Wednesday, March 19, 2008

D76 and you...

I was having the most satisfactory photo conversation with two real world (photojournalist) photographers at the pizza place in the underground across from the Houston Public Library archive building downtown a few weeks ago. Joel (ex-Houston Post) had just given me and Ben (ex-Houston Chronicle) a tour of the bowels of the archives where all things photographic are stored (We were there because Joel nicely contributed some no-longer-needed chemicals and paper to the up-and-coming Ripley darkroom). The archives included a 10' long contraption that resembled a commercial egg incubator used to print aerial and panoramic enlargements. Plus denizens of little and huge ingenious and homemade contraptions used to improve, ease, or maximize the use of analog photo equipment in a tiny space. Being uneducated and inexperienced, it did my heart good that even the most experienced photographer still has to depend upon good old fashioned ingenuity when it comes to using what you have. We here at Kitchen Sink laboratories feel you.

So during lunch a conversation erupted about developers which of course had me awash in photo geek glow. I waxed poetic on the finer details of Diafine and Ben and Joel schooled me on D76. They recommended D76 mixed at a 1:1 ratio with an increase time of 20%. I made sure to write it down on a napkin - which of course I promptly lost. Though I was fairly sure I remembered that formula correctly, I decided to do a little research anyways just to make sure I could rely on my admittedly compromised memory.

I am copying my results of my internet research here, instead of emailing them like I usually do.

Joel nicely provided me with some D76 so I thought I would experiment with it during the coming weeks and share the resulting images here. If you'd like to join me, I'll gladly share my chemistry with you.

Note: I'm not looking for the perfect concert flash photography developer which represents a majority of my current work. Rather, I am looking for a developer for my exposed Ilford 3200 35mm film - which looks enemic when cooked in my beloved Diafine soup. As long as I'm at it, I'll see how my Tr-X 400 reacts.

Research results...

Here is the Kodak tech sheet.

excellent article with great bibliography - basically it says that D76 diluted for push processing isn't really worth it. instead use undilute D76 plus replenisher.

this article raises points about developing film during the summer (when the water is 75 degrees) and includes a chart for ilford delta 3200. absolutely necessary since Diafine isn't cutting it for this particular film. it also suggests using dilute D76 1:2 and pulling film!

short and cocksure article
about using D76. and i quote: "This developer is good for low contrast and maximum shadow detail...D-76 may be used undiluted, but there is no advantage in doing so. The negatives, while slightly finer grained, do not exhibit the same degree of sharpness or tonal scale."

none of the above articles has any photographic examples, but i stumbled across this blog which categorizes his posts by technical details like developer, film, and camera. the link goes directly to D76 images.

Happy shooting!


shoe said...

this is THE site.

and well, i might have said this before but microphen is supposed to be the developer for ilford 3200.

i have some chemicals i don't need.

what is this ripley's darkroom?

ms. rosa said...

yeah i like digitaltruth and always go there first for a reference. a fine starting point but a starting point nonetheless.

i want to experiment with what i got so as not to be wasteful but if you got any leftover microphen i'll try it for sure!

ripley house is a multi-service center on the east end. to the best of my knowledge, the darkroom there has been largely unused since ben used to give classes there in the early/mid 90s. the idea is to bring it back up to speed and give photo classes in the summer to neighborhood youth/young adults. we're sifting through donated items now, and working on getting the enlargers re-callibrated. If anyone wants to donate cameras or film or paper, I'll gladly pick them up from you!

living in Japan said...

Yes, that's my blog with the technical links. I haven't used D76 in a while (now using mostly HC-110) but I can recommend it. It's a nice fine-grain developer. And it's cheap, too.