Lith developer and "old brown" question

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by mr rusty, May 7, 2013.

  1. mr rusty

    mr rusty Subscriber

    Messages:
    743
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    lancashire,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I made up some Moersch easylith (1:25) for my first ever lith session last week and pulled 2 prints after letting a sheet of ordinary exposed MGRC go black to "season" the developer. The used developer didn't change colour and remains looking exactly the same in the storage bottles.

    Q1. can I reuse this developer again, and for how long/what capacity
    Q2 I thought used lith developer was "old brown". How long does it take to go brown, or is it "old brown" even if it hasn't changed colour?

    Sorry if these are dumb questions!
     
  2. mrtoml

    mrtoml Member

    Messages:
    548
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2005
    Location:
    Sheffield, U
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I don't think you can reuse the developer, but I could be wrong.

    Old brown isn't necessarily that brown. Developer goes brown if you leave it open to the air so it often is.
     
  3. Simonh82

    Simonh82 Member

    Messages:
    252
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Location:
    London, Unit
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you do try reusing I'd be interested to know the results. I've just picked up the small 200ml pack of easy lith as it was all they had in the shop and that doesn't sound like a lot to play with.

    I hope I was lucky in also grabbing an unboxed pack of LD20 for £5 but I don't know the age so I wanted to start with easy lith.
     
  4. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,676
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    My guess is that the developer you saved is now brown. Every lith developer I've used does brown as it "wears out". Two sheets won't do it. I usually get 8-12 8x10 sheets from a 1.5 liter batch mixed 1:1:50 (different developer, though). If it is still reasonably clear, it is probably still usable. One way to find out!
     
  5. Film Guerilla

    Film Guerilla Member

    Messages:
    71
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Philippines
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Guys, do you know what does old brown do to fresh working solution? Wy is it needed and stuff? I did add a250ml old used lith solution when i mixeda new one. I dont see any difference in print though but i did had a hardtime working on a paper. It might be the paper though. I will try reuse it again this week o find out.
     
  6. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,410
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Location:
    Kyoto, Japan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Generally speaking (although there are many variables in play, including the paper and exposure you use, and the developer itself), prints do not come out that colourful in fresh lith developer. As the session continues and the developer "seasons", the prints get more colourful until they begin to look muddy and/or take forever in the developer to emerge. If you want to get to the colour faster, adding old brown is a way to do it. If you prefer to have less colour, don't add old brown. Similarly, I use a paper that gets terrible pepper fogging in used developer, so I know I can only get a few good sheets in the beginning of a session, in fresh developer, with no old brown added.

    Mr Rusty - putting a couple prints through the developer and then saving it for future use is not a good example of getting old brown. Have a full session with as many prints as you can put through the lith developer. When it is finished, save some of that developer (old brown) to be added to your next fresh batch to help season it. If I'm using 100ml A + 100ml B I usually add up to another 100ml of old brown. Another trick is just to let the developer oxidize (over hours) -- as it's exposed to air it will continue to change it's properties, much like having a series of prints go through it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2013
  7. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

    Messages:
    1,890
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Location:
    Blue Ridge,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I agree with what others have said: seasoning some new developer with a couple of sheets is better than nothing but not as good as saving some well-worked developer. But you have to start somewhere; they don't sell Old Brown....wait, I smell a marketing ploy here...anyway, what I do is routinely leave my tray of lith developer sit in the darkroom after I have finished a session. Next day (or next time back in the darkroom) it will have heavily oxidized as well as having been worn out from the printing session. It takes on a lovely color that reminds me of the tannin-rich river water in Michigan's UP. I top off my old brown bottle with this for the next session.
     
  8. mrtoml

    mrtoml Member

    Messages:
    548
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2005
    Location:
    Sheffield, U
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    There is a difference between old brown that has just been left to oxidise in the tray and old brown that has had lots of prints run through it. Old brown from well used developer has more bromide in it from the paper emulsion. Bromide acts as a restrainer and can have an effect on development times and other things.
     
  9. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,000
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Yes, the developer can be reused. If you plan on picking up where you left off the next day, cover the developer tray with a plastic trash bag, with the plastic in contact with the developer and the tray edges. It actually makes a pretty good seal . . .no oxygen, no oxidation ('cept what's dissolved in solution already).

    If you are talking about funneling the developer into a bottle, and dumping it back into a tray later on, I don't think so. Too little developer, too much oxygen introduced.
     
  10. mr rusty

    mr rusty Subscriber

    Messages:
    743
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    lancashire,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    To answer my own question - - YES you can. The 1:25 solution I made up a week ago and had pulled 1 x MGRC as "seasoning" plus 2 x slavich I have just re-used to pull another 1 x slavich and it appears to have worked exactly as it did last week. The developer was bottled and is presently a very pale yellow colour. Next time I'll just use it as "old brown".