Once you have it down, one of the most satisfying parts of home development is taking it to the next level is building your B&W developer. And the first developer for many photographers that they brewed up themselves, including me, is Caffenol. As the name implies, it’s a developer with a coffee base. Specifically, the caffeic acid that is found in instant coffee. While it’s easy to buy all the raw material in your average grocery store to build your caffenol, there is something nice about having a ready-made pack. And it should come as no surprise that the fine folks at the Film PhotographyRead More →

It’s not often that something new hits the market, especially something that comes out of Canada. If you haven’t heard of Flic Film, that’s okay; I only recently discovered this Canadian film lab out of Alberta late in 2021. They mainly focus on selling rebranded motion picture films, the Eastman Vision3 series and Eastman Double-X; they have a chemistry production side. But there’s a twist with their chemistry; they’re working on making it more environmentally safe. And that should come as no surprise given they are based out of Alberta with many rural properties and reliance on septic systems. And that is where Black/White &Read More →

The year was 2013, a new voice had recently joined the Film Photography Podcast, one Mat Marrash. Mat had dived headfirst into the world of film photography and had not looked back and begun speaking about a type of developer I had never heard of before, Pyro developers. Well, I was instantly interested, having myself dived headfirst into the wonderful world of home B&W development. I was also looking for something outside the normal D-76, HC-110, and Rodinal developers. Well, this Pyrocat-HD stuff seemed interesting, but getting it shipped to Canada proved difficult at the time, so with a trip to New York City inRead More →

Being in North America and raised on Kodak and Ilford developers, I did not even know that Atomal existed, other than seeing it listed on the Massive Dev chart and just passing it by as another European developer. But when I was hunting for more Rollei developers at Freestyle, I came across Atomal 49 as an ‘other people purchased’ listing. I was excited to give this a shot, and after mixing it up, I posted in a Film Photography Chat group on Facebook and asked if anyone else had used the stuff. The response was overwhelming how many people used the stuff. However, the bestRead More →

There are a couple of highly specialised and mysterious developers out there, both made by the same company. While most people are drawn towards Diafine (which I plan on reviewing next year), Acufine is the cousin of that magic bullet developer. Like Diafine, Acufine’s chemistry is a trade secret; even the datasheets are redacted in that sense. But Acufine is a rare bird; it has the capability to increase the speed of most film stocks. But without all the drawbacks of push processing, increased grain, over the top contrast. While I have worked with Acufine before the stuff was way out of date, and IRead More →

Let me start this by saying that DD-X and I have not had the best of relationships. The first time I used it I wasn’t happy with my results and decided that I was never going to touch the stuff again. But hey, almost every filmstock and developer are worth a second glance. DD-X, like its Kodak cousin, TMax developer was initially designed for use with the Delta range of films, specifically Delta 3200. Ilford has two versions of this developer, Ilfotec DD which is designed mainly for automated film processors that will use a dedicated replenisher and used in the stock formulation. White DD-XRead More →

When it comes to fine-grain developing, the developer that most people reach for today is Kodak Xtol. But Xtol is one of the newest developers to come out of Kodak, before Xtol if you wanted to tame that grain, you reached for Microdol-X. While I’m unsure as to when Microdol-X was first released by Kodak, I’ve found images online of the powder coming in cans rather than pouches. The logo style is that of 1935, so I’m guessing it was released at some point in the mid-1930s at the earliest. I stumbled across Microdol-X while visiting Pittsburg back in 2015, while my main goal wasRead More →

Several years ago, when I was starting to branch out in my home film developing, I would try a lot of different, strange, and odd-ball developers. Sure I went with the basics, D-76, HC-110, Rodinal. But as I continued to listen to the Film Photography Podcast, I started to get my hands on stranger items, PMK Pyro being the first speciality developer and from there Pyrocat-HD which has become a fast favourite. But then I heard Matt talk about a developer call FA-1027. The next trip I made to New York City, I popped into B&H and got myself a bottle. Sadly I have onlyRead More →

If there is one film developer that I will always go back to and use until they cease production (which isn’t any time soon) that developer is HC-110. Released in 1962 to little fanfare, Kodak HC-110 quickly found traction as being the developer of choice of Ansel Adams and those who use the zone system extensively. Kodak HC-110 is the third black & white developer that I ever used and became my developer of choice. Personally what keeps me coming back to HC-110 is the general-purpose use, the excellent results, economy, stability, and results that it continues to give. Kodak HC-110 has never let meRead More →

When it comes to basic bare-bones developers, you don’t get any more simple than Kodak D-76. Kodak D-76 is the common factor between professional and student photographers and everyone in between. It’s a staple in most darkrooms, you can develop film and prints with it, and for me, it was the first developer I ever used for both film and prints. And for a while, I had stopped using Kodak D-76 in my processing, but after I started reviewing films, I got back into the stuff. The reason it gives what you expect, a baseline. It also is relatively inexpensive and economical for long termRead More →