Ilford Multigrade vs. Ilford PQ Universal paper developers

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by 2F/2F, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I have what I believe are my perceived differences between these two, but the only differences that seem to be apparent based on the Ilford literature are:

    1. PQ is not called "rapid," while MG is (though the development times are the same for both developers)
    2. MG gives a "neutral image tone with most papers," while PQ gives a "slightly warm of neutral" tone.
    3. MG is not recommended for film processing, while PQ is called usable for big film (but not for 35mm).
    4. MG can be used at 1:14, while this is not recommended for PQ.
    5. MG has a greater capacity (100 sheets 8x10 RC, as opposed to 70 with PQ)

    I notice that the capacity of PQ at 1:9 matches the capacity of MG at 1:14, when using RC paper. Is the only big difference that MG more potent?

    It would be interesting to hear what you all have to say about these two developers when compared to each other, and even more interesting to hear what Simon from Ilford has to say about it. What are the actual differences in the images?

    I have to special order PQ from Freestyle, and most people I talk to have never even heard of it. I am very interested to hear why there are both varieties. Who uses which one, and why is PQ harder to find, while MG is everywhere?

    Do we even want to get into where Bromophen fits in with MG and PQ?

    I find that when comparing two Ilford products on paper, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what the differences are enough to make a choice. A comparison chart of some sort, and detailed technical publications, would be a real help. It seemed to be much more easy with Kodak chems, but maybe it is just me! Why does Ilford hold out on so much published technical information compared to Kodak?
     
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  2. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I met a fellow APUGer on the last Ilford tour(Oct 2008) who calls himself "PQ User" because of his belief in PQ developer. From what I could gather it gave him a better print and one which was considerably warmer than MG in FB paper. I haven't used PQ but thrown this in because it is clear that in his case PQ gave him a "look" which MG couldn't match.

    pentaxuser
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's easier to start at the beginning.

    Ilford sold a developer called ID-20 a Universal MQ dev mainly used for prints, when they began commercial production of Phenidone they reformulated ID-20 with it instead of Metol (early 1950's), there were complaints about shifts in image colour abnd variations in warmth, so they added Benzotriazole to control this the new formula was ID-62. These where powder developers.

    PQ Universal is a liquid concentrate, the Sodium carbonate is replaced by Potassium carbonate and Sodium or Potassium Hydroxide to allow far greater solubility & concentration.

    However with the introduction of the third generation Multigrade papers in the 70's PQ Universal was found to give different warmth depending on the filtration/grade used so a new developer variant Multigrade was introduced, my experience is it's quite warm toned with warm toned papers.

    PQ Universal is great for film processing, especially when highly dilute, Ilford no longer give all the data that was once available in the past. The Multigrade dev is specifically marketed for papers but it'll most likely work for films as well, concentrations differ.

    Ian
     
  4. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    So, Ian:

    PQ Universal is simply a liquid version of ID-62, which is a benzotriazole-spiked phenidone-based version of the original MQ ID-20?

    ...and Multigrade compared to this does what for the pix? Eliminates toning introduced by the developer?

    To me, I find the largest difference to be in the whites. I find PQ a bit punchier there, while MG is better for taming contrast and getting a slightly softer look in the whites.

    Perhaps what I am seeing is not a difference in curve shape at all, but just a slight difference in tone? If this was the case, I'd think I would see the opposite, however, with the slightly warmer developer making the highlights look a bit more soft.

    Where does Bromophen fit into the picture?
     
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  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's about 40 years since I used Bromophen but it's a powder PQ developer results are similar to ID-62/PQ Universal but image colour depends on the paper used.

    The image colour/tone is very largely dependent on the balance of Potassium Bromide and Benzotriazole, small changes can have quite a large effect which is why there are slight differences between these Ilford developers. Ilford now use Dimezone instead of Phenidone in some liquid developers.

    PQ Universal is very clean working as a negative developer and this carries through when used for prints as well, giving the punchier highlights. It's a particularly good developer for making copy negatives on Ilford Ortho Plus or even FP4.

    Two other factors can affect image colour, liquid developers use Potassium salts instead of Sodium because of the greater solubility and this also increase the warmth, and this was particularly noticeable with Agfa WA where the powder version an MQ developer was significantly less warm than the liquid PQ version. MQ developers are colder toned than the equivalent PQ version.

    Ian
     
  6. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    Bumping this as I have a related question. A while back I ordered PQ, but now I'm not sure that's what I got. Unfortunately, I discarded the packaging after I decanted the remaining stock solution into smaller (full) bottles. I made note of the lot number and nothing else. The lot number is: 80D027 (those are both zeroes).

    Does anyone have one or both of these products (Ilford PQ and/or Multigrade Paper Developer) to compare? I need to reorder, and I want to make sure I get what I've had all along. Thanks.
     
  7. KenR

    KenR Member

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    I have used both, but much prefer the MG developer as I like a more cool, "neutral" color to my prints. This was not subtle, there was a marked difference between the prints, so much so that I only used the PQ once before going back to the MG.