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 →

While these days the old standbys are still excellent choices to develop your film and offer up a great deal of variety there’s something to be said about having a universal one-size-fits-all developer. I first discovered this last year with Adox FX-39 II. But I quickly fell a rabbit hole of similar developers. And I’m not talking about Diafine, but rather Rollei Supergrain. Supergrain is an updated version of Amaloco AM 74. Supergrain offers up a series of dilutions and times that will develop most films at the same associated times. Perfect if you’re shooting a whole bunch of different films but have limited timeRead 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 →

It’s funny how some developers just drop right into your lap. One of my readers, Jon Porter, wanted to know my thoughts on FX-39. And at the time I had never even heard of Adox FX-39, so I hopped onto my source for the rarer chemicals, Argentix.ca, and found that yes they did carry Adox FX-39 II. Is this new version any different from OG FX-39, not on the surface, it just has been adjusted to last longer. But that wouldn’t be a problem. I went through my first 500mL bottle quickly and in a couple of months. FX-39 is based on Neofin Red (createdRead More →

These days I will rarely work with Ilfosol 3, but it remains a developer that I always keep in the back of my mind. After learning how to develop my own black & white film from my good friend Julie using Kodak D-76, it would be a few more years before I started taking on the process full time. When I went into Burlington Camera to get all the equipment I needed to take on the daunting task some eight years ago, Joan pointed me towards Ilfosol 3 as a good starting point when you didn’t want to keep a large quantity of developer mixedRead More →

When you think of all the developers out there, D-76, D-23, HC-110, DK-50, Rodinal, these are all designed specifically for developing standard black & white films, but there is another developer that often flew under the radar mainly because it proved so industry-specific that the home photography wouldn’t even think of using the developer in their own processing. That developer is D-96, originally created by Kodak for use to develop black & white motion picture film. But the average photographer cannot get small quantities of D-96 but that’s where Cinestill stepped in releasing their own version of D96 along with the Film Photography Project. IRead More →

If I had to choose between Microphen and Perceptol, Perceptol would win every time. And it all has to do with how the developer works. If you know me, I’m a fan of the old school, not only do I shoot and develop my own film, I like older film stocks, older developers, and that classic look. And while it’s easy for me to whip up a batch of D-23, there’s just something that Perceptol does that makes it the perfect mix between new and old. If Microphen is your fast-moving friend, Perceptol is one that takes a little more time. While I wouldn’t useRead More →

When I first started with film development, my world consisted of Kodak products, D-76 and HC-110. The only other developer I used outside of Kodak was Rodinal and Ilfosol 3 (at least at first). Then in 2015, I started reviewing cameras and decided at the same time to explore Ilford more both in film stocks and developers. I stumbled upon two developers that soon became favourites, one of them is Perceptol (which I will review next month) the second is Microphen. While not a developer I use often, it offers fine grain, neutral contrast, and works for both push and pull processing. Technical Details Manufacturer:Read More →

I’ll be the first to admit; I never was a fan of TMax Developer. It was, at least in my mind initially TMax developer was a one-trick pony. Suitable for only modern T-Grain films (TMax, Delta, Acros). But that quickly changed as I started to branch out and trying to see what the developer can do with both modern film grain and classic grain. I discovered that TMax developer is something a little more than a one-trick pony. Technical Details Manufacture: Kodak Name: TMax Developer Primary Developer: Hydroquinone Type: Reusable or One-Shot Mix From: Liquid Handling TMax developer is a liquid, it runs clear andRead More →

If there is one developer that is the closest thing to a magic bullet in my chemistry set, that developer is Pyrocat-HD. While Rodinal is the oldest commercial developer, Pyro based developers pre-date Rodinal into the early days of photography, being used back in the days when plate-based photographic media were the norm. And while the developers changed overtime, Pyrocat-HD is among the newest in the category being developed by Sandy King as an improvement over PMK Pyro. Sandy promotes the developer as giving 1/3rd of a stop in film speed with about 10-15% less developing time. Along with consistent staining action and lower toxicity.Read More →