Ilford MG Developer

Discussion in 'Talk About Darkroom Work' started by Ian-Barber, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Admin Staff Member Registered User

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    Ive just switched from using Fotospeed developer to Ilford MG developer. The Ilford appears to be more contrasty than the Fotospeed or could it be my imagination.
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    There can be slight differences in contrast between standard developers. Of course there are also contrast developers and soft working developers but you don't really need to use them with MG papers, they are needed with graded papers particularly Ilford Galerie.

    Ian
     
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  3. Alan Clark

    Alan Clark Member Registered User

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    A good few years ago the black & white photography group I was in at the time invited a Welsh photographer, well known on the club circuit, to give us a lecture. She had a formidable reputation and went by the nickname of The Welsh Dragon. After her lecture a friend, rather bravely, showed her some of his prints. She jabbed a finger at one and said, " The blacks aren't deep enough!". Then she jabbed a finger in his chest and ordered him to "Get some P.Q. developer." So he did.
    A short time later we had another lecturer who told us the way to get deep blacks AND nicely gradated highlights was to use two developers. First you put the print into strong Dektol, 1+4. As soon as something started to appear you pull the print out and place it in a weaker developer of your choice. Yes, this was for Multigrade paper, so he said.
    Some time later my friend gave me some PQ and some Dektol developer. I think he had tried them with inconclusive results. At the time my paper developer of choice was Agfa Neutol WA. But out of interest I decided to try the PQ, and also the 2 bath trick with Dektol followed by dilute Neutol WA. I went through all the motions and also printed the negative just with Neutol WA. The paper was Ilford MG4 Fibre.
    I soon came to some definite conclusions.
    The PQ didn't produce very deep blacks.
    The Dektol made the prints look cold.
    The Dektol + Neutol WA seemed to increase contrast in a not very nice way.
    The prints developed in just my normal Neutol WA at 1+9 looked best. No doubt about it. So the Dektol and the PQ went down the sink, and I carried on with Neutal WA as normal.

    I have just dug all these test prints out and had a good look at them. And guess what? They all look the same!

    Alan
     
  4. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member Registered User

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    LOL! First, I'm thinking that with my personality I'd have a bit of a problem with anyone jabbing a finger into my chest; ain't gonna happen. That said, years ago I used the Selectol-Soft / Dektol combo, as used by several famous photographers at the time, to reduce contrast in graded papers with moderate success. Nowadays, I'm using an Amidol / water bath combo to do the same with contact printing papers and, again, it's reservedly successful; really not that much difference between the normally developed print and the water bath treatment. Over the years, I've come to the conclusion that it's much more efficient and preferable to tailor your negative to the paper (graded) or use multi-grade paper.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    Selectol-Soft/D165 is the same formula as Ilford's ID-3, and Agfa Adaptol. I used to keep ID-3 and ID-14 a Press/Contrast developer on my darkroom shelf when I used Graded papers, my main paper developer at that time was Ilford PQ Universal.

    The Ilford Galerie paper grades are much wider than other graded papers so you really need to have these developer choices to ge the best from the paper. At one time Ilford used to recommend Dr Beers Variable Contrast developer and it was published in the data sheet for Galerie paper.

    I now only really print on warm tone papers and one issue is different developers have an effect on image colour. I stick to using Ilford ID-78 which I mix to commercial strength, Ilford Warmtone developer is based on it and Neutol WA is almost identical.

    Ian
     

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