Kodak D-76 is a classic and truly versatile developer which first entered the market in 1927. It provides full emulsion speed, long density range and excellent shadow detail with normal contrast and produces fine grain with a variety of continuous-tone black-and-white films.
Kodak recommends using D-76 as a full-strength stock solution. But there is no reason to use it undiluted. For greater sharpness, but with a slight increase of grain, a 1+1 dilution is typically used, which is also recommended by Kodak. It gives a long density range and allows push processing with relatively low fog.
If it is diluted to 1+3 it becomes a non-solvent high acutance developer. Non-solvent developers produce a coarser grain structure but the image will look sharper. It is because there are not many solvents with such dilution to dissolve the edge of the grain.
Fresh solution should be prepared just before developing from certain parts of stock and water. However, I personally recommend diluting it 1+3 for a better compensating effect. Once Kodak included charts for this dilution. But a few years ago they were removed from its official data. For normal processing of low contrast scenes I usually use it diluted 1+1.
Pull and push processing
For pull processing up to -2EV I recommend a 1+5 dilution that gives a great compensating effect and lowers contrast. It is very good for processing high contrast scenes. For pull processing only to -1EV I usually use a 1+3 dilution and sometimes 1+5.
For push processing up to +2EV I prefer a 1+1 dilution. To push it even more I use it undiluted, but do it quite rarely. Also, for push processing only to +1EV I use either a 1+3 dilution or 1+1 one and never 1+5.
For push processing I prefer a 1+1 dilution up to +2EV. To push it even more I use it undiluted, but do it quite rarely. Also, for push processing only to +1EV I use dilution 1+3 or 1+1 and never 1+5.
The key to stable results is strict compliance with the same rules every time you develop the film. Do not modify temperature and agitation until you get stable results with a certain dilution. If you need more or less film density, first try to increase or decrease developing time. If it doesn’t help, other dilution may be used. But the more diluted the solution gets, the lower the contrast becomes, and vice versa.
By the way, any dilution other than stock can be used only once. This is very convenient. As a result, you always get fresh solution just before developing and you do not need to put the used one back into a separate bottle after the process is over and calculate developing time for the next film, which is absolutely unpredictable. This is another key to stable results.
The times in this chart are given for the temperature of 20°C with no presoaking and the following agitation:
- 1 inversion of tank or film reel rotation for 2 sec per every 30 sec with dilution 1+1
- 2 inversions of tank or film reel rotation for 4 sec per every 30 sec with dilution 1+3
- 3 inversions of tank or film reel rotation for 6 sec per every 30 sec with dilution 1+5
To remove air bubbles from the film I tap the tank a few times immediately after the developer is poured inside. I have been using the sealed Jobo UniTank 1500 tank system for many years.
And, of course, this chart reflects my own experience. Also you may refer to The Massive Dev Chart for other films and times.
|Ilford Pan F Plus 50|
|Kodak T-Max 100|
|Fuji Neopan 100 Acros|
|Ilford FP4 Plus 125|
|Arista EDU Ultra 400|
|Kodak T-Max 400|
|Kodak Tri-X 400|
|Ilford HP5 Plus 400|
Kodak published the formula of D-76 developer in some of its photographic handbooks, for example on page 15 in “Kodak Chemicals and Formulae“. Below is the original formula of Kodak D-76 film developer for preparing 1 liter of stock solution.
|Sodium Sulfite anhydrous||100||g|
|Cold water to make||1000||ml|