Kodak DK-50. (Homemade.)

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Keith Tapscott., Aug 27, 2005.

  1. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    I have recently ordered some chemicals along with a set of electronic scales from Rayco Photographic Ltd, so that I can make Kodak D-72 print developer from scratch, I also ordered 100 grams of Sodium Metaborate, as I wish to make Kodak DK-50 for reasons of personal curiosity.
    I would like to try this developer diluted 1+1 with Ilford FP4 Plus and HP5 Plus films, but I cant find any times for these on the Digital Truth Website.
    I was wondering if anyone has tried these films with DK-50 and would suggest a starting point time for them?
     
  2. Don Mills

    Don Mills Member

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    You may find DK-50 excessively contrasty and grainy for 35mm. Since you want to make your own developers, I would highly recommend pyrocat.
     
  3. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Yes, take a look at this APUG thread on DK-50 for some general starting points. Pulverel gives 12 minutes at 20C for Tri-X and that should work as a starting point for HP5.

    http://www.apug.org/forums/article.php?a=78

    Since you are mixing your own, I would also recommend Pyrocat-HD for these two films.
     
  4. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    If the negatives yield prints that are too contrasty, then the developing time is too long.
     
  5. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    Thanks Tom,
    I downloaded some info from the Kodak website, the technical data for their Tri-X films are: Tri-X 400 film (400TX) is 6 minutes in DK-50 diluted 1+1 at 20C/68F for small tank and Tri-X 320 Professional (320TXP) is 8 minutes for the roll film in a rotary discard processor. I couldn`t find times for other Kodak films for use with DK-50.
    Maybe I should start with around 7 or 8 minutes for the Ilford films and tweak them from there.
    The chemicals should (hopefully) arrive next week.
     
  6. MikeS

    MikeS Member

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    7 or 8 minutes is a good starting point with DK-50. As you're mixing yourself, you can also try DK-60a which is very similar, and it's recommended times are 7 minutes for most films (according to the PLI). DK-50 or DK-60a is a good developer, often overlooked because it tends to have larger (but sharper) grain than D-76.

    -Mike
     
  7. MikeS

    MikeS Member

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    I should add that I think I have a lifetime supply of DK-50, between my homemade brew, and prepackaged Kodak packages I have something like 200 gallons worth of it! (so I better like it!)

    -Mike
     
  8. fparnold

    fparnold Member

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    In High School we had a lifetime supply of DK-50, in cans, donated from our local industry. It was beautiful used at 1:1 with HP5, especially if the HP5 was shot on an overcast day. Grainy for 35mm, but a nice, tight, grain with excellent acutance. I found a negative recently where you can still see the weave of denim and the impressed lettering on a full-length portrait.

    Unfortunately, I don't remember developing times, except that they were pretty short. (forgive me, but I just had my 20th HS reunion, so my DK50 experience is even older)
     
  9. Mike-D

    Mike-D Member

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    D-61c

    I fooled around for a while with a developer I called D-61c. Basically it was D-61a with Ascorbic acid (vitamin c powder from the health food store) in place of hydroquinone. I increased the sodium carbonate (Arm and Hammer washing soda) slightly to counteract the acidity.

    It worked fine. Contrast was fine with the right dilution (1:4 - 1:10) and time. Grain was bigger and sharper than D-76. Worked fine with Efke 25. Foma 400 was...grainy. Tri-X and Foma 200 were better.

    In the end it was a fun experiment, but not for everyday 35mm use.

    Mike D
     
  10. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    Thanks Mike,
    The idea of making my own chemicals is something I have been considering for a while now. The main reason was because I have had some of the liquid print developers go off fairly quickly after the containers had been opened, my own fault really, because I should have decanted the remainder into glass bottles. I therefore decided to make my own MQ print developers and contacted Rayco Photographic Ltd who are now selling raw chemicals again after being bought by a new proprietor.
    When ordering a set of electronic scales, Calgon, Metol, Sulphite, Hydroquinone, Carbonate and Pot Brom, I decided to get some Borax and Metaborate for the sake of an extra £4.00, so that I could experiment with maybe DK-50 or Adox MQ Borax.
    My regular film developer is D-76 which I buy in 1 US Gallon size packs for £3.93, so therefore not really worth the bother of making from scratch.
    I can then make print developers fresh, as and when I need them.
     
  11. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Ah, but if you wish to make your D-76 from scratch, it would cost you considerably less. Plus, you can make all the variations of D-76 that you wish.
     
  12. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    Good point Jim, trouble is, there are so many D-76 derivatives.
     
  13. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Yes, there are many. My point, FWIW, and I guess I should have stated this, is to pick a D-76 varient that will tweak your film to suit your needs; to give it that little extra something.

    I've been mixing my own for about 3 years. I call it playing "Evil Scientist". It's great fun and quite a money saver.

    Have fun, J
     
  14. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Good Old DK-50 !

    For ages it was the standard sheet developer for Kodak, then replaced by HC-110.
    Dilution A for HC-110 is often similar to DK-50 straight. Dilution B often is the same as DK-50 1:1. A good starting point for development time would be HC-110 b.

    It is a wonderful portrait developer, giving nicely compressed shadows, splendid midtoned, and sparkling highlights for accents. Be warned this is desirable for portraiture, and could be disastrous for some landscape work.

    In the studio I first worked, we used DK-50 most of the year. In the summer months, we switched to D-76, which worked slower, and more suitable to processing film at the ambient temp of 75 degrees in the darkroom.

    Even I, who thinks RODINAL AND TRI X are a match made by angels, think DK-50 isn't really so good for 35. BUT it is wonderful with Plus X in 120. It should do nice things in FP4, which has a tendency to a long straight line curve. TXP or TMY could get out of hand quickly, since they already want to have an upswept curve.



    Crawley had something interesting ways to use DK-50 as an acutance developer. Check out some old ( circa 1980s ) BJP almanacs if you're interested.

    Have fun.
     
  15. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    It may work out cheaper if I bought the Sulphite in 5kg packs and also 5kg packs of the Carbonate for the print developer, trouble is, it`s not clear anymore what exactly Kodak put into D-76 these days (see the MSDS on the Kodak website).
    I suppose I could try modifying a formula such as Adox MQ Borax and perhaps try the same balance of Borax and Boric acid as used for the Ilford ID68 formula although I`m not sure if it would work. Maybe I should stick with much published formulae that`s more in the public domain for non-chemist like myself.
     
  16. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Over here, across the pond, I buy sod. carb decahydrate. It's sold here as Arm & Hammer washing soda. A short conversion from anhydrous or mono will you to use this.

    I also mix my own D-76/D-76 versions; I'm too cheap to buy the real stuff.

    I BARELY made it thru high school chemistry and I'm mixing my own stuff quite successfully. Being a chemist is not required!

    I can't say about your altering the Adox formula; never tried it. But, as always, do a test roll first and if your mixture doesn't work for film, don't toss the leftover--some of these disasters make ok print devs.

    Grab copies of Anchell's "Darkroom Cookbook" and Anchell & Troop's "Film developing Cookbook"; lots of great info and recipes in there.
     
  17. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    This is something I found interesting, I downloaded the MSDS for DK-50 from the Kodak website and unlike D-76, DK-50 is/was sold as a two-part powder.
    This data sheet showed the weight of the components in part A containing Hydroquinone and Elon to hold the equivalent of 5 grams per litre, perfectly logical when you consider that in the published formula, there is 2.5 grams of Elon and Hydroquinone respectively, but in part B containing the sulphite and Metaborate etc, this holds approximately 37.9 grams of components per litre.
     
  18. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    I`ve tried two-bath developers before including Leitz/Stoecklers and Tetenal Emofin and have been disapointed with the tonality of the prints made from negs souped in these(Sorry), but thanks for the suggestion anyway.
     
  19. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Hm - 37.9 grams versus 40 grams - not much of a difference. And, Kodak may have put a couple grams of Sodium Sulfite into Part A to help the Elon (Metol) go into solution.
     
  20. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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  21. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i worked as the lab-guy of a portrait studio throughout 1988-9. she shot large format film and was trained in the 20s-30s ....
    i must have put thousands of sheets of 5x7 tri-x and hundred sheets of 4x5 tri-x through the stuff. as previously stated, it is a beautiful developer for portraits. we used to "deep-tank & hanger" our film ... and like a lot of developers out there, we used to "mellow" the new stuff with 1/3 tank of olde developer. it worked really well to lessen the contrasty-ness of the developer. if you find your film contrasty, even after you reduce your time &C, you might consider cutting your new developer with a little exhausted-stuff. folks used to do this sort of thing with "harvey's panthermic 777" too ...
    http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Harvey/harvey.html

    its been a really long time and i have no idea what the times/temps were, but i am sure what has been suggested will be good starting points.

    good luck!

    -john
     
  22. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    JOHN !

    WHAT ARE YOU DOING !

    We can't tell ALL the old tricks !!!




    :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :D :mad:
     
  23. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    OOPS!!

    please disregard the part of my last post where i gave explicit instructions on how to de-contrast the developer ... i don't know what i was thinking giving away trade secrets. :D


    - john



     
  24. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    DK-50 was originally intended for medium and large format negatives and may provide too much grain for 35mm negatives. However, the following modification produces an acutance developer similar to the Beutler and FX-1 formulas which IS suitable for 35mm format.

    Kodak DK-50 As An Acutance Developer

    DK-50 may be used as an acutance developer when diluted 1+4 and with the sodium metaborate concentration adjusted to its original concentration. This modification provides a useful balance of acutance, gradation and speed with a controlled contrast rise.

    Rate films at their normal ISO speed.

    Stock Solution A

    Undiluted DK-50

    Stock Solution B

    Distilled water (50°C) ................. 800 ml
    Kodak Balanced Alkali .................. 80.0 g
    Distilled water to make ................ 1.0 l

    Usage

    Take 2 parts of Solution A, 1 part of Solution B, and 7 parts water. Use once
    and discard. Average development time is 8 to 13 minutes at 20°C.

    British Journal of Photography Annual 1972, p 230.