Minimal agitation with reusable developers.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Dave Krueger, Nov 4, 2006.

  1. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    I've been using a Jobo rotary tank to do sheet film, but am now interested in trying out techniques with non-continuous agitation. The problem is that I do only one or two sheets at a time and most daylight tanks require a lot of chemical. Using a liter or more of one-shot developer every time I develop one or two sheets of film is going to be too expensive for me. In the past I've been a big fan of TMax RS which is replenishable. I've also noticed that D-76 and HC110 are replenishable, so they may be optons as well. I like replenishable systems because I can use the same developing times throughout the life of the developer.

    So, is there a developer with the following characteristics?

    - Reusable
    - Replenishable
    - Economical
    - Development times that are long enough to work with slow filling daylight tanks.
    - Works with reduced agitaton techniques
    - Will still be available in some form after Kodak/Ilford get out of the business

    Comments and suggestions would be appreciated.

    BTW, I do not want to use trays because I just don't like spending that much time in the dark.
     
  2. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Dave,

    Note that until a replenished system is fully seasoned, i.e. at equilibrium, its characteristics change with each film and replenishment. Because of hydrobromic acid build-up, film speed falls until it stabilizes at (very roughly) half that in the fresh developer. Optimum dev times also change (lengthening).

    Once you have your replenished system, it keeps half-way to forever. In the 1970s I don't remember anyone ever changing the ID11/D76 in the deep tanks (with floating lids) in the studio where I was an assistant, though it must have happened occasionally.

    Then again, tipping it in and out of a small tank will accelerate oxidation. Why not go for a static deep tank?

    Cheers,

    R. (www.rogerandfrances.com)
     
  3. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    I use a paper safe as a developing tray. Get the kind that has a lid that covers the whole tray. This way, I can do stand or semi-stand in a tray with the lights on.
     
  4. vet173

    vet173 Member

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    When doing minimal agitation you will almost always be using a higher dilution developer also. It will not be as expensive as you think, especially if you mix your own. Do your self a favor and stick with one shot developing with minimal agitation. You will alleviate a lot of inconsistencies that will follow you.
     
  5. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    (One shot) Rodinal at 1+100 and 1+200, or HC110 at 1+119 is not going to be expensive.

    For stand or minimal agitation, you really want a very dilute developer.

    If you want really cheap, could even mix up some Rodinal equivalent with some cheap generic out of date paracetamol tablets, drain cleaner and sodium sulphite!
     
  6. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    p-aminophenol or acetaminophen?

    It's not that much cheaper than getting a bunch of p-aminophenol base from Photographer's Formulary. Be sure your drain cleaner is not full of other stuff. Concentrated sulfuric acid is also used as drain cleaner, as is muriatic(hydrochloric) acid.
     
  7. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    That depends on where you live :wink:

    Of course (my comment was not intended to be a recipe, merely an indication of how cheap and easy it was to make) - before embarking on this or any other home-brew, read the proper recipe carefully, etc.
     
  8. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    Roger,

    I didn't know that about replenished systems. I always wondered what was meant by the word "seasoned", though. :smile: I used to use Tmax RS exclusively and was quite satisfied for the most part. Never noticed a change in effective film speed, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

    gainer,

    Are you Patrick Gainer? I like the idea of using a paper safe as a daylight tray. I already added it to my shopping list. But, I read somewhere on some forum that proper reduced agitation or semi-stand development required the film to be vertical. Is that not true?

    PCH and vet,

    Perhaps I was too hasty in assuming I need to switch back to a reusable developer. I have never tried Rodinal because I've heard it's rather grainy. I've been experimenting with Pyrocat which I understand has less grain but similar or better edge effects with reduced agitation. It looks like Rodinal at 1:100 would actually be reasonable even if I were throwing away a liter of it for every sheet of film. I've also tried Xtol which would be too expensive at that rate of use. I've also never tried HC110.
     
  9. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Yes and no. I am he, and it is not necessarily true that horizontal is always worse than vertical. I have had no trouble with my 5x7 film when I do vigorous agitation at the beginning, 1/3 total time and 2/3 total time. I do not develop for hours. At most I use 30 minutes, but usually 21 to 24 depending on temperature. I use mostly Pyrocat MC for this diluted 1:1:100. This dilution also gives me 12 to 14 minutes with agitation for 5 seconds every minute.
    I do not believe in "gentle" agitation. I think you are less likely to get streaking or mottling if you thoroughly mix the oxidation products with fresher developer each time.
    When I say "I am he" I really mean I am one of three: my father of blessed mempry, myself and my first born son. I saw by internet that there is or was also a Patrick Gainer on an Indian Council of a tribe whose name I have forgotten.
     
  10. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    As a replenished system is used, the development rate and contrast become more consistant. A technique that was used was to develop several rolls of scrap film while replenishing the system to "season" it. This was to take the edge off a new batch which was more active than a used batch of developer.
     
  11. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Minimal agitation must be used with highly dilute developers. Attempting to use such a technique with normal strength developers will result in uneven development. Highly dilute developers are not replenishable because they do not keep.
     
  12. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    Ah-ha. I see your point. Highly dilute developers tend to be one-shot by definition. Well, I think the first step for me is to determine whether reduced agitation offers characteristics that I really want.

    Last night I tried minimal agitation for the first time. Actually, it was extreme minimal, according to Sandy King's definition. I developed Adox PL100 in Pyrocat HD (dilution 1.5:1:200) for an hour using Sandy's scheme of 1.5 minutes initial agitation and 10 second agitation at the 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 points.

    Up to now, the only reason I'd have for leaving film in the developer that long is if I accidentally fell asleep. I really had serious doubts that it could work.

    But, alas, it worked wonderfully. It looked every bit as good as an identical sheet developed with continous rotary agitation. One has slightly more stain and one may have a tiny bit more contrast than the other, but no apparent uneveness. I want to see if I can detect any difference between the two in terms of edge effects when I print them. I like the PL100 but it doesn't seem to render high accutance using rotary development. I seem to get crisper edges with TXP.

    -Dave