The Online Darkroom Store

Friday, January 18

Tri X at 51,200 ISO!

Yes, that's right. 51,200 ISO courtesy of a new film developer from AG Photographic. In what is another boost for film-based snappers, AG Photographic is promising "incredible results" that, if true, would go some way towards reducing digital's high ISO advantage over film.

I'm always wary of such claims for new products but whether they are borne out or not it's better to have one more developer than one fewer. AG Photographic say their made-in-Germany brew is "unique" so it shouldn't just be a rebranding of an existing developer - or am I being naive?

It's a two-bath developer that can also be used as a single bath. Confused? The company says that films are initially developed in Spursinn HCD-S which is then poured out and substituted with HCD-2. AG adds, "It is possible to use HCD-2 alone as a single bath developer (times are given for this) but, for maximum flexibility, the best results are obtained with the two-bath procedure."

Best results for HP5 or Tri-X are said to be obtained at any speed between 25-25,600 ISO. HCD is supplied in two parts and comes with a set of instructions that are comprehensive enough to cover "virtually every black and white film on the market". There are even times supplied for Tri-X at 51,200 ISO, tested by the manufacturer.

AG said, "The results we have seen from this developer are really very impressive. Spursinn HCD is a unique and special developer and allows for massive flexibility in your chosen black and white film's exposure speed. HCD is almost certain to become the next 'cult' film developer like Diafine and other formulations."

Can this be a genuinely different developer? I'm not up on the Spur products, assuming that's who made it, and it's possible that something like this already exists although I'd like to think I would have heard of it by now. Read more about HCD here.

Whatever, good on AG Photographic for continuing to support film photographers. They've been expanding their operations recently which shows their confidence in the medium. Check out their new photo lab services as well which are probably the best in the UK.


Matt said...

I've used Spur HRX III, and Spur SD2525. Wasn't completely keen on the latter, but the HRX was excellent. I've seen some inflated claims for the HRX online, so I'll withhold judgement on the HCD till I try it.

However, the HRX was a good fine-grain developer, that gave full box speed and decent tonality. So maybe the HCD will be good, too.

Jan Moren said...

Would have been nice to have a few example results up on the page.


Hi Jan,

I'm not aware of any examples. The developer was just announced yesterday. If you can point me in the direction of examples I'll certainly include them if it's OK with their author.

Andy Forbes said...

Spürsinn has been available in Europe for some time now.

Searching Flickr will give plenty of examples:ürsinn

The company web site is here:


I checked out your Flickr link, Andy, but I couldn't say for certain that the HCD used in these pics is exactly the same as the new product announced by AG Photographic. I'll email AG and ask them to clarify.

double nickel said...

I'd like to try it, but sadly all my emails to the company asking about shipping rates to Canada have gone unanswered.

Al Denholm said...

I'll be giving this developer a try,as I use Tri X most of the time,that's for as long as Tri X lasts before it's all gone,anyway.

Hein said...

Most of the flickr pics that state HCD as developer are made with the version now sold by ag as the previous version was available for a quite short time only. The new version is available since april 2011 so almost everything posted after that is made with the version you can buy today. Hint: Click on newest in that search link... ;-)


Thanks for that Hein. I've sent some questions to the people who developed the developer and hope to be able to say some more about it soon.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this flickr discussion answers some of your questions?

If you have questions to a more or less neutral user of this developer, feel free to flickr-mail me.

Hein said...

Sorry, I clicked wrong. That anonymous comment was me.