Borax in ID-11/D76

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ooze, Mar 16, 2005.

  1. ooze

    ooze Member

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    Hi,

    When asked about his choice of developer in an interview, Ara Guler (a Turkish photographer who is mostly known for his documentary photographs between 1950-1970) says in loose translation: "...it's like ID-11/D76 but with more Borax. This slows down the development and decreases grain. I develop my film in 36-38 minutes. There is more detail in slowly developed film. If you develop your film in 10 minutes the blacks will be too dark..."

    This statement has bugged me for a long time. Sometimes I even thought he is taking the piss. However, a while ago I bought a copy of "Darkroom", an out of print book in which, among other photographers, Eugene Smith talks about his darkroom practices. Smith also says that his developer is like D76 but "...with ten times the normal amount of the Kodalk of Borax...". Now, I know that Smith was Ara Guler's most revered photographer, and they may very well have been buddies in Magnum. So he may have gotten this formula from Smith.

    My question is, do you have any experience with such a developer? Does additional Borax indeed decrease grain? Is a dev time of 36 minutes realistic? Does this developer have a name? Any comments are welcome.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    More borax can't slow down development.
     
  3. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    could it be D76d?
    Buffered Borax Negative Developer
    Never tried it though.
     
  4. psvensson

    psvensson Member

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    Yeah, he has to be talking about boric acid, not borax. Borax would only slow development in a high-pH developer like Rodinal.
     
  5. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I wonder if it could be higher then normal dilutions and the borax?
     
  6. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Don't forget the " ... the Kodalk of borax ... " Dan
     
  7. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Interesting. I'll have to try and find a copy of the book. It reminded me of reading about a lot of these folks using Defender 777 as their standard developer, while not saying much about it. See the article at: http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Harvey/harvey.html

    Lee
     
  8. phfitz

    phfitz Member

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    Hi there,

    According to the Kodak dataguide for formulas 1945, you can substitute Kodalk for the borax at 1-1. You can also increase the amount to 10-1 and reduce the process time from 18 min. to 4 min., increasing the borax or Kodalk speeds D-76 up. You can add 0.5g per liter of potassium bromide to lessen the grain, decrease the basefog level and improve shadow detail. You could also try Kodak D-96 or DK-20.

    Hope it's a help.
     
  9. MikeK

    MikeK Member

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    36 minutes is an awful long development time for a D76 variant. Maybe he was referring to a divided development and a second bath was a borax solution. I have a reference in my Dignan book where the first developer bath is D76 for roughly half the development time, then a soak in borax to allow the shadows to develop without blowing out the highlights.

    But the 36 minute development time, hmm that is really long

    Mike
     
  10. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    I'd normally agree with 36 min. being a long time, but what if it was a semi-stand dev. time???? Just thinking outloud here. Always dangerous.
     
  11. MikeK

    MikeK Member

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    I was thinking the same thing, but as Borax increases activity it would need to be a pretty dilute developer, unless bullet proof negatives was the desired result :smile:

    Mike
     
  12. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    The other question has film changed? On the largeformat.info forum a bunch of film formulas got posted today. D-23 stock with a suggested time of 15-19 minutes. They also call it a soft developer. I use less time then that at 1:3 -)
     
  13. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    When I first used D-76, Kodak's time for Super XX was 17 minutes @ 68 F. Emulsions were much thicker then, which may have been true also of the first Tri-X, and I think part of the thickness was an overcoating. But that was a long time ago.
     
  14. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    That makes the intial 30+ minute number look very different.
     
  15. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I can understand an addition of Kodalk making for a more
    active D-76 but not borax. D-76 contains considerable sulfite
    with a ph a few tenths above borax. Dan
     
  16. ooze

    ooze Member

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    Folks,

    Thanks a lot for your replies. You gave me some ideas.

    I need to correct one thing in my initial post. Gene Smith's comment is not "...Kodalk of Borax...", but "...borax of kodalk...". I re-read the section yesterday. However, what he means by that is beyond me. Maybe it's a typo. Maybe he meant borax OR kodalk.