Tag Archives: developers

Exploring Ilford – Part 4 – Microphen

Another new developer for me and when I find a new developer I’m usually excited to see how different films react to it. And to make it even sweeter the Kodak equivalent, DK-50, is a developer I had never even heard of until now! According to the Ilford Product page this is a fine grain developer designed for push processing faster films. So for slow and medium speed films I chose to shoot at box speed, while faster films I went and did some pushing.

With Ilford FP4+
In all honesty you really can’t go wrong with FP4, this is one of those films that just always looks good in almost every developer I’ve run it through and the same can be said about FP4 and Microphen. Producing next to no grain and a pleasing grain at that and amazing sharpness and contrast. While it looks great in 35mm I would love to see what it does in Medium and Large formats…but that the topic of another set of blogs coming next year!

CCR - Review 24 - Nikon F3
Nikon F3 – AI-S Nikkor 105mm 1:2.5 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-125 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) @ 20C

CCR - Review 23 - Argus C3
Argus C3 – Argus Cintar 50mm f/3.5 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-125 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) @ 20C

With Ilford Delta 100
I actually found that Microphen pretty much produced a level playing field with the tradition FP4 and the modern Delta 100 films (and actually both take ten minutes in the soup). You get again contrast on point, no grain, and just overall a very pleasing and very printable negative as a result.

CCR - Review 25 - FPP Debonair
FPP Debonair – Super Lens 1:8/80MM – Ilford Delta 100 @ ~ASA-100 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) @ 20C

Hitchcock Would be Proud
FPP Debonair – Super Lens 1:8/80MM – Ilford Delta 100 @ ~ASA-100 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) @ 20C

With Ilford HP5+
Okay so I’ll admit I’ve been giving HP5 a bad wrap through the first three parts of exploring Ilford’s chemistry line. And that’s mostly because I’ve been shooting it in 35mm format. So I’m going to even the score a little and give the medium format a shot. Now this, this is what I like my B&W films to look like, smooth grain, even tones and good strong blacks and whites. HP5 even at ASA-400 in medium format really sings especially in Microphen. It really helps smooth out the grain and gives really good contrast.

TFSM - Summer '15 - The Streets
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) 12:00 @ 20C

TFSM - Summer '15 - The Streets
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) 12:00 @ 20C

With Kodak Tri-X
I’ve always been a fan of Tri-X and will remain a fan of Tri-X to my dying day. And while I’m usually wary of taking this film out of Kodak/Pyro chemistry when I shot it and developed in Perceptol I got some great results. So with Microphen being a developer good for push processing, and I do enjoy Tri-X at ASA-800 I gave it a shot and was rather pleased with the results!

CCR - Review 22 - Canon EOS-1n
Canon EOS-1n – Canon EF Lens 35mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-800 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) 12:00 @ 20C

CCR - Review 22 - Canon EOS-1n
Canon EOS-1n – Canon EF Lens 35mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-800 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) 12:00 @ 20C

With Ilford Pan F+ There are some films that just look great with all developers and others that only look good in one or two. Then there is the odd case where you find a film and developer combination that just looks like pure magic. Pan F remains hands down my favourite film from the Ilford line but when you pair it with Microphen it just goes to a whole other level of film nirvana. Throw on a contrast filter and you probably have the perfect film at least for me.

CCR - Review 22 - Nikon F5
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D (Green-1) – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) 6:00 @ 20C

CCR - Review 22 - Nikon F5
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D (Green-1) – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) 6:00 @ 20C

Like Perceptol this developer only comes in 1L kits and when I’m using 500mL of chemistry 1 to 1 it does go through a bottle fairly quickly so this time I bought two kits right off the bat. Overall I was really happy with this developer, and will certainly use it again especially if I do a project that would be best done on Pan F. And while this brings us to the end of exploring Ilford’s film chemistry line. Stay tuned for Part 5 where I go over the best and worst in the way of Ilford products at least in my humble opinion.

Exploring Ilford – Part 3 – Ilfosol 3

Perceptol was great, especally on the classic grained film, but how about something a little more economical that would last more than a handful of rolls…enter Ilfosol 3. Ilfosol 3 was the one developer that I actually had some experience with being the first developer I tried out after Kodak D-76. According to the Ilford site it is a liquid developer designed for one-shot use with their slower films (Delta 100, FP4+, and Pan F+). And from what I had experienced in the past it worked really well with those films! So I was generally happy to have this be the developer for the summer quarter of the exploration.

With Ilford Pan F+
Ilford Pan F and Ilfosol 3 is one of the first film/developer combinations I’ve ever used, and I’m rather pleased with the results. I’m already a big fan of Pan F and with Ilfosol 3 and it continues to impress me. Producing wonderfully sharp negatives and makes the images very scannable. There’s next to no grain as well and great contrast levels!

CCR - Review 15 - Nikon FG
Nikon FG – Nikon Series E 50mm 1:1.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilfosol 3 (1+14) 4:30 @ 20C

CCR - Review 15 - Nikon FG
Nikon FG – Nikon Series E 50mm 1:1.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilfosol 3 (1+14) 4:30 @ 20C

With Ilford FP4+
While not my favourite combination the film does respond well to the developer with amazing sharpness, a bit more grain and beautiful contrast, deep blacks and clean whites. It makes for a great combo!

CCR - Review 13 - Canon F-1
Canon F-1 – Canon FD Lens 28mm 1:2.8 – Ilford FP4+ – Ilfosol 3 (1+14) 7:30 @ 20C

CCR - Review 14 - Contax G2
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – Ilford FP4+ – Ilfosol 3 (1+14) 7:30 @ 20C

With Ilford Delta 100
After first learning how to develop (Tmax 400 in D-76) I took a long break from developing my own film, time, money ect. But when I got back into it the very first roll of film I developed was a roll of Delta 100 in Ilfosol 3, well I was hooked again. With Delta 100 Ilfosol 3 produces some of the finest grain I’ve seen in a 100 speed film and an amazing tonal range, it’s as if the two were made for each other!

CCR - Review 17 - Konica Autoreflex T4
Konica Autoreflex T4 – Konica Hexanon AR 50mm F1.7 – Ilford Delta 100 – Ilfosol 3 (1+9) 5:00 @ 20C

CCR - Review 16 - Nikon FM2n
Nikon FM2 – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 (Yellow-15) – Ilford Delta 100 – Ilfosol 3 (1+9) 5:00 @ 20C

With Ilford HP5+
For some reason I keep punishing myself by taking on HP5 again in 35mm but this time I pulled it a whole stop, shooting it at ASA-200 and this time around I actually really enjoyed the film the contrast still isn’t on point, but the grain is much more manageable.

CCR - Review 18 - Kodak Signet 35
Kodak Signet 35 – Kodak Ektar Lens 44mm f/3.5 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-200 – Ilfosol 3 (1+9) 5:00 @ 20C

CCR - Review 18 - Kodak Signet 35
Kodak Signet 35 – Kodak Ektar Lens 44mm f/3.5 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-200 – Ilfosol 3 (1+9) 5:00 @ 20C

With Kodak Plus-X
While it does seem a little odd still to soup my Kodak film, especially the lovely and classic plus-x in Ilford chemistry, I’ve been souping Ilford film in Kodak chemistry for years and now it’s time to return the favour. It actually turned out really well, along the same lines as FP4+, and while there is a bit of an uptick in grain, it’s probably because the roll expired in the early 1990s and I shot it at full box speed.

Old North High Street
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Plus-X Pan (PXP) – Ilford Ilfosol 3 (1+9) 5:00 @ 20C

Old North High Street
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Plus-X Pan (PXP) – Ilford Ilfosol 3 (1+9) 5:00 @ 20C

Overall I like one shot developers, they’re clean, easy to use, and great for travel. While Ilfosol 3 is great, I don’t really see it sticking around in my chemistry stock, as I have plenty of other developers that produce similar results. What it does do is last, my stock was pretty darn yellow by the end but was still putting out the results! And there’s some level of constancy in times. I could in theory soup a roll of HP5 (shot at ASA-200), a roll of Delta 100 and a roll of Plus-X at the same time as they all take 5 minutes in the 1+9 dilution. But for those who are just starting off with their own black & white developing or if you need a catch all developer, this is a fine place to start especially if you don’t want to mess around with powder (D-76/ID-11) or figure out the HC-110 dilutions.

Classic Camera Revival – Episode 3 – Rangefinders

ccr-logo-leaf

A favoured camera of the street photography group, the rangefinder, is one of those niche cameras that is often associated with brands like Leica. However while none of us have a Leica to present this episode we have some fine (cheaper) alternatives to the Leica that are sure to get your attention. The main feature of the rangefinder is that the viewfinder is often off-set from the taking lens, and uses a super-imposed image that you ‘line up’ to get the focus. However, composing takes a bit of work. The first rangefinders were produced by Kodak back in 1916, but really got popular in 1925 with the first Leica camera.

The cameras featured on this episode are:

Minolta Hi-Matic 7s – The Upgraded version of the Hi-Matic 7, this beautiful fixed lens rangefinder has a Rokkor 45mm f/1.7 lens, hot shoe and an auto exposure system from the SRT line of SLRs. But since it takes a mercury cell is no longer usable. But being mechanical the camera still works like a charm!

The Collection - September 2012

Foggy Dew

Golden

Parking

Kodak 35 RF – The coupled rangefinder version of the original Kodak 35, this ungainly looking camera was introduced in 1940 but don’t let the weird looks fool you, it’s a solid camera with legendary Kodak optics backing it up.

kodak35

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k35-01

Olympus 35 SP – Another cult favourite of Olympus with both a centre weighted and spot metering system built in, and a 42mm f/1.7 Zuiko lens to back it all up, this compact rangefinder is very user friendly with wickedly sharp optics!

olympus35sp

oly35sp-01

oly35sp-02

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Voigtlander Bessa R – The only interchangeable lens rangefinder on the show today, the Bessa R, gives all those folks who are fans of the Leica Thread Mount (LTM/M39) a camera with TTL metering and easy loading! While not actually from the famous Voigtlander name, but rather designed and built by the Japanese company ‘Cosina,’ the the Bessa R is a solid contender.

bessa-r

bessar-02

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Of course, this is far from a complete list of rangefinders out there. In addition to the iconic Leica lineup there are some other good cameras to look at.  Such as the Yashica Electro 35G, Canonet QL17 GIII, Konica S3, and Olympus XA.

The Darkroom
A topic that will get any traditional photographer going for hours (thankfully it didn’t for this episode) is developers! Even today there are still a pile of different developers available for black and white films, and they come in two different varieties. First being powder which you combine with water to create a stock solution which can be used on its own in many cases or diluted down with water. Second is liquid, which can be mixed into a stock solution (like Kodak HC-110) or diluted straight with water into a one-shot working dilution, such as Rodinal.

Some of the developers mentioned in today’s show include.

  • Rodinal – The oldest commercial developer still in production today, however it’s known as Blazinal, Adonal, or Agfa R09 One Shot. Produces incredibly sharp images but does enhance grain.
  • Pyro Developers – These are staining developers that produce amazing tones, fine grain, and sharp images. They do leave almost a sepia stain on the negs. Two types are mentioned, Pyrocat-HD and PMK Pyro, both are avalible from Photographer’s Formulary.
  • Diafine – This unique two bath developer (don’t mix the two baths) will produce ultra-fine grain, and increase film speed, sharpness, and resolution. Oh and the stuff lasts forever!
  • Kodak Xtol – A powdered fine grain developer from Kodak that produces good sharpeness and fine grain. It’s also one of the more environmentally friendly developers out there being based on Vitamin C. The downside is that you have to mix it up 5 liters at a time. A jerry can is a good idea for storage.
  • Caffenol – a developer that you can mix up yourself and you can make it in so many different ways. At the core is instant coffee, then you add additional stuff to change the results. Best part there’s nothing really dangerous that mixes in with it, just don’t drink it. Co-Host Alex did a good experiment with Caffenol a year or so back.
  • Kodak HC-110 – One of the more interesting developers because of the alphabet dilution table, and introduced without much fanfare. You can mix it up as a stock solution and dilute from there, or just dilute straight from syrup. If you want that ‘Tri-X look’ HC-110, Dilution B.
  • Kodak TMax Developer – Designed for use with the T-Grain (TMax) films, but don’t let that scare you, this is a fantastic developer that makes most film (even Tri-X and Plus-X) sing! There’s a little more grain but you do get nice sharp negs.
  • Ilfosol 3 – A general purpose film developer designed for use with slower films with great results especially with Pan F and Delta 100

If you want to try mix up your own developers you can find a pile of great recipes online at the Unblinking Eye. Also check out the Massive Dev Chart to get starting developing times. If you’re just starting out with film developing a good one to start with is Kodak D-76 or Ilford ID-11, as it’s cheap and works with almost every film out there! And more importantly don’t be afraid to experiment and find your favourites that get the results that you want! Just note that if you order liquid developers from US distributors you may not be able to ship them across the border, you may even face some restrictions with powder as well. New York City isn’t that far away and totally worth the trip just to see the awesomeness that is B&H!

If you are in the Toronto area be sure to check out host, John Meadow’s first gallery show: The Silver Path. Running from the 10th of April to the 19th. Check out his site for more details: johnmeadowsphotography.wordpress.com/the-silver-path-film-photography-by-john-meadows/!

Looking for a place to get this chemistry, check out Burlington Camera, Downtown Camera, or Film Plus if you’re in the GTA region of Ontario, if you’re on the West Coast (British Columbia) check out Beau Photo Supply. Additionally you can order online at Argentix (Quebec), the Film Photography Project or Freestyle Photographic.