My Developer Options for Ilford Harman Direct Positive Black and White Paper

April 04, 2016  •  6 Comments

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I love the simplicity of Ilford Harman Direct Positive Black and White Fiber Paper.  I like the classic look of this medium and it is an added benefit that the paper is fiber opening up a wide array of creative options via toning techniques.  

I am sharing the developers that I use along with the details that have proven to provide me with repeatable and consistent results.  I tested Diafine, Rodinal, Ilford Multigrade and Dektol.  Based on my desire to achieve maximum black (DMAX) I settled on Ilford Multigrade and Rodinal.  For repeatable consistency, I decided to test in my Jobo system.  I use a larger Jobo unit in my darkroom and a smaller version when I am on the road and in the field.  I like to develop my prints after I expose them.  This is especially helpful when I am in the field so that I can get feedback and make adjustments if I prefer to do so.

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My development details are listed below:

Ilford Multigrade 1:15 20C Jobo 6min
Rodinal at 1:10 20C Jobo 8min

2830 Jobo Print Drum for 8x10 (100ml per 8x10 sheet)
Ilford at 1:15 - (93ml water + 7ml dev)
Rodinal at 1:10 – (90ml water + 10ml dev)

2840 Jobo Print Drum for 11x14 (120ml per 11x14 sheet)
Ilford at 1:15 - (112ml water + 8ml dev)
Rodinal at 1:10 – (108ml water + 12ml dev)

8x10 paper at B&H Photo is $56.22 USD for 25 sheets and 11x14 is $43.33 for 10 sheets.  Since there is no need for a negative and paper, I find the cost very reasonable at $2.25 USD per sheet for 8x10 and $4.33 for 11x14.  

I look forward to your comments and questions.

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Tim Layton Fine Art
Hi Tomi, thanks for your question. The first thing that comes to mind is your ISO rating of the paper. Make sure you read this article - How to Determine Your ISO Rating for Ilford Harman Direct Positive Black & White Paper -

The other thing is I have no idea how you are metering, so that would be my second area of concern if the ISO rating is correct. Keep me posted on how you are doing.


I have a 4X5 camera with 70mm lesns f8-f64

I was trying to develop some positive paper. I tried several exposure times (under ca 3kw of lights 5500k) from few secons to 4-5 min and either the paper was completly wite or the photo was barely visible.....

Any suggestions? I used ilford multigrade. 1:9
Tim Layton Fine Art
Hi Gerlad, thanks for your comment. Thanks for the insights on the other developers!
Gerald Figal(non-registered)
I've tried all of those developers listed on DPP except Diafine. I would add to that list Kodak Selectol Soft -- it does a good job drawing out midtones without preflashing. But it's only my second favorite--Caffenol is hands-down the best, imo. It's only drawback is that it exhausts very quickly when using it on paper. But, it's very cheap to make with OTC ingredients.
just read up on this iso 1 ~ 3 paper.
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