6. The reason this is a relevant question is that some developers reportedly
    need to "season" for a few hours before use.

    I suspect that if you use distilled water, and do it the same way each time
    (either "seasoning" or not), then you'll have no problem. You'll adjust
    your developing time to suit your needs, and then it will be reproducible.
    Michael A. Covington, Oct 15, 2004
  7. Here is a link to the most informative page about HC-110

    I use some special dilution as 1+79 or 1+119 with FP4+ in BTZS tubes
    with constant agitation. The results are very good even if FP4+HC-110
    are not the best film/developer combo.
    Philippe Bedfert, Oct 15, 2004

  8. This developer is not that great. It's too strong at dil B. Try D76.
    Uranium Committee, Oct 15, 2004
  9. Have a look here:

    He describes the use of Dilution H (1+63) and gives some times
    (they are for 24C developing). I personally have had a lot of
    success with this combo with HP5+ and FP4+ (10 min and 8 min,
    respectively, at rated speeds).

    Last night I used Delta 100 with HC-110 syrup mixed directly 1+49
    with water. This doesn't correspond to a neat-and-tidy Kodak
    dilution but is very close to 1+48, which I believe is Dilution E
    or something like that. By some extrapolation I came up with a
    time of 5'45" at 23C and it gave great results too.

    Jordan Wosnick, Oct 15, 2004
  10. Wow! Thanks for all the help. And thanks for the links to the pages. I never
    thunk that you could just cut B in half, and double the development time!
    How cool is that?

    Thanks again....
    Dickless Cheney, Oct 15, 2004
  11. Dickless Cheney

    jjs Guest

    Oy! How do you know when it is ready? Sniff the cork? Do you pour it from a

    (I can't see how this "seasoning" issue has escaped the manufacturers all
    these years.)
    jjs, Oct 15, 2004
  12. Well, I said "reportedly"... If true, it is probably confined to specific

    Good point. Kodak does not say, "Let your D-76 stand for 8 hours before
    using it..."
    Michael A. Covington, Oct 15, 2004
  13. Dickless Cheney

    Nick Zentena Guest

    I use tap water but the local water is pretty much the same every season.
    I know some other places have more variation in the water.

    Nick Zentena, Oct 15, 2004
  14. Dickless Cheney

    Nick Zentena Guest

    I think seasoning is mostly an issue with developers that are reused.
    Kodak sells starter to add to fresh C-41 developer. Instant seasoned tank. I
    forget the B&W developer [777?] but it's supposed to get better with age.

    Nick Zentena, Oct 15, 2004
  15. Dickless Cheney

    Tom Phillips Guest

    That's called replenishment. And it's necessary to maintain
    developer strength due to exhaustion and oxidation.

    As usual Michael is stating a photographic fallacy (or nonsense,
    whichever comes first.)

    Developers oxidize quickly at working strength. I've never heard
    of "seasoning" (which would allow for greater oxidation,) nor would
    I repeat as advice something "reputed" but not chemically confirmed
    by either literature or wide experience. D23 does not need to "season..."
    Tom Phillips, Oct 15, 2004
  16. Actually, what Nick had in mind is indeed called seasoning. It's the
    addition of silver iodide or some such compound, dissolved from the film
    that is being developed. I've heard of a seasoning compound that is added
    to developer to simulate the effect of partial use, so that it is stable and
    ready for regular replenishment, rather than being a lot more active at the
    Are you saying that I usually state photographic fallacies or nonsense?

    In any case, what I meant by "seasoning" was simply letting the developer
    age after mixing. I've heard this recommended, but I reserve judgment as to
    which developers, if any, actually require it or benefit from it. As
    someone else pointed out, commercially manufactured developers do not (as
    far as we know) say in their instructions that the developer must stand a
    while before use.
    Eh? It's not OK to ask, in this forum, whether a reported phenomenon
    actually occurs?

    Clear skies,

    Michael A. Covington
    Author, Astrophotography for the Amateur
    Michael A. Covington, Oct 15, 2004
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