Low contrast developer for TMY-2 400

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Harry Lime, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

    Messages:
    475
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Can someone recommend a low contrast developer for TMY-2 400?
    I've grown quite fond of TMY-2 400, but the contrast can creep up quite quickly.

    I'm currently using XTOL, using the standard times and agitation methods. I'm quite happy with XTOL, but I keep trying to lower the contrast and am not having too much luck.

    Maybe I need to lower the agitation and increase the development time?

    Maybe I need to go back to a divided developer


    Any advice would be appreciated.

    thx
     
  2. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,005
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi,

    You might want to try D-23.

    Or Pyrocat HD with VC paper. Pyrocat instead of PMK will keep the snap in the highest tones, while maintaining the general pyro benefit of keeping the contrast index of the entire frame from getting too high (with VC papers). If you want a more compressed look in the highest tones, I'd go with PMK instead. However, with one the characteristics of T-Max film being the strong ability to hold tonal separation in the densest areas, I think that using PMK is a little bit of a "waste" of the film's abilities, in general. I don't use T-Max if I want a compressed look in the high tones, in other words. I use it when I want a lot of tonal separation there, and use other films (HP5, e.g.) when I want the more graphic compressed look (most things I shoot).

    Because t-grained films get a notable amount of their effective density from dyes, they use less silver than traditionally-grained films. (This is part of the reason why a correctly exposed t-grained negative looks about a stop thinner to the eye.) The pyro's stain being proportional to silver density, its effect on T-Max, Delta, and Acros will be a little less than with the latter group (e.g. Tri-X or Plus-X). But it still "does its thing."
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,839
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    TMY-2 is excellent in Xtol, but you may need to increase exposure by a stop and cut the development time to 70-80% to reduce the contrast.

    Ideally you should do a full film speed/development time test to find your optimum EI/Dev time, it doesn't take very long but helps enormously.

    Ian
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,839
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    There's no dyes in the final processed T-grain negative just a silver based image, they are in the emulsions to help with sharpness & fine grain and are removed during processing, particularly in the fixer.

    Entirely different dyes are formed in Pyrocatechin & Pyrogallol etc staining developers which cause proportional staining alongside the silver image.

    Ian

     
  5. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

    Messages:
    443
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Location:
    Central NC
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    The main tools to control contrast index (and Dmax) in film developing are developer temperature, time in developer, and agitation technique. If you want less contrast (that is, a lower contrast index and less Dmax), then use a lower temperature, or less time, or less agitation. Or a combination of the above.

    Personally, I'd try to hold developer temperature at 20C because developers with multiple developing agents can change characteristics with changing temperatures. So start with decreasing time and/or agitation.
     
  6. jp498

    jp498 Member

    Messages:
    1,467
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2009
    Location:
    Owls Head ME
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You may need to adjust to a lower film speed and faster development as suggested; easy to try.

    What dilution to you use? I like 1+1 and have also done 1+2. You could try those to see if it meets your needs.

    I like xtol a great deal too, but for high contrast scenes (such as bright sun) I want to render in manageable contrast, I develop with PMK.
     
  7. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

    Messages:
    3,114
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Another vote for D23. It's what I use when I want to do what I can to 'pull' TMY that has been exposed in contrasty conditions.
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,650
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    nice low contrast beautiful to print negatives
    can be found using a coffee based developer

    you might check out the "coffee blog"
    http://caffenol.blogspot.com/
    rienhold has a great site that has
    all sorts of variations that might
    be just what you are looking for...
     
  9. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,041
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I completely agree with Ian.

     
  10. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,181
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2005
    Location:
    Los Alamos,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Less development (often just less agitation) is the traditional way to lower contrast, but with roll film TMY, you may get too low a contrast on most shots while trying to control just a couple that get away from you. Xtol and even D-76 (1+1) are excellent developers for TMY, but they do tend to be a bit contrasty. D-23 has more compensating effect, and may help. TMax developer, while it doesn't (in my opinion) have quite the quality of Xtol or D-76, is also better at controlling the contrast.
     
  11. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,005
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    My mistake. Why is it that T-Max negs look thinner than other negs, then? I was told that that this was because they did not need as much silver to achieve the same effective density as other films, due to the dyes.
     
  12. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

    Messages:
    475
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Thank you gents.

    Until recently I used Barry Thornton's 2-bath for all my 400asa work, but it's been difficult to purchase raw chemicals up here in Canada. So it's been Xtol for the past few months. I guess I'll just have to bite the bullet and order some from the Photographers formulary in the States.

    I'm currently using Xtol 1:1 with the Kodak recommended amount of agitation and times. I'll try cutting agitation in half and may adjust the time and see what i get. I would like to make Xtol work, because I travel a lot and raw chemicals are often unavailable.

    BUt D23 is a good recommendation. Will I still get full speed from D23? I'm not even sure I was getting full speed from BT 2-bath. I'm guessing it was more like 320 or 200asa.
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,839
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    They do use less silver but they use it more efficiently, the base & base fog layer is less dense and finer grain also makes them look less dense - assuming they are compared to negs that print to similar contrasts.

    Yes the dyes do have an effect but are later destroyed/removed. If they weren't ypu couldn't reversal process Tmax films.

    Ian
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,005
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks, Ian. On my own negatives, I do find the effect of PMK and Pyrocat HD to be less with t-grained films than with other films, though. Across and T-Max 100 are the ones I have used with these developers. I have begun using PMK pretty-much exclusively with Acros for night shots.

    Harry, some people need to reduce their EI with D-23. I personally find that I do not need too; it actually supports, if it does not increase, the lower tones more than some standard developers. You'd have to find out for yourself about what to do with the EI. But I would try some.

    If you don't want to mix it yourself, you can get it from Photographer's Formulary, or get the same P.F. product through Freestyle. It may not be in Freestyle's online catalog, but they definitely stock it. I just saw it on the shelf there yesterday.
     
  16. OMU

    OMU Member

    Messages:
    744
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Location:
    Norway
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  17. cmo

    cmo Member

    Messages:
    1,457
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Better leave agitation as it is and just reduce the time. It is much easier to control.

    Tri-X@200 in D76 has been quite popular in the past, the trick works fine with Tmax 400, too. In XTol 1:1 you will be able to reduce contrast and get very good results, 7.5-8 minutes. I use Tri-X and Tmax400 @200 for medium format people photos.
     
  18. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

    Messages:
    475
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I should note that I'm also trying to keep the speed at 400.
     
  19. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,401
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    TMY 2 contrast can be very effectively controlled with XTOL so I don't think you need to switch. Just make alterations to the way you expose and develop. Your own testing is required but as an alternative to reducing development time at full strength, increasing the dilution and reducing agitation can introduce a gradual shoulder in the higher densities without as much speed loss. XTOL gives good film speed to begin with so it is a good developer to keep experimenting with if you're trying for speed. It is a solvent developer, so increasing the dilutions will normally lead to slightly increased grain (but also higher acutance). There are alot of variables.
     
  20. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,041
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Xtol 1+1 is the perfect developer for getting maximum shadow detail. When you slow down agitation, and compensate by developing longer, you also lift the shadow details.
    If you just cut time, you will lose shadow detail.

    Do this: Shoot a test roll at 400. Process the film in Xtol 1+1 for 12 minutes, agitating for the full first minute, and then 10s every 3 minutes.
    If you don't have enough density, increase to 13 minutes, 14 minutes, etc, until you have negatives that suit you.

    It also depends on what the contrast of the scene is, but by slowing down agitation you gain something you don't gain if you just shorten time and agitate normally - a lift in shadow detail.
    Basically, you expose for the mid-tones, developing time for shadow detail, and agitate for highlights. It is worth to experiment like this, in my opinion, because once you learn it, you have much more control over the end result.

    However, in really low contrast shooting conditions, you may wish to agitate something like every 30 seconds - for TWO reasons. 1. There isn't much shadow detail to begin with. 2. You need some zing to the highlights.

    Good luck,

    - Thomas


     
  21. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

    Messages:
    475
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Thanks everyone. I will try XTOL at a higher dilution and with different development times.

    If worse comes to worse I'll order some raw chemicals to whip up some DD76 or similar...
     
  22. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,400
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Without seeing the shape of the H&D curve you are getting, its hard to give an answer. If you are getting a steep upward trend before the shoulder and want to tame that, without reducing mid range density, you could try less agitation as you mentioned.

    If you already have a smooth straight curve, then just decrease development time. Use a colder development temp if your times are too short. You could also try T-max developer, which needs longer times than the developers designed for 65F process temp.
     
  23. JS MD

    JS MD Member

    Messages:
    52
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Also D 23 two steps Process / if somebody here remember that / :smile:
     
  24. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,401
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Harry Lime, regarding dilution, I thought this attachment might be of some help. This is Ilford Delta 100 (similar curve shape to TMX/TMY2) developed in Ilford Perceptol (not the same as XTOL, but you can expect similar dilution effects). So although it is not TMY2 in XTOL, it is still a good illustrative example. The graph shows my own initial results using Ilford's recommended starting points for time at each dilution. For comparison purposes I used my standard contrast agitation method and kept the same in all three cases (30 seconds initial agitation, then 8 seconds each minute).

    The idea is just to show that dilution alone can be used to reduce contrast, especially in the upper area of the curve, while maintaining film speed and shadow separations. This is logical since a more dilute developer will exhaust more quickly in the higher density areas between agitation cycles. Of course this is just a starting point. Changing the shadow placements, development times, agitation methods, and agitation intervals can be used to significantly alter the curves.

    Stick with XTOL as others have said.
     

    Attached Files:

  25. Steve Goldstein

    Steve Goldstein Subscriber

    Messages:
    582
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    Location:
    MA, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Perhaps this is a silly question, but is the contrast problem so severe that you can't control it in printing?
     
  26. JS MD

    JS MD Member

    Messages:
    52
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    you can see by these Curves Contrast already high even in low Exp- wrong Dev