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My CineStill DF96 experience

June 2018 CineStill sent me a bottle of their new developer with no further instructions what to do about that. The instructions on the bottle was the only available information at that time. So let’s say I just got some bad luck 🙂

I’ve developed 5 rolls of film with it during the summer: Ilford Delta 100, Kodak Tmax 100, Fuji ACROS, Ilford HP5@1600, expired Agfa ORTHO 25.

I was coming out of the original communication that this is a universal developer and you can use it with any film with no development time adjustments.

Turns out that’s not the case and today we can find the film rate chart on the website suggesting doubling the development time for… All Tmax and Delta stocks. Which means I basically underdeveloped or underfixed those two rolls. Or both. So that was bad luck number 1 for me.

Kodak Tmax 100

Ilford Delta 100

I also had around 15 exposures roll of HP5+ and I was curious to push it 2 stops with the developer. As I recently learned CineStill doesn’t mention anywhere you can push any stock two stops with DF69. The film chart they have on their website suggests only 1 stop pushing/pulling is possible.

So that was my bad luck number two. I heated the developer +10°F per stop resulting in 100°F or 38°C. Negatives came out rather grainy to my taste, even for HP5.

Ilford HP5@1600

The only rolls I’d consider to be a success was Fuji ACROS. Which is not a surprise. According to the film chart Fuji ACROS should be developed normally. I’m very pleased with the results or I just love ACROS in general.


The last roll of expired AGFA ORTHO 25 was a total failure. Either I didn’t account for the expiration date enough or it also not suitable for the normal development time with the DF96. I didn’t even bother scanning it.


As it goes with any new technology or solution, one should be making their own experiments and research or allow for some time until folks like myself will collect and describe all the bad apples 🙂

I’ve seen people on youtube getting amazing results with the developer when closely following the film chart. So learn from my mistakes, check if anyone has tested your favourite film stock already and then give it a try!


Dmitriy Rozhkov
I'm a Software Engineer with a passion for photography. Engineering mindset and curiosity push me to experiments.

One Reply to “My CineStill DF96 experience”

  1. Hi Dmitriy , thank you for your review. Can you confirm what temperature and time you used for Acros? Was it Acros 100 II?

    Thanks again John

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