New FX-55 Developer

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Peter Black, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. Peter Black

    Peter Black Subscriber

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    There was a recent thread about FX-50 developer at the http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/53070-fx-50-type-developer.html, but this week's Amateur Photographer magazine has an article by Geoffrey Crawley on his new FX-55 developer.

    He has chosen to waive his copyright on this as long as Amateur Photographer magazine is mentioned as the source, so here goes:

    Part A
    Potassium Carbonate: 20g
    Sodium Bicarbonate: 1.5g
    Sodium Sulphite: 25g
    Sodium Metabisulphite: 12g
    Water to 1,000ml and dilute 1:9 for the working solution. Before use add B to the diluted 1:9 diluted A solution to form the working strength developer.

    Part B
    Sodium L-ascorbate: 1.3g
    Phenidone: 100mg (0.1g)
     
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  2. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Peter. Thanks for the heads-up. I'll try and get to the AP article tomorrow. My local library carries AP. In the meantime and if you have the time to explain, what would be the characteristics and benefits of this compared to say DDX or Perceptol.

    At least AP recognises that film and its sundries exist. I wonder what Practical(Digital - my addition) Photography would make of it? Product of a deranged mind? Someone trying to compare gas mantles to electric light bulbs, semaphore to mobile phones? Who knows?

    Sorry I still cannot get over buying the above mag by mistake, thinking ( and may I suffer eternal damnation for it) it to be B&W photography mag.

    I opened it and said "I don't believe it!" so often that the wife says I now do a perfect impression of our fellow countryman, Richard Wilson, as Victor Meldrew.

    pentaxuser
     
  3. Peter Black

    Peter Black Subscriber

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    Main difference would be that you have to make it up yourself from the raw chemicals and that it is seemed to be "greener/more eco-friendly" due to its use of sodium ascorbate. Performance wise it is described as having good under and over exposure characteristics, with a low background fog level. The sharpness, resolution and grain characterisitics of a film are exploited without enhancement, and there are full shadow tones (it also makes it suitable for scanning, but we'll keep that to ourselves :wink:)
     
  4. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    I'm always interested in a new developer by Crawley.

    Peter, are the Part B components added as powder to the diluted Part A? If so it would certainly solve the shelf life problems of liquid ascorbate developers. It would also make it unappealing for a company to sell it commercially.

    It is quite a low sulphite developer. Any comments in the article about the speed, acutance, grain size etc? I have no idea whether AP magazine is easily available here at the end of the Earth.
     
  5. Peter Black

    Peter Black Subscriber

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    Part B is the 2 chemicals and they are added to the working strength Part A shortly before use at around 20C. The ascorbate is said to dissolve immediately and the Phenidone more slowly. A is said to keep indefinitely in a closed container, while the combined A+B will keep up to 36 hours in a closed container. Exposure increase of about 0.5 - 1 EV is usually possible.
     
  6. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    A proper mixture of ascorbic acid, phenidone,TEA and perhaps some propylene glycol would serve for the second part and would last, and last. And if you got bored, you could just dilute the B part with water and go at it.
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    There's something wrong with this no-one (normally) publishes a formula where developing agents are added just before use as solids.

    Ian
     
  8. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    That's what I thought too, but this if this is Crawley, it probably works. I like Gainer's idea about dissolving part B and will have this mixed in the next hour or two. There may be a Gin intervention which will interfere:tongue:...EC
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Having met & talked to chemists from the company that made all the early Paterson Developers & Fixers I can believe it :D

    I think I'd prefer a Plymouth Gin over FX-55 :smile:

    Ian
     
  10. psvensson

    psvensson Member

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    Yeah, phenidone is tough to dissolve straight up in water. And why does Crawley specify L-ascorbic acid? D-ascorbic or a mixture will do just as well.
     
  11. pentaxuser

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    Mr Crawley supplies two photos with the article. One is simply sea and waves, the other is tree bark. Both of which are difficult to capture unless the developer does a good job and it seems to. I can only assume that Mr Crawley has run a lot of films through the developer as he quotes times for a long list of films, including some no longer produced but which enthusiasts have probably stored.

    Provided you are willing to do your own mixing, keep a small range of chemicals on hand and have scales accurate enough to measure down to 0.1g, it seems to offer cheapness with indefinite keeping.

    It's just such articles that I'd like to see in B&W mag but all credit to AP and Mr Crawley for publishing it without any copyright. I couldn't see any drawbacks.

    pentaxuser
     
  12. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    Well, there is one precedent: Ryuji Suzuki's developers that contain Dimezone-S can be made with ordinary Phenidone but he recommended that the Phenidone be added as powder at the last minute because of its tendency to not keep well (according to his web site).

    My guess is that it's a very good developer (FX-55) but no manufacturer could deal with the issue of "just add this bit of powder before use."
     
  13. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Sometimes I wonder about Crawley. I've known enough Englishmen to know that some are not far from the Irish in enjoyment of a practical joke. He could make a very fine developer out of a large number of ingredients and have a large number of photographers believing that each one was absolutely indispensable. I think some Englishmen have gone so far as to hire Irish for their Gift of Gab to handle advertizing. How else can we get such lyrical descriptions of grain, acuity, edge effects, etc.? I speak from experience. My father was a singer with a Doctorate of Philosophy and Philology of English from St. Louis University, a choral director and the father of a girl and 4 boys by a beautiful woman from Poland. He did other things as well. His ancestors came from Ireland before the Revolution.
     
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  15. Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson Subscriber

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    I'm interested in the sulfite.Ryuji's DS-2 has 20g/L.From an old msds, FX-50 part A had 12-14% w/w.IIRC dilution was 1+1+8 giving 12-14g/L working solution.
    In FX-55 sulfite is not a preservative and its probably not involved in the development reaction.The only reason it is there seems to be to uncover latent image specks and increase film speed.If this is the case, Crawley uses about 2.5+1.2 g/L as sufficient for this purpose.
     
  16. Murray Kelly

    Murray Kelly Member

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    Has anyone measured the pH of the working solution yet?
    There's a carbonate/bicarbonate buffer and the sulfite/bisulfite added.
    Looks like a soft working phenidone developer. Too low for the ascorbate to do more than extend the life of the phenidone?

    Murray
     
  17. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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  18. gainer

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    I alluded to the possibility of some excess when I suggested, in essence, that PC-TEA would make a good part B. PC-TEA + water, of course, can be used as a complete developer. While Mr. Crawley's A solution is buffered up one side and down the other, TEA (AKA triethanolamine) is a pretty good buffer on its own.

    I didn't mean to imply that FX55 had any drawbacks except, possibly, complexity. It's just that I have seen a number of his formulae and various descriptions of their results. I did compare Acutol and PC-TEA critically once upon a time and could see no significant difference in results. Unfortunately, I can no longer do that comparison. However, if you have the makings of FX55, you will have the makings of PC-TEA if you add the TEA, and it would be a simple matter to use the PC-TEA as part B of the FX55 just for a comparison. I would say 10 or 20 ml of the PC-TEA stock might double for the phenidone-ascorbate of FX55.
    Basically, I was just making fun of FX55, as I feel Crawley might do to PC-TEA...just for fun.
     
  19. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    Which issue of `Amateur Photographer` is this article?
    I find the dilution confusing, as Part `A` is diluted 1+9, but how much of solution `B` is added?
    Is the formula for solution `B` also to make 1 litre of stock solution? Can the potassium carbonate be replaced with sodium carbonate? If so, how much would be required?
     
  20. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    There is no B solution, you add the dry B chemicals to the A dilution..EC
     
  21. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Or, you make a B solution of phenidone and ascorbic acid in just enough TEA to neutralize the ascorbic acid, thus making it an equivalent of sodium ascorbate when it hits the water of the A solution. If you do that literally, your B solution will be a paste, so add an amount of propylene glycol to make it a convenient volume such that a certain number of ml will contain the amount of phenidone and ascorbate that you want to add to the A solution. You may use glycerol from the druggist in place of the glycol. Now when B joins A, the ions of everything can merilly dance around developing your film.

    Should you undertake to do it this way, the molecular weight of TEA is 149.2 and that of ascorbic acid is 176. Use the 99% TEA. You can scale the proportions to the total amount of ascorbic acid you want in your B solution.
     
  22. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    In case it's too difficult to figure out, here's a formula for a liquid FX55 part B with very long shelf life.

    1 gram phenidone
    10 grams TEA (it's liquid, but easier to measure by weight in such small amounts.)
    12 grams ascorbic acid, either L- or D-
    Glycol or glycerol to make 100 ml.
    Glycerol is more viscous.

    Use 10 ml of the above in place of 0.1 grams phenidone and 1.3 grams of sodium ascorbate.
     
  23. pentaxuser

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    Keith It's the latest issue. You raise some good points. Part A makes 1 ltr stock to which part B is added. However my tank only needs 250ml at a 1:9 dilution. So do I add the same quantities, as Mr Crawley suggests to 1 litre, to 250mls. My assumption was that I do as I assume that part B remains the same whether you use the whole litre or only a part of a litre. In effect it is part B to say 25mls of stock at 1:9 to make up my 250 mls

    However an assumption is all that it is. If part B was proportional to liquid used then I think that Mr Crawley would have mentioned it. In fact at a further dilution of part A at 1:9 the phenidone quantity would drop to a very small level - impossible to measure by most normal scales.

    So until someone who knows better tells me, I'll continue to assume that part B is a fixed amount to be added each time to whatever portion of the 1 litre needed at a 1:9 dilution to make up a sufficient developer quantity

    However this brings me on to the second issue. Does 1:9 mean 1 part A and 9 parts water( usually expressed as 1+9) or is it a total of 9 parts so it is 1 part A and eight parts water?

    A wrong assumption on both counts above could presumably be disastrous.:sad:

    Anyone enlighten me?

    Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  24. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    This looks like the right way to do it. My previous post only referred to the OP's post and the directions given there. I have used your PC tea and still have it on the shelf, it seems to be really stable. I was going to do this last night but the Gin drink and my easy chair derailed the effort!! I have lots of duplicate sheets so can afford to waste a few....EC
     
  25. gainer

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    I think something got lost in translation. It would not make Crawley Sense to have a variable amount of part A and a fixed amount of the powdered B part. The translation of 1:9 is 1 part A and 9 parts water to make 10 parts total. The part that was left out IMO is that the powdered chemicals are to be added to 1 liter of the working solution. If you don't need a liter, throw the excess down the drain. It's too cheap to bother with weighing. Either that, or make the suggested B solution with ascorbic acid, phenidone, TEA and Glycol or gylcerol and measure it out with a calibrated medicine dropper. How would you expect to get the same results as the next guy if your concentration of developing agents was twice his simply because you only needed half as much? You don't even know if he is developing more or less film per liter than you do.

    Simply put, IMO what the Master meant to say is to take 100 ml part A, mix it with 900 ml water and add 0.1 grams of phenidone and 1.3 grams of sodium ascorbate.

    Let's consider another proposition. In the face of so much buffering, will it really make a difference if you use ascorbic acid instead of sodium ascorbate? If not, then the TEA can be left out and a B solution of 1 gram of phenidone and 12 grams of ascorbic acid in glycol or glycerol used. As I review what I've been preaching, I see that 12 grams of ascorbic may not dissolve in 100 ml of glycol. If not, use 200 ml and double the dose to 20 ml/l of working A.
     
  26. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Remember ratios in arithmetic. Stock:water::1:9. "Stock is to water as 1 is to 9" is the way to read that shorthand, as taught since elementary school teachers carried rulers for chastising the less diligent learners among us.