Divided Developers for B&W paper

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Maine-iac, Dec 17, 2004.

  1. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    Several people have inquired about the divided developer printing method I use.

    First, some general remarks: Divided developing is not a new idea. I ran across it first about 25 years ago in an old Dignan booklet of formulas, and have used it ever since. The concept is simple: by separating the activating agent from the developing agents into two separate baths, several things are accomplished:

    1. Time/temperature considerations virtually disappear. Since no image appears in the developing agent bath (Bath A), any temperature will do. I've tested at temps ranging from 50F to 100F with no discernible difference. I've even had Bath A at room temp and Bath B 50 degrees warmer and everything was fine. Just came up faster in Bath B. Your ambient darkroom temperature will do just fine. All that happens in Bath A is that the latent image created by exposure under the enlarger absorbs the amount of developer it will need to fully convert the silver ions. As a result, Bath A never becomes exhausted; it only get used up physically in volume as each sheet of paper absorbs a tiny amount. It can be re-used indefinitely. Generally, about 20-30 sec. in Bath A is sufficient for the absorption to take place.

    2. Since no actual image appears in Bath A, and in Bath B, only the absorbed developer is activated, one cannot over- or under-develop as long as sufficient time is given for absorption of the solution. Any density changes will have to occur under the enlarger, thus making you become a better printer.

    3. Contrast is automatically controlled. You cannot increase or decrease contrast by leaving it in the soup longer or pulling it out sooner. You can leave it in Bath B all day and it will develop no further than what the absorbed developer from Bath A permits. Again, learn to control contrast under the enlarger. EXCEPTION: by using a soft contrast developer formula for Bath A instead of the harder formula, you can decrease contrast approx. 1 paper grade.

    4. 2 liters of Bath B, which is just sodium carbonate (Arm & Hammer Washing soda) will process approximately 35-40 8 X 10's before beginning to become exhausted (weak blacks, muddy grays). Just discard and replace, at a cost of mere pennies. While the image can't over-develop, it can under-develop if you pull it too soon. At a normal ambient temp of around 70 degrees, it usually takes about 45 seconds to fully develop. The warmer your developer or room temperature, the shorter time it will take. I've never had it take longer than 45 seconds, even with a weakened solution. So the total time saving per print is considerable.

    5. Bath A will keep more or less indefinitely, because the preservative is in it, but not the activator. Don't contaminate Bath A with Bath B or you turn it into a weak single-solution developer and all bets are off. In actual fact, I've kept it going for as long as 9 months without noticing any degradation. Once I had to stop printing for nearly a year, and the solution did go bad during that period. So figure on a 6-9 month shelf life before mixing fresh (again, at very low cost).

    This method also works well with Ilfochromes (eliminates the temp control problems and naturally controls contrast) though with a different Bath A formula. Another topic for another day.

    Caveat: I am not a chemist (Ph.D. in biblical studies and early Christian origins--- an almost totally useless field of knowledge---which along with $3 will buy me a cup of coffee almost anywhere), and my quantities, arrived at through experimentation, work, but are not necessarily the optimum in terms of interactions and proportionality. I'm sure Pat Gainer or others with more knowledge of chemistry can tweak them to be more correct. Here are the formulas I've been using for years quite successfully:

    Normal-hard Bath A to make 2 liters

    2 teaspoons Metol
    3 Tablespoons Sodium Sulfite
    2 teaspoons Hydroquinone
    1/4 teaspoon Potassium Bromide
    OR
    10 ml Benzotriazole (not both)


    Soft Bath A

    2 Tablespoons Metol
    3 Tablespoons Sodium Sulfite
    1/4 teaspoon Potassium Bromide
    OR
    10 ml Benzotriazole (not both)

    Bath B

    2 liters water
    1/2 cup sodium carbonate

    No water rinse or stop bath between Bath A and Bath B.

    I've also tried E-72 which is a Phenidone, Vitamin C formula for Bath A, but find that with the divided development technique, an extra boost is needed, so I add a teaspoon or two of Hydroquinone to the Phenidone, Vitamin C for Bath A, and that does the trick.

    Larry Kalajainen
     
  2. psvensson

    psvensson Member

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    Interesting. Do you tray develop Ilfochrome? I know, you said it was a subject for another thread.
     
  3. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    Yes, I began using a drum, but later switched to trays when I figured out that divided developer was a great way to control contrast with Ilfos. Also after some years, my drum's cap began having problems with light leaks. Since temp is not a consideration, trays just seemed easier. And since as soon as you put it in the bleach, you can turn the lights on, it meant that only the development step needed to be done in the dark. Just more convenient, for me anyway. The bleach step takes a bit longer at cooler ambient room temps.

    Before I write a thread about it, I'll have to find out if things still work the way they used to. Ilford has made some changes in their emulsions--they now make several contrast grades-- and I'm not sure my formula will work as well with them. I haven't done any Ilfos for several years.

    Larry
     
  4. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Larry

    When you did ilfocromes or cibas in the past were you mixing your own chemicals for the process or buying them commercially??????
     
  5. psvensson

    psvensson Member

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    I'd appreciate that. I've considered Ilfochrome, but the drum processing has been putting me off.
     
  6. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Interesting, this... I've used two-bath developer for film, but never thought of doing it with paper!

    Could you post this in the "Chemistry Recipes" section, please?
     
  7. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I used the Dignan technique with Cibachrome years ago - and it worked fairly well.

    IMO, used by itself for Cibachrome contrast control, it worked nowhere near as well as unsharp masking. It is basically a Beers developer concept that Pat converted to a two-bath.
     
  8. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    I'll be glad to post it in the Chemistry Recipes, Ole.

    Larry
     
  9. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    Replying to both Bob and Tom:

    I mixed only my own developer, although I sometimes used regular Ilford Rapid Fix if I ran out of the fixer in the Ilfochrome kit. Always seemed to work exactly the same.

    The divided development technique is not exactly like the Beers technique. Beers is a two-bath system with each bath being a complete developer--developing agents and activator--one "hard" and one "soft." True divided development separates activator from developing agents.

    While it's true that many developer formulas, separated, would not give as great a contrast control for Ilfos as unsharp masking, I'm not sure that holds true for the formula I was using, which was essentially a slightly modified one that appeared in an article in Photo Techniques about 10 or more years ago. Strikes me in the dim recesses of my memory that the author's name might have been Springer, but I won't swear to that. Before that, I had already been experimenting with various divided formulas for probably 10 years, finding out which ones controlled contrast and which didn't. It was not long after I began using divided development for all of my B&W printing that it dawned on me that it would probably work for Ilfochrome, too. By the time I read Springer's (?) article, I had already worked out that Phenidone was better than Metol because Metol caused a decided shift toward yellow that had to be compensated for by heavier filtration, thus making even longer exposures. With Phenidone-based formulas, I usually needed very little filtration at all.

    Anyway, the formula was inherently lower contrast in that it contained no HQ and did contain a wee bit of sodium thiosulfate. Apparently, Ilford used a bit of hypo in their own developer. Some photographer friends, on seeing my Ilfos, would be convinced that they were really "C" prints because the highlight detail held so well. So I never bothered to learn unsharp masking, so I really can't refute what you say, but can say that I never felt the need for it.

    Larry
     
  10. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Thanks Larry

    My problem is with the bleach for ciba, I would possibly give my right baby toe to learn this formula, I would also possibly give up my left toe if anyone could give me the formula for Champion Nova Lith A B.
    After that I would consider more appendages for formulas, dependent upon how my balance is missing 2 digits.
     
  11. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    Bob, it runs in my mind that someone, somewhere came up with a bleach formula that approximated Ilford's and worked well. I can't remember where, because at the time I was in Paris and didn't have a good source for sulfonic acid, which was one of the main ingredients. There must be someone out there whose memory is functioning better than mine.

    In fact, I believe that the main difference between the P-3 professional bleach and the amateur P-30 (much less caustic and dangerous) bleach was that the P-3 used sulfuric acid, while the P-30 used sulfonic. I used to buy the P-3 stuff because it came in large quantities and made the price a lot lower, but it was pretty caustic and odorific stuff. I don't think I would have tray-developed with it.

    Larry
     
  12. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    Jay,

    Nope, I mean 10 ml of Edwal's liquid Orthazite, which is Benzotriazole, but I'm not sure in what percentage solution. I should have specified that.

    Larry
     
  13. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    Actually, it works much better with paper than with film. With film, there is definitely a time-consideration in the second bath--usually 3-5 minutes depending on the formula and film. But with paper, it's 30-45 seconds or until completion.

    It's now in the chemistry recipes.

    P.S. I visited your fair city about three years ago. Hiked up the mountain, took lots of photos, drank some beer in an outdoor cafe (It was May), and otherwise thorough enjoyed ourselves.
     
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  15. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Actually, both the recipes you posted have enough sulfite in them for them to act as developers (like D23) without the "B" bath.

    WRT unsharp masking and Cibachrome, the results speak for themselves. I don't know about Ilfochrome - I've never worked with it.
     
  16. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Enough sulfite? That may be. I don't speak avoirdupois
    or upper or lower spoon. I've more a background in STP;
    standard temperature and pressure, 20 degrees
    centigrade and 760 mm of mercury. Dan
     
  17. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    Tom, that may be so, but no image has ever appeared in Bath A, regardless of how long I've left it there. Admittedly, I've never tested it beyond 3 minutes, so maybe if I left it in for 15 minutes, an image would eventually appear. But I can't imagine why anyone would, since about 30 seconds is sufficient for the latent image to soak up all the developing agents it needs. The amount of sulfite I gave in the formula is half the amount in the formula recommended in the old Dignan newsletter I originally got it from. I don't know what to make of this except, perhaps, that while D-23 makes a perfectly good film developer, it doesn't do much for paper without a more active accelerator like carbonate.

    Ilfochromes are Cibachromes; the name got changed when Ilford bought out that division of Ciba-Geigy. The processes remained pretty much the same until about 5-10 years after Ilford took it over; then they began making some changes in the chemistry (the P-3 vs. P-30, etc.) and also, a bit later, came out with some different contrast emulsions. I haven't done any since those newer emulsions came out, so that's why I'm not offering any formulas for Ilfos now. But up until about five years ago, when I stopped doing them, the divided formulas I'd been using, worked well with the standard emulsion.

    Larry
     
  18. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    Years ago, Henry Horenstein in Beyond Beginning Photography published a conversion table for all the commonly used darkroom chemicals, from grams into teaspoons and tablespoons, which are standard American kitchen measurements.

    At first, I was leary of it, because it can't be as precise as weighing out chemicals on a scale in grams. But I decided to try it, because I had read an article or two by others suggesting that, in fact, photochemical processes were nowhere near as demanding and touchy as one might suspect.

    I discovered that changing over to teaspoons and tablespoons worked perfectly well, gave me absolutely consistent results (or if inconsistent, to a degree I can't even measure or detect), and was so much more convenient and time-saving, that I never went back to my chemical balance scale.

    I know there are many out there who are horrified at this notion, but all I can say is I've been measuring in this "kitchen" way for about 20 years, and am perfectly happy with my results. To mix up a film developer for use as a one-shot, I fill my liter graduate with water at 70F, add 1/2 teaspoon, Vitamin C powder from the Health Food store, 1 teaspoon of sodium metaborate (or carbonate for some films), and 4 ml. 1% Phenidone solution dissolved either in alcohol or propylene glycol, stir, and pour into my tank, and roughly 6-7 minutes later (plus fixing and wash time, of course), voilá! lovely negatives. The mixing process itself takes maybe all of two minutes, no longer than it would take to mix up stock solutions and dilute them, and certainly much shorter than weighing everything on a balance.

    I'm sure that conversion chart is still available on the net somewhere. Try it, you'll like it.

    Larry
     
  19. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    D-23, 7.5 grams metol and 100 grams of sodium sulfite, will develop
    fully a print image although it is slow. It's been some time since I
    tested it on paper but I'm quite sure an image will appear
    within a minutes processing. I'll give it another testing.

    My Acculab 200 gram capacity .01 gram resolution digital scale
    allows me to accurately compound sub-liter quantities for
    experimentation. Dan
     
  20. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    "Cookbook" chemical measurement

    This is still copyrighted, and I think still in print, so I won't post it here. My 1977 second printing of the first edition of Beyond Basic Photography (corrected Beginning to Basic) has the tables for 21 chemicals, with gram equivalents for volumes from 1/8th teaspoon to 1 tablespoon on page 67.

    Horenstein says the equivalents were worked out by Zone V Inc., a chemical supply house in Brookline, Mass. I'm not sure they're still around. I remember them, but I can't locate them now, and I think I remember hearing of their demise many years ago.

    Lee
     
  21. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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  22. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    Divided Development source

    I first encountered this notion of divided developers in a compilation of old Dignan Photographic newsletters, published in 1972 by Patrick Dignan, Paul Farber, and others. They spoke of it as a much older technique that was not well-known, but very effective. I found it liberating and have used it ever since, primarily, however for paper developing rather than film. Both work equally well, but for my purposes, it's the printing part where it has been most useful to me.

    Larry
     
  23. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    In my search for long-lasting tray life in my darkroom and trimming my setup time as much as possible, this seems like an ideal solution. I've got some formulary 130 developer on order, and if I like it, I'm going to start mixing my own Ansco 130 and I'd like to use it divided.

    From a previous thread, I've got this recipe:
    [...]
    (recipe deleted to prevent angst to future searchers. Apparently,
    it wasn't Ansco 130. :smile: )
    [...]

    So to divide it, I have a solution in tray A with the ---, ---, ---, and ---, and tray B is loaded with ---. How do I divide the water in the recipe between the two trays?

    Can't wait to get started... :smile:

    -KwM-
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2004
  24. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    The recipe you listed is not Ansco 130. The proportions are not correct and the Glycin (argueably the most important ingredient) is missing.

    Also, you have a typo. The "B" bath should contain the alkali - in this case Sodium Carbonate - not Potassium Bromide.

    To split this developer, mix everything but the Sodium Carbonate into sufficient water to make a total solution volume of 1 liter. This is the "A" bath.

    The "B" bath contains all the carbonate and sufficient water to make a total solution volume of 1 liter.


    --------------------------------------

    I posted the recipe for Ansco 130 in the APUG Chemistry Recipes section:

    Ansco (Ansco/American Agfa) 130 Paper Developer

    Water (125 F or 52C)-----------------------------750 ml
    Metol*-------------------------------------------2.2 grams
    Sodium Sulfite (anhydrous)------------------------50 grams
    Hydroquinone-------------------------------------11 grams
    Sodium Carbonate (monohydrated)-----------------78 grams
    Potassium Bromide---------------------------------5.5 grams
    Glycin---------------------------------------------11 grams
    Water to make-------------------------------------1.0 liter

    *Dissolve a pinch of sodium sulfite first, then dissolve the Metol.

    Dissolve the other chemicals in the order listed.

    Published in: Darkroom Handbook and Formulary (copyright 1940) by Morris Germain, A.R.P.S.
     
  25. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    The recipe you listed above is for Ansco 125 (aka American Agfa 125 or GAF 125), not for Ansco 130.

    This developer is very similar to Kodak D72 (and Dektol).
     
  26. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    Thanks very much guys for setting me straight. I got the wrong impression from a previous Ansco130 thread. I deleted the erroneous recipe from my post... maybe y'all could do likewise from your quote of my post so no one gets confused in the future if they do a search and just get that post as a hit.

    I've seen mention a couple of times in the forum of a table that gives kitchen/informal equivalents of formal measurements, like how many grams is a teaspoon, a tablespoon, etc. I think some posters have mentioned that they were able to get along without buying a balance by doing things this way.

    Pointers to such a table? Comments on the method?

    -KwM-
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2004