Divided developer questions

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by srs5694, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Woonsocket,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I've been getting a bit curious about divided developers recently, and so gave one a try. At semi-random, I picked the General Purpose Divided Developer formula from Anchell's Darkroom Cookbook, 2nd Edition (formula #5 in that book). This has an MQ bath A and a bath B that consists of sodium sulfite and borax. I tried it out on a roll of 35mm Fomapan 400, but I got very thin negatives. On more (and more careful) reading, I found advice to use continuous agitation with divided developers, so I shot a roll of medium format Fomapan 400 and tried it again, but the results are, if anything, even thinner. I also noticed that bath B is producing a sludge-like gray precipitate that's coating the bottle. (Bath B is supposed to be good for several rolls.) So:

    • Is the sludge-like precipitate normal, or is this a sign that I mixed it wrong or have some sort of contaminant? (I mixed only half a liter rather than a full liter, and it's conceivable I neglected to halve one or both of the ingredients in bath B.)
    • Is it likely that this developer would work better with other films? I'm reluctant to use it again, but I'll do so with another type of film if this developer is known to produce poor results with Fomapan 400.
    • Any other suggestions for divided developers to try? Aside from curiosity, my main interest is in finding something with consistent development times across films, which can be handy on those occasions when I've got a roll of an unfamiliar film and can't or don't want to do a test roll to find the optimum development time.
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,598
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Divided developers work differently with different films. They are based on the thickness of gelatin and the quantity of silver coated. As this varies, time in the two baths must be varied to optimize the process.

    Continuous agitation in the B bath is not a good idea. Low agitation in B is best.

    The sludging might be due to the fact that this developer may have been designed as a single shot and therefore reusing "B" is a no-no. IDK for sure, but adding a sequestrant to part B might be useful.

    PE
     
  3. Saganich

    Saganich Subscriber

    Messages:
    531
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Couple comments:
    The sludge is silver.
    You need a full liter mixed to get a normal development.
    Missing one of B ingredients would also exacerbate the underdevelopment, if you did forget one it's likely the Sodium Sulfite else you wouldn't get the sludge. There should be some sludge in the A as well.
    3min in bath a is too short for the film you used try 5 and 3.
     
  4. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,726
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2002
    For some recent emulsions you might be better off just mixing A and B. As PE said, a lot depends on the thickness of gelatin to hold enough A to be activated by B. The T-grain emulsions flat grains allow thin emulsions, a fact that contributes greatly to resolution and acutance, but makes it hard on divided developing.
     
  5. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,187
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2005
    Location:
    Los Alamos,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I used divided developers for a while many years ago, and they performed very well. They are much less fussy than the standard type. But when I tried them again a couple of years ago, I had trouble. Like you, I got thin, inconsistent results. It seems that divided developers just do not work well with modern films. It may have something to do with the superhardened emulsions. PE also makes an important point - divided developers work differently with different films. That is especially true with modern films, and some people report good results with one or another brands. You can experiment with different times, especially in the first solution, and you may find something that works well for your particular film. But, in general, I can't recommend these developers for moder films.
     
  6. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

    Messages:
    2,131
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've tried all of the DD's in "Darkroom Cookbook" and most in FDC. Yes, results do vary from one DD to another and from one film to another.

    You can try D2D in TDC, that's the best IMHO. There's HQ, Borax and Carbonate a work in there. I've gotten some good negs from it, but, there's always a BUT, you may have to custom tweak the carbonate level to suit you contrast needs.

    Sludge is normal. I dump after 6 rolls, although some directions sate good for 20.

    D23D is a good one, but I've upped the level of metol in A. I'll try to look it up for you.

    DD's can be fun and useful, but you may waste a lot of film and time getting it right.
     
  7. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

    Messages:
    2,131
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ahh yes, the ol Post-It notes attached to the inside of the book! My notes tell me that I upped the metol in D-23D to 7.5g and doubled the carbonate to 9g. I show times of 4 min in "A" and 8 min in "B".

    Thornton's Two Bath is a DD I like quite a bit, but this was created with thinner emulsions in mind.

    Adam's Divided (FDC) is another that works, but for some reason I got really grainy negs; haven't used it since.

    Testing is advised!
     
  8. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

    Messages:
    1,261
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    After twenty years, on and off, of experimenting with many DD's, I'm starting to get a handle on some aspects. No, more than a handle. I will be writing up some of my findings very soon, it's in progress. Here are a few pertinent points.

    1. DD's work just fine with modern emulsions. You just need the right DD. See #4.
    2. Don't confuse regular developers like D-23 that get finished off in a Bath B. Actually, Diafine is one of them because the Phenidone is quite active at the Bath A pH.
    3. Absolutely minimize agitation in Bath B, use just enough to be rid of streaks and drag.
    4. Probably my greatest discovery, hinted at above, is that the reactivity of different films to different developers is the reason that certain DD's work so well with some and not with others. I have come up with three categories and they each need their own developer!
    5. The pH of Bath B has little outcome on the image. High pH baths develop faster and if left in solution too long, grain increases. Otherwise, no difference.
    6. The amount of chemistry in Bath A does not make as much difference on contrast and density as you would think. Some, yes. But very little

    I'll be "publishing" my observations in the next week or two with some formulas, film reactivity ratings, etc.
     
  9. dancqu

    dancqu Member

    Messages:
    3,684
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Willamette V
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    So, how much of what did you put into that half liter?
    And BTW, 1/2 liter is plenty for A roll of 35mm. Dan
     
  10. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Woonsocket,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I think that I halved all the amounts, but of course I could be mistaken about this. I certainly wouldn't be able to use a whole liter for any one roll, since my largest tank holds just over half a liter of solution.

    Thanks to everybody for their comments. I think I'll give up on the current batch, in case I mis-mixed it. I may try the D2D that Jim mentioned, but I'll need to track down the formula first.
     
  11. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

    Messages:
    2,131
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    SRS, the formula for D2D can be found in Anchell's "Darkroom Cookbook". I find it to be a very useful dev as it gives you three choices of "B". DO NOT use an acid stop bath with the carbonate "B" bath; you'll get blisters all over the film from the acid/carbonate reaction. A water rinse will do nicely and an alkaline fix is probably a good idea, too.
     
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,598
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you have a properly hardened modern film you will NOT get blisters if you use a stop bath!

    Kodak, Ilford, Fuji and a number of other companies make films that will take a stop bath just fine.

    PE
     
  13. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

    Messages:
    2,131
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ah, but I did! I was using FP-4 will D2D and an acid stop bath. I ruined 2 rolls this way with big, fat blisters. I then re-read the section on D2D and Anchell clearly states to not use an acid stop. On the next roll I used a water stop and had no blisters. Maybe an acid stop is not supposed to damage film, but mine came out that way. Don't know what else to tell you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2008
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,598
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'll have to check that one out then. I've never heard of a problem since the 60s with any Kodak, Ilford, Fuji or Agfa film.

    PE
     
  16. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

    Messages:
    1,261
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    You don't NEED a stop bath with a true DD

    If properly formulated and processed, a DD has, well, stopped developing after Bath B.

    If you need a stop bath, something is wrong.

    Just wash a bit to remove developing agents and move to the fixer.
     
  17. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

    Messages:
    2,131
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I need to correct my post: Anchell states that the "film SHOULD be rinsed in a stop bath". IDK where I read about the carbonate/acid reaction, but I can assure you, it does happen.

    PE, I don't doubt your word. You know far, far more about these things than I do, but perhaps it only happens with D2D or other devs with a high carbonate content??? D2D contains 30g/liter of carbonate; a fairly high amount IMO. There are few other devs in the "Cookbook" that contain more carbonate.
     
  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,598
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've worked at the 50 - 100 g/l of Sodium Carbonate with no problem. Sure does fizz with FB paper, but the film is ok in that type of situation. In fact, a case in point, the C-41 developer is about 50 g/l carbonate and C-41 films are thick and processed at 100 F (40C). Even so, you can use a stop bath with them with no problem.

    Some softening agents can reverse hardness, but I doubt there are any in this developer. I know of one softener that can be used in some situations that will instantly reticulate film.

    PE
     
  19. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

    Messages:
    2,131
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Interesting. I used city tap water, Kodak Indicator stop and D2D. Maybe the planets were aligned wrong?
     
  20. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

    Messages:
    1,261
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    30 g/l of carbonate

    ...is not much more pH than 5 or 10. Five will give you a pH of about 10.5, but even 90 grams won't hit pH 11. Carbonate really flattens out near the top of the quantity per liter graph.
     
  21. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,598
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes it does Paul, but the buffer capacity continues to rise!

    Don't forget that, as buffer capacity is very very important to all of this.

    PE
     
  22. Merg Ross

    Merg Ross Member

    Messages:
    257
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisc
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    A decade or so ago, I used the D2D formula with good results. It was devised by Bill Davis and we have corresponded for many years on the subject of his formula. With his help and advice, I was getting good negatives with 4x5 FP4+. I was printing with a condenser light source at the time.

    Bill has been, for many years, an advisor on the Freestyle Photographic panel and would be a good contact for questions relating to D2D. He suggested that I use Borax from the grocery store, which worked fine.

    Bill is also an excellent photographer, and a small self-published book of his work, "Simple Pleasures", is available from Freestyle. This thread has renewed my interest in returning to a divided developer. Thanks.

    mergross.com
     
  23. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

    Messages:
    1,261
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yes, I was doing a KISS posting! I presume if there is a large reserve of alkali, the fizzing will perhaps be more violent, which would also happen with a higher pH, I guess.
     
  24. dancqu

    dancqu Member

    Messages:
    3,684
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Willamette V
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I've Camera and Darkroom's extensive article by Steve Anchell
    covering the subject of divided developers. He has bisulfited
    a few of the formulas so as to lower the ph. By so doing
    development is essentialy confined to the B bath.

    Only three choices for the "B" bath? Let me guess; borax,
    sulfte, and carbonate. Those in order of increasing ph. An
    additional three might be; water, bicarbonate, metaborate.
    Water can be used but only if the A bath is active.

    A post B bath water rinse is needed if the film is to be
    returned to the A bath for a second or more times. And
    that only if the A bath is to be reused for a next roll or rolls.
    If though the A bath and B bath are used one-shot then
    skip the post B bath water rinse and return the film
    directly to the A bath. Dan
     
  25. dancqu

    dancqu Member

    Messages:
    3,684
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Willamette V
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Stoeckler's Two Bath

    No discussion of divided developers would be
    near complete without considering Stoeckler's.
    From another perspective read about Stoeckler's,
    and the theory of and workings of divided
    developers by searching for Stoeckler's
    via Google. LOTS of information. Dan
     
  26. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

    Messages:
    2,131
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The "B" that Anchell lists for D2D are a combo of 37.5g of borax and 30g of carbonate, but tell the reader that more or less carbonate can be used to alter the contrast.

    Anchell does list 3 "B's" for D-23D: borax, metaborate and carbonate.