Current options in lith developers: Moersch, Rollei, and Fotospeed LD20

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Tom Kershaw, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Yesterday and today I've got back to making lith prints for the first time in many months; thankfully my sealed 500ml pack of Fotospeed LD20 (dated Nov 2010) worked without issue. However, as I intend to make 12x16" and 16x20" lith prints, that 500ml pack will not last long. As far as I can see the current options in commercially prepared lith developers are:

    - Fotospeed LD20 (standard A and B concentrate type kit, also available in 5lt A and 5 lt B packaging)

    - Rollei Vintage Creative Lith (also an A+B kit but 10 GBP more expensive than the Fotospeed product.

    - Moersch Easylith

    - Moersch SE5 master kit

    As far as kit comparisons go, I understand the SE5 product uses the standard A + B format but then one adjusts the developer function via the use of additives C, D (included), E and F (extra), either used solo with the developer or in conjunction with "Old Brown".

    Has anyone here made comparisons or have experience with the above kits?

    Tom
     
  2. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I used LD20 and was quite happy. I tried some Rollei and was pleased with the first batch, since it produced prints very close to Fotospeed. The next batch of Rollei I bought did not behave well. I could not get the same color that I did from the Fotospeed or first batch of Rollei. Since Fotospeed was on its hiatus and unavailable I tried Moersch. Very similar results to Fotospeed/early Rollei, but more expensive. When I need to buy again I will probably go with Fotospeed for economy.

    Note: I did buy the Moersch master kit but have not used the additives. Maybe just buying the A and B bottles would be comparable in price to Fotospeed. I don't know, I have not checked.
     
  3. ath

    ath Member

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    I have not used them but in my eyes with the moersch chemicals you have the advantage to see a variaty of samples pictures at http://www.moersch-photochemie.de/content/galerie/lang:en. He is very helpful when approached with questions (he is a member here as well) and provides a lot of information (see e.g. here.

    I rarely do lith and am still on my first set of Maco lith; when it's empty I will buy Moersch's lith.
     
  4. swittmann

    swittmann Member

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    Tom, I can only comment on Moersch Easy Lith so far, as I have not tried any of the others. I like it very much and it gives me a large variety of possiblities - different solutions, different exposure times, different papers... there is a lot to "play". Along with the two bottles comes a comprehensive instruction text, and if you wish to know even more, you can have a look at the Moersch website, as stated above. I have started with lith printing this year, so I am still a beginner, however, with Easy Lith, I have enough to "play with" for the next months to come, I think...
    I always buy the two small bottles, and the price is good.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2010
  5. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Swittmann,

    I went and had a look at the Moersch website, and indeed he does provide some good examples for the products. However, I'm unclear as to whether the SE5 master kit provides anything extra over Fotospeed + home brewed additives, although I see claims are made with regard to longevity or stability of the lith developer compared to the more standard solutions.

    Tom
     
  6. Pete H

    Pete H Member

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    Tom, I use the SE 5 kit but I don't have experience with the others, so I can't help with a direct comparison. You can keep the SE 5 going for a long time by judicious use of the additives with a bit of replenishment, but what I like is that you can play with them to get quite different effects from the same paper, from smooth and creamy to very grainy and lithy, just by changing the amounts and the dilution. The extra ingredients give you more control, although also more to experiment with and a consequent chance of getting it wrong. Presumably you could do the same with home brewed additives in the other developers - as far as I understand C and D are just sulphide and bromide additives to give independent control of the levels of each in the developer.

    Pete
     
  7. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    There is also a Ammonium Carbonate solution (Omega additive) which is supposed to increase colour intensity.

    Tom
     
  8. traveller

    traveller Member

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    I use the Moersch Easylith and the SE 5-kit. And on some occasion I use the Lith Omege to increase the colour intensity.

    Easy to use and he is indeed very helpful

    John
     
  9. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I've used Rollei, Moersch SE5, Champion and Arista liquid. I found Rollei and Moersch (without additives) to be similar. Champion and Arista are also similar and, unfortunately, contain formaldahyde. I like them for Slavich paper, but have pretty much stuck to Rollei otherwise. Both Rollei and Moersch are formalhyde-free as far as I know. I've heard that Fotospeed and Rollei are the same, but I have no direct experience to confirm that.
     
  10. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    The Easy Home Brew Alternative

    Three chemicals and you've a lith developer. Hydroquinone,
    sodium sulfite, and sodium carbonate in the correct proportions
    are all that is needed. You've the chemicals on hand? If interested
    I'll post some for starters suggestions. Dan
     
  11. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Dan I think you're missing a few ingredients. Take a look at the ld-20 msds and you'll notice that in addition to lye, there's a bit more than that:

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/pdf/msds/fotospeed/LD20_Lith_Deveveloper.pdf

    Part B is halfway down.
     
  12. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Maybe One

    Potassium bromide may or may not be needed although
    I don't recall using it while doing some lith printing
    several years ago. Dan
     
  13. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Okay, and what about potassium hydroxide or the glycol?

    The chemicals you stated ("Hydroquinone, sodium sulfite, and sodium carbonate") sound perfectly find for something like Dektol (in fact that pretty much is Dektol that you described) but as we all know, Dektol isn't even close to a lith developer.

    Granted, it's all about proportion of chemicals to manipulate developer activity, but I think there's a bit more than that needed. On the flip-side, it appears Easylith is mostly HQ, glycol, and potassium carbonate.
     
  14. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    So totally depends on the paper (er, emulsion). Starting over again, with a giant stash of good lithable paper, I would most definitely mix my own developers.

    And it is basically (or, elementary, depending on your take) what danq said. This stuff is not rocket surgery. Stoicheometry yes, rocket surgery no.
     
  15. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    The Secret

    The very high ph of a hydroxide is not needed. The
    glycol? The entire News Paper industry for generations
    existed as we know it because of lith developers. Many
    variations exist catering to many emulsions, work
    conditions, keeping qualities etc.

    The secret is the extremely low level of sulfite needed.
    Ordinarily hydroquinone is, after a manor, rejuvenated
    so acts in it's usual way. As sulfite levels drop below
    2% hydroquinone reduces the halides of silver
    infectiously.

    To learn more, via Google search for lith formulas.
    Once there read "What Lith Developers Do". Dan
     
  16. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Dan,

    Have you used any of the commercial formulas? I can mix my own solutions but a "ready in the bottle" product is a convenience.

    Tom
     
  17. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Committed to Home Brew

    No I've not used any commercial products. Any product
    off the shelf is based upon hydroquinone's infectious
    development in a very low sulfite environment.

    I'll likely get back to compounding my own although for
    the near future my time available for darkroom work
    is very limited. I'd like to explore the developer as
    a global contrast control. Have you done any
    exploring along those lines? Perhaps lith
    then bleach then redevelop? Or even
    re-lith. Dan
     
  18. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Not as yet. Processing ILFORD MGWT in a standard PQ developer, bleaching, and then redeveloping in a lith developer is planned, as suggested by Tim Rudman.

    Tom
     
  19. Schlapp

    Schlapp Member

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    Does anyone know the keeping properties if Rollewi-Creative Lith - unmixed please? I'm thinking of buying 5l of the stuff but don't want it to go off!
    thanks
     
  20. ath

    ath Member

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    I dont know about this specific developer but once W. Moersch stated that lith developers should keep nearly indefinite. I think he was observing no measurable change after several years of storage with his developer.
    I would store the 5l in several glass bottles though.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2012
  21. Schlapp

    Schlapp Member

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  22. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Mark where do you find the Champion chemistry??
     
  23. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Old thread, my heart started racing thinking I could find some good old champion
     
  24. An Le-qun

    An Le-qun Member

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    Don't neglect Ultrafine--two gallons of concentrate that keeps...well, I'm on my third order, and the low cost has encouraged me to do lith for about 95% of my printing. I decant the gallon A & B into used wine bottles, and I've never had it even threaten to go off.

    http://www.ultrafineonline.com/

    Click the "Graphic Arts" tab.

    The results are very close to what I got with Fotospeed.