Monobath Developers

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by jnanian, Jun 25, 2004.

  1. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    monobath developer ( developer+fixer in same bath)

    can anyone give me information about good monobath developers?
    does anyone still use this sort of thing? if you do, do you like it, is it convenient, or is it a total waste of time?

    the other night, i had a conversation with a chemist who did a lot of work with the photo lab index. he sparked my interest in this sort of thing when told me of some monobaths that he created for himself. his film was always "ultra sharp" and he attributed it to the monobath chemistry he processed his film in. just to give you an example of how sharp his film was ... he shot 9mm film of a scene & made an enlargements. prominent photographers thought it was shot on large format because it was really really sharp and details like a man's bloodshot eyes &C could easily be seen.

    for those who use monobaths, i have a PLI from the late 30s or 40s, is there a specific formula i should look at to try this out? or do you have a favorite you like to use? is there a good one will they work with today's films being not as silver-rich & filled with poly-vinyls? i know the chemist suggested that if he used his secret formula today, he would have problems with reticulation because of the lack of silver.

    and lastly - are there any issues regarding archival stability &C when you use a single bath "system" like this, or is it all pretty much the same?

    much thanks! ( in advance)

    - john
     
  2. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    John, Polaroid Instant Film is a good example of a surviving monobath system (it is a viscous monobath).

    With regard to archival characteristics of a negative processed in a monobath, Polaroid 55PN and its smaller counterpart require additional processing of the negative to achieve archival properties. I have been post processing and storing microphotographs as 55PN negatives for years (it appears pretty much identical to Kodak Panatomic X).

    I know I have a number of monobath recipes in my collection of Dignan's Notes (I have a whole file cabinet drawer full of Patrick Dignan's notes). I'll take a look and let you know.

    By the way, I am skeptical about the "lack of silver" thing. I don't know of any causal connections between abundance of silver (or lack thereof) and reticulation.
     
  3. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    An alternative to monobath is to add an amount of fixer concentrate to the developer after development is done. Agitate vigorously for a while to get thorough mixing. The amount to add is no less than 1/16 the amount of developer. You may have to pour out a little developer to make room. I have used this method with TF4 concentrate. Even though it is not acidic, it stops the development quickly.
     
  4. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Yes Pat, and if you couple this technique with stand or semi-stand development you will get very high acutance and excellent micro tonality as well.
     
  5. JohnFinch

    JohnFinch Member

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    Monobath formulae

    MONOBATH DEVELOPER

    Water (50c) 600ml
    SODIUM SULPHITE (Anhyd) 50.0g
    HYDROQUINONE 12.0g
    PHENIDONE 4.0g
    SODIUM HYDROXIDE 4.0g
    SODIUM THIOSULPHATE (Hypo) 110.0g
    WATER To make 1 Litre

    Do not dilute for use.
    Process for 6 min's at 20c. Agitation for first 30 seconds then 15 sec's every minute on the minute. To adjust the contrast use greater or lesser amounts of Hypo. Use of more will result in a softer image, less increases contrast.
    I have not tried this myself but saved this formulae because I'm dying to give it a try sometime. Have fun!
     
  6. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I just developed a roll of Kodak TMY 400 in Pat Gainer's PC-TEA developer (Triethanolamine, L-ascorbic acid, phenidone). I used Pat's one-shot fix procedure (TF-4 concentrate). The agitation was gentle, 10 seconds/minute for 9.5 minutes at 70F. I am attaching the densitometry data and curve that resulted (as a PDF file).

    I have another roll of 120 TMY exposed under identical conditions. I will try it stand developed for 13 minutes at 70F and post the results.

    If all goes well with that test, I'll try some comparative tests that will look for differences in acutance and microtonality.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    thanks for the responses AND the fun forumulas!

    the chemist-guy i mentioned made the comments about the lack of silver & poly vinyls about 4 times in the conversation ( maybe more! ) and said that when he was feeling up to it, he was going to work on his "secret formula" to compensate for the reticulation. yeah, i am generally clueless and gullible :wink: . just the same, i didn't really have any reason to doubt him since he was the guy that did ALL the film /paper/developer &C microscopic-analysis for the photo lab index for 50+ years ... but you never know, he might have sensed my cluelessness and was having a little fun with me :wink:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2004
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Also check over at the B&W film processing forum at photo.net. There was a good thread on monobaths a few months back. Maybe Lex Jenkins remembers offhand where it is.
     
  9. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I have been going through the Dignan Notes, and there is a substantial amount of information on monobaths - including a lot of recipes.

    I will a post a short technical note by Pat Dignan on the general subject of monobaths (and their limitations) as soon as I scan it and run it through my OCR program.
     
  10. JohnFinch

    JohnFinch Member

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    Tom, that would be great. Looking forward to erading it. Many thanks :smile:
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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  12. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    John, with one exception, this is Grant Haist's Monobath MM-1 formulation. The exception is the addition of 8ml of a 25% solution of Gluteraldehyde. Haist states that this formulation will produce identical results to D-76 when processing Verichrome Pan.

    Note: In this formulation, sodium thiosulfate (pentahydrate) is 110 grams. Sodium thiosulfate (anhydrous) is 70 grams.
     
  13. JohnFinch

    JohnFinch Member

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    Very interesting..... Tom, do you know what the Gluteraldehyde is used for?
     
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  15. JohnFinch

    JohnFinch Member

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    I have heard of Formaldehyde being added to Monobaths, as an emulsion hardener. Maybe it does the same job?
     
  16. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    Glutaraldehyde and formaldehyde (formalin) are both used in several lith developers. I assume they have similar effects, mainly to harden the emulsion.
     
  17. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Yes, it is used in the fprmulation as an emulsion hardener.

    Patrick Dignan indicated (B&W notes, June 1972) that a monobath softens the emulsion more than most development processes and has a tendency to produce reticulation, therefore a chemical hardening agent must be added to the formula.

    In a monobath, development is a "race" between the developer and the fixer. As a consequence, monobaths usually use a very active developer formulation.
     
  18. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I just tried Gainer's trick of adding fixer concentrate to the developer after the completion of development, and I like it.

    I was just testing a new filmholder and just had to do one 4x5" sheet of Efke PL100, and I've been wondering what to do with an excess of Zonal Pro rapid fixer that I have on hand since switching to TF-4, and this is it. I developed the film in a tray in 300 ml of PMK and added 50 ml of fixer concentrate and fixed for 2 min. This was too much fixer and reduced the stain slightly from what I usually expect with PL100 in PMK, but the neg is still pretty good with no obvious pinholes, and I'd definitely do it again, but with less fixer concentrate. It was quick and easy, and I could develop, fix, and wash in one tray.

    Comparing the use of Polaroid type 55 with the need to coat prints and clear and rinse negs anyway, it's not much more difficult to use this method for similar applications (i.e., test shots and situations where I'm not worried about archival stability).
     
  19. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    From G.W. Crawley
    750 ml water
    50 grams Sodium sulfite
    1 gram Phenidone
    12 grams Hydroquinone
    70-125 grams Sodium thiosulfate, pentahydrate
    10 grams Sodium Hydroxide
    Water to make 1 liter.

    From H.S.Keelan
    750 ml water
    50 grams Sodium sulfite
    10 grams Phenidone
    15 grams Hydroquinone
    110 grams Sodium thiosulfate, pentahydrate
    18 grams Sodium hydroxide
    18 grams Potassium alum
    Water to make 1 liter.
    Both say to add the Phenidone to the water and DO NOT mix. Adn to use COLD water when dissolving Sodium Hydroxide as it generates considerable heat. If you use hot water, explosive violence can result in serious burns.

    You should check your library for Stephen G. Anchell's "The Darkroom Cookbook" from Focal Press.
     
  20. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    I've thought that it would be fun to play with monobath developers, and see what kind of results i get (not expecting anything great). Does anyone have any ideas / formulas for a monobath developer?

    Am i correct in thinking that its basically strong developer mixed with a rapid fixer?

    Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
     
  21. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    It's basically a strong developer mixed with a slow fixer - most of them, at least. Otherwise it's a super-fast developer mixed with a rapid fixer...

    I have played a bit with it, and in my case found the grain to be a problem even with my 5x7" negatives. Instead I've turned to "two-bath monobaths" - single shot developer, pour in a dash of rapid fixer concentrate at the end of development. Works great, and gives surprisingly good results. My last attempt at this was with a ISO 400 film in Neofin Blau topped up with 100ml 60% ammonium thiosulphate, which should have given very obvious grain on 35mm film (from the Neofin). It didn't.
     
  22. Jon King

    Jon King Member

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    Donald Qualls (he's here on apug) came up with a monobath formulation using HC-110, and Ilford Rapid fixer, and household ammonia. He originally posted it on photo.net, and I referenced it in an 'pintoid' camera article here on apug in the how to article section.

    It works. My negatives were printable, but a bit low in contrast. I plan to experiment with the developer as a winter darkroom project to see if it can be optimized. I don't know if he has any refinements to it.
     
  23. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    See if you can locate a copy of Grant Haist's Monobath Manual.

    One of the problems with monobaths is that they must be fine-tuned for each particular film. For example, a monobath created for Plus-X need not work well with Tri-X. This in part negates their usefullness.

    Another problem is that the rated film speed for a film is usually not the same when developed in a monobath as opposed to a conventional developer. Plus-X could be faster than Tri-X.

    Most of the useful monobaths use hard to obtain and possibly dangerous ingredients.
     
  24. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I've done what Ole mentions, and Patrick Gainer discusses in other threads--just killing the developer with rapid fixer concentrate. It works pretty well, particularly if you use a dilute developer that oxidizes quickly like PMK, but who knows what the archival properties of such negs would be.
     
  25. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    In the 70's I did a lot of commercial research into Monobaths.

    Have look in old British Journal of Photography Annuals, early 70's, Geoffrey Crawley wrote an article . I must still have it somewhere.

    Our research was on monobaths for print processing, but for films would have been only slightly different in formulae. Particularly as the emulsion under test was a Silver Bromide/Iodide composition which we'd evolved and manufactured in-house.

    If the formula was balanced correctly results quality wise and longevity were no different to normal processing.

    Ian
     
  26. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Just FYI, D76 is a monobath for all practical purposes for some B&W papers, if they are high chloride. The paper loses a lot of speed, but develops a nice image and is fixed out in about 3 - 5 minutes in D76 with no fuss.

    Interesting, but probably of no use to anyone unless you like to play around.

    PE