Home brew success

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Stan160, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. Stan160

    Stan160 Member

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    Last weekend I mixed developer from raw ingredients for the first time.

    So easy to do, and the resulting ID-68 works perfectly using the Microphen time for HP5+ at 400 EI, at least based on negative scans.

    Will have to find time for some proper film testing, and to find out how well it works when the HP5+ is pushed to 1600 EI, but very happy with the initial results :smile:

    Ian
     
  2. Terrence Brennan

    Terrence Brennan Member

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    Good move!

    While I don't use ID-68, I have started mixing all of my DR chemistry from bulk chemicals. If I ever desired to mix ID-68, the only chemical I would need is to buy is Phenidone.

    I started down this path when I found it harder and harder to find reliable supplies of liquid chemistry. I already mix my negative developers, Kodak D-23 and a variation of Ansco 17M, as well as stop baths and film and paper washing aids (aka Hypo Clearing Agent). As soon as my stocks of my paper developers and negative and paper fixers are exhausted, I will be mixing those, as well.

    Mixing your own has a number of advantages. One is that you can mix any quantity you desire. For example, when I mix D-23, I make a 4.06-litre mix, which fills my one of my glass (nominal) 1-gallon bottles to the rim. You can also mix very small quantities for special uses. Three years ago I needed a pint of D-11 (not ID-11), and made exactly what I needed, no more, no less.

    You can also modify formulas, if you desire. I use as my main negative developer a modification of an old Ansco formula, 17M. In my case, I have doubled the amount of sodium metaborate, and reduced the amount of hydroquinone by 1/3, which meets my particular needs.

    I don't recall ever having seen Ilford ID-68 for sale as a packaged chemical, so there is another obvious advantage, mixing chemistry which exists only as a published formula. There are plenty of of those about!

    One last advantage is that I believe that it's cheaper, over the long haul, than buying premixed chemistry.

    Happy mixing!!
     
  3. rternbach

    rternbach Member

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    On a two occasions separated by decades I have been shown how to develop b&w film, first 35mm and more recently 120. I have recently decided to develop my own 120 bw from here on (T-Max 100 to start). I would like to make my own solutions from scratch (D-76 as an arbitrary starting point). Where do you suggest I purchase the makings?
     
  4. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Excellent. Now that you are hooked, you will never go back; well, hardly ever.
     
  5. naeroscatu

    naeroscatu Subscriber

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    Ian, well done, way to go. I have never bought and used packaged developers in 25 years of doing BW film. I always liked to mix my own devs thus having a large variety of recipes.

    Well, it depends where you are located. There are many suppliers of photo chemicals on line. I'm in Ontario, Canada and use this one from Montreal. Some chemicals are not good at crossing borders so you may consider and check that out with the supplier.
     
  6. Stan160

    Stan160 Member

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    Certainly cheaper. I've been using Ilfotec DD-X for HP5+, fantastic developer but costs me £15 for enough concentrate to make 5 litres working solution, and I tend to go through phases of using colour or slower films so a couple of times have thrown out half a bottle of >6 month old concentrate. Microphen powder dev costs ~£4.50 per litre stock. I worked out the cost of ID-68 to be around £0.70 per litre stock!

    rternbach, I was given a copy of The Darkroom Cookbook for Christmas. I recommend it as a good explanation of how the various categories of photographic chemistry work as well as a lot of formulas.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 24, 2009
  7. rternbach

    rternbach Member

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    naeroscatu & stan160, thanks for your replies. I had gotten a copy of "The Darkroom Cookbook" earlier this month and, looking at the MATERIAL SOURCES section for North America, I see .dr-5, Freestyle and Photographer's Formulary in bold. Can you suggest one over another? Alternatively, since I go to Boston, MA once in a while now, I can try a bricks and mortar storefront. Something about browsing for tangible items irl that is lacking in hyperspace.
     
  8. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Here are some of the suppliers I've used, in alphabetical order:

    • Art Craft -- This is one of three dedicated photochemical suppliers I've used. They've got a good selection, although not quite as good as Photographer's Formulary, and moderate prices.
    • B&H -- The general photography superstore offers some photochemicals, mostly from Photographer's Formulary.
    • Digital Truth -- This site is the smallest of the three dedicated photochemical supply sources. (They seem to be branching out and selling film and other stuff, too.) Their prices are fairly good.
    • The Chemistry Store -- This site has general-purpose chemicals for hobbyists. They lack some vital photochemicals, like metol and phenidone, but they've got excellent prices on other items you're likely to need in bulk, such as sodium sulfite and sodium thiosulfate. Their shipping charges tend to be a little high, though.
    • Local supermarkets, etc. -- You can find sodium carbonate (as Arm & Hammer Washing Soda), ascorbic acid (vitamin C powder), and a few other items in local stores. You can save a lot on shipping by buying locally, but see below....
    • Photographer's Formulary -- This is the premiere dedicated photochemical source. They've got higher prices than some competitors, but a bigger selection.
    • Summer Bee Meadow -- This outfit is dedicated to soap making. I mention it because they're a good source for sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide, which many other places refuse to ship.

    I recommend you start with just one or two suppliers, if possible. Buying from several will just drive up shipping costs, eliminating any savings on the items themselves.

    One extra comment: If you buy from a dedicated photochemical supplier, the chemicals you get ought to be of suitable purity for use in photochemistry. This might not be true of other sources, so be aware that there's a risk. That said, I've used items from all these sources (including supermarket sodium carbonate, several items from The Chemistry Store, and potassium hydroxide from Summer Bee Meadow) with no obvious problems in the results I get. Overall, I'd say that using such sources is reasonably safe for hobbyist purposes, but there is some risk. When using extremely oddball sources, such as supermarket items, research them extra before using them. (Note that the iodine in table salt can cause problems in some photochemical formulas, so you should definitely not use iodized salt for formulas that call for sodium chloride.)
     
  9. rternbach

    rternbach Member

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    Thanks for the above. I am going to be doing this on a small scale so the extra costs associated with pro-chemical suppliers shouldn't be a deterrent. I guess I'll go with Photographer's Formulary and get everything possible through them. Hopefully this will be a way to decrease variables in order to get accurate and reliable results which are my greatest concerns.
     
  10. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    my friend owns this and is/was a major supplier to the others....stocks over 10,000 chemicals and is located in West Haven, Ct. check the website this is a great source for east coast photographers
    best, Peter
     
  11. olehjalmar

    olehjalmar Member

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    I only checked some chemicals, but it seems the prices are much higher than www.photoformulary.com. Example: Photoformulary: Metol - 100 grams Sale Price: $8.95 USD vs. Citychemical: Metol 100 gm $33.75

    This is typical for large chemical suppliers, the selection is good, but the prices are high unless you buy large amounts.
     
  12. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Photographer's Formulary does supply a large selection
    of chemistry in SMALL amounts as well as in larger amounts.
    I believe their selection of chemicals exceeds by a comfortable
    margin any other supplier's selection. Also, they are the only
    earth bound supplier of Glycin, and I expect,
    at least several other chemicals. Dan
     
  13. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    Peter, which supplier are you referencing?
     
  14. CBG

    CBG Member

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    Last time I checked, admittedly a few months ago, the best pricing I could find was at these three suppliers (followed by a couple of their stronger items).

    www.chemistrystore.com TEA, sulfite, carbonate.

    www.techcheminc.com phenidone, hydroquinone, bromide, AmmonThiosulfate60%, Sodium Metaborate.

    www.digitaltruth.com ascorbic, phenidone, hydroquinone, bromide, Sodium Metaborate.

    And PF gets huge gratitude for being the sole supplier making a number of crucial items available.