OK to Use Film Developer on Prints?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by jon koss, Apr 28, 2005.

  1. jon koss

    jon koss Subscriber

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    In the interest of reducing time spent mixing chemicals, I was pondering the advisability of using film developer (specifically D-76) for tray development of prints. Is this forbidden?

    jk
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i use print developer for my film, it is worth a try ... you never know what can happen unless you experiment a little bit :smile:
     
  3. chuck94022

    chuck94022 Subscriber

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    Nothing is forbidden. If you really want to save time, next time you make a pot of coffee, take what you don't drink and pour into your film tank to develop your film with...

    Or if you are a tea drinker, just finish your cup of tea, wait for the call of nature, and pee into your film tank...

    Seriously, I'm constantly amazed at how far beyond "the rules" you can go to get great results. People use highly dilute developers, people develop without agitation, people develop without stop baths, the list goes on and on, and magic just keeps happening.

    You might look at using the all alkaline print process, where you use PF TF-4 fixer (which can also be used for film). With that process, you don't need a stop bath, and you can goof around with what developers would work. But basically, just mix up some TF-4, some developer, and away you go.

    -chuck
     
  4. chuck94022

    chuck94022 Subscriber

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    When I said "you don't need a stop bath" what I should have said is you don't need an ACID stop bath, you just use a water bath to stop development. Simplifies your mixing step.
     
  5. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Jon,

    Another way to reduce mixing time is to move to products that come in liquid concentrates.

    Neal Wydra
     
  6. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    My developer was depleting the other day and I realised I didn't have any spare, so I threw in 10ml of neat Rodinal into the 1 ltr of developer I was using and it worked a treat.
     
  7. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    I've done a bunch of printing using Rodinal at 1:10 as my paper developer. It works wonderfully. It's a bit expensive compared to my usual developers, but in the interest of experimentation I had to try it.

    It even works well on Azo. Not as well as Amidol, certainly, but it does work. I really like it with Ilford Warmtone fiber paper.
     
  8. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    Generally speaking, anything that will develop one silver-based B&W material will develop another. The bad news is, in terms of cost and capacity, most film developers don't measure up for prints; their fine grain properties are effectively wasted (since print grain doesn't later get magnified), meaning that in many cases large amounts of sulfite are included that aren't needed; they're relatively slow compared to print developers; they're relative expensive in terms of their capacity (even economical film developers like HC-110 and Rodinal must be used in very high concentration to provide reasonable print development times, and still have low capacity relative to old standbys like Dektol or Ansco 130).

    If you want to save time mixing, get the largest size of Dektol, mix it all and decant into bottles sized to fill a single tray after dilution (if your trays hold 2 liters, you'll want about 650 ml bottles for 1:2). You'll get about eight bottles from a five gallon Dektol package, which takes no longer to mix than the one gallon size, and you do the measuring of stock solution all at once, at the same time as mixing. If you get bottles that have very little airspace, the stock solution will keep very well, and you can mix without further measuring by simply filling the bottle twice with water after pouring the stock solution into the tray.

    Premixing fixer can also save time, and the fixer working solution will keep for several months in a reasonably airtight bottle.

    With this kind of premeasured setup, and all chemicals and mixing water stored at room temperature (say, in the darkroom), you could be printing within ten minutes of going into the darkroom. If you have a cold light, don't forget to flip on the enlarger lamp before you start filling trays, so the tube can warm up; that'll save you another ten or fifteen minutes.

    You can save still more time by using a slot processor, in which the chemicals can be left until exhausted (and using a long-life developer like Ansco 130 helps on this); with a hot light in the enlarger, you could walk into the darkroom, flip from white light to safelight, open the paper safe and start a print, and be able to use time segments as short as fifteen minutes to good end (as long as you can come back a bit later and pull the prints out of the washer, that is).
     
  9. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    Did it once, dont remember what developer I used, contrast was a bit flat but it worked. The only "RULE" you cant break are the laws of physics. Tell us what happens.
     
  10. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    In a major pinch, I used Acufine as a print developer. I actually like the results.. It's very similar to Dektol, just takes a bit longer for the image to come up.
     
  11. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    WHAT! no ice!! Not even a little fancy umbrella?!
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There are developers that are formulated specifically for both prints and film, sometimes with different dilutions. Look in your favorite book of formulas for "universal" developers, and they'll do what you want.

    Usually print developers are a lot more energetic than film developers. Prints might be a little flat in D-76. If you develop film in Dektol 1+2, developing time might be uncomfortably short, and contrast and grain might be higher than you want. On the other hand, if you were shooting on a short deadline for a newspaper in the 1940s, you might do just that (maybe even using hot Dektol) and print it wet, since it would be good enough for newsprint.

    Print developers also often have an antifoggant or restrainer to preserve a sparkling white base. With film developers, it is considered good practice to decrease the amount of any accelerants (like carbonate) before adding a restrainer to reduce base fog, and it's usually not as critical, since you can print through the base fog on a neg, but there's no reclaiming base fog on a print without adding a bleach step.
     
  13. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    I have used HC110 with added carbonate. It's been a while, but I seem to remember using 1 oz to the quart plus a tablespoon of washing soda. It worked quite well. Nowadays, I use my PC-Glycol in about the same way. You may need some bromide as well. D-76 would probably work with added carbonate, but as mentioned it would be rather expensive. You don't need all that sulfite. If you use PC-Glycol, you won't have any sulfite.

    If you are using the D-76 as 1 shot, you could add carbonate to the used developer and use it for a batch of prints. I bet it would work.
     
  14. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    Well, if you talk about what you've used -- I've developed film in Dektol (about 35 years ago), IIRC 1+9 and no idea after all this time for how long, but it worked fine (at least for 620). I've also developed prints in HC-110 Dilution A; they took (as I recall, this has been around 30 years, also) a similar time to come up to Dektol, but had a curiously blue tone that would alter to a very brown color if exposed to white light while in the stop bath. Don't recall what paper this was, possibly Velox (I had Velox and Azo at the time, rescued from the trash, and I doubt I was making enlargements on Azo). I have some very old Velox now, waiting for my darkroom to be ready; I might have to try reproducing this result and then see if other papers react similarly.
     
  15. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    Those were in my glass :wink:
     
  16. rjr

    rjr Member

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    Jon,

    it´s certainly not forbidden, but you´ll save nothing - the film developer will be exhausted pretty fast and it´s more expensive than most paper developers.

    But there is one appliance - film dev will give very soft prints, you can give it a try it with very contrasty (read: grossly messed up) negatives.