FA-1027 is a highly concentrated, high-acutance film developer, that performs beautifully with all black and white films. It is a liquid which dilutes either 1:9 or 1:14. Among its characteristics are: the ability to produce an optimum negative with any black and white film, whether standard, random grain as found in HP-5, FP-4, Pan F, Tri-X, etc, or fabricated T-Grain films such as Ilford Delta 100, Kodak T-Max, Agfa Acros. You get the same, full information negative, only the development times change. The grain is very fine, but also very sharp. There is no soft grain fuzziness that is apparent from low activity, sulfite action, fine grain developers like D-23, D-25, Microdol-X, etc. There is no developing action on unexposed silver which creates excess fog you have to print through (as with DD-X), which can be troublesome in printing. Printing times with FA-1027 require half the exposure time they do with Ilfotec DD-X. FA-1027 maintains a precise balance between Phenidone and the developing agent Hydroquinone. It also utilizes 2 restrainers, Potassium Bromide and Benzatriazole. This accounts for it's remarkable performance. Ansel Adams, in The Negative, refers to acutance as edge sharpness. My HP-5 negatives developed in FA-1027 resemble the clear, crisply defined Tri-X / HC-110 negatives I was so used to; without the high contrast effect. Prints made from FA-1027 negatives show broad distinct breaks of tone in all areas. There is none of the D-76-like high value compression, and no loss of density in Zones VI and below as with HC-110 (the HC in HC-110 stands for high contrast). Negatives are optimum: high in local contrast, low in overall contrast, with very high acutance. Plus and minus development with FA-1027 will also yield superior negatives. The same distinct breaks of tone are in evidence, with the contrast either raised or lowered. With other developers, you'll get an overall gain or loss in density with only a slight contrast change.
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Posted by Nathan on 25th Mar 2021
I really like this developer. Although I feel there's not enough data in their "data" sheet. Part of making a developer is making sure there is sufficient data for people to use it to its full potential. I feel like their data sheet is more of a storybook/advert for the developer itself with little information regarding pushing/pulling/etc. Great edge sharpness and detail in the shadows, just as advertised.
Posted by Unknown on 2nd Dec 2018
Great, easy to use developer with good shelf life. I think I will stick to HC-110 for TMX / TMY, but getting outstanding results with FP4 and HP5. Noticeably better tonal range than I've been getting with HC-110, with comfortable development times and no loss of speed. I like.
Posted by Brian Kinney on 22nd Jul 2018
I purchased this developer because of the technical claims made. I really got tired of having to mix dry powder into stock solution with a limited shelf life. I had purchased Tmax developer for my 35mm TMY stock and really liked only mixing what I needed. So I started to look for a D76 like liquid to use for my non-T Grain film stock. I found FA-1027 and am not looking back, I love D76, but I find with my 6x6 negatives I have more control with the FA-1027, I keep the contrast without muddying shadows. I have been very pleased with this product. I have even used it on my T Grain TMY 400 35mm and it work amazingly. The price of Tmax developer can't be justified after I saw the results.
Posted by Unknown on 11th Nov 2016
This developer will meet or exceed your expectations. There is a complete list of developing times for different films. Everything I use is on this list. Tri-x HP5 TMax. I've used this developer with these films and ended up with negatives that had rich detail and very pleasing contrast. The tones from pure black to pure white are vivid and produce excellent images. I would recommend this developer to a friend.
Posted by Unknown on 26th Jul 2016
Not only is this a wonderful, versatile developer, but I recently opened a two year old sealed bottle and it worked perfectly. Great stuff!
Posted by Alex Luyckx on 23rd Jun 2016
I'm always on the lookout for new, odd, cult, relatively unknown developers, so when I heard about FA-1027 through the Film Photography Podcast I knew I had to give it a shot. Now it often takes a bit for me to warm up to a developer, but this one I was very happy with after pulling out the first sheet of Tmax 100. This is a winner, with great tone, fine grain, sharpness and clear separation without being overly contrasty. Great for any film size or type.
Posted by Jim on 27th Jan 2016
I originally bought FA 1027 to replace HC 110 which I used for years but was no longer easily available. I was pleasantly surprise that it performed well and I could mix as little or as much as I needed each time. It has fine grain, good accutance, and tonal separation. Shelf life seems to be at least 6 months.
Posted by Gordon Cooper on 10th May 2015
I have started shooting 35mm b&w after decades of nothing but 6x6, 6x9 and 4x5. Rodinal, my usual developer is not the best choice for smaller formats. After going through the current offerings, I decided to try FA-1027. So far I have developed Eastman 5222 and a (Foma?) Traffic Surveillance Film with this 1:14 @ 10 mins. @ 68F. Agitation in small tank is continuous for the first 30 seconds, then five seconds per minute thereafter. The negatives exhibit fine grain, good scale, and the developer is consistent in action. I'll next try this with Foma 200 and HP5 in 35mm. I can't give this a five star rating because I have no idea of its shelf life.