Kodak D-76H Eco-Friendly B&W Film Developer Formula

December 13, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Kodak D-76H Eco-Friendly B&W Film Developer Formula by Tim LaytonKodak D-76H Eco-Friendly B&W Film Developer Formula by Tim Layton D-76H is a modified version of the classic D-76 formula.  It is my understanding that Dr. Haist was looking for a way to counteract the increase in pH levels as D-76 aged and he discovered by removing hydroquinone it gave him the results he was looking for.

I have personally let a commercial bottle of D-76 age for over a year and I didn't see any increase in pH levels.  Since we really don't know the exact makeup of commercially produced formulas, the modern day version may be different than the formula Dr. Haist modified several decades ago. 

A really good side effect of eliminating hydroquinone from the developer, is the lowering of toxicity levels and that is always a good thing in my book. Hydroquinone is a known carcinogenic (known to cause cancer).  While the eco-friendly side of the equation wasn't probably in the original motivations for modifying the D-76 formula, I will take the improvement and feel better about using this incredible developer. Effectively there is no downside to using D-76H.  By mixing the formula yourself, you not only know exactly what ingredients are used, but your bank account will be happy too.  

D76-H can be used as a stock solution or 1:1. I personally use it as a one-shot developer diluted at 1+1 because I believe I get even better shadow detail.

To establish the correct development time for your black and white film, you really should properly test your film to identity the true film speed (EI) and then validate (N) normal, (N+) expanded, and (N-) contracted development times.

You may want to also check out my B&W Analog Photography Formulas page where I have a bunch of additional formulas for everything from film and paper developers to stop baths and fixer formulas too. 

Free Analog Photography Journal by Tim LaytonFree Analog Photography Journal by Tim Layton If you are a roll film user or you don’t need accurate or repeatable results with your films, use the Massive Dev Chart development times for D-76 as a good starting place.

Since D-76 is the standard for all black and white film developers, the technical information sheet for your specific film will most likely include a suggested development time for D-76 as a place to get you started if you don't want or need to develop your negatives with a high degree of accuracy. 

A good strategy if you don't want to test your film is to rate your roll film at two-thirds or one-half box speed and develop for 10% less than the suggested time.

I have tested HP5+ in D-76H using my Jobo CPP-3 processor and determined EI rating to be 200 with a N (normal) development time of 7 minutes.

If you like the information in this article, then you will love being part of my new Analog Photography Community where we share additional member only details in addition to creating exclusive video tutorials, and detailed articles every week to help analog photographers take their creative vision and technical skills to a higher level. 

D-76H Film Development Formula

Formula to prepare 1 liter of the stock developer

Distilled Water @ 125F/52C 500ml

Metol - 2.5g
Sodium Sulfite (anhydrous) - 100g
Borax (decahydrate) - 2g
Distilled water (chilled) to make 1 liter

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Mixing Instructions

  • Heat 500ml of distilled water to 52C/125F in a clean 1000ml+ graduate
  • Dissolve 2.5g Metol in a separate and clean graduate with distilled water and then add to main 1000ml beaker
  • Dissolve 100g Sodium Sulfite in a separate and clean graduate with distilled water and then add to main 1000ml beaker
  • Dissolve 2g Borax in a clean and separate graduate using distilled water and then add to the main 1000ml beaker
  • Add chilled distilled water to the main 1000ml beaker to make 1000ml at 20C

Tip: I keep a one gallon jug of distilled water in the darkroom refrigerator at all times for this purpose.

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