2 bath film developers?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Sim2, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. Sim2

    Sim2 Member

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    Hi there,

    Not posted for ages, been content with enjoying reading the posts etc - but here we go again!

    does anyone have experience with using 2 bath developers for film? Silverprint has two products listed - Tetenal Emofin & Speedibrews Resofine. I have used neither but understand a bit on how they should be used.
    Questions: Does anyone know the capacity of the packs? i.e. assuming they are not one-shot use, how many films can the 1 liter packs dev ?
    Any tales/experience/suggestions users may like to share, very welcome.

    Sim2.
     
  2. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    The A bath can last a very long time if properly stored. Some volume is lost from carryover to bath B. Bath B will darken from oxidation products and should be replaced if film begins to be stained. I use a two bath developer occassionally for negatives taken with simple cameras like the Kodak Hawkeye which have no exposure control. I only used a commercial product once (Diafine) and found their claims for speed increase to be inflated. I now prefer to mix my own. Divided D-23 contains only 3 ingredients and is very economical. You can also find formulas for divided D-76 and also Diafine substitutes on the net.
     
  3. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Why would you want to do this?
     
  4. Sim2

    Sim2 Member

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    Er, well why not? Apologies for asking advice/experiences with a process...sheesh.
     
  5. filmamigo

    filmamigo Member

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    Why not?

    I enjoy the results I get from Diafine. I also appreciate not having to be a chemist to use it. I only measure and mix very rarely, mostly my bottles of Diafine are ready to use. I don't have to control temperatures in my kitchen sink/darkroom lab, because if I'm comfortable, so is Diafine. I can focus on fewer variables (like camera exposure) because once I have tested a film to determine the effective speed, Diafine gives me perfectly repeatable results every time. I can process quicker because I can put lots of films together in a big tank, regardless of brand or ISO.

    What's not to like?
     
  6. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I've never used 2 bath developers before. Is there an advantage using a 2 bath soup?
     
  7. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Can you define the advantages of 2 bath development?
     
  8. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I use Diafine frequently. For some films (Tri-X and Pan F+ mainly) I love it. It gets the most effective speed without excess contrast that I've seen from Tri-X (I shoot at EI 1250 in daylight, a bit less tungsten but can get by with the developer recommended 1600 in daylight - normal to even slightly flat but easily boosted in printing contrast, good shadow detail.) For Pan F+ it gets a touch more speed (I shoot it at 64) and tames the highlight contrast nicely.

    Why? Well the above reasons, plus while it's expensive to buy these days it lasts practically forever. In my poor high school and college days I used it as my only developer for reasons of economy. I've put 60 rolls of 35mm through one quart of it. Be very careful not to contaminate the A solution with ANY of the B (the other way does no harm and is normal due to carryover) and this is quite normal. It's also stone simple to use. Any temperature from 70-85, 3 or more minutes in each bath. As long as those minimums are met, they are entirely non-critical. Some films want 4-5 minutes. If you want you can just settle of 5 in each bath for all as it will make no difference. You can soup different films together if you want. I have recently processed Pan F+ at 64 and Tri-X at 1250 together in the same tank on two reels with great results.

    It's not my only or even most used developer now, but is' a good one to have in the tool kit.

    From a 6x6 Pan F+ negative, EI 64, Diafine, Yashicamat 124:

    [​IMG]
    Apalachicola Beach 1 by Roger Cole, on Flickr
     
  9. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I agree with much of this. Some things "not to like" though:

    1. If you shoot with a camera that reads DX coding some films are going to be exposed more than you'll like. Not a factor for me, but I have a friend wanting to learn darkroom work. I'd steer her to Diafine for simplicity except she has an autofocus auto-DX code SLR and I'm not sure it can be over ridden. I'd need to find out.

    2. No flexibility. It does what it does and that's all it does. Often that's fine but you can't increase development for more contrast or decrease for less. I haven't even tried it in 4x5 for this reason.

    3. It doesn't tend to work well with some films. I know some people like it for TMX and TMY but I tried it and hated it. YMMV. It tends to work better, in my experience and for my tastes, with traditional style films.
     
  10. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Have you compared this with single bath development?
     
  11. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    What do you mean? Yes, I've developed every film I use with Diafine in other, single bather developers. I like Diafine, but I don't use it exclusively.

    I have certainly compared it to pushing Tri-X in several other developers. I like the results I get with Diafine at 1250 better than I got with anything else including D76 and T-Max and Xtol.

    Now if you mean "did I take that shot and also develop single bath" no, of course not. I had Pan F+ in the camera and exposed for what I planned to do with it. I don't mean to imply no other developer would have given as good or maybe better results. I just posted it to show that Diafine can give good results. At least, I like that one. :smile:
     
  12. voceumana

    voceumana Member

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    Why use 2-Bath develoers:

    1. They are easy to use and hard to mess up--almost foolproof. Almost impossible to overdevelop, and not very sensitive to temperature.

    2. They give quality negativeswithout obsessing about type of developer.

    3. For roll films, they allow for a mix of lighting and contrast without changing development method. This is "compensation" and sometimes important for exposures with a wide range of values; it keeps the highlights from blowing out.

    D-23 and D-76 (traditional Metol based developers) can be compounded as 2-bath versions and are good ones to start with. Some, like Diafine, are more agressive, and provide some speed increase (maybe?), typically using phenidone as the developing agent.

    Bath A contains the developing agent and preservative; Bath B contains the accelerator and sometimes preservative.

    Technique: develop in bath A for 3 minutes (typically); pour out A; don't rinse; pour in bath B for 3 minutes; pour out. Rinse, Fix. Agitation is either continuous or intermittent.

    Charlie Strack
     
  13. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    There's wide argument about the speed increase from Diafine. It does depend very much on the film. Tri-X is almost made for it, or more like the other way around. I don't care about the densitometric arguments - shoot Tri-X at box speed and develop in Diafine and I almost bet you won't like the results. I say "almost" because some people apparently do but to my eye they look way overexposed, unnecessarily grainy, less sharp and just plain difficult to print when shot at 400.
     
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  15. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Well chacun à son gout, but I wonder if it improves the image?
     
  16. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I believe it does for me for the times and places I use it with these films. It lets me shoot Tri-X where I'd otherwise shoot TMZ or, now that it's gone and when I run out, Delta 3200, both good films but overkill for EI 1250 and far grainier than the results I get in Diafine. I can get similar results with Pan F+ in D76 but only if I shoot it at EI 32 and reduce development. Developing for box speed gives what is often (depends on the subject and light of course) more contrast and highlight density than I want.

    Bottom line is that I personally like it. If we dismiss anything not strictly necessary we'd all use D76 or D23.
     
  17. AndreasT

    AndreasT Member

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    I often use Emofin. According to my tests and plotting with Tmax 400 it does not really increase the speed at .1 above b+f but the shadow areas of the curve are upswept giving the shadows more contrast and detail (in that regard it does give you more speed) and the lights flatten off again. Which would be an advantage in low light / high contrast scenes. Of course no miracles.
    The grain is a bit soft. I used to use it a lot when photographing on the street to compensate different lighting situations and I got fine results.
    Every now and then I still use it and find it to be a very good developer but not for everone and not ideal in every situation.
     
  18. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    I mostly shoot Tri-X and almost exclusively use divided developers.

    Barry Thornton's 2-bath (BT2B)
    Three ingredients, dirt cheap, gorgeous results.

    Barry Thornton claimed that it also gave full speed,
    but I have no way of verifying that claim.

    Diafine
    I push Tri-X to 1000/1250/1600 in Diafine.
    Once the soup has ripened a little you get these gorgeous, pearly negatives.

    I would like to give Divided D76 a try. A friend of mine used it and I very much liked the results he was getting.


    Why?

    - Compensating action. It's next to impossible to blow out the highlights.
    This is a big deal to me and one of the main reasons why I still haven't switched to digital.
    You will also get very good shadow detail.

    - Extremely consistent from roll to roll.

    - Very forgiving to exposure differences on the same roll or errors.

    - Close to idiot proof in use. No agitation needed, works across a wide rage of temperatures.

    - Beautiful results. Once the soup ripens a little you get these ultra smooth, silvery images.
     
  19. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Diafine at least I can agree is very nice. I've not used the others but wouldn't mind experimenting with them as I like the principle.

    I think some people seem to think two bath is somehow a lot of trouble or something so thus the "why?" questions. They're really so easy and long lasting and idiot proof a better question would be "why use finicky single bath developers?" :wink: And the answer for me would be versatility for + and - developing and convenience of being more readily available, maybe a few other reasons.

    But nobody bothers to ask someone who uses D76 or Rodinal or Xtol or HC110 or even self mixed D23 why they do so, much less if the image actually benefits from these developers.

    There is no magic, all these can produce good results, but two bath is very simple and easy to use and does have some advantages.
     
  20. Bundesphotograph

    Bundesphotograph Member

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    I got full speed out of Tmax 400 and Fuji Acros with Thornton's 2-bath.
    Tri-x and HP5 only 250 ASA.

    http://www.awh-imaging.co.uk/barrythornton/2bath.htm
     
  21. Sim2

    Sim2 Member

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    Thanks to everyone for their replies and input, all intersting.

    I was intrigued by the reported capabilities of a 2 bath system for coping with fairly mixed lighting on a roll of film and what appears to be a different way of handling/dealing with low/high contrast lighting than the zone system route. I get (for me) very good results with ID11 dilute 1:1 and the zone system especially where I can control the lighting/contrast e.g. studio style but occasionally when "out & about" it can be difficult to match varying lighting situations to the chosen +1/N/-1 dev pattern for the loaded film - only so many film backs! Any speed gains were less of a primary concern.
    Seems like it might be worth trying out one of these 2 bath systems, just to see what happens and perhaps have another route to follow, in certain circumstances!
    More suggestions welcomed.
     
  22. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    I also use Barry Thornton's Two-Bath developer because it gives me the results I want.

    Every image on my website was shot using a Mamiya 7 with 65mm lens, Delta 400 in Two-Bath developer.

    I would highly recommend Thornton's brew unless you tend to shoot in flat light. It is also foolproof for night photography.

    Best,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
     
  23. AndreasT

    AndreasT Member

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    Yes the zone system and 2 bath developer. Many people seem to think they do not go hand in hand. As if one does not allow the other. I have never used Diafine, and what I always read it is as if this developer can do nothing wrong since the development times and temperature does not seem to be so critical.. I wonder if it does anything right.
    With Emofin you can change the development times to decrease or increase contrast. It does help in difficult lighting situations but I would think it is not such a do it right first time developer as Diafine. ( Do not know how to formulate it otherwise late at night)
     
  24. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Diafine pretty much does what it does, consistently. Whether that is right or not depends on whether it's what you want.
     
  25. Sim2

    Sim2 Member

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    Hallo again,
    Been having a wander around the supplied links (thanks) - all rather interesting. What I have seen is that both developer parts are reused without any mention of replenishment, there must be a finite amount of film that can be put through each part but there is no mention of capacity. The only thing I have seen was (I think) about Barry Thornton's recipe where it was mentioned to top-up part B after about 15 rolls. I may be betraying my understanding here but not sure how the chemicals do not get exhausted.

    Any experiences on capacity or topping-up?
     
  26. AndreasT

    AndreasT Member

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    Tetenal says you can develope 15 films in Emofin, unless you push your films then less.