Anchell & Troop's TD-201 Two-Bath

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Harold33, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. Harold33

    Harold33 Member

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    Anchell & Troop's TD-201 Two-Bath developer is (in my opinion) the best two-bath developer with current BW films.

    Here is the formula
    A
    Metol 5gr
    Sod. Sulfite 100gr.
    B
    Borax 2 gr.
    Sod. Metaborate 5gr
    Sod. SulfIte 6gr.
    Sod. SulfAte 40gr.
    --A 3mn + B 3mn, with continuous agitation in both.

    However, I would like to improve sharpness reducing Sulfite in A.
    I tried to use Thornton's formula for A (metol 6.5 gr + Sulfite 85 gr.), but I noticed a loss of activity with a lack of contrast.

    So my question would be:
    reducing Sulfite by 25% in A (to 75 gr.), how to ajust the proportion of metol in order to maintain the same level of activity than with 100gr. of Sulfite ? Increase metol ? add a pinch of Borax ? something else ?
     
  2. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    How do you know how sharp it is?
     
  3. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    What are the water volumes and temperatures?
     
  4. brianmquinn

    brianmquinn Member

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    You said a you had a lack of contrast with Thornton's formula. Well he actually saw that as a good thing. That is why he used it when film was shot under contrasty lighting. Also it is good to prevent blown highlights with Tmax film.

    Exactly how did you do your test. If one roll was shot under high contrast light and the other under flatter lighting that might be the difference. I don't see how you would lose activity and contrast by using the Thornton's formula A bath.

    Also there is development in bath A with this 2 bath formula so the time and temperature in bath A is important here. Test it out yourself or see the formula for D23 if you doubt me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2013
  5. el wacho

    el wacho Member

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    no need to adjust the metol. i've used an Thorton's A bath with 35gr sod. sulfite per litre and it behaved the same way but much sharper/grainier. i've settled on 75gr for a nice compromise of grain/sharpness. and yes, 75gr is sharper than 100gr. i've tested the difference at 4x prints and have seen the difference. don't hesitate to try it. all the best.
     
  6. brianmquinn

    brianmquinn Member

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  7. artonpaper

    artonpaper Subscriber

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    I've always considered this kind of two bath developer as meant for maximizing shadow density when using shorter developing times to control contrast in high contrast scenes and thereby keeping the highlights from going too dense.
     
  8. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    This is an important point. The TD formula is a 'D-23 variant + alkali B bath' formula, not a true divided formula.

    Reducing the sulfite in bath A to say 50g might increase "sharpness" slightly (actually sharpness will be little affected but graininess would increase slightly which may give make things appear a little sharper). Time/agitation in bath A could be extended to compensate for any lost contrast. This would be a similar adjustment to the Dalzell modification of Stoeckler's.

    Alternatively, the pH of bath B could be increased, and the time in bath B shortened. The faster development in bath B would mean less solvent effect.

    Experimentation would be required in any case.
     
  9. el wacho

    el wacho Member

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    having tested the variations in sodium sulfite levels myself ( 100gr, 80gr, 75gr, 65gr, 50gr, 35gr. ) i can say that i would never consider using 100gr of sod.sulfite per litre in a developer unless i wanted an obfuscation of sharpness. perhaps in d76, going from stock to 1:1 may give a slight increase in sharpness, in a metol only developer the decrease in sod.sulfite certainly gives more than a slight increase in sharpness. most d23 type developers require an increase in development time of about 10% per two rolls to keep development outcome consistent.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2013
  10. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    The amount of solvent action in developers depends on much more than the concentration of sulfite. Also, comparing the solvent action of a single bath developer to that of a two-bath developer is comparing apples and oranges. In D-23-based two-bath formulas solvent action will be significantly less (even with 100g/L sulfite concentration) than with stock D-23 because overall development time is shorter. This one reason (along with the relatively high pH in the second bath) why even "fine grain" two-bath developers typically produce higher graininess than single bath solvent developers.

    Any modification to a balanced formula requires careful testing.
     
  11. presspass

    presspass Member

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    Also keep in mind the time your film spends in the A solution. I've used TD 201 as well as Thornton and several other D-23 variants and have found the times recommended for the A bath to be too short for me. I did two rolls of 400 - Arista Premium and HP5+ - at six minutes in the A bath with intermittent agitation. That's the time that works for me; as they say, your results may vary.
     
  12. el wacho

    el wacho Member

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    "The amount of solvent action in developers depends on much more than the concentration of sulfite."

    interesting but how does it exactly bear upon the topic? the op wants to know if 75gr is going to improve sharpness over 100gr. in a developer consisting of water, sodium sulfite and metol i'm struggling to see where else the solvent action is going to come from esp. when it is the classic parameter to modify when one wants solvent action and the lack of grain associated with it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2013
  13. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Solvent action comes from the sulfite, but the amount of time the sulfite has to act can be as important as the concentration. Assume for a moment there was no part B in OP's developer. Reducing the amount of sulfite also reduces the pH, which, all things being equal, increases development time. This gives the sulfite more time to etch the grains. So even though you have less sulfite, the difference in graininess might be very small or even immaterial. This is the principle used in the formulation of D-25. It is D-23 with a lower pH, therefore longer development times, and more solvent action from the same concentration of sulfite.

    Now add the B bath to the equation. Development is rapid in the B bath, which means the sulfite in the absorbed developer has less time to act than if full development had been carried out in bath A. This should make the difference in graininess between having 100g/L or 75g/L in bath A even smaller.
    This is one of the reasons I initially asked OP how he knows TD-201 isn't sharp.

    Two additional concerns: 1) A sulfite concentration of 80g/L is said to give maximum solvent effect. 2) "Sharpness" is a very complex thing and does not necessarily increase with decreased solvent activity. But that's a whole other topic.
     
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  15. Harold33

    Harold33 Member

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    That's correct: in a metol-only developer, sulfite acts as solvent AND as activator (pH).
    But in a two-bath developer like TD-201, temperature or time has little or no effect, at least within the 20-22°C range. That's a difference between two-bath developers and D-23 vs. D-25 and that's why I asked how to increase activity chemically.

    I wonder how to improve sharpness, I did'nt say it's an unsharp developer.
     
  16. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Understood. So I'd go back to my earlier post. As you know, TD 201 and most of these two-baths are based on some development in a solvent A bath followed by an alkali B bath to exhaust absorbed developer from the A bath. To get less solvent effect, increase the activity of either bath A or bath B, or both. Increasing the activity of bath A also raises contrast. Alternatively you could go to a low-sulfite, true divided developer where there is little to no development in bath A. The danger there is excessively low contrast, and it can sometimes be difficult to achieve uniformity.

    Another thing you could try is decreasing both the Metol and sulfite in bath A with different times. I'm suggesting this because the Metol salt itself is acidic.

    Perhaps the easiest thing to start with would be to simply reduce the sulfite to say 50g/L in bath A, and extend the time in bath A (or add some alkali). Perhaps this will have enough of an effect. Difficult to say. There are many variables here. And it also goes without saying you'd have to evaluate things like film speed as you go.
     
  17. el wacho

    el wacho Member

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    Harold33,

    avoid the run around ( as i have done ). you should only rely on your empirical results. i have compared the two same frames ( shot the same frame 12 times in 120) and compared 100gr to 80gr ( also compared 80 to 65gr ) and used a 35gr sod carbonate/L B bath. all things being equal there is an increase in perceived sharpness as the sod sulfite decreases. i did not notice a drop in activity as the sod. sulfite decreased and the metol stayed at 6.5gr. Harold33. it's one test and you'll develop your own knowledge on the subject matter. a picture really is worth a thousand words...
     
  18. el wacho

    el wacho Member

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    ps. to increase the 'two bath' effect you actually have to increase the level of metol (say, to around 6.5gr/L) because how much metol is absorbed into the gelatin depends on the metol concentrate in the A bath. B bath can only develop the metol that is in the gelatin. i have also looked at negatives developed in only A bath then compared to the same negative finished in B bath. B bath does an amazing amount of development. Thornton was right when he said that you only need to develop between 1/2 to 2/3 of the recommended time for A bath only development because B bath really does 'finish' off the negative. the more metol there is ( i have tested up to 10gr/L in 1gr intervals from 7gr ) and all things equal, the more there is an increase in development (A+B) BUT most importantly the 'two bath' effect is increased.
     
  19. brianmquinn

    brianmquinn Member

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    I have read that over and over that no development takes place in bath A and that time and temp do not matter with a 2 bath developer.
    THIS IS NOT TRUE.
    Maybe it is with some 2 bath developers but not with a MS two bath like this. I have done controlled tests.
    I shoot a several whole rolls of 120 and cut them into strips, then tested in various versions of bath A alone and finished with bath B.
    In all 2 bath developers I tried I got a lot of development in bath A alone.
    The only developer where I really got almost no image in bath A alone was Diafine.
    You need to run your own tests.

    My favorite 2 bath I came up was a divided version of Xtol. It gave me perfect negatives for high key subjects with Plus-X.
    With other films the results were good just not totally fantastic.
    (Imagine a snow scene where you can see all of the detail in the snow that was actually there and also a dark spruce tree that was not just a dark spot in the photo)
    Now sadly Plus-X is no more.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2013
  20. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Brian is correct. With a "true" divided developer, no development takes place in bath A. The developing agent is absorbed. It is then activated and exhausted in bath B. Time/temp are less meaningful in that context although they can still potentially make a difference in how much developer is absorbed and whether or not development in bath B is truly to completion. TD-201, on the other hand, is not a true divided developer. Development takes place in bath A, and is then completed in bath B. Time and temperature and agitation matter.
     
  21. Relayer

    Relayer Member

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    while you decrease sulfite or increase metol - you decrease pH of bath A and result activity decreased. so you need keep pH while decreasing amount of sulfite. buy cheap pH meter, decrease amount of sulfite to 40-50g/l and add some alkali like sodium carbonate to keep pH
     
  22. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    In a true two bath developer no development takes place in bath A. TD-201 is more accurately defined as a divided developer in which development will take place in bath A. Therefore time, temperature, and agitation are important for consistent results when using it.
     
  23. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    brianmquinn -- would you be willing to post your divided XTOL formula?
     
  24. brianmquinn

    brianmquinn Member

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    I don’t have my notes with me now but here is how I got there. It is more important to know the line of thought rather than the exact formula as equipment and technique vary. You have to work out what works for you. Read these 3 web articles. I came up with my conclusions myself but these articles more or less say the same thing as I found.

    I started out trying divided D72 (Vestal version)
    See here for info.
    http://www.jackspcs.com/dd76v.htm

    I bought Barry Thorton’s book Edge of Darkness and tried out his Two Bath (Good Book get it if you can and it helped me see what I wanted to do with my work and why I needed to play more with my developers for fun and results I wanted to get.)
    http://www.photosensitive.ca/wp/archives/115

    I also played around with Divided D23
    http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/DD-23/dd-23.html

    Then I made up a two bath version of Mytol (Xtol)
    http://www.jackspcs.com/mytol.htm
    Of course I put the base in the second bath.

    Finally I went with a 2X stock of Xtol (Kodak) for about half the published time in bath A followed by an alkaline 2nd bath. And later tried 1X Xtol for 2/3 the recommended time with a second bath for the same time in a very dilute Xtol bath 1+24 (mainly to keep the pH correct).

    I tried out several 120 films (about 3-5 rolls of each type) to find my favorite. Keep in mind each roll was cut up so I tested several variations. It was a year or so process but lots of fun. Plus-X was the winner for high key and contrasty light. Part of the reason for the time was my goal was to get perfect show shots. It does not snow in July.

    Again what worked best for my needs was Plus-X. You can’t get Plus-X any more however.

    I was thinking that a possible replacement might be Fomapan 100. It is a contrasty film with a quick development time. Both of those are similar to Plus-X. Have used it in the past and while it is not Plus-X it is the film I will test out as a possible replacement (when I get snow again).

    Keep in mind that life and developer choices can get too complicated. I the end I was using Xtol (Kodak) with a two bath development to get similar results to what I had with the other hand mixed formulas but only have to have one stock bottle on the shelf. However with just Xtol by itself no matter what time, temp, etc I tried I never got the results I wanted until I tried it as a two bath. It could be that IF I owned a diffusion enlarger I might have come to different conclusions.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 4, 2013
  25. Relayer

    Relayer Member

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    if you interesing PC two bath - see this thread
     
  26. brianmquinn

    brianmquinn Member

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    Ahaa....
    Why do you have to tempt me with other developers ?!
    As I said life and my camera collection and my formula collection and my flashbulb collection and my .... (are already too much for me)