Alternative Paper Developers?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by chrisl, May 19, 2003.

  1. chrisl

    chrisl Member

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    Hi All!

    Now that I'm getting some printing done I need to re-supply. I use Ilford MGIV cooltone and Ilford WB with Ilford's Multigrade developer. Nothing fancy. This stuff goes for $36/2.5L vs. Agfa's Neutol/Plus (one w.out hydroquinone)$6/L (x2.5=$15) which is a huge difference. Is there a big difference here? I've never experimented with paper developers so would appreciate some opinions. If Agfa's not good, what's another affordable regular, I guess cooltone? paper developer?

    Also, I want to say "YeeHaw" to my first print using Ilford's WB paper!! With the right subject, this stuff is really nice. In the past, I've never been a big fan of creamy based papers. Too 'corny'? Anyway, now, maybe it's the age mellowing effect?, I think I'm going to enjoy the heck out of this paper. It's the glossy finish. Thinking of maybe trying the pearl finish? Anyway, I thought it was really cool last night seeing the 'almost' finished print lol

    Anyway, suggestions appreciated. I added one more similar question on fixers as well. Thanks!

    Chris
     
  2. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    I use Agfa's neutol plus and absolutely love it! I have no idea about cost effectiveness, I just use it because I know it and like it.
     
  3. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Jeremy Moore @ May 19 2003, 03:41 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> I use Agfa's neutol plus and absolutely love it! I have no idea about cost effectiveness, I just use it because I know it and like it. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Me too.
     
  4. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    I love the Ilford wt paper also, Be sure to fix it and wash it well! In my older prints I'm starting to see small deteriation. It has a wonderful ronge to it , so enjoy it.

    Tom
     
  5. chrisl

    chrisl Member

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    I've read that it exhausts rapidly though. Is this true? Otherwise it sounds like I should give it a try.
     
  6. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  7. Robert

    Robert Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (chrisl @ May 19 2003, 07:24 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> Agfa's Neutol/Plus </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Neutol is actually the expensive Agfa developer. The MC one is even cheaper and works great with the Agfa paper I use. But you really need to try the stuff to see if you like it.
     
  8. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    For cheap, can you beat Dektol? Here (in Australia), a pkt that makes up 3.8l (about a US gallon?) costs $7-8 AUD ($4.50-$5 USD). I personally prefer liquids and use Agfa Neutol NE (Neutral) and Neutol WA (Warm) but they are over $20/1.25l bottle ($13 USD). Hmmm, I don't think I like doing these calculations... I didn't realise it was that much dearer, although you have to take the dilutions into account... better do that 1st before I have a heart attack! The Neutol dilutes 1:7 so 1.25l ends up 10l of working strength developer which makes it $2 AUD/litre. Dektol, I'd dilute 1:1, so end up with 7.6l of working developer, which is roughly $1/litre, so Dektol is effectively 1/2 the price of my preferred Neutol. Hmmm... I don't use that much of it - just doing some self justification here [​IMG]
     
  9. Robert

    Robert Member

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    You can't do the math that way. You need to look at how much 1litre of working solution will process. OTOH I don't think saving a few pennies on developer makes much sense if you don't like the results.

    Just to add more fuel to the fire.

    Agfa MC is about $6 Canadian for 1litre locally.
    Mix it at the normal 1:4 dilution and you've got $1.20 for 1litre of developer.

    The yield is very high. So much so it's maybe 1 cent per 8x10.

    Even if it was 5x that the paper costs alot more then the developer. So buy what works best for you.
     
  10. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    true. I never exhaust my developer so it didn't occur to me to factor that aspect in too!
     
  11. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Robert @ May 20 2003, 02:23 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (chrisl @ May 19 2003, 07:24 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> Agfa's Neutol/Plus </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Neutol is actually the expensive Agfa developer. The MC one is even cheaper and works great with the Agfa paper I use. But you really need to try the stuff to see if you like it. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I keep looking for reasons not to like the Agfa MC developer (it is really cheap! - so it can't be good - right?) and still can't believe how good it is. I still use it mostly for RC prints but it will give you some really good blacks even on fiber paper as well. I have yet to see it go flat - I give up on it before it gives up on me. I know it is at least good for 6 weeks and 40 8x10 per liter and am pretty sure it will keep going even longer. I still play with more expensive brews because they *must* do something better but ... not yet, have I noticed that they work A LOT better.

    Frank
     
  12. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    If it is convenient I recommend making your own developers. It's both cost effective and gives you good control over contrast and print colour. The initial outlay for a stockof raw chemicals and a decent balance is not huge, especially when I see some of the prices being quoted here. I spend about £60 per year on restocking my raw chemicals and I do a lot of printing.

    Of the branded developers available I use Ilford Multigrade, Agfa Neutol Warm, Dektol and Tetenal Centrabrom S which is a soft working developer. I am also a fan of Grade Select a two bath developer made by Fotospeed here in the UK but I know that it is available in most other countries.
     
  13. Robert

    Robert Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (fhovie @ May 20 2003, 09:54 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
    I keep looking for reasons not to like the Agfa MC developer (it is really cheap! - so it can't be good - right?) and still can't believe how good it is.

    </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I know what you mean. It's too cheap to get any respect. Don't say it too loudly or Agfa will raise the price. I'm just topping up the bottle with fresh solution when the air space gets too big for my tastes.

    Les a person can get away without a scale. I do have a pretty good scale but it's not that accurate at the low end of things. Instead of creating a scale collection I just got a set of kitchen spoons. It may look funny but a tablespoon of Sodium Sulfite is always the same amount of chemical.
     
  14. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Robert @ May 20 2003, 06:25 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> Les a person can get away without a scale. I do have a pretty good scale but it's not that accurate at the low end of things. Instead of creating a scale collection I just got a set of kitchen spoons. It may look funny but a tablespoon of Sodium Sulfite is always the same amount of chemical. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I agree Robert, consitency is the important thing here and your spoon is giving you just that. I was lucky many years ago when a friend who runs a laboratory for a large multi national gave me two chemical balances that were bound for the waste skip. Before I had those I used an old Post Office brass scale with little weights. I still have it in my darkroom and I consider it an old friend.
     
  15. chrisl

    chrisl Member

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    Actually, I have a balance scale already I picked up cheap long time ago. So that's covered. I just find it a bit of an inconvience, but of course I'm being lazy [​IMG]l
    Just so I can shop and cost compare to these over the counter liquid developers, what formula's would you recommend for cooltone/neutral papers as well as wt papers. I'm just getting into the wt papers and don't want to go overboard yet with wt develepors like Agfa's.
     
  16. Robert

    Robert Member

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    I think the Agfa MC is supposed to be a neutral developer. I think-))
     
  17. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (chrisl @ May 20 2003, 08:21 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> Actually, I have a balance scale already I picked up cheap long time ago. So that's covered. I just find it a bit of an inconvience, but of course I'm being lazy [​IMG]l
    Just so I can shop and cost compare to these over the counter liquid developers, what formula's would you recommend for cooltone/neutral papers as well as wt papers. I'm just getting into the wt papers and don't want to go overboard yet with wt develepors like Agfa's. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I'll have a look through my list of home made developers and post a couple of cool formulae. If you want to warm a print up there are several ways that you can do this. With any paper if you add 10 to 15ml of a 10% solution of bromide to the working solution you will warm up the print. If you are using a warm tone paper over exposing and under developing will warm it up. For example, if an exposure is say 20 seconds with a 3 minute development gives you the tonality and contrast you want, try increasing the exposure by up to 40% and reduce development by as much as 50 or even 60%. The print will be considerably warmer and the contrast will be reduced so this a is a good way of dealing with high contrast negatives.

    If you mix a normal developer very dilute. say 1 to 30 instead of 1 to 9 and give extended development you will warm up the print colour. I've produced almost red prints using a warm tone paper and this method of development.
     
  18. chrisl

    chrisl Member

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    That's real interesting about the large dilution and warm effect. Good to know.
    And thanks Les for posting any formula. When I decide what to do, I'll order up the ingredients for that, as well as some homemade fix all together.

    Ran out today of Ilford, so in the mean time, I'm going to buy a small jug of Agfa and give it a whirl. Thanks for the earlier suggestions!
     
  19. bkantelis

    bkantelis Member

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    For most papers Dektol is hard to beat. Lot's of studies have been done and the bottom line is that there is often little to differentiate paper developers. Consider spending your energies on film developers, the area where massive variability exists.
    Regards,
    Bruce
     
  20. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There are a lot of good developers in "The Darkroom Cookbook". having tried a few of them, I would definitely disagree with the statement that "there is often little to differentiate paper developers". Even with MG IV RC the differences are obvious - at least when comparing otherwise identical prints.

    All great fun - and the ability to mix up a small portion for a special purpose is worth it all to me.

    Maybe too much fun - I've used more different developers in the last 2 months than in the preceding 15 years!