I’ve used Ilford LC29 almost exclusively for a year now so I thought it would be a good time to detail my experience with it since there doesn’t seem to be much love for it out there.

I think it’s a great solution for most casual photographers - shooting a few rolls a month at varying speeds and not having a lot of time to mess around.

  1. It’s economical The going rate is around £20 for 500ml. If it takes 300ml of diluted developer to develop a single 35mm roll film at 1+9 dilution, that’s only 30ml per roll which is ~£0.67 per roll. At 1+19 dilution that halves to £0.34. Weaker dilutions cut the cost per roll down even further.

  2. It lasts ages I go through a 500ml bottle on average every 6 months. As a general rule I add 5-10% development time for each month it has been open.

  3. It’s ridiculously versatile I can pull and push from 50 to 3200ASA without losing detail or over softening/sharpening, I can cross develop C41 with scarily clean results, I can stand develop when I can’t be bothered agitating every minute. I feel like there’s nothing this developer can’t do…

The best summary I can think of is that it’s a halfway point between a traditional developer and Rodinal - it’s great for low volume work of low and high speeds over the course of several months, all without losing too much detail to oversharpening.

My developing times

Some of the development times listed on the box and Ilford’s website are wrong!

These are the times I use, based on experimentation. All at room temperature (~20°C) and one agitation per minute, except where noted.

HP5 Plus

Speed Dilution Time
200ASA 1+19 5:30
400ASA 1+19 7:00
800ASA 1+19 10:00
3200ASA 1+9 20:00
3200ASA 1+49 50:00*

* Stand development - one agitation at the beginning and one halfway through.

Kodak XX

Speed Dilution Time
250ASA 1+29 8:00


Speed Dilution Time
50-400ASA 1+19 7:00

Samples (hover for info)