Mickey one of problems with this type of reducer is you gain contrast.
What is needed is a proportional reducer such as permanganate-persulphate, as this will lower contrast. Farmer's reducer, if used very weak, will also work - according to the Ilford Manual of Photography.
...on the other hand use photoshop - it's cheap (?) and easy (?).
Question Dave. If there is any detail in the dark areas of the negative would it not be lost when the negative is scanned to the computer?
If there is detail and the scanning can pick it up then Photoshop is, indeed, the way to go.
I've pondered over the scanning process several times, and I'm still unsure of the answer. I think the answer might be to turn off all the automatic this-and-thats and do several scans at different settings, then combine them with an HDR (high dynamic range) programme. Vuescan allows you do do multiple passes (up to 15, I think) of the same image. I don't know if each scan is given a subtlety exposure/contrast or whatever from the last or if it's just a case of equal scans being combined. I have tried it - but only on what are reasonably exposed shots in the first place - and I'm not sure there is that much difference from a single pass. Perhaps it needs a "poor" negative to show it working at its best.