Altman/Henn: Effect of Developer Composition on the Structure of Photographic Images

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

  1. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Would anyone be interested in discussing this study (summarized in Haist)? I can list the developer compositions if people don't have access to Haist or the original study.

    There are some things I'd like to discuss in the results that seem odd. Also, does the experiment not seem to have too many variables to manage at once? Actually one of my questions is - does anyone know how I could get a copy of the original paper? The summary in Haist is not very detailed when it comes to the procedures used.

    It would be interesting to redo such an experiment with some current films. It could potentially explode some myths.

    Michael
     
  2. piu58

    piu58 Member

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    Dear Michael,

    I don't konow the Altman paper but I am interested in reading more oft it. In the net I could not find anything.

    Some of the effects are well known
    - High content of sulfite reduces the grain but gives less sharpness (the grain itself is not sharp)
    - Diluted developer works slightly grainier but sharper (this is the sulfite effect)
    - Developers without redox system give sharper images because auf the edge effect. Well known types are Rodinal and CG 512 / Rollei RLS
    - Very diluted developers give weak highlights: The developer gets exhausted before.
    - Bromide inhibits devlopment with most of the developing agents: Bromide reach developers give more contrasty images and cleaerer highlights if you develop a positive image. Bromide acts more if you agitate less.

    In my younger years I learned boundary layer chemistry (but not photographic chemistry). Most of the effects can be explained and understand.
     
  3. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I was unaware of the paper, but I have been quite aware of the subject. I'd certainly like to find out more about it. Newer films seem less subject to variation with different developers, so perhaps the members could update the study a bit.
     
  4. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    piu58 - those are the general rules, but the Altman/Henn study has some rather curious results. If nothing else the study suggests it is more difficult to generalize than we might think, and that with a given film a developer modification might yield unexpected results. This would tend to support the notion (as PE has mentioned before) a developer can indeed be "optimized" for a given film - but probably for only that film.

    nworth - I'll put together a summary and post it along with some of my questions/notes. Some of the results they got are quite surprising.
     
  5. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    Yes please
     
  6. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I'm interested, too.
     
  7. Mr Bill

    Mr Bill Member

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    I have a copy of the paper, and will be glad to answer specific questions about it, or type small excerpts or tabulated data from it.

    I don't know if it's much use, other than for the historic value. Here's something the authors said:

    The tests were done prior to 1960, so those films are over 50 years in the past.

    Richard Henry also did somewhat similar, more recent tests (mid 1980's), described in Controls in Black-And-White Photography.
     
  8. piu58

    piu58 Member

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    I have Controls in Black-And-White Photography 2nd edition. Very valuable book! Richard was a retired chemist with much of time and much of very high end measurement equipment. He analysed nearly effery effect known in photgrapy with scientific methods.
     
  9. Mr Bill

    Mr Bill Member

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    Yes, I'm still astounded at how much Henry did!

    I see in Haist that the discussion of this paper (Altman-Henn)starts on about page 415. Haist gives the pertinent tables: the exact developer formulations as well as the results. It seems like most of the significant results are there, so I'm wondering what Michael's questions would be.

    Q. First question might be, why do the formulas vary, beyond what is the aim of testing? For example, in the first formula set, they intend to vary only (sodium) sulfite, at 10,30,100, and 200 g/l. Yet they also vary bisulfite and Kodalk.

    A. They say that the base formula, AH-3, is essentially D-25. Since different amounts of sulfite would change the solution pH, and activity, the adjustments were made in the interests of "maintenance of approximately constant activity..."

    Q. Next question might be, how were the different developing times determined, and why do the resulting gammas vary?

    A. They say, after the formulas were decided on, "complete time-gamma studies were made, and times of development at 68 deg F for a gamma of 0.65 for all emulsion-developer combinations were chosen."

    My best guess is that, even though the final result (gamma) varied, they decided to stay with their original plan. Note that the data tables are foot-noted "All data from single runs, except..." sample AH-1 was average(5 runs) and the D-76 (1:1) reference was average(2 runs).

    Q. How were the test films processed?

    A. The say, "Accutance, granularity, and sensitometric-control strips were then exposed and processed for the times indicated by these studies. Processing was in the sensitometric machine of Jones, Russell, and Beacham, which gives strong and uniform agitation."


    I hope this is a good start as I probably won't be around when questions start.
     
  10. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I'm still working on the summary because I want to present the formulas for those who don't have Haist. But as quick start - @ Mr Bill: Yes the first Q was one of mine too. I reasoned it was to maintain approximately the same pH (as particularly in the acutance formulas without the addition of metaborate some of the formulas would have had extremely low activity. But I was hoping they listed the resulting pH values in the original paper as they are not in Haist. I have other questions on this because some of the resultant developing times seem odd.

    Another thing - if one really wanted to isolate the effects of sulfite and metol concentrations, would it not have been better to change only one variable at a time? For example, if you keep the concentration of Metol constant and vary the sulfite concentration, if you adjust the pH to maintain activity, you are only testing for the effect of the amount of sulfite. If one then kept the sulfite concentration constant and varied the pH, you could test for increased solvent activity in relation to developing time. Etc.

    I was ok with the Gamma targetting, even with the small variations.

    I have some more questions regarding the methodology, and then would like to highlight some of the rather surprising results.

    Will get this posted today.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2012
  11. Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson Subscriber

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  12. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Yes those are the formulae (didn't check each one for correctness but they look right).
     
  13. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    sounds like a great test. how can i participate?
     
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  15. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Well, I guess first it would be good to discuss some of Altman and Henn's findings - even though they are somewhat outdated in the specifics.

    Your feedback on any of this would of course be of great value, Ralph. Hopefully we'll get some feedback from PE and others too.

    What I'd really like to do is re-run a similar test with some current films. It's a lot of work but could be interesting to do. The problem I have is I don't have the equipment required to determine RMS granularity and make objective acutance measurements. At the very least one requires a microdensitometer.

    Will post the summary today and see what happens.
     
  16. Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson Subscriber

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    My guess is that Altman and Henn measured acutance by the old slope-of-density-versus-distance method on film exposed under a knife edge.As mentioned in The Film Developing Cookbook and in Controls in Black and White Photography,this does not take into account adjacency effects which affect the perceived sharpness.
     
  17. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Alan - it would be strange if that were the case (although it certainly could be the case) as in Haist the study is quoted in the section about both solvent action and edge effects. Although it is not clear how the measurements were made.

    Attached is a summary I put together for discussion - if someone can tell me how to get it into this thread without screwing up all the formatting (I typed it in MS Word), I'd like to put it in the text here instead of as an attachment.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The triad around which a developer "rotates" consists of speed, grain and sharpness. Hank and Dick worked on this triad looking at how the variables affected all three items. And so, Sulfite, Buffer, pH, etc were all fair game. This work was done to lay the foundation of the next generation of developers. Dick and others had wrapped up D76, then Dick went on to make HC-110, and the next generation was done by Dickerson (X-Tol). FWIW, one more generation is lying in the Kodak archives somewhere.

    Also, FWIW, the written paper may differ considerably from the internal report. Much material was always edited out of publications due to the confidential nature of the material being deleted. This was also the case with Grant's book. Grant bemoaned the fact that many things were cut from his early drafts. (I was one of the cutters! But, Grant and I are still friends!)

    Anyhow, if there was anything worth money in that work it was either confidential and remains so, or it was patented.

    Now, it is not impossible to design a developer for all films. In fact, at the time I left Kodak, D-76 was the release developer for production runs of all films. All films were tested against aims in D76 and either passed or failed. So, all films went through one developer. And, looking at Kodak's developer table and time of development curves, you can see results that are good for a number of films.

    The only developer that is not able to work across films, is a two bath developer due to different grain types and emulsion thicknesses. You have to optimize things for every film or the two baths will not work right.

    Other critical items are pH and buffer capacity along with agitation.

    Now, back to Dick and Hank. They were doing this work in about 1960 or earlier with films that do not exist today. You may think that this makes the work obsolete, and it does in a sense. But consider what I have said.... All release tests are done with D76.

    I hope that this ramble sheds some light on things.

    PE
     
  19. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    More light to shed! I was reading and writing when the last post was made with the PDF file.

    Where did it come from? What publication?

    Now, on to tests.

    For grain we ran RMSG (Root Mean Square Grain) tests in which a microdensitometer read density at every step in a step wedge. The "noise" was grain and was plotted as a function of grain vs the original step wedge densities. AFAIK, Kodak has never published any of these plots.

    The sharpness is measured by making X-ray and white light exposures with 1000mm, 100mm, 10mm and 1mm apertures at varying densities and then plotting the result in frequency. These are posted on the Kodak web site. We did both negative and positive imaging to show flair and fill. A bright white image flares outward, and a black image with a while surround is filled in. I have charts for both here to run tests when I get a good HD developer.

    X-Ray and white light were used to show the effects of turbidity in the coating.

    Hope this helps too.

    PE
     
  20. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Interesting - thanks for the added info and background as always, Ron.

    The tables I wrote out are from Haist. Unfortunately I don't know where I'd be able to get the original research paper, which no doubt would shed some light on certain aspects, although Mr. Bill who responded earlier in the thread seems to have a copy.

    So would the acutance measurements you describe indeed factor in edge effects?

    What fun I would have doing a rigourous series like this with current films!

    Any insight on why the acutance-type formulas in the test gave such poor results with Tri-X - where all three of the triad variables were worse than the baseline (D-76)?

    Or why a mushy developer like D-25 would give Panatomic-X the same acutance as D-76 1+1?

    By the way apologies again for having to attach my summary as a PDF. When I tried repeatedly to copy the text into the body of the reply, I couldn't get any of the spacing to work properly and the data was impossible to read.
     
  21. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Yeah, APUG does not like formatted data! Bummer.

    Ok, you do not have to have the best developer to get a benchmark on the properties of developer ingredients. So, this particular developer series might well be worse than D76. And, if the developer is too far out of line, it can reorder results of all films. I've seen that where a coating passed all specs and I ran it through other developers the coating failed in several parameters while giving the accepted curve shape and speed.

    So, I cannot comment on what they got, but I'll bet that the reasons and a lot more facts were explained in internal reports!

    The sharpness tests plotted as response vs spatial frequency and is MTF (Modulation Transfer Function). These tests include all edge effects and that means bad or good.

    PE
     
  22. Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson Subscriber

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    I attach my sketch of results from "Controls in Black and White Photography" by R.Henry p240, for Tri-X Pan film in Beutler developer, indicating how density of a print from film exposed under a knife edge varies with distance.The slope of the line indicated gives a numerical value for the acutance.The adjacency effect is shown as a drop in density that extends over some distance from the knife edge.
    Dr Henry says:

    "Since it is admitted that the sense of sharpness depends not only on acutance but also on adjacency effects,either the formula for acutance should be changed somehow or other to include the edge effects or or a new term should be introduced to include both"

    I don't think this was ever done, and it is unlikely that Altman and Henn could have solved this problem.
    Modern tabular grain grain films have a very high acutance as defined by the slope of the line but little adjacency effect.
    Old type films had lower acutance as so defined but showed more adjacency effect.
     

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  23. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Edge effects

    Here is an example from Kriss et. al. I have posted this elsewhere with more description.

    PE
     

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  24. Mr Bill

    Mr Bill Member

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    Hi Michael, a couple of corrections to your pdf...

    There were actually three films tested, you didn't mention the Plus-X Pan. And their gamma aim was actually 0.65, not "~0.63), as I quoted in post#9.

    And a general note to all readers: I call the developing agent "Elon," per the original paper, which also says "*Kodak's Elon Developing Agent is the Eastman Kodak Company trade name for p-methylaminophenol sulfate." But apparently Metol is the generic trade name for the same thing.

    Here's your question list and some answers (I didn't proof-read carefully, so may be errors; if anything looks funny, please ask):



    Some methodology questions:

    Q1. Were pH figures presented in the original paper?

    A. No. Here's a more complete excerpt from Altman and Henn:

    *Rather than type the full text of the high-sharpness section, here is a pertinent bit (re: AH-15 through 18):

    Q2. Why was a buffering alkali used – particularly for the sharpness developers?

    A. I don't know, other than what is in the quotes above.

    Q3. Was agitation consistent for all tests?

    A. All that is said is:
    Q4. Was D-76 used at stock or 1+1 strength in the Tri-X test?

    A. The table for Tri-X simply lists "Kodak Developer D-76 (footnoted "average of 2 runs"). So one has to consider it to be straight D-76. I don't know why they would change dilutions on this one (the other two films were both noted as "1:1"), but the actual development time they used is consistent with 1970's era development times in straight D76. So I would consider it to be straight D-76.


    Q5. Why would the developing time for AH-15 be longer shorter than for AH-1 if the only difference between the two developers is a lower Metol concentration?

    A. I don't have a sensible answer. It's worth noting, though, that they attempted to develop to the same gamma - their developing times originated from prior time-gamma studies. I'll look the data over a bit more.
     
  25. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Thank you for the feedback and I appreciate the corrections as well. I "assumed" they had targetted a gamma of ~0.63 or 0.62 simply based on the results data, as in Haist there was no specific mention of the actual target. Regarding the third film, I was not aware they had also tested Plus-X. Unfortunately only the Pan-X and Tri-X experiments are mentioned in Haist.

    At one point I also thought there might have even been more developers too, filling in the numerical gap between AH-4 and AH-15.

    I'm attaching the corrected PDF for reference.

    I am still fairly puzzled by some of the results, which is why it would be interesting to redo this experiment with current films. For example, based on the Altman and Henn Tri-X results, I'd probably have to conclude D-76 was a virtually ideal match to that particular incarnation of Tri-X and must have worked exceedingly well with it, giving the best possible results for each of the variables in the triad. At least when it comes to the AH Metol-sulfite developers and variations, D-76 could not even be bested in any one characteristic, let alone two or three.

    We might also conclude that although every film had to pass certain tests in D-76 to be released by Kodak, D-76 may not have been a great match for Panatomic-X. I am basing this on the D-25 (AH-3) results, where a developer known to be of the "extra-fine grain" type, produced the expected granularity reduction, but a relatively small speed loss, and no loss of acutance compared with D-76 1+1.
     

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  26. Mr Bill

    Mr Bill Member

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    With respect to the developing times in AH-1 vs AH-15:

    As Michael points out, the only difference between them is in the Elon content:
    AH-1 has: 7.50 g/l Elon, 10 g/l Na2SO3, 4 g/l Kodalk
    AH-15 has: 2.50 g/l Elon, 10 g/l Na2SO3, 4 g/l Kodalk

    So AH-1 seems as though it would be the more "powerful" developer. Yet in all cases (all 3 films) a longer development time was needed to hit the aim gamma.

    An odd side effect is that the longer development (in AH-1) gave significantly higher film speeds (despite the similar gamma results). This might happen if, for example, AH-1 initially built low densities at a faster rate than the high densities. Then, after some extended time, the higher densities finally began to climb.

    It's possible, too, that some odd sensi curve shapes were involved also. Determining gamma is not an exact process with a wobbly curve. Also, the speed point is not a fixed density in this test, they refer to the 0.3 G-bar method per standards at that time.

    I'll type in another paragraph with their test criteria.
     
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