This article was last time update in February 2009. As I am using digital process from 2007 and I did close my wet darkroom in 2009, I am not anymore updating these information. You still may find them useful, but it is quite possible that as time goes some of the films and chemicals will be more and more difficult to get.
In any case, knowledge described here is what I have accumulated in period of fifteen years looking for the ideal film and developer combination for particular situation. Of course all this is subjective view and it is very much influence by what I find nice and interesting.

Fuji Across 100

Paterson Aculux II

Low sensitivity film – 50ASA

I was fighting with Fuji Across in different developers and at the end I manage to get great tones with my favorite Paterson Aculux II only trick was to expose it at 50ASA. At I have got alternative to Kodak 125PX but with much smaller grain.

Following description is for bright sunny day – contrast light, though the first example image is for sunset time under the tree.

Developing procedure

Fuji Across 100@50 ASA in Aculux II 1:9 @20C 9:00min
dev  : first minute 15sec nonstop inversions
       rest of time each minute 1 inversion
stop : water 1x30sec
fix  : 5x60sec Amaloco X89 1:4
       clean: 3x60sec Amaloco  H-8 1:7

Examples:

Kodak 125PX

Paterson Aculux II

Normal sensitivity film – 100ASA

I have tried different normal sensitive (100ASA) films. I did try Fuji Across 100, Kodak TMX, Ilford Delta 100, FP4+, Maco 100up and maybe some others.

When I did develop first time Kodak 125PX in Aculux II I couldn’t believe my eyes. Such a beautiful tone scale and smooth transition, nice contrast. I just love it! Grain is little bit bigger than one would expect for 100ASA film but it is not intruding one view on print. It just add on the atmosphere of the print.

What I especially like on this film is that highlight are perfectly controlled. You can shoot with bright sky at the back and you 100% sure it will not blow up.

I used Fomapan 200 from Jun 2006 instead of hard to find Kodak 125PX.

Developing procedure

Kodak 125PX 125@125 in Aculux II 1:9 @20C 7:00min
dev  : first minute 15sec nonstop inversions
       rest of time each minute 2 inversions
stop : water 1x30sec
fix  : 5x60sec Amaloco X89 1:4
clean: 3x60sec Amaloco  H-8 1:7

Examples:

Fomapan 200 Creative@100

Fotospeed FD10

or

Aculux II

I decide to exposed Fomapan 200 on 100 ASA only to get better quality. And matter of fact I was looking for 100ASA film anyway.

The results amazed me. The image look was very much like Kodak 125PX, so the way I like it and the grain is much much smaller, actually on prints up to A4 not visible at all. I did try two developers with it. My favorite Paterson Aculux2, which I immediately get acceptable results and I did not investigate further mainly because I did also try Fotospeed FD10 as possible replacement for Aculux2. In this case I did a much more test and develop in different ways. The results are excellent. I made couple of prints.Developing procedure

Fomapan 200 creative 200@100 in Fotospeed FD10 1:9 @20C 8:00min
dev  : first minute 15sec nonstop inversions
       rest of time each minute 2 inversions
stop : 1x30sec Amaloco S10 stop bath + water 1x30sec
fix  : 5x60sec Amaloco X89 1:4
clean: 3x60sec Amaloco  H-8 1:7 than 5min water circulation

 

Fomapan 200 creative 200@100 in Paterson Aculux II 1:9 @20C 6:00min
dev  : first minute 15sec nonstop inversions
       rest of time each minute 2-3 inversions
stop : 1x30sec Amaloco S10 stop bath + water 1x30sec
fix  : 5x60sec Amaloco X89 1:4
clean: 3x60sec Amaloco  H-8 1:7 than 5min water circulation

Examples with FD10:

Examples with Aculux II:

Fuji Neopan 400

Paterson Aculux II

High sensitivity film – 400ASA

This is my best 400 films from all I have tried. For a long time I was using Kodak TMY with xtol 1:1, but after three years I have switched to this combination and I am happy. I was using Neopan for more than seven years until I switched to digital and I can tell you, I knew how to control it and develop it based on contrast of the photographed scene.

Developing procedure

Fuji Neopan 400@400 in Aculux II 1:9 55ml+495ml=550ml @20C 12:00min
dev  : first minute 15sec nonstop inversions
       rest of the time each minute one inversion
stop : water 1x30sec
fix  : 5x60sec Amaloco X89 1:4
clean: 3x60sec Amaloco H-8 1:7

Examples:

Fomapan 400

Paterson Aculux II

or

FotoSpeed FD10

If there was problem with Neopan 400 availability I replace it with Fomapan 400. I am using now Fotospeed FD10 rather than Paterson Aculux II, which is not in production anymore and Aculux III I never tried.

Developing procedure

Fomapan 400@400 in Aculux II 1:9  @20C 12:00min
dev  : first minute 15sec nonstop inversions
       rest of the time each minute 1 to 2 inversion
stop : 1x30sec Amaloco S10 stop bath + water 1x30sec
fix  : 5x60sec Amaloco X89 1:4
clean: 3x60sec Amaloco  H-8 1:7 than 5min water circulation

 

Fomapan 400@400 in FotoSpeed FD10 1:9  @20C 10:00min
dev  : first minute 30sec nonstop inversions
       rest of the time each minute 1 to 2 inversion
stop : just water 1x30sec
fix  : 4x60sec Amaloco X89 1:4  or Amaloco X55
clean: 3x60sec Amaloco  H-8 1:7 than 5min water circulation

Examples:

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