Chancing developer – killing a film!

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by OMU, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. OMU

    OMU Member

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    :sad:
    Just want to share my experience from last night so other doesn’t do the same mistake.
    Wanted to try HC 110, but went wrong in my mathematics. I made up 3 ml HC with 930 ml water. Developed the film and fixed it – and the film was blank!
    Suppose the film was hardly developed at all, and the fix made its job and cleared the film?
    - OM -
     
  2. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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  3. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Kodak sez to use 6 mL minimum per roll, and that 4 mL of this is used up during development of a roll with "normal" exposure. Film manufacturers always play it safe in my experience, however, and you can half this minimum for sure with any developer I have ever messed with. 3 mL is definitely enough for one roll of film, with totally normal contrast. Even 1.5 mL is enough to develop a roll, if you are trying to lower contrast.

    How many rolls did you process with only 3 mL of syrup? If you processed four rolls, you definitely did not have enough syrup, however, you still should have got *something*.

    I do, however, make up stock solution first, rather than measuring small amounts of syrup with a syringe. However, I generally only make 250 mL at a time, and could make as few as 125 mL at one time with the precision that my particular graduates offer. I stow the stock in an amber glass bottle and it has never pooped out on me, even when left half full for three or four months.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2009
  4. OMU

    OMU Member

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    Hi again and thank you for your answers.

    I’m using a Jobo, developed one film (35 mm) and used 270 ml. That’s gives ca 1 ml for the film. The film was literately “blank”. Don’t remember the development time, but started with the time recommended by Kodak. I’ll shoot some frames to day and try again to night.

    As I said, HC is new to me. I’ m using 35mm 120 and 4x5. I recon I have to decide the E.I for each film/equipment I use, but do I have to do that for the development time for each film?

    I.E if I get E.I for Ilford Delta 400 to 400 in 35 mm and find a development time for normal density – N.
    Will the development time for N for the 120 and 4x5 be the same, or do I have to do the test for all sizes?
    - OM -
     
  5. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    In your original post, you said you used 3 mL of HC-110. I assumed you meant 3 mL of syrup. Circa 1 mL makes it sound like it was actually 3 mL of stock solution, which is 0.75 mL of syrup, or 1/4 the "real-world" minimum.

    You could have got *something* on the film, even with only 0.75 mL of syrup. However, look at the chart to which the other poster linked. Look at the amounts of syrup that are mixed into the common dilutions. Published developing times are for much larger amounts of syrup than just a few mL.

    For instance, take dilution B as an example, and let's say you have shot Ilford HP5 film (again, just for example).

    Five minutes is the manufacturer's recommended developing time at 20 C. The chart sez that to make up 250 mL of HC-110 at dilution B, it takes approximately 8 mL of syrup.

    There is a rule of thumb to find a starting point when experimenting with various dilutions: If you half the amount of stock, and keep the agitation intervals the same, you double the developing time to get the same contrast.

    So, ignoring minimum syrup amounts just to make a point, figure it like this using the rule of thumb: If 8 mL of syrup develops the film in five minutes, 4 mL develops it in 10 minutes. Thus 2 mL develops it in 20 minutes. Thus 1 mL develops it in 40 minutes. You used 0.75 mL (I think). Since this is halfway to the next halving of syrup (which would be 0.5 mL), it is also halfway to the next doubling of time (which would be 80 minutes), thus 0.75 mL of syrup theoretically has a developing time of 60 minutes, *ignoring minimum syrup amounts*. This equates to 51 minutes in a Jobo, taking off 15% due to continuous agitation

    Then, you have to look at the fact that once you go below 3 mL, the syrup is used up entirely once you get to a certain point. This kills your contrast by holding the highlights from developing past a certain density. This is not technically accurate, but a little imagination might help to get the idea of how this affects your film. Think of it like this: If 3 mL is the minimum syrup amount you need to give you normal contrast, you will get half as much contrast with 1.5 mL, and you will get one quarter as much contrast with 0.75 mL. If your normal contrast index is 0.60, you end up with a contrast index of 0.15, even if you developed for 51 minutes (or forever, for that matter).

    So, before you even developed, the amount of syrup you mixed in limited your contrast index to a certain level. (Ignore the 0.15 number above, as I pulled it out of my butt just to make a point.) Then, you add the fact that you developed using a listed time that was probably intended for dilution B or something similar. What was it? Five or ten minutes?

    Underneath all of this, there is also the fact that the film is probably a bit underexposed if you used box speed and typical in-camera metering. This variance in EI typically ranges from 1/3 to 1 stop with most people's individualized testing.

    Still, though: Are you sure there is *absolutely nothing* on your film?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2009
  6. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I note OMU is in Norway. The chart linked above points out there is a "European" version of HC110 syrup which requires 9.6 mL per roll vs 3 mL for the "US" version. I'm still not sure exactly what was done in this case, but using the less potent syrup could add additional negative consequences (pardon the bad pun).

    DaveT
     
  7. WarEaglemtn

    WarEaglemtn Member

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    "you can half this minimum for sure with any developer I have ever messed with"

    Nothing is gained by being cheap and stupid both. Getting by with the minimum is both. Mix and use more than the minimum and you are protected from the small mistakes in capacity that can crop up while developing. Much better to have some reserve capacity than a weak developer.

    If you don't really care about your photos though, mix cheap and don't worry. You know what your effort is worth.
     
  8. Stefan Findel

    Stefan Findel Member

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    Or... maybe not. I used HC110 in Germany for 15 yrs. And it's the same product I get in the US. In Germany I never heard of a 'European' version.
     
  9. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Dave,

    Exactly!

    OMU,

    You need to follow the directions on the particular bottle of HC-110 you have. It is likely the weaker, European version (I have some too, here in Vienna) and has very different dilutions than the American cousin. You can extrapolate from the information on the bottle to make working solutions directly from the concentrate. Just keep in mind that the amount of "syrup" you will need for a particular dilution will be different than with the U.S. version.

    Best,

    Doremus Scudder
    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  10. OMU

    OMU Member

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    Thanks again to all of you:

    2/F 2/F: I have now examined the film on my light board. And yes, there is “something” on the film; actually in some of the frames I can see some of the image. I used 3 ml syrup to 930 ml water, developed for six minutes.

    Yesterday I developed a test film HP4+ and later tree Ilford Delta 400. I mixed dilution B according to the recipe on the bottle. 1 + 31. and used the minimum syrup according to the recommendation I found on the webpage of perkeleellinen

    I bought the bottle in Firentze/Flores, Italy, last Friday – so it don’t know if there is a European version any more?

    I have only looked at the negatives on the light board, but the negatives look great.
    I’ll try some print in the weekend. By now the Delta 400 negatives – to me - looks much better than those I have from Xtol development. I’m looking forward to do some more testing on the combo HP4/HP5/Delta100/Delta400 to HC.

    Tanks again for your effort helping me.
    I’ll promise to post some examples in a few days.
    - OM -