DIY Low-contrast paper developer

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Marc Leest, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. Marc Leest

    Marc Leest Member

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    I am doing some experiments with graded papers, but have sometimes need for a low contrast paper developer.
    Could such a developer mixed from chemicals using phenidone ?

    thx, Marc
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Yes, Ilford published just such a formula in a Patent over 60 years ago. But it will be very much softer than the Metol equivalent, which is published as ID-3

    Kendall 1941 - Phenidone Patent.
    U. S. Patent No. 2,289,367

    Example 1

    Phenidone 6 gm.
    Sodium sulphite (anhyd.) 25 gm.
    Sodium carbonate (anhyd.) 37.5 gm.
    Potassium Bromide 1gm.
    Water to make 1 litre

    To use 1+3
    Results are similar in characteristics to a Metol only developer using the same weight of developer, only softer.

    ID-3 is an excellent soft working developer and gives similar results to Selectol Soft (Kodak) and Adaptol (Agfa)

    You can try it and see :D

    Ian
     
  3. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Sure. I've records some where covering a series
    of tests done with phenidone only and that plus other
    developing agents. IIRC a phenidone -sulfite -carbonate
    mix will yield low contrast by limiting the blacks to a
    very dark gray. Mid-tones and highlights were
    very nice. If Max Black is not your goal test
    out a few combinations of the three
    chemicals I've mentioned. Dan
     
  4. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Diluted developer or developer/water batch cycles will lower contrast. You will have to increase the exposure to compensate. It works best on highlight contrast. If overdone the blacks get murky and grey. The print tone usually goes to the warm end, if dilute enough it is possible to get orange prints though there is very little contrast in the print.

    It's the same overexpose/underdevelop procedure that is used for film. The reason for using dilution instead of just shortening developing time is that it is very hard to get even paper development with very short development times. Most soft working developers are just slow developers. If you leave the print in a soft working developer long enough the results are pretty much the same as Dektol/D-72.
     
  5. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Most soft working developers are just slow developers. If you leave the print in a soft working developer long enough the results are pretty much the same as Dektol/D-72

    Umm, maybe in YOUR darkroom, not in mine.

    Ilford MG FB surely isn't comparable to old standards like Elite or Portriga,
    but is the defacto standard to day, and comparing step wedge results from Ilford MG with
    120 and D-72, the soft developer gives a longer scale and different curve shape.

    'In between formulae like LPD, 130-minus-HQ, and Selectol give 'in-between' results.
    Mixing your own developers gives more flexibility because you can leave out the restrainer,
    adding it only as you need it. But even with off the shelf developers, the differences
    between the 3 developer types are significant, repeatable, and consistent.

    And the results are DIFFERENT from filtration differences.

    The upshot of this is that a photographer with an open mind and a little ambition,
    can test the paper / developer combinations and design a film curve to suit each one.

    The silver printing universe is a lot more interesting than commonly understood.
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    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2008
  6. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Have you tried mixing up some Ansco 120? A photographer who's printing I really respect wrote that Ansco 120 is superior to Selectol Soft in that Ansco 120 doesn't 'veil' the print like Selectol Soft does. I mixed up some 120 (the first developer from scratch I ever did) made a side by side comparison between the two, and will never use Selectol Soft again!

    Murray
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2008
  7. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Well, here is what happens in my darkroom. Step tablet results look the same. The only differences are lower D-Max for A-130 developer and slightly less speed, both indicating the A-130 development should have gone on a bit longer.
    http://www.darkroomautomation.com/support/mgivfbwta130hd.jpg
    http://www.darkroomautomation.com/support/mgivfbwtd72hd.jpg

    Could you post your results?
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    So Agfa-Ansco 130 is a standard print developer. It shouldn't be much different to D72.

    Afga Ansco 120 is the Soft working developer.

    Ian
     
  9. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    There are four recipes in "The Darkroom Cookbook", but they use metol, not phenidone; could be alternatives, tho'.
     
  10. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    There ARE soft and hard developers; Beer's and Ansel
    Adams' split Ansco 130 are the two most known examples
    of Contrast Control developers. Edwal markets another.

    The one significant difference twixt the soft and hard forms
    of those three contrast control developers is HYDROQUINONE.
    Hydroquinone when active in a developer disproportionately
    reduces the more exposed silver halides over the less.
    That builds contrast.

    BTW, Ansco 120 and Beer's A, the soft, share the same
    formula save for the stock strength concentration. Dan
     
  11. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    There are 3 additional techniques for reducing the contrast in printing high contrast negatives. One is the unsharp mask written about and demonstrated by Howard Bond in numerous articles in Photo Techniques. Another is bleaching the exposed print in a very weak ferricyanide solution before developing it in a standard print developer. A third is an exposure to very dim overall light in addition to the image light, often called "flashing".

    All these methods have their complexities. Unsharp masking has the advantage in terms of flexibility IMO. Flashing can be made easy by the proper equipment, which includes a sensitive baseboard meter and a light source that has the color temperature of the enlarger lamp and is controllable by a diaphram. None of them requires doing anything to the negative.
     
  12. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Flashing. For one who spoons up developers you've
    describe a rather involved method.

    My method: Make exposure, stop down to f45, set timer,
    carefully remove negative with carrier, lower head, make
    exposure. Post expose for easy re-alinement of the negative
    and carrier. No additional equipment needed. Dan