One type of developer cannot cover all situations;
for example, film exposed by poor lighting conditions
may require an active developer to bring out as much of
the image as possible, while a film exposed under
normal conditions requires a normal working developer.
There are many different developers, each provides
different activity and quality of development. The actual
choice of the developer to use depends on the type of
film, conditions under which it was exposed, type of
negative required, and the developing time that is best
for your development method.
A developer for general-purpose work should
produce moderate grain, normal contrast images. Clear
areas of the negative, as well as the image areas, should
be basically fog free.
Some general-purpose developers are as follows:
All photographic emulsions have a grainy structure.
Although this grainy structure is not normally visible to
the naked eye, it becomes visible whenever high
magnifications are used to make prints. The tendency to
use small-format film and make large enlargements has
resulted in the need for fine-grain developers.
When enlargements are made from small negatives
developed in other than fine-grain developer, the grain
of the film may be objectionable. Graininess in the film
should be controlled in the development of the film.
Keep in mind, however, that every film has its own grain
structure or characteristics. For 35mm-roll film, it is
normally best to use a fine-grain developer.
Fine-grain developers achieve the desired result in
They are usually soft working and this tends to
reduce clumping of the silver grains.
Some fine-grain developers actually produce
smaller individual grains of black metallic silver. This,
however, tends to reduce the film speed.
The grayish white images produced by some
fine-grain developers help by providing for increased
passage of light between individual grains. This results
in less local variation in density.
Most fine-grain developers produce relatively
low-contrast negatives. A reduction in contrast in the
negative tends to reduce the graininess of the negative.
However, this may not contribute significantly to a
reduction in the graininess of the final print. Any
advantage achieved by lowering negative contrast may
be offset by the need to use a higher contrast printing
filter to print the negative.
Some fine-grain developers are as follows:
To produce maximum contrast on process and line
copy type of films, you must have a developer that
produces density readily and is free from any tendency
to produce fog within the time of development.
Some of the most popular high-contrast developers
are as follows:
To prevent staining when using a high-contrast
developer, you should rinse the negative well between
developing and fixing.
A high-definition, or compensating, developer adds
increased sharpness to the image by enhancing contrast
of image edges and fine detail in the negative.
High-definition developers may increase film speed by
one or two f/stops, but they also increase graininess.
High-definition developers are recommended for use
only with fine-grain (slow or medium speed) films.
Some of the high-definition developers are as