Microphen low accutance?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Ken Smith, Jul 25, 2003.

  1. Ken Smith

    Ken Smith Guest

    Has anyone else had low accutance with Microphen?I used it at 1:3
    (TMX), which is supposed to be greater accutance, but my negs look
    softer than I remember Microdol giving. I also tried to get it to
    compete with PMK but had to go 1:6, and by then it lost out both in
    terms of sharpness and tonality. So far D-23 1:3, no B solution, is in
    the lead for handling contrasty landscapes. Xtol seemed no sharper or
    better grained, and in fact didn't develope the shadow up as much as
    the D-23. But then I've had all kinds of strange and opposite results
    this summer. Mars is definitly getting to close.
    Ken Smith, Jul 25, 2003
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  2. Ken Smith

    Dick Guest

    I gave up on Microphen long ago for the same reasons. I recall it had a long
    developing time also. I was printing on Grade 3 or 4 because the negs were
    so flat.
    Try Rodinal, it is sharper, swifter and the liquid keeps for ever. Use at 25
    to 1. If the grain is not fine enough, use a slower film.
    Dick, Jul 26, 2003
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  3. Ken Smith

    John Guest

    Personally I think that Microphen is about the perfect modern developer
    and have never experienced any loss of acutance and always use 1:3. As far as
    your negs looking softer than those generated with Microdol (X?), is this a
    perception because the grain is larger ?


    John S. Douglas, Photographer
    John, Jul 26, 2003
  4. Ken Smith

    Ken Smith Guest

    Not at all. The grain looks fine, the tone is great, but the image is
    definitly without an edge to it. This is in a PMK vs. Microphen side
    by side same image test, and in a few rolls of landscapes with trees,
    which always catch the eye with fine branches indicating sharpness.
    The lens is that stinger on the 6x9 Fuji, and D-23 reveals it fully.
    I'm baffled, and wonder if I can be doing anything wrong because I
    can't imagine this would be anyones preference in a developer.
    Ken Smith, Jul 26, 2003
  5. Ken Smith

    John Guest

    Just to clarify that there is nothing in Microphen that could cause such
    an observation. Microphen (for those that don't know) is essentially ID-68

    From my site ;

    Ilfords ID-68

    Water 750 ml
    Sod.Sulfite 85 g
    Hydroquinone 5 g
    Borax 7 g
    Boric Acid 2 g
    Pot. Bromide 1 g
    Phenidone 0.13 g
    Water to make 1.0 L

    Essentially it's a Phenidone version of D-76 with a tad less sulfite.
    Perhaps the added stain of the MK formula is causing something like an
    increase in adjacency ?
    I've been using it occasionally for the last 4 years since Michael
    Gudzinowicz recommended it to me. I'd like to think that we're both pretty
    critical about image quality. I know he is but it's hard to critique oneself ;>)


    John S. Douglas, Photographer
    John, Jul 26, 2003
  6. Ken Smith

    Jorge Omar Guest

    I think it may be a matter of personal taste/view.
    I don't like my negs developed in HC-110 1+63.
    There is a whole tonal range, from blacks to whites, but they lack

    I've always prefered more active developers, highly dilluted to
    compress the whites a somewhat (HC-110 + cabonate or some from FX

    Maybe that's the case with Microphen - and your taste.

    Now, if you want to push a film, a softer developer is highly

    Jorge Omar, Jul 26, 2003
  7. Ken Smith

    Ken Smith Guest

    No, I'm sure you or Michael would not accept this. If it had
    happened in just one session I would have dismissed it, but I have it
    in a few different batches. But, whatever, lately I've had so many
    things doing the opposite of what they're supposed to, that I'm about
    to become superstitious. My "energy" is whacked, I'm sure of it.
    Ken Smith, Jul 27, 2003
  8. Ken Smith

    Dan Quinn Guest

    RE: (Ken Smith)

    How about a REAL high accutance developer. The Beutler I tested
    a few days ago was two potent. At 1:1, though, it is a low
    sulfite FX-1. Dan
    Dan Quinn, Jul 29, 2003
  9. Microphen is balanced primarily for fine grain and high speed.
    Acutance is the lowest priority.

    Try one of the Paterson developers for acutance. FX-39, for example.

    What size film are you using?
    Michael Scarpitti, Jul 29, 2003
  10. Ken Smith

    Ken Smith Guest

    120. I'm not looking for acutance. I'm looking for compensation,
    i.e. wonderful shadow detail and good highlight, which is why I tried
    this great
    shadow developer ( shadow developer?) well yes, great speed etc. and
    from suggestion, I heard, great highlight compensation. I just
    expected acutance, normal D-76 acutance at least, and was amazed at
    this fuzzy wonderland of edgelessness. I'm also amazed and beside
    myself at how contrasty PMK is. I must live in a different dimension
    than everyone else. I'm still far from the "look" I'm after. The
    remark that there is multitudes of ways to do basically the same thing
    with film is totally absurd to me. The diferences are pronounced, in
    my experience, and what I'm after, still elusive.
    Ken Smith, Jul 30, 2003

  11. OK, tell me exactly what camera equipment, film and lenses you're
    using, and what kind of developing and enlarging equipment you have.
    Also I'd like to know what kind of work you're doing. Then I'll try to
    help you.
    Michael Scarpitti, Jul 30, 2003
  12. Ken Smith

    Sherman Guest

    Have you tried Diafine? It is a two bath compensating developer (probably a
    redundant statement). I use it for 120 and 4x5 quite a bit and find it
    delivers great shadow detail and very printable highlights.

    A few nice things about it-
    * Temperature can be anywhere between 70 and 80 degrees F
    * Time makes virtually no difference as long as you give at least
    three minutes in each bath
    * The stuff can be re-used and lasts forever
    * You can develop different speed films together
    * It gives a speed increase and fine grain

    The main drawback I've found isn't a big deal; if you have a very flat scene
    (only a couple stops of contrast) the negs can be very, very flat but that
    isn't what it was designed for. With normal to high contrast scenes it
    delivers very good results.

    Sherman, Jul 30, 2003
  13. (Ken Smith) wrote in message news
    To compare developers, we are usually advised to aim for the same
    contrast. Maybe your PMK negs are just too contrasty for the effect
    you're after. For some reason my PMK negs if developed as normally
    recommended turn out rather contrasty. So I've reduced the time, as
    well as increased the exposure. I get EI=160 with Neopan400. Most
    people seem to get more.

    Just a thought.
    John Stockdale, Aug 1, 2003

  14. I'll be blunt: there's nothing on Earth as good as FP4 and Acutol.
    Michael Scarpitti, Aug 1, 2003
  15. Acutol's normal dilution is 1+9 (10% solution). 1+14 is recommended
    for further compensation. Acutol is a semi-compensating developer. It
    does not compress mid-tones, and far surpasses Beuler formulae for
    that reason.
    Michael Scarpitti, Aug 1, 2003
  16. Ken Smith

    ArtKramr Guest

    Subject: Re: Microphen low accutance?
    Maybe what he is looking for has nothing to do with developers.

    Arthur Kramer
    Visit my WW II B-26 website at:
    ArtKramr, Aug 1, 2003
  17. Ken Smith

    Ken Smith Guest

    I wish I could send this book out to some people, and see if they are
    as impressed by it as I am.
    My PMK times for Tri-X 160, APX 80, FP-4 80, Arcos 80, were always low,
    like 7-8 min, then I used the EDTA and chilled off that crazy agitation.
    Again, good stuff...not the look.
    It's probably some combo, and I will be trying Acutol/FP-4, thanks
    Michael. I'll let you know.
    Arthur, what else should I consider? I give generous exposure for the
    shadows, have tried three types of pyro, high dilution HC-110, D-23 1:3.
    Four or Five papers, though all thru a Dektol 1:2.
    Do you think it's at the paper end of the equation?

    Ken Smith, Aug 1, 2003
  18. Ken, what size film and camera system are you using? What kind of
    developing system are you using?
    Michael Scarpitti, Aug 1, 2003
  19. Ken Smith

    John Guest

    That's good !


    John - Photographer & Webmaster - http://www.darkroompro.com
    A summation of American society after 9/11:
    Never have so many known so much and yet done so little.
    John, Aug 2, 2003
  20. Ken Smith

    JCPERE Guest

    (Ken Smith)
    Have you tried flashing the paper? Bends down the highlight curve similar to
    using a compensating developer.
    JCPERE, Aug 2, 2003
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