Ilford HP5 With Diafine


Diafine is an extremely durable, two-bath ultra-fine grain film developer with high speed yield.
Diafine can be used in a wide range of temperatures with a uniform development time for films with differing sensitivities.

I have used Diafine on and off for some time and for certain situations, I find it to be a very good developer.

You can developer at a wide range of temperatures and can even process a roll of films where expposures have been taken with different ISO ratings.

Its extremely easy to use, you simply soak the film in solution A for 4-5 minutes with a couple of gentle agitations foloowed by the same amount of time in solution B.

Everyone has their own method but I will share the way in which I use Diafine.

  1. Pre-soak the film for 3 minutes
  2. Pour in A and agitate for 2 – 3 seconds slowly every 60 seconds for 5 minutes
  3. Pour A back into its bottle and Pour in solution B
  4. Agitate for 2 – 3 seconds slowly every 60 seconds for 5 minutes
  5. Pour B back into its bottle and use water for a stop bath.
  6. Fix as normal

I have found that Diafine produces relatively low contrast negatives which is perfect for scanning. Some do say that due to the low contrast, they are not the easiest negative to print in the darkroom.  The manufacturers instructions give you an idea on what to rate different films at in order to get the best performance out of this developer.
Diafine Developer Chart
Diafine Developer ISO Chart

 I decided to do a test with Ilford HP5

Three exposures of the same scene with three different ISO ratings, (400,800,1600)
The lighting was an LED panel set to daylight positioned just the left of the setup.

The base exposure was taken from a grey card with the light meter in reflective mode.
Although the light meter is set to 200 ISO, this setting was never used because I ran out of film.

3 minute pre-soak at 75 degrees (F)
5 minutes in Part A at 75 degrees (F)
5 minutes in Part B at 75 degrees (F)

Slow agitation for the first 30 seconds followed by 3 inversions every minute

Stop and Fix:
Water stop followed by a standard 4 minute fix

Scan And Output:
Scanned as Linear Raw file in Vuescan, then converted in ColorPerfect with No adjustments.
Brought into Photoshop, slight crop and outputted as JPG with no further adjustments.

HP5 Rated ISO 400 In Diafine
HP5 Rated ISO 800 In Diafine
HP5 Rated ISO 1600 In Diafine

I personally like the developer because of the softer tones it produces, and anyone that knows me will tell you that its these softer tones that inspire me with my black and white film.

The Diafine I have was purchased from Germany but it appears they have been out of stock for some time now. There is a liquid version beed sold by Nik and Trik which I haven’t tried but from what I have heard, it does seem to perform very good.

3 thoughts on “Ilford HP5 With Diafine

  1. Fabio Urbinati says:

    Is it possible to replace the Diafine with Bellini development in two steps? I have read that it is the same product made from Ornano Formula.
    Thank you

    • ian says:

      I personally would not mix them together but when my Diafine runs out I shall be replacing it with the Belini variation of it as I have heard some very good reports about it.

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