In order of priority, the characteristics I value of a film developer are:
- Ease of use
- Capabilities (push processing)
The Ilford Photo Film processing chart serves as an excellent reference for common films and developers. As with color reversal, development times can be interpolated ⅓-stop increments:
Note: Prices were calculated USD as of January 2023.
I have always had great success with Ilford DD-X. Mix a room temperature, and is ready to use immediately. The only downside is the short shelf life.
5 liters (1+4) ÷ 450ml ≈ 11.1 rolls
Final cost: $3.10/roll
Ilford Microphen has worked very well with HP5+, but left thousands of tiny spots on FP4+. It is difficult to mix properly, requires heating, and 200ml of solution is left over and usually wasted.
1 liter ÷ 450ml ≈ 2.2 rolls
Final cost: $5.00/roll
Kodak D-76 provides predictable results, requires effort to mix since it is a powder that will not completely dissolve at room temperature.
1 gallon ÷ 450ml ≈ 8.4 rolls
Final cost: $1.25/roll
The canonical name seems to be Aga Rodinal, but this formula is made by other manufactures such as the Compard R09 . Rodinal has a reputation for a long shelf life, and is easy to mix since it is a liquid.
5 liters (1+25) ÷ 450ml ≈ 28.8 rolls
Final cost: $0.54/roll