Thinking About a New Article - Two-Bath Developer for Roll Film Users
I am considering ideas for future articles in The Darkroom Underground, and I wanted to get your thoughts on one that I have been thinking about for a while.
The vast majority of the time, I work with my large format view cameras to create big negatives for my pure platinum fine art prints. When I am not focused on creating my artwork, I still love to enjoy photography and pursue things that I typically don't have the time to do. For example, I love going out on short road trips and finding old buildings and architecture. This is a perfect time to be free and use a smaller medium format or 35mm camera and roll film. I also never use a meter, just the Sunn16 rule for creating my exposures, and I started thinking that other photographers might like to know the film I use and how I develop them.
I like using my older manual cameras, Mamiya C220 TLR, Nikon F, Leica M3, for these types of adventures because I am totally free to just enjoy the scenery and not think too much. I am usually out for the entire day, which means I have a very wide range of contrasts to deal with back in the darkroom when I develop the films. I use a two-bath developer that I mix from raw chemicals, which is both economical for me because I don't use that much roll film, and I get the added benefit of producing a lot of negatives that are able to be printed in the darkroom or scanned. Analog photographers are very familiar with the challenges associated with having a wide range of exposures on a single roll of film and trying to find a balance that produces high-quality results.
If this sounds like something you would like for me to share in a future edition, I will be happy to create some fresh exposures and walk you through my entire workflow. Just send me an email and let me know you are interested in the article.
The Darkroom Underground is your analog photography magazine produced on a quarterly basis serving photographers, artists, collectors, and readers around the world. The Darkroom Underground publishes a balance of technical and creative articles in every issue along with featured photographers and their portfolios. We are pleased to offer editorial from internationally recognized photographers and writers and also publish articles and portfolios from our readers.
Keywords: analog photography, black and white, darkroom, darkroom chemistry, film, fine art, large format, photography
I' m interested on your article. I use a single bath developer but I want to know your experiences in two too.
I also like what Mr. Rolf Schmolling wrote.
well, for my 120 and 135 film I use a two bath developer SPUR HCD new which – unfortunately – is not produced any more. It consists of HCD-S and HCD-2. Though it is possible to develop in HCD-2, only, the combination of bith brings aded sharpness and finer grain. It was a bit difficult to actually gain information what kind of developer this is, because it is NOT a classic two-bath developer where the first bath brings the developing chemistry into the emulsion and the second bath activates it. One had to read through quite a lot of mystical blog-writing to get something substantial…
So HCD new (HCD-S & HCD-2) is not a classic two bath developer but instead is a combination of a comparably hard/harsh(/steep curve) working developer (HCD-S) and a (much) softer variant of the same chemistry (HCD-2). Generally one agitates for 30 seconds and then either let it stand for the rest of the cycle (HCD-S 30 seconds agitation, then stand for say 2 minutes – Tri-X 400 @400) or agitates every minute three time. That makes sense when one seeks the edge sharpness effect with a hard/harsh working developer, which one get's say with Rodinal stand development (Rotation generally is not recommended). SPUR is German chemistry firm which developed that kit for/together with a German analog equipment and chemistry seller Spürsinn (Braunschweig). Unfortunately they had a truly spectacular fall out some years ago and thus Spürsinn sold the remaining HCD new and the stuff is not made any more. Spürsinn now sells its own solution, actually a combination of three developers and SPUR yet another variant of HCD, but I found the developing times quite longer and thus inconvenient. (I do have to re-check the current situation).
Now why is that a loss for us analogists?
HCD new enables a wide range of pulling/pushing with very little penalty for grain, and I am quite unhappy that one day my supply will be come to an end. I found it quite handy when say – I need to enable normal shutter speeds for my Zenza Bronica ETRSi (645) – I can just push to 1600 or 3200. Or get even finer grain I can pull TMX to @25 or get longer shutter speeds for my beloved Tri-X 400 @100.
Though I can understand the idea for mixing my own stuff – cheap, might even be more environmentally friendly – BUT obtaining the chemistry is an additional hassle. And storing and mixing… I am vary of adding yet another shelf full of stuff.
So yes I am interested, but with that above caveat. Or maybe I could write about my experience with SPUR HCD new and its later siblings. I have mostly scanned the resulting Tri-X 400 so I wonder if that would be appropriate. Unfortunately we cannot reverse engineer the HCD new, duh. I did keep most of my information on HCD new in a DTPO database
[this is written just off the chest, didn't have the time to think much about it, will work next two days and then do some research]
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