Cool/Neutral Tone DIY Developer for Warm Tone Paper: Magic Compounds?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Rafal Lukawiecki, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    I'd like to neutralise or cool down the tone of MGWT glossy fibre by means of a developer, which I could mix myself, followed by Se toning. I do not wish to use any other toners, such as gold, or other processes, for the time being. I am intrigued that there are two commercial developers that achieve exactly that, but which have unpublished formulae: Moersch SE6 and the discontinued Ilford Coldtone. I wonder if the collected photochemical brain-power at APUG could suggest what could be the magic compound.

    I have started experimenting, and I have researched APUG, however, I am a tad short on time. All I read so far is that the magic component of a cold-tone developer could be thiourea, 1-phenyl-5-mercaptotetrazol, nitrobenzimidazole, or possibly potassium iodide. Have you tried those with MGWT? If so, would you be willing to share the proportions/recipe, please? Adding BTA and eliminating or reducing KBr is not enough.

    These threads were useful:

    So far, I have only managed to compare regular Ansco 130, mixed from fresh ingredients, with the Evan Clarke version, and I have also followed advice of nworth (post #17 on this thread) to mix it with 1g KBr and some BTA—I tried adding 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, and 0.4 benzotriazole to 1l of stock (2l of working solution). Developing at 20.5˚C (70F) for 3 min, I am afraid, that I have to agree with Michael R 1974 (post #19 on this thread), that this did not cool down MGWT sufficiently. Nonetheless, I can see that there is a cooling effect, but it seems confined to the emulsion that is activated by the high contrast filtration (blue/magenta). The other emulsions (green/yellow) stay stubbornly warm-tone, which leads to a slightly split effect in Se. In my case this means that images printed with grades 2.5 upwards (using Ilford 500H) are almost the tone I am looking for, however those printed softer, especially with larger areas of shadow, are too warm. I don't want to switch back to MGIV because I prefer the tonality, the surface quality, lack of UV-activated optical brighteners, and the feel of MGWT—but I will switch back if I cannot solve this quest.

    I am planning to try ID-62, Bürki and Jenny, and Maxim Muir's Blue-Black (with NaOH) next, but I hope someone can help me skip to the front of the line. Thank you.

    PS. I also wonder if by cooling down MGWT by focusing on the larger silver grain its tonality might be lost or spoiled.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2013
  2. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Rafal, this is complex so hopefully you'll get a response from PE. Other than that, I'm afraid the only thing you can do is try various formulas for yourself. Any other "information" you get will be anecdotal at best.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I only use warm tone papers and can control the degree of warmth very easily and that includes colder tones.

    People forget that exposure and subsequent development time has a very great effect on image colour, slight under expose slightly and a longer development time gives colder tones and over exposure and shot times give greater warmth. This only works with papers containing Silver Chloride & Bromide and some work better than others.

    Older papers (in terms of storage) tend to be less warm, this is certainly true of Multigrade Warm Tone, Forte Polywarmtone, older Agfa papers like Record Rapic and MCC.

    Metol/Hydroquinone developers are colder toned than the equivalent Phenidone (or Dimezone)/Hydroquinone developers - unless Benzotriazole is added.

    Ian
     
  4. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    Ian, thank you for chiming in—I have been re-reading your various posts, and I was just about to mix ID-62 as per your recipe, except cutting down KBr to 1g and upping BTA to a total of 0.3g/l stock. I was wondering, however, if the dilution has an effect on tone. You recommended 1+3 dilution for ID-62, is that because of the longer developing time, or to maintain contrast? Someone else was suggesting that a more concentrated developer might work colder, I am a bit confused.

    On another note, you have just pointed out that PQ works warmer than MQ, unless BTA is added. Do I take it that PQ+BTA is colder-working, in general, than MQ+BTA? I am about to go to the darkroom this afternoon, so I also have a choice of trying a variant of ID-62 or Ansco 103 (not 130), which is pretty similar but with metol.

    Michael, thanks for your advice, I will write what I discover, when I'm through with all the combinations, there are just so many of them to try.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    ID-62 is the improved PQ version of ID-20 PQ which was once commercially available, Ilford halved the amount of Bromide and added Benzotriazole because of customer complaints of colour shifts (warmth).

    Dilution does have an effect on image colour with warm tone papers. !+3 was Ilfords recommendations for a dev like this, 1+2 or even 1+1 will give greater contrast and colder tones.

    It's a case of fine tuning the vaiables of choice of developer, dilution, exposure and development time that affects image colour with warm tone papers and they are very flexible.

    Ian
     
  6. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    Many thanks Ian. I'm following your advice that MQ may be cooler working than PQ, and so I've mixed Ansco 103 as per Anchell, with 0.6g KBr/l stock and 0.25g BTA/l stock. I diluted it 1+2 and will report the results later on today or tomorrow. Next in line I'll try PQ as in ID-62 and/or or a BTA enhanced DS-14, to try something different that also has claims to being cooler working. Fingers crossed.
     
  7. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    A lot depends on the specific paper, but most VC papers will go cooler if you work mainly with the high
    contrast (blue-sensitive) layer, and develop to completion, so the silver particles are large. So you start
    with a slightly soft neg. Some cold tone developers simply go greenish. For example, my favorite cold
    tone tweak for Polygrade V, which created a blue-black, will not create the same tone in MGWT. Rather,
    I actually achieve a cold tone using a relatively warm developer and then gold toning. But you've asked
    for no toner. Using benzotriazole instead of KBr might or might not cool the image. Just depends on the
    specifics. Not only is each paper different, but changes in developer, developer temp, and even exp light will have an effect regarding warmth/coolness. I don't find this fact frustrating at all, but part of
    a broad suite of potential tools to fine-tune the final effect.
     
  8. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    Drew, that is also my experience with MGWT: the high-contrast, i.e. blue-activated emulsion responds fairly well to cooling attempts, but it is the other one that is far more stubborn. Just shifting printing to use higher contrast for the sake of tone is not appealing to me too much as it does make smooth highlights, clouds and skies, a bit too grainy for my liking.

    Ian, thanks to your suggestion to head the MQ way. I may have some good news, although I still need to do a like-for-like comparison, I run out of time for that yesterday. It seems that a modified Ansco 103 (not 130), with 0.6g KBr/l stock and 0.25g BTA/l stock has given me cooler-to-neutral tones, not blue, on MGWT than my previous attempts with BTA/less KBr modified Ansco 130. The jury is still out, though, as I have to do a comparison on a soft image, since I printed a normal and a higher contrast image in this developer, last night. I followed by 1+9 21C (70F) Se, fairly used up KRST that had some 40 sheets of 11x14 through it so far, for 2 min–2 min 30 s. The look is pleasing to my eye, and very much what I was looking for, but it is not vastly different, like in Ian's thiourea experiment. I suppose I should do some scans one day... I am not yet sure about the modified Ansco 103 consistency as far as the tone is concerned, sheet-to-sheet, but I should know more after the weekend's printing.

    So at least for some images I may have cracked it, and I just hope it would also work for softer ones. If not, I will work my way through the other developer combinations, and perhaps I stumble on some further magic. I will be testing ID-62 and DS-14 with BTA modification at some point.

    I have also exchanged a few emails with Ryuji in the last few days, and he pointed out that 1-phenyl-5-mercaptotetrazol (PMT) may be a bit inconvienient for my purpose, as it would exhaust sooner than the developer, and hence would require constant addition after each print, to maintain it. Not to mention this could lead to inconsistency. He also mentioned that the commercially used additives, that lead to the cool tones, may simply be inaccessible to a regular darkroom worker.

    For those who are interested, the formula that I have used for this developer, following Anchell's modification suggestion, is:

    Ansco 103 modified for cooler tones:
    Water 750ml at 50C (122F)
    Metol 3.5g
    Sodium sulfite anh 45g
    Hydroquinone 11.5g
    Sodium carbonate anh 67g
    Potassium bromide 0.6g (6ml 10%)
    Benzotriazole 0.25g (25ml 1%)
    Water to 1l. Diluted 1+2, and used at about 20.5C (69F) 2 min 30 s for MGWT glossy fibre.
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    An issue with capacity and image colour will be the build up of Bromide as the developer will be exhausting slightly as well taht compounds the effect.

    Ian
     
  10. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    The coldest tone I have ever seen was with an Agfa developer called Neutol Plus (not Neutol WA or NE) with Forte paper. I don't know what was in that though but the developer may be worth a look.


    Rafal, I have to say that I wish more people would do as you have and actually research their question before asking it. Well done. Thanks for providing the links too.
     
  11. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Rafal - a couple of things to keep in mind:

    1. As you decrease (or eliminate) the concentration of bromide and replace it with BZT for cooler tones, it is likely you will see less stability in image tone through successive prints. As bromide gradually builds up the tone will tend to become warmer as you go. So consistency from print to print could be a potential issue. The relatively high initial concentration of bromide in Ansco 130 may explain why it is said to be so consistent throughout its working life.

    2. Watch out for a split-cooling effect with some warm tone papers. If the base is tinted warm (I believe MGWT is like this, although Ian G. would likely know for sure), you may still end up with relatively warm highlights and upper midtones where there is less silver, relative to the shadows where the developed image has been cooled by the cool/blue-toned developer.

    Just some thoughts.
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Michael, MGWT FB is on a fairly white base, however it was originally on a creamy base which was why I switched to Forte Polywarmtone when Agfa ceased paper manufacture. The paper (base) manufacturer stopped making the creamy base and I' be happier using the Ilford warm tone paper now.

    Ian
     
  13. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Thanks for correcting that. I can't remember where I read MGWT FB was on a cream base but perhaps it was actually in reference to an older version of the paper.

    Michael
     
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  15. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    Update on Progress: Mixed Results

    I have printed perhaps 50 sheets of MGWT FB glossy, from different negatives, using Ansco 103 (not 130) with the BTA/KBr modification as described earlier, in my post #8. The results are a mixed bag. There is a definite, noticeable cooling off in the deep shadows, and in some of the midtones, but none that I could see in the highlights. As some of you suggested, notably Drew, midtones printed by means of higher contrast grades tend to cool off, the softer ones, ie. those achieved by primarily the green exposure, are resistant to cooling off using this mixture. I would generalise that this developer offers a cooler tone than a modified Ansco 130, but if you print high-key, or if you lack larger shadow areas, you will not notice much if anything at all. Further, the difference between modified Ansco 130 and the original, on this paper, is also negligible. Still, overall, I do like the tone of this modified 103, especially following a brief Se toning, about 1 min to 1 min 20 sec in fresh KRST 1+9.

    Interestingly, Ansco 103 (modified, as above) works quite consistently, and it lasted, as working solution, for a week without any noticeable, subjective loss of power—I did not plot any curves, though. The fear, voiced earlier, that it may change tone due to gradual accumulation of bromide does not seem to have been the case for me, but I have not used it for more than 20 8x10 sheets/l working solution (60 8x10 sheets/l stock).

    However, I will continue my search, and today I will mix ID-62. I also hope to test DS-14 with the BTA modification, soon. I will report on either.
     
  16. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    "Cool" doesn't begin to describe that ascorbic-based Neutol Plus / Forte combination. It was as blue as a cyanotype. :smile: I never tried Neutol Plus with Multigrade Warmtone fiber, but would very much like to.

    Connect Chemicals, current owner of the business that still manufactures Neutol WA and Neutol NE (under the names "Print WA" and "Print NE"), apparently also offers Neutol Plus as "Print Plus." See here:


    I've written to Freestyle asking whether it would consider importing Print Plus but have not received a response yet. I'll update this thread if/when Freestyle answers.
     
  17. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Sal - you might also want to try Moersch SE3 and SE6. SE3 is a two part ascorbic acid-based, supposedly cold-tone developer. I actually have a package of it which I had intended to test with Ilford MGWT FB but still haven't had the time to try it out. SE6 is an all-out blue-black developer. I don't know what is in it and haven't tried it but Brian Steinberger got some interesting results with it and MGWT FB.
     
  18. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    I've had good results with SE6 and MGWT FB -- see this post:


    but held off purchasing any of the even-more-expensive SE3. Please do post your results after you try it out.
     
  19. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    First of all, I am pleased, so far, but not too surprised, with my today's attempt with ID-62, mixed as per Ian Grant's post, which I linked to at the top, but for the avoidance of doubt, this is what I did:

    In 750 ml of 50C water:
    Phenidone 0.5g
    Sodium sulfite anh 50g
    Hydroquinone 12g
    Sodium carbonate anh 60g
    Potassium bromide 2g (as 20ml 10% solution)
    Benzotriazole 0.2g (as 20ml 1% solution)
    water to make 1l. Dilution 1+2 (not 1+3 as suggested), 20C, and exposure aimed for 2 min 30 s developing time.

    I printed a negative with plenty of shadow and midtone, again on MGWT FB glossy. Shadows seemed quite neutral, much cooler than 130 (BTA modified and not), similar to 103 (BTA modified). Midtones were more neutral than 103, and much cooler than 130. Highlights are still warmish. However, after a short, 1 min 15 s in KRST 1+9 (mid-life, not fresh), the overall tone, gently plummy, is more even in midtones than with 103, and less "split" than with 130. Highlights, after Se, were also more coherent with the rest of the tone of the print, I find the look much less jarring than MGWT in 130 & Se. If you tone for only 30-45 s, the look has a coolness that I would accept, if I were not looking for a more traditional Se look. But without Se there is a hint of the traditional hydroquinone greenish cast, not so present after 130.

    Tomorrow I am planning to print a high-key image, this will be the real test of ID-62 in terms of my goals.

    Sal, I am excited to read that the developer you mentioned is ascorbic based. I will be mixing DS-14 in the next few weeks, with and without BTA, I wonder if that brings more cool or neutral tone to the midtones and the highlights.

    Many thanks, Ian, for suggesting ID-62. It is very nice, even with the normal amount of KBr, it seems. I like it.
     
  20. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    Yes Sal, that is actually very true! It was shocking how blue it was. I use Ascorbic Acid print developers (E-72 based) all the time, but I have never run into anything like that again. I wonder what the difference was.

    If it wasn't so expensive I would get some of that delivered here. It is too bad Freestyle doesn't import it. maybe I will email them about it.

    If anyone knows what causes it to be so cold, please speak up! I would appreciate it.
     
  21. brianmquinn

    brianmquinn Member

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    I never tried that exact combo but I agree that Forte paper was as BLUE black as I have ever seen. I used my own home brew cold tone developer with and loved the results. I only have a few sheets of paper left. If only it could be brought back into production.
     
  22. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    I still haven't tried SE3, but did just complete a trial developing MGWT FB in another ascorbic-based paper developer, LegacyPro EcoPro. Unfortunately, the results were fairly warm, not even close to neutral or cool. Fortunately, this developer provided the exact very-slightly-warm-without-green image tone I prefer when used on ILFOBROM GALERIE. GALERIE has now become my favorite paper. :smile:
     
  23. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    Update -- Freestyle never answered, quietly adding Print Plus to its offerings instead:


    I've just completed a trial using it with Multigrade Warmtone fiber. Unfortunately, the results are distinctly warm. Apparently nothing commercially available cools that paper down like Moersch SE-6 developer does. :smile:
     
  24. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    Michael, have you developed any Multigrade Warmtone fiber in the SE-3 yet, or are you testing that developer's unopened shelf life instead? :D Seriously, if you've made prints, what was their image tone? Thanks in advance.
     
  25. zsas

    zsas Member

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  26. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    Andy, how would you characterize the "touchiness" of Muligrade Warmtone FB during the T-26 toning step? Is it as quick and difficult to control as that paper is in selenium toner? Thanks in advance.