Helpful hint that you may already know.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by AndrewH, Oct 7, 2004.

  1. AndrewH

    AndrewH Member

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    I apologize in advance if many of you already know this, but I thought that I would pass it along just in case it helps anyone. I develop primarily in Microdol, which requires mixing at a high temperature. I develop it 1:3, which usually leaves me with a fair amount of leftover. I always parse out the developer in empty plastic Coca Cola bottles because I assumed that they do not breath at all. I fill them ALL the way to the top and cap them tightly. This has worked very well and developer has lasted full in these for months. My only dilemma was what to do with a half empty bottle. Well two months ago I took a half empty bottle and simply squeezed the sides until the liquid level reached the very top and then capped it. It kept that squeezed form. I developed using that developer 2 months later and noticed no difference. I bit easier than marbles. Just another idea for you guys.

    Regards,

    Andrew
     
  2. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Thanks Andrew. What may seem obvious to some may be a revelation to someone else. Best to share.
     
  3. lee

    lee Member

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    Microdol-x does not suffer from the dreaded Xtol sudden death syndrome. They may have fixed that problem with Xtol but I will never trust it again and have nightmares.

    lee\c
     
  4. AndrewH

    AndrewH Member

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    My reason for Microdol

    I don't think that 1:3 actual defeats the purpose. For me it is a perfect balance. This combo was suggested to me by a Magnum printer and I have enjoyed using it since. Not only do prints appear sharp up to full 16x20, but the negatives are very easy to print. I view one goal of the 35mm negative to be as thin (flat) as possible and still get all the detail in the shadows. It is much easier to bring up contrast to fit onto a piece of paper than to contract a contrasty negative to fit onto a piece of paper. Since Micro-X is a softer working developer (only has Metol as developing agent), you can easily produce these thinner negatives that also appear very sharp because there isn't a lot of density. Also, becuase they are thinner, print times are shorter, which I like. Xtol is very nice, but is a harder working developer. Although the times with Microdol-X 1:3 are long (and be careful with NEW and OLD Tri-X, the times are significantly different), the effect of being off a little on time has little effect. Also, I would rather spend the extra minutes developing than printing. I realize that you can pull back on other developers and get flatter negs, but I also just like the look.
     
  5. AndrewH

    AndrewH Member

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    Another thing

    is that I have been shooting at 400 and not had a problem with shadow detail. Two inversions every minute for 15 minutes.
     
  6. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    I prefer Sprite, Sierra mist, MtnDew or similar bottles (tinted green)

    I also "collect" bottles of Neutol/Agfa Multicontrast/etc
     
  7. Tmax

    Tmax Member

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    Hi Guys (& Gals)'
    Another great way I've found to keep both film and paper developers fresh for many months is stored in wine casks. That is, the inner plastic lining (usually an aluminised plastic bag) from 'boxed' wine is emptied first (fun!), washed well and replaced with the developer of your choice.

    I use both the 4 litre and 2 litre casks depending on volumes needed - if you only have 1 litre made up, this can go into the 2 litre cask. Simply lay the bag down and carefully release the tap while compressing the bag to release the last of the air.

    I have some Ilford MG paper developer in a cask and still using it after 12 months - it still looks the same colour as fresh stuff and still works like fresh.
    Home mixed Beutler film dev is made up as part A & B in separate 2 litre casks - they easily last 6 months or more.

    After you've filled the wine bag you can replace it in its original box, suitably labelled. Be very careful that you keep them away from food prep areas for obvious reasons - label them very obviously and mask out the original labelling.

    Cheers
    Tony Russell
     
  8. cao

    cao Member

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    Sudden death has a non-XTOL cause perhaps?

    I've made several five liter batches of XTOL stock with distilled water, and use marbles to minimize air. I've not seen the sudden death yet, and wonder if there's a water impurity or oxidation trouble. I've a friend in town who uses it exclusively for her B&W work without horror stories. I've used eight month old XTOL as well as the no longer recommended 1:2 and 1:3 dilutions. The times I've had troubles are times I messed up something else. I can't prove it won't happen to me, but I do wonder if something else in the worker's environment results in a clock reaction causing XTOL to lose potency.
     
  9. john_s

    john_s Member

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    Xtol failures: there's been a lot of stuff written implicating iron, and perhaps other trace metals, in the water supply. This would not explain failures with (properly) distilled water. Kodak *might* have made some improvements to the formula but that is simply a *guess* of mine. I mix it double strength on the assumption that it will keep better, then dilute appropriately. I use it only occasionally, and I still get nervous, though I have never had a failure.