Metol and Glycol or Water

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by mrred, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

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    I have grabbed all the ingredients to make Beutler developer. My problem is my scales (electronic) only go to 1g granularity.

    To get a reliable way to measure, I was thinking of making a solution in Glycol or Water for the Metol. How would this effect the Metol.

    Shelf life is a concern as I infrequently make negatives and I can mix up Beutler as needed and when needed.
     
  2. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    It is a long time since I used Beutler developer but if I recall correctly so long as the solution 'A' and solution 'B' did not come into contact before use, then the life was almost infinite. I had mine made up using distilled water,
     
  3. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    Hi there,

    Two quick comments:

    Comment 1
    Having tested Beutler, Adams two-bath and Thornton's two-bath I would definitely recommend Thornton's over Beutler and Adams if you are using modern emulsions:

    Thornton's Two Bath
    BATH A
    Metol- 6.5gr
    Soduim Sulfite (Natriumsulfit) - 85 gr
    Water to make 1 liter

    BATH B
    Sodium Metaborate (Natriummetaborat) - 12gr
    Water to make 1 liter

    For Part A, dissolve a little bit of sodium sulfite (1-2 grams) first, then the metol, then the rest of the sodium sulfite. Having your water pre-heated to 30-35C will help (but let it cool to room temperature before using it).
    For Part B, the temperature doesn't really matter, as sodium metaborate is quite soluble.

    Best way of working is make 1L of Part A and 2L of Part2. Use Part A for 15 films and Part B for at least 30 rolls. When kept in dark brown glass bottles it will last ages.

    Comment 2
    Scales accurate to 0.1g are cheap and easy to find (usually listed a Jewelers scales on eBay and mine cost 12€ with free shipping from Hong Kong) and it is worth getting them if you plan to regularly mix chemicals yourself. The other option (with Thornton's two-bath at least) is to go to a flee market and buy yourself a 0.5g weight which you can then use for measuring the Metol (i.e place weight on scale and then add Metol until the scale reads 7g).

    Best of luck and have fun,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
     
  4. dorff

    dorff Member

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    David covered about everything. You really should just get a scale that can weigh in 0.1 g accuracy. They are very cheap, and available everywhere. The alternative is to get a proper jeweller's scale, or a gun powder scale. They can measure sometimes down to 0.001 g resolution, but are quite a bit more expensive. The lab balances I have looked at are just too expensive, and the difference between 5,9 g and 6,1 g is not really significant for normal photographic purposes. So 0,1 g is fine in that order of weight. For phenidone it becomes problematic, as one typically uses 0,2 g per liter! The answer is to make an alcohol solution and dose accordingly.

    One should never dissolve metol in water without an oxygen scavenger such as sulphite. The metol will promptly oxidise and become inactive. So no, your plan to dilute and to dose from a standard solution in this case cannot be recommended. On the other hand, you can always make up 4 liter of Thornton's stock part A, weighing off 26 g of metol with your current scale. Then your scale error will be +/- insignificant. I am not all that sure about how long that solution will last, but it could be at least six months in a full and leak-tight bottle. Once you start emptying the bottle, it may be shorter. D-76 is closely related in composition, using the same chemicals, so can be used as reference in terms of longevity.

    David's idea of a 0,5 g weight is quite clever. But I don't know whether the reading clicks over at the actual weight i.e. 7 g, or whether it "rounds up", i.e. 6,5 g will already give a reading of 7. The only way to determine that is to use reference weights, or to weigh objects on your scale and on another with higher resolution. For the effort, you might as well buy a jeweller's scale.
     
  5. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    I agree 100% with buying a cheap electronic jeweler scale from the big auction site. Best money(not much) I have spent in a long time. I also tried something similar with Glycol in a split FX-37 and it didn't work. Well, I did get a very faint image, but that was it. I don't want to hijack here, but David said Thornton's for modern films, but what would you use for say, Foma 100, which isn't really a modern emulsion? I used some Buetler with Fuji Acros and it was really a nice combo, but I didn't see where it gave me anything better than Xtol. JohnW
     
  6. AndreasT

    AndreasT Member

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    David why would you recommend Thornton's two-bath over the Beutler Formular?
     
  7. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    I am one of those people who never believes what he reads (not so true generally but very true when presented with 'facts' regarding photography) so I always test things myself. Thornton stated:

    The Stoëckler formula is very soft working and gives very fine grain. With today’s thin emulsion films which do not ‘soak up’ as much of either Bath A or Bath B, thus resulting in less development activity, it can be too soft. Beware, too, of the second bath’s very mild alkali’s losing effectiveness. You may need to refresh it with extra borax from time to time. You do not need special photographic chemical grade for this. The anhydrous type freely available from High Street pharmacists will be fine. The Ansel Adams formula is quite "robust", and you should beware too high a contrast on roll film – cut times if necessary. My own formula is somewhere in between for contrast, has extra acutance, and does not suffer the second bath exhaustion to which the Stoëckler mix is prone. You should get at least 15 roll films through my formula, and more if you then refresh the second bath with more sodium metaborate.

    After my tests I found that his comments were accurate. It is really amazing how much difference the odd gram of Metol can make (hence my earlier comments about buying accurate scales). Also, Thornton's has less Sodium Sulphite which, in my opinion made it appear a little sharper.

    The reason that I referred to modern emulsions was that I have only used tabular films for so many years now (moved over about 1 year after they were launched) so I have no experience with 'older' type films. I have friends who use 'older' films from Adox and who also happily use Thornton's two bath but I can't comment further because I do not use these types of film.

    In the final reckoning each photographer must decide (preferably by testing) what suits them.

    For my work, I tend to gravitate to scenes with rich shadows and general overall contrast (please visit my website if you want to see what kind of work I do). I have found that, for the past 10+ years, Ilford Delta 400 rated at iso200 and exposing deep shadows that I wish to retain detail on Zone III developed in Thornton's two bath for 5 minutes in each bath gives me the results that I want - every single time.

    Of course it depends on what you like to photograph and how you like your prints to look. I prefer prints that look contrasty but, in fact, have a full range of tones. I find that my negatives have full shadow detail (which I may or may not retain), bright mid-tones and and highlights that always retain detail (which I may or may not retain). I never meter the highlights because I know that Thornton's two bath will retain them for me.

    Hope this helps,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
     
  8. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

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    My take on all this is we are off track, although useful and appreciated information. For the record I am mostly shooting orwo and thus fits into the thin emulsions category. I am looking at the high acutanse .

    Will metol survive when mixed with distilled water or glycol?
     
  9. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

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    And I am an idiot for not reading all the replies......:smile: I guess I did get my answer after all.
     
  10. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    No - it requires Soduim Sulfite to both dissolve properly and remain active as a developer.

    If acutance is your goal then you should be using Geoffey Crawley's FX-1 developer (which I used to use years ago for certain commercial jobs where acutance was of primary importance) which all of the people I know believe to be a great advance (due to the effect of the Iodide) on the Beutler formula.

    FX-1 formula is:

    STOCK A
    900 ml distilled water
    5g Metol
    50g Sodium Sulfite (anhy)
    Potassium Iodide Solution, 0.001%
    Distilled water to make up to 1L

    STOCK B
    900 ml distilled water
    25g Sodium Carbonate (anhy)
    Potassium Iodide Solution, 0.001%
    Distilled water to make up to 1L

    MIXING WORKING DEVELOPER
    100ml Stock A
    100ml Stock B
    800ml Distilled Water

    1 agitation every minute with development time between 12 - 16 minutes.

    David
    www.dsallen.de
     
  11. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    The Beutler formula produces beautiful results. However it also demands close attention to film exposure and development. If you are sloppy with time and temperature this developer is not for you.
     
  12. AndreasT

    AndreasT Member

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    Well I am going to make my first Beutler Formula today. Funny.
    David what I would like to know from you is what agitation do you recomend for Thornton's 2 Bath. I am considering what 2 Bath to mix and often wonder about the agitation. Some say continious agitation in the second bath. Although this is a paradox for me if a 2Bath is supposed to be a compensating developer.
    Regarding Stoeckler's formula I would thing developing longer in the first bath would increase contrast.
    Not really knowing since I have never used it.
     
  13. Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson Subscriber

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    If it is wanted to make Beutler using metol dissolved in Propylene Glycol, it must first be reacted with TEA to remove the ionic sulfate group whereupon it becomes soluble in Glycol. See the method of reacting Metol with TEA and water described in the section on Pyrocat-MC here:
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum224/64108-pyrocat-versions-mixing-directions.html
    The other ingredients of Beutler, sulfite and carbonate, will not dissolve in Propylene Glycol so a 2 part mix would still have to be used.
    Sulfite reacts with air but in full sealed bottles the stuff would keep for a very long time.
     
  14. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Invest in a decent scale then you won't need the glycol or TEA. Part A for the Beutler developer keeps for months.
     
  15. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    Hi Andreas,

    My processing sequence is:

    • 2 minutes pre-soak with constant agitation
    • 5 minutes in Bath A with continuous inversions for first 30 seconds (with me this works out at 4 inversions) followed by one inversion every 30 seconds. Each inversion is followed by a hard tap on the bottom of the tank to dislodge any possible air bubbles.
    • 5 minutes in Bath B with continuous inversions for first 30 seconds (with me this works out at 4 inversions) followed by one inversion every 30 seconds. Each inversion is followed by a hard tap on the bottom of the tank to dislodge any possible air bubbles.
    • 1 minute water stop bath.
    • 2 minutes in Ilford Hypam at 1 + 4
    • Remove film and place in large jug, constant agitation changing water every minute until pink dye is removed.
    • Replace in tank with fixer and fix for a further 2 minutes.
    • Remove film and place in a large jug with plain water.
    • Empty fix out of tank.
    • Wash tank thoroughly and then fill with plain water.
    • Replace film and secure lid and invert 10 times.
    • Empty water and refill with plain water and invert 10 times.
    • Empty water and refill with plain water and invert 20 times.
    • Empty water and refill with plain water and invert 20 times.
    • Remove film from tank and place in a large jug filled with distilled water and a few drops of wetting agent.
    • Leave film for a minimum of 3 minutes.
    • Remove film from reel and (with a bucket underneath) pour the contents of the jug down both sides of the film.
    • Hang to dry with no squegeeing or fingers on film.


    Hope this calrifies everything,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
     
  16. AndreasT

    AndreasT Member

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    Thanks David,
    maybe I will mix some I will do bit of thinking about that.
    Can you change the contrast by changing the development time?
    Could you also write how well the speed is used. I myself use Emofin a bit and tend to compare 2 Bath devlopers with it.
     
  17. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    A presoak is not recommended when using two bath developers for two reasons. It interferes with the uptake of developing agents from bath A and it dilutes bath A each time you do it. If you have ever used Diafine this caveat would be in the directions. In fact both Kodak and Ilford DO NOT recommend a presoak for their BW films.
     
  18. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    Hi Gerald,

    I am afraid that I disagree. A pre-soak facilitates the uptake of developing agents from bath A by expanding the emulsion. The amount of residual water left in a film after the pre-soak has been drained off is so minimal that it has no significant dilution affect on Bath A of the developer.

    Most significantly, the use of a pre-soak eliminates many common processing faults. I have never had anyone that I have taught subsequently come to me with processing streaks, etc. I have had many friends and colleagues come to me with problems - such as streaking from the sprocket holes on 35mm - and the introduction of a pre-soak has solved the problem every time.

    Hi Andreas,

    Varying the development time has very little effect on the contrast but more on the overall density of the negative. Generally, the lower the iso of the film, the shorter the development time (3 - 4 mins) and the higher the iso (in my case Delta 400 rated at 200) the longer the development time (4.5 - 6 minutes).

    To reduce contrast, Thornton suggested that you can Change Bath B from 12g of Sodium Metaborate to 7g of Sodium Metaborate (however, I have NEVER ever had a negative that was too contrasty using Bath B with 12g of Sodium Metaborate).

    To increase contrast, Thornton suggested you can Change Bath B from 12g of Sodium Metaborate to 20g of Sodium Metaborate. This I have only actually tried ONCE (as I generally like to photograph in bright conditions it is not normally necessary) when photographing an extremely flat scene for a client (it could only be shot then with no chance of returning). I shot using two backs. The first roll I processed in standard Thornton developer and this gave printable negatives but needed Grade 4.5 and the mid-tones were not to my liking. The second roll I processed with Bath B made up of 20g of Sodium Metaborate. These negatives printed on Grade 3.5 with very good mid-tones. However, I must emphasise that I have only done this the one time.

    I am afraid that I can't comment on Emofin as I have never used it. For many years I standardised on HC110 Dilution B and this always gave me an effective iso of half the box speed. Then for nearly 20 years I used a two-bath designed for replenishment (which also gave me an effective iso of half the box speed) and then for the past 12 years I have only used Thornton's two-bath (which also gives me an effective iso of half the box speed).

    Of course it should be clearly stated that, when I test for effective iso of a film/developer I am seeking full detail in the dark shadows. I know many people who use Thornton's Two-Bath and find box speed is fine. It just depends upon the result that you want to achieve.

    Best,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
     
  19. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    The recommended time in bath A for most two bath developers is usually 3 to 4 minutes. This is more than enough time for the emulsion to be hydrated and absorb the necessary developing agents. As I said Diafine is most specific about not using a presoak. Since this product has been used to decades I take their word that they understand what happens in two bath developers.

    The problem is not with the water in the film it is with the residual water in the tank. I use SS tanks and find that it is impossible to empty them completely. Usually a ml or two always remains. I doubt that plastic ones are any better. Most people process many rolls through bath A and the total amount of water transfered would be a consideration. I have developed lots of film during the 60 years that I have been doing photography. I have never used a presoak for any BW developer and have never experienced any problems. No uneven development, streaks nor anything else. Still what works for you, works for you.

    Jerry
     
  20. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    Hi Jerry,

    As you say what works for you . . . and, just for clarity for other people reading this thread, there are many ways of working and what works for someone may not work for someone else. My comments were, as with all of us here, based on my own personal experience and specifically here about the use of Barry Thornton's version of a two-bath developer and in answer to Andreas' questions.

    One of your original points about pre-soak was that it would inhibit the take up of the developing agents and this is clearly not the case.

    With residual water in the tank, I process a maximum of 30 rolls in Bath A. If 1ml of pre-soak per process remained in the tank then it would result in 0.03% dilution of the Bath A - which is not a significant amount.

    To use a pre-soak or not is each individual photographer's choice and if you don't need it then fine. I can only repeat that friends and colleagues who have had problems with their processing have solved the problem by using a pre-soak. Maybe its the type of water? - I have no idea as I am no chemist. I only know what I have seen to have worked successfully.

    All of my comments are specifically about Barry Thornton's Two-Bath and, as I have not personally used Diafine, I can't comment on this.

    Best,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
     
  21. AndreasT

    AndreasT Member

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    Thanks for the answer. It does help.
    I am a big fan of Emofin for certain situations. What I like about it you can easily change contrast by varying the times and it gives a excellent speed compared to other developers. It is just rather expensive.
    I will consider Thornton's 2 Bath further.
     
  22. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    Hi Andreas,

    If I remember correctly you are in Prenzlauer Berg?

    If I am correct, and before you buy the chemicals and mix them up, you could shoot a couple of test rolls and process one in Emofin and I would be happy to process the other test roll for you in Thornton's two-bath.

    My darkroom is in the Kunsthaus in Thälmann Park.

    Best,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
     
  23. AndreasT

    AndreasT Member

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    We could do that David. There is a darkroom in Thälmann Park? I did not know that.
    I am busy testing the Beutler Formula and will try out another one after that. I have the chemicals already.
    When I am done with that I will drop you a line. At first I want to finish checking out what I have mixed already.
    A 2 bath will probable be the next project between work.
     
  24. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    OK,

    Just contact me when you are ready.

    Best,

    David
    www.dsallen.de