The staying indoors because of the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed me to work on several projects that I been neglecting for several months now. This time, I decided to develop some film I’ve been neglecting for several years.
Originally I’ve ether been sending my film off for processing, or developing it myself. I’ve been rather lazy about doing it myself again at home, although I have been developing my own black and white and color film for 50 years now. I did some processing two years ago and now with the stay at home order, I decided to do some more. I discovered Cinestill’s DF96 Monobath single-step solution. I heard about this developer/fixer combination a couple of years ago, but I was a little sceptical on the results. This time around I decided to try it.
I loaded my Nikon FM2 with a 36 exposure roll of ILFORD HP5 PLUS. I shot indoors in available light and bright sun outdoors. I decided to stick to basics: 50mm Nikkor lens with a light green filter attached. After processing the film following the directions, I was surprised by the results. The tonality was good and I learned that a number of photographers who used this developer had problems with detail in the shadows area. I was prepared for this but discovered that I had no loss of detail at all and yielded excellent blacks after scanning.
After my test, I went on to process six rolls of film. I got various results daily because of the various brands of film and the age of the rolls. I’m a little afraid to try push processing without doing some testing. I was also concerned about the archival qualities but if I followed the instructions properly, I should have no problems.
I was happy with the results and will continue to use this solution for standard processing of most of my B&W film. I do recommend this developer for beginners and traveler who want to process this film while on the road. Somewhere down the line I will experiment with push processing to see what kind of results I can achieve
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