Rollei SPUR HRX Developer


I was recommended this developer by fellow film shooter, Pjotr Utkin. As always, I tried to research it but to be honest there is little information on the web relating to real life experiences with it.

I will come clean and admit that I thought I would test it with a roll of Fomapan 100 which I normally reserve for testing new (to me) cameras as it is cheap by comparison with, say, Ilford Delta 100. I have never regarded it as being sharp and the grain sometimes ressembles gravel during a sandstorm! 🙂

I shot the Fomapan 100 film over a couple of days on my Bronica ETRS using a variety of Zenzanon lenses (40mm, 75mm and 150mm). For those unfamiliar with the ETRS, it shoots 6 x 4.5cm medium format images and so are not the largest in this genre. I have attached some examples of the results to this post.

SPUR HRX developer comes in two bottles, Part ‘A’ and Part ‘B’. It comes with a data sheet which gives details of its properties, how to mix it and, off course, safety instuctions. There is an extensive list of films along with dilution ratios and times/temperatures.

One interesting factor, to me at least, is that in some cases, it is recommended to shoot some films at different ISOs to that on the box. For instance, it is recommended to shoot TMax 400 at ISO 320.It is therefore advisable to check the supplied chart before shooting a new film type if you intend using this developer. Of course, the more adventurous may like to conduct their own experiments!

The data sheet describes this developer as follows,

“SPUR HRX is the successor of SPUR HRX-3 New. SPUR HRX is a development technique for all black-and-white films that is primarily optimized in view of achieving the highest possible fineness of grain. With most films, SPUR HRX is substantially more apt to exploit speed than its predecessor HRX-3 New. Contrary to other fine-grain developers SPUR HRX delivers high sharpness and outstanding detail contrast. Another advantage of HRX is its superbly sophisticated tonality due to the ideal, linear gradation curve gradient. The middle tones are thus very subtly differentiated even in soft development (N-1 to N-3), thus preventing dull or flat results. The gradation control and hence the zone system suitability HRX-3 New are retained in the new HRX.”

I followed the instructions and developed the film for 11.5 minutes at 20deg.C with continuous inversions for the first minute and one inversion every minute thereafter. I have to say SPUR HRX delivered what it promised. The results produced fine grain and excellent sharpness along with great contrast.

I had a couple of shots that I was disappointed with but that was down to poor exposure on my part. I will get around to post processing them later. In the (very) old days, I would have vanished into the darkroom and spent hours dodging and burning the images in an attempt to resurrect them. Now I shall resort to software!

Limited post-processing was done to remove dust spots and to remove the occasional geometry issues in PhotoLab 4. This a lightning tool when it comes to spot removal IMHO.

That’s it for now. Will I continue to use SPUR HRX? Most definitely …. so long as I can justify importing it from Germany. 🙁

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