Earlier today Nick and I did a little experiment. We wanted to know if there really was a difference between the CineStill Df96 Monobath and the 4 step Ilford process. We did a fun little video that I will link below, but for those who like to read, this one is for you! 😉
Nick and I both thought that the monobath would fall flat to the Ilford developing chemicals. We were predicting that the monobath negatives would be less clear and contain a lot of grain and that the Ilford chemicals would create crisper lines and creamier textures. Nick thinks creamier textures sounds odd, but I say it works 😉 We started by taking a whole roll of 400 ISO HP5 35mm and Nick’s Canon EOS 650. While in the developing bag, I clipped the film about half way to separate the film into to even lengths. I loaded both into separate tanks so we could develop the same roll with separate chemicals. Unfortunately, our Fixer has gone bad! It ended up leaving a haze on the negatives. As you can see below the 3 rows on top are with the Ilford chemicals and the lower 3 are using the monobath. They are darker because something went wrong with the fixer process. It has either gone bad or was improperly diluted. We will have to do this experiment again with a new mix of fixer but we were quite pleased with how the monobath performed. The images had more contrast, but were clear and crisp.
Here are some side by side comparisons of both developers. We are not sure as of yet which is better, but because of bad chemicals we choose monobath for this round. In the same breath, you can clearly see how even though the monobath was clearer this round, they are also very highly contrasted and grainy. Enjoy the side by side comparisons below!
Ilford versus Monobath
Ilford on Left and Monobath on Right
I hope you enjoyed this first comparison test of these two chemicals. Here is the YouTube video we made to accompany this post.