Dektol etc.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by David Ruby, Dec 21, 2003.

  1. David Ruby

    David Ruby Member

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    I have always used plain old Dektol for my paper developer, Kodak indicator stop bath, and RapidFix fixer. Reading various posts here and there, I always here a whole bunch of other names, never Dektol etc.

    Am I the only one using this stuff? Is the other stuff better (if so, why?)?

    This was the stuff that was always in the public darkroom where I got my start, and I guess it was one less unknown when I got my own. I just just curious if it was considered more of a hobbyist developer or if there were other reasons I never hear it mentioned. Thanks.
     
  2. Francesco

    Francesco Member

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    I for one think it is a very versatile paper dev. And it lasts long too!
     
  3. Aurore

    Aurore Member

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    Dektol is a fantastic paper developer, imo. Now, I haven't experimented much with traditional chemistry, but it would not surprise me to hear somebody more experienced than myself say that Dektol is one of the most versatile developers out there. I experiment with alternative techniques often, and it seems something always calls for dektol. For instance, to tone a cyanotype, which is originally blue, back to black, you need dektol and tannic acid. If you look at the literature for Liquid Light, Dektol is the name they give when suggesting a developer. If you're thinking about making enlarged negatives for contact printing processes, most will recommend Arista OrthoLith in Dektol. Just a few examples off the top of my head. If you're more interested in experimenting within traditional printing processes, you may want to experiment with other developers for different tones, contrast, tonal range, etc. I would suggest buying The Darkroom Cookbook and mixing your own in that case. But if you think you'll be delving into alternative processes, stick with dektol. It'll come in handy more often than you can imagine.

    :smile: Aurore
     
  4. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Nothing wrong with using dektol. It certainly rates being called the "standard" developer. But there is lot of variety out there. I think as people branch out in photography, they try different things to see if they work better than what they are currently using. In my case, I started seeing threads about Agfa Neutol WA giving results similar to Amidol. I tried it and found that it indeed gave better highligts and highlight seperation than dektol or the combination of selectol soft and dektol. At the same time, I explored Amidol and confirmed to myself all the good things that had been said about it.

    Now my practice is to do my proofing with Neutol, saving the relatively expensive Amidol for the final prints. Still have a gallon of dektol setting on the shelf just in case.
     
  5. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Dektol is the Mother Of All Developers. Most of today's 'alternative' developers can be traced back to the Dektol roots. It hasn't changed in 100 years. It is the benchmark of developers. It may be said that everybody uses Dektol, in one form or another.
     
  6. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    A couple things I forget in my first reply.

    First, this is a multi-national forum. Dektol use may not be as prevelent outside North America. There's also Agfa and Ilford in Europe and I think Fuji markets chemicals outside the USA. Plus, there's the small niche companies that are springing up offering alternatives to the Great Yellow. For example, Phtographer's Formularie offers its versions of improved dektol and many others.

    Second, it all depends on what you are trying to achieve. Many participants here are into alternative processes. Second, many choose to mix their own brews. There are many developer formulations out there which used to be commercial products but are no longer commercially available, Ansco 120 and Ansco 130 come to mind.

    Even Michael A. Smith, Guru of Azo and Amidol, admits to still using dektol once in a while if he wants a cold-toned Azo print.

    Bottom line, dektol has to have something going for it to survive on the market as long as it has. But, the alternatives are out there for the pickins.
     
  7. MikeK

    MikeK Member

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    I have been using Dektol for decades and is my stock developer for RC and some fiber papers. It has always been a consistent performer, economical and consistent.

    I do not use Dektol with Warm tone papers as I get a slight green tint and prefer to mix my own.

    - Mike
     
  8. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    I have pretty much always used Dektol. I use others from time to time and do use Zonal Pro with Forte Warmtone, but I always have Dektol mixed and on hand.
     
  9. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    I have pretty much always used Dektol. I use others from time to time and do use Zonal Pro with Forte Warmtone, but I always have Dektol mixed and on hand.
     
  10. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You're right, Alex. I had never heard of Dektol until I started reading American books. Neutol WA is the closest equivalent in Europe, along with various Ilford developers.

    I still haven't used Dektol, and don't think I will. Homemade Ansco 130 is my new standard :wink:
     
  11. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    One more reason not to try Dektol, then :wink:

    I have no firm favorite developer, although Ansco130 will certainly be used again. I find that many of my negatives print better with lith developers or "semi-lith" developers like highly dilute Gevaert G262. Ansco130 is great for the "standard" prints, and seems very long-lasting and stable.

    Maybe I'll try something else when I run out of Glycin.
     
  13. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    The formula that I have for Ansco 130 is as follows:

    Metol--2 G Sodium Sulfite--35 G Sodium Carbonate--78 G
    Glycin--11 G Water to make 1000ml

    The formula that I have for Dektol is as follows:

    Metol--3.1 G Sodium Sulfite--45 G Hydroquinone--12.0 G
    Sodium Carbonate--67.5 G Potassium Bromide--1.9 G
    Water to make 1000ml

    Are my formulas in error?
     
  14. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Aggie, are you sure about Ansco 130? I thought it was a warm-tone metol-base developer while Dektol is Hydroquinone-base neutral-tone.

    Selectol-Soft is Kodak's metol based developer.
     
  15. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    Interesting, I always thought Ansco 120 is considered the warmer low contrast developer while Ansco 130 is a neutral cooler tone developer.

    So, because I wasn't sure I checked Steve ANchell's Darkroom Cookbook and they are listed as "low contrast developer:" Ansco 120 soft working paper developer"
    Ansco 130 is listed with Neutral developers.

    Of course all developers will vary with paper types and dilution ratios.

    We do a class in the summer which consists of using about 15 different developers and /or ratios with a large variety of papers, THe number of papers vary with the interest of the student. I have run all most every brand of paper with these developers and they are similar but not the same. All will make an acceptable print. The difference are sutle and if an individual can not tell the difference it is not critical;; however there may be a situation when one wants a certain look or feeling to a print and then the combination of paper and developer can help bring about that vision.

    I am not recommending a "flavor of the month" attitude ; just that we have a lot of tools that can effectively enhance our work.

    Oh yes, I don't use Dektol ; Have been using LPD for years as the standard with neurtal or cold tone papers, Zonal Pro Warmtone developer for warmtone papers, ANsco 130 (usually straight) for Bergger Silver Supreme.

    One interesting result of the testing procedures was the discovery that Super Platinum was warmer on warm tone papers than Afga Neutra warmtone developer. Of course all these results are influence by our working environment and results may vary from lab to lab and water content, etc, etc.
     
  16. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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  17. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    IF you mix your own developers Dektol is a pretty good one to learn. Reduce the metol and add glycin and you have ansco 130. Add a little benzotriazole (1-2%solution) you increase the "coldness" of the print.

    If you want a warmer tone developer with neutral papers you already have all the chemicals on hand for the dektol except some potassium carbonate.

    If you want another warm tone variant and already work with or mix your own Pyrocat-HD you can mix up a catechol based developer with the other chemicals on hand.

    I hve been trying to move more and more to mixing up all my print developers. it is much cheaper, you mix only quantities that are required, and you only need to have about 8 chemicals on hand. This way I don't become to dependent on one company's developer and then suddenly find it has been discontinued.
     
  18. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    I use Dektol. It is easy to get in the US, and its behavior is well known and predictable.
     
  19. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Back home in my darkroom are both of the Bergger Test Packs, eight different papers to play with. In addition to what I have from before...

    Since I like playing and experimenting, I'll try them in two different developers. Since I also like to have a vague idea of what I'm doing, I'll try them in two familiar developers: Ansco 130 at full strength, and Gevaert G262 at 1:6.

    So that's one hydroquinone-based warmtone soft developer, and a Glycin/Metol neutral-tone normal-contrast developer.

    All developers are really rather similar, except possibly lith developers. Those, on the other hand, bear a strong relationship to dilute G262... The main difference is in the sulfite level and alkalinity; and all lith developers are hydroquinone only.

    Which makes me wonder is it shouldn't be possible to substitute pyrocatechol for hydroquinone - another thing to try?
     
  20. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    The formula that I have for Ansco 130 is as follows:

    Metol--2 G Sodium Sulfite--35 G Sodium Carbonate--78 G
    Glycin--11 G Water to make 1000ml


    The Darkroom Cookbook disagrees somewhat:
    Metol--2.2G; Sodium Sulfite--50G; Hydroquione--11G; Sodium Carb (Mono) 78 G; Potassium Bromide--5.5 G; Glycin 11 G. Water to 1Ltr

    The formula that I have for Dektol is as follows:

    Metol--3.1 G Sodium Sulfite--45 G Hydroquinone--12.0 G
    Sodium Carbonate--67.5 G Potassium Bromide--1.9 G
    Water to make 1000ml


    Cookbook: D-72 (similar to Dektol)
    Initially they are the same except where your formula calls for 67.5G Sodium carb, the cookbook calls for 80 G (Mono). This may be a conversion from Anhy > Mono.

    Are my formulas in error?

    I don't know.
     
  21. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    If you like the results you are getting with your formula it doesn't make any difference. Does it? At least to me, if you are getting what you want and need to differences don't mean much.
     
  22. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  23. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    No insult was intended. I too have glasses, can read and have page 190 setting in front of me from the second edition of the Darkroom cookbook.

    THere is no mention of the Dektol. However, As i stated I may have been mis-remembering and decided to look it up .