Paper Developer Temp

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Mike Keers, May 16, 2009.

  1. Mike Keers

    Mike Keers Member

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    Hey gang,
    I did several searches but can only find threads on film development temps. If this has been discussed, you can point me to the thread.

    I'm curious how temperature of the chems affects paper development, primarily warmer than 68~. My little storage space under a sink keeps all my chemicals at about 68 in the winter, but now with desert temps in the 95-100 range, I find my chemicals are running about 78-80.

    I have been cooling film chems to 68 before use but have no desire or ability to try and cool four or five 8x10 trays of paper stuff in my very small portable darkroom space.

    So let's assume for the sake of this discussion I'll be using developer, stop, fixer and toners at 78-80 or possibly even warmer. What can I expect?

    I use Dektol 1:2, Arista VG RC papers for all my working prints and Kentmere warmtone FB paper for the keepers. I'm a neutral to warm tone kind of guy. I only tone with selenium and sepia.
     
  2. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Higher temperatures - faster development. Just like with film.

    You may prefer to use more dilute developers to extend your development times to more normal figures. Then again, since print development is to completion, it may not be a huge issue as long as you don't overdevelop (which can induce some fog).

    The best way to find out for yourself (since every paper and developer combination is going to be different) is to do some experimenting.

    I have the opposite problem - my darkroom tops out at 20 in the summertime (it's in an air-conditioned basement) but in the winter it can be as cool as 12 or 13 degrees. I have to heat it up to make the chemicals comfortable.
     
  3. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi mike

    2 suggestions -

    the first one would be keep a cylinder of developer ( stock ) in a cold place, like a fridge
    and when you mix your chemicals use the cold stuff so your warm water will make the temperature
    around 68º ish ...
    my other suggestion is try using a glycin based developer like ansco130.
    it will give you a tonal range sort of like dektol, with a look all its own,
    AND it works best when it is a little warmer, like at 73º or so ...

    good luck!

    john
     
  4. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Within "normal limits" I don't sweat the temp for paper development. I develop to completion, i.e. about 3 minutes. IF my temp were inordinately high, I might shorten that time.

    Since you are using small trays, you might try single tray processing. Use an 11x14 tray for the prints. Use 2500 ml beakers for each solution. Place the beakers in a larger tray, maybe 16x20 or 20 x 24, filled with a few inches of cool water in the bottom to keep the beakers cooled as the printing session progresses. You can periodically drop in a few ice cubes or keep some of the re-usable freezer packs on hand to insert and remove as necessary.
     
  5. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    In the winter it takes 3 minutes to develop fiber paper, in the summer it takes 1 and 1/2. Go figure.
     
  6. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Development Recommendations for Dektol

    Papers - Dilute one part of stock solution to two parts of water. Develop Kodabromide, Polycontrast, Polycontrast Rapid and Panalure Papers for 1 1/2 minutes: all other recommended papers about one minute at 68F (20C).

    I just go with room temperature myself as the house is right at 68 pert near all the time.
     
  7. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    Firstly, you would only need to keep one at a lower temp (developer).

    In the days of Agfa (remember them?) they published dev times for paper developers at 20degC, 25degC and 30degC (=86deg Fahrenheit).

    I found that at higher temps there was more chance of brown staining.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2009
  8. Mike Keers

    Mike Keers Member

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    Thanx for all the comments so far. My main concern was if there might be some adverse affects to the higher development temps like, oh I don't know, a change in contrast or something. That's OK with me! I go 1 to 2 minutes in the Dektol, depending on the paper and temp. I do notice the RC papers come up pretty quick in the warmer developer. I don't want to overdevelop. I suppose I could do some max-D testing.

    ChrisW--at this time of year my house is running about 88 or better. We have passive solar heating and natural ventilation, IOW, no supplemental heating or cooling. But it's a DRY heat--hahaha! In winter we're pretty close to 68 in here, or better. My deep well water runs about 68 year round, which is a happy coincidence. I often have to heat up the film chems a few degrees in the winter, and as said, cool them down in the warmer months. But I only measure out enough for my one or two roll tanks so it's easy to manage the film development. I work out of larger volumes for the paper chems, generally 32-42 oz to half gallon jugs, which give a nice working volume in the 8x10 paper trays, and when I'm done, it all goes back in the bottles.

    If there's no harm in using the warmer chems, I can live with it.
     
  9. Mike Keers

    Mike Keers Member

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    john_s, our posts crossed, and I wrote a quick response but there was a disturbance in the force and the connection failed, so my post was lost. Your comment about brown staining is interesting and the type of info I was soliciting--any downside. I've only started printing and developing again this past Fall, so these warm chemical temps have only become a concern now that The Hot has arrived, and wil lremain with us for many months to come.

    I've read that temperature, say of warmer wash water, can influence some toning effects.
     
  10. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    For the balance of chemistry, minor temp deviations shouldn't be a factor. But the developer really needs to be as spot on as possible.
     
  11. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Here's a curve generated from test data for time vs. print development in an article in PhotoTechniques or Camera & Darkroom, can't find the reference right now. But it's for Dektol with a fiber based paper, and the reference print is 2 minutes @ 68F.

    Lee
     

    Attached Files:

  12. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    So when is completion? At the end of 3 minutes? At the time
    of maximum density? Perhaps at the moment of maximum
    contrast? Or when it looks right? Dan
     
  13. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    First, chemical reactions usually speed up with increased temperature. This means that your developer will work faster when hotter. Many developers (and I would think that Dektol would be among them) react rather regularly to increases in temperature. In other words, if you need to use warmer developer, just develop for a shorter time. The .pdf document linked to above is a good starting point. A predictable increase in activity vs. temperature was the premise behind the Zone VI compensating developing timer, which adjusted the "seconds" of the timer based on temperature; at 68°F one "second" was really one second, at higher temperatures the "seconds" were really shorter, at lower temps, longer, allowing the standard developing time to be retained. (I love my Zone VI timer and would not like to part with it!)

    Second, developers do not have to be 68°F to work correctly. Especially when printing in warmer weather, it is often easier to use the warmer, ambient temperature for "standard" rather than worry about cooling everything down. While 88°F (31°C) might be at the extreme end of things, with the right developer, it should be managable. The same applies, but with more necessity for precision and testing at different temperatures, with film, generally speaking. The real problem dealing with different temperatures is that some developers/developing agents/combinations of developing agents do not react linearly/regularly to changes in temperature, i.e., they are difficult to predict and make a nice chart for. These are usually more exotic developers. Nevertheless, they will work at different temperatures. One simply needs to test them at the particular working temperature desired.

    There are a number of ways to deal with determining print development time at different temperatures. The Zone VI compensating timer is one (sometimes they are available used). Another time-honored method is the factoral method. Simply note the time it takes for a middle gray tone in the print to emerge and separate from neighboring tones and multiply that by a "factor." I find average factors to be between 4 and 6 usually. Some prints need more development and a larger factor. (As an aside, prints are "completely" developed when maximum black has been reached and the developing rate has slowed significantly. There is no particular point when a print is "done," like a turkey in the oven... You need to have enough development to get the tonalities you want. Longer development with most modern papers basically just speeds up the paper, kind of like adding more exposure.) Back to the topic... The factoral method seems to function well independent of temperature. At higher temperatures, your print will emerge more quickly and developing times will be shorter, but the factors should remain the same. This allows a measure of repeatability at varying temperatures (and a kind of adjustment for changes in developer activity due to exhaustion as well).

    Finally, if developing times at high temperatures are uncomfortably short, one can simply increase the dilution of the developer to lengthen the time. Since the amount of stock solution will be less, the developer will have a smaller capacity and may need to be changed more often, but the factor should remain the same.

    I develop both film and paper in trays at different ambient temperatures. I rely on my compensating timer to make the adjustments for me with the film. However, I do mix the developer at 20°C and put the developer tray into a larger tray with 20°C water in order to minimize the temperature shift during processing. For papers, however, I just let all the chemicals warm up to ambient temperature, which in the summer can be in the low 80sF. I use both the factoral method described above and my compensating time. I like it that they agree most of the time...

    So, go ahead and print at ambient temperature. I wouldn't worry about cooling the chemicals down unless the high temperature was causing physical damage to the prints (emulsion sloughing off, etc.). Use the factoral method and dilute developer to control time and have fun.

    Best,

    Doremus Scudder
    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2009
  14. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    All the above answers a perfectly reasonable. But , at least in my experience, developer temperature is not all that critical for paper. Anything between 65F (18C) and 78F (25C) seems to work pretty well with the standard developing times. Paper, just like film, develops faster as the temperature goes up. But unlike film, paper development goes pretty well to completion, and there is no danger of overdevelopment. The danger of developing paper too long at a high temperature would be increased fog, and modern papers are very well protected against that.
     
  15. Mike Keers

    Mike Keers Member

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    As nworth said, all very reasonable and useful answers and thoughts. Lee, thanx for the chart; Doremus, a comprehensive and thoughtful response. I'll go about my business as usual, unless things get really cooking around here, in which case I'll think about lowering the development temp a bit. I just had a session last night, and everything is still at 78; there's a noticeably faster time for the image to come up--no surprise there.
     
  16. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Not really for prints, which should be developed to completion anyway. The only thing I'd really worry about would be developer induced fog. I once tried developing a print in Dektol 1+3 at about 100F. It fogged almost immediately. I think you'd be ok at about 80F. Toning goes faster at warmer temperatures too. With a 2 part sepia toner, the bleach works faster and it's the degree of bleach back that you allow that controls the toning. The redeveloper goes to completion. Selenium toning is controlled by the the strength of the toner, time, and temperature. If the solution is too strong and the temperature too high, toning can proceed too fast and you can over do it. Diluting the toner a bit more will slow it down, allowing you to pull the print when you feel its done.
     
  17. Lowell Huff

    Lowell Huff Inactive

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    I have seen photo labs machine develop paper at 85ºf to 105ºf. processing times are 20 sec to 14 seconds.
     
  18. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    Great answers, all! The only other thing I would mention is that at higher temperatures, the paper may be more susceptible to damage as the emulsion is softer. I would just say, 'be careful with those tongs!'.
     
  19. Mike Keers

    Mike Keers Member

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    Bruce, that brings up a bit of thread drift on my part. I was reading a book on advanced artsy techniques the other day, can't recall the title or author and don't have the book to hand this moment, but the author detailed a technique for using very hot water to remove (lift) the emulsion after printing, and then apply it to something else, another piece of paper (adding distortion) or even something like a piece of wood. Strange image manipulation--and 'analog'!--not some distortion effect done in your confuser with That Program That Shall Not Be Named!

    The point being of course, that your comment about emulsion softening due to heat can be taken to the extreme of actually detaching the emulsion layer.
     
  20. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    So prints are developed to completion when maximum black
    has been reached and development noticeably slowed. Relying
    on curves generated by Phil Davis that is not to completion.

    Completion though is at maximum contrast; from those
    curves 2 or 4 times the time to maximum black. He chose
    twice the development times for the paper tests he was
    conducting. With that much time they were "done".

    Phil was in effect developing to maximum contrast.
    More time he writes resulted in little increase. I take
    it Phil's 'to completion' is maximum contrast or very
    nearly. I believe that is a more true to completion
    as further develpment generates no further
    image. So to completion is to maximum
    contrast. According to Phil. Dan
     
  21. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Dan,

    I know I oversimplified a bit. However, what is important to me when print developing is not necessarily reaching maximum contrast, but being able to control the contrast a bit with print developing time. The time between when max black and max contrast are reached is what is interesting in this respect. After max contrast is reached, the paper simply gains in speed, or fogs.

    The leeway between max black and max contrast allows one to pull a print a little early and throttle back on the contrast somewhat. As far as I'm concerned, if this is the contrast I'm after, then my print is "done" (although maybe on the rare side...) even though max contrast has not been reached. Sometimes I even pull a print before max black is reached; a couple of prints I have work better with a less-than-maximum black.

    Although I am not intimately familiar with Phil Davis' writings on the subject, his approach seems to make perfect sense, especially if one is after repeatability. For me, however, I don't necessarily cook every print the same way. The reason I put the word "completely" in quotes was that its definition is not univocal. Davis has good reasons for calling the shortest time to reach max contrast "completion," however, many of my prints are "complete" before reaching max contrast; my definition being, "with the range of tonalities I desire" rather than any more quantifiable, sensitometric point.

    Playing with developer time is one of the variables that makes printing an art for me. There is a "fresh" look to prints pulled early that I just can't duplicate with less exposure and a longer developing time. Although I haven't done densitometer analyses of any of these, I would guess that look is due to the curve shape of the paper being different when it is pulled a bit early as compared to reaching maximum contrast.

    At any rate, the OP was concerned with whether too hot would significantly affect his printing; the consensus here seems to be that it will only speed it up, not change the image characteristics of the paper.

    Best,

    Doremus Scudder
    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  22. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Complete Development Requisite

    As for myself a sheet of print paper is completely
    developed when all of the potential image silver has
    finished it's development. That is the requisite for
    developing to completion. Anything less is pull
    processing.

    From the one graph Phil Davis included in his article it
    can be seen that LESS exposure is needed for maximum
    black AND maximum contrast. That is, development to
    completion. More exposure and less development can
    produce maximum black but at a lower contrast.

    For practical purposes to completion processing
    is easier to consistently achieve than pulling
    early especially if processing times
    are short. Dan
     
  23. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Dan,

    Exactly! For most (90%) of my prints I develop to "completion" as you define it. Some prints, however, look better when "pulled." We are just using different terms to say the same thing. When I have a finished print that I am satisfied with, it has been developed "completely" enough for my purposes, even though it was "pulled" before reaching "completion"...

    The print exposure/development time variable you mention is often a good tool for refining contrast by small increments. I use graded papers for the most part, and this is a good addition to my contrast-control tool kit.


    BTW Dan, can you give me a link or reference to the Phil Davis article you are referring to, I can't seem to find the graph you mention anywhere on the BTZS website. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place?

    Best,

    Doremus Scudder
    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  24. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I've been working with a Post Exposure Pre Development method
    of Global Contrast Control pioneered by David Kachel. Required is
    a post exposure short soak in an extremely dilute potassium
    ferricyanide solution. So far I feel a guarded PHENOMENAL
    is due. Terrificly good shifts in gradation. Known as
    SLIMT I think my handle more descriptive; PEPD.
    I know SLIMT will stick.

    Volume 7 Issue 4 of the D-Max Newsletter from what was the
    View Camera Store. I'm inching towards scanning and posting.
    Hopefully I'll be able in a few days to post the article and
    some of my PEPD, excuse me, SLIMT results. Dan
     
  25. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Dan,

    I've yet to try the SLIMT method for prints, although I've studied it a bit. However, I now use SLIMT for all my Zone System contractions and am very happy with the results. N-4 with only about a stop loss in film speed. I've heard this can make for grainier negs, but have not had any noticeable problems in that department.

    I'm looking forward to reading your PEPD/SLIMT results. Would you mind posting here or PMing me when you put it up?

    TIA

    Doremus Scudder
    www.DoremusScudder.com