Paper developer dilution and image tone

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by timeUnit, Nov 4, 2005.

  1. timeUnit

    timeUnit Member

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    Hi!

    Could you all explain how paper developer dilution affects image tone? I have gotten contradictory information, or, perhaps more likely, have mixed the information in my brain and nothing good came out. :smile:

    Let's say Dektol for developer, and Ilford MGIV WT FB and MGIV FB. How does different dilutions of the developer affect the image tone of the warm tone and the neutral tone papers? Please feel free to "change papers" if you think those are inappropriate for a test like this.

    I have read about adding restrainers in the developer. Are there different restrainers? Do they affect tone differently?

    As always, thanks for you time and effort!

    *henning
     
  2. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    I think more diluted developer = warmer tones (in WT papers)

    Even though the development times are longer

    I'm very fond of Ethol LPD for these tricks, I've used it up to dilution of 1+20 and with Ilford WT, AGFA MCP/MCC, and Paterson WT gives very interesting effects.

    PS. More dilute developer also change the way the papers react to selenium and sulfide toners!

    Our firend Ann Clancy gave me a very coherent explanation of why this happened but can;t recall it from the top of my head
     
  3. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    Generally with warm tone papers a more dilute developer will produce a warmer tone than when the developer is diluted to the manufacturers recommendation. I have little experience of how this would affect a neutral paper although I suspect that it will slightly warm the paper. Try different dilutions with both papers and you'll be surprised at the results. Don't just change the dilution by small amounts, for example if normal dilution is 1 to 9 try 1 to 40 or 50 and extend the development time I predict that you will produce an almost red print with some warm tone papers. The best way to discover these things is to spend an afternoon in the darkroom with one negative and after starting with normal dilution to produce a reference print gradually dilute the developer more and more to campare results when the prints are dry. Don't forget to make a note on the back of each print what dilution was used.

    Adding restrainers to the developer will change both tone and contrast.
    10 to 15 ml of a 10% solution of Bromide will warm up paper expecially warm tone paper. Be careful not to add too much bromide for that will give a green cast and could competely flatten the image.

    Benzoriazole will increase contrast and cool the paper. I mix 1 gram to 500ml water and, depending on the effect I want, add 50 to 100 ml of the dilute solution to the working developer.

    Experiment and keep notes and you will soon be able to predict the results.
     
  4. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Tones

    Les has given some excellant advice here. For years and years I followed the dictum of using Dektol and Benzo via the AA school of printing. About ten years ago I decided to start making my own developers and seeing what I could do to alter the paper. It really comes down to spending the time with one paper and one developer then either adding or subtracting components to achieve the look you desire. But MORE importantly it involves knowing the paper and to what limits you can take it. Shifts in color can be extremely subtle so you should have an idea of where you are going and then how to get there. It might take alot more than one afternoon to learn this. Another point is that many of the recipes listed/published for paper developing are no longer valid with modern papers. Paper making has changed hence older formiulas have little or no effect on them. Exception to the rule are the Forte papers which made in the OLD style or as close to old style as possible.
    Have fun playing......
    Best, Peter
     
  5. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    As always, Les has the best advice. I'll add that I just checked the instructions on a can of Ethol LPD, and it definately says that more dilution equals warmer tones. (As I mentioned in another post, this has been the "common wisdom" with which I've worked for years.)

    Be well.
    Dave
     
  6. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    I was about to ask a similar question so I will hijack your thread Henning.

    If I use a more dilute developer with extended developing time, do I also need to extend the exposure time or does this remain the same.

    Peter
     
  7. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    Keep your exposure time constant.
     
  8. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    I have thought of using very dilute dev. for increasing the warmth of the print, but does this affect D-max in any way?
     
  9. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    Not if you do a test strip and give enought exposure.