Sodium Sulfite bath B - for instant Mytol

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by fhovie, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    PC TEA has been my roll film brew for while and as convenient as it is, I miss the grain softening solvents that I most enjoyed in XTOL. I tried adding Sodium Sulfite to PC-TEA but still did not get the results I was looking for.

    So I tried "instant Mytol" Great! something that will mix easy and not go bad on the shelf. Everything XTOL does and everything XTOL is not (long shelf life.) So there is just one more thing ..... I need to add 60g of sodium sulfite to each liter of working solution. This means powders, dissolving, mixing - using my stirrer that heats up 1L 4 deg by the time everything dissolves. Ahhh, the delights of Pyrocat or PMK. (liquid only)

    So - to the real chemists (I am only a cook): Can I dissolve 600g of sodium sulfite in 500ml of water (so I can use equal parts with stock developer) and put it on the shelf and have it last indefinitely in Amber Glass? Or if not - then 600g in 1000ml so I can mix it 1:2:17
     
  2. Jürgen

    Jürgen Member

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    No, as I recall the solubility of sulfite is about 125g per liter.

    Jurgen
     
  3. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    Any chance of getting a higher concentration in something like glycol?
     
  4. Jordan

    Jordan Member

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    I haven't tested it, but the likelihood of getting any appreciable quantity of sodium sulfite in anything other than water is slim.

    Glad you're liking Instant MYTOL anyway. It is quite reliable.
     
  5. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    I'm missing something here. I can't see how Mytol has better shelf life than XTOL. IIRC it has about as much sulfite as anyone would need. You could use 10% sulfite solution to dilute PC-TEA. 600 g/l? You must be kidding!

    The grain we see in prints, remember, is the "holes" between bits of silver. Are you sure you want to make those holes bigger?
     
  6. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    Hi Pat:

    I do a lot of push processing with roll film. I use TRI-X and push it to 1600. PC-TEA is easy and it gives good densities and the grain structure is very coarse and sharp. With a finer grain film it would be much better but I need something for hand held in available light. MYTOL/XTOL is a little bit solvent and it tends to reduce the apparent graininess. The Mytol I am referring to in this post is not mixed in water but in TEA and glycol, without any sulfite - appropriate to maintain proper ph. So the stock solution will last many years. The inconvenience is mixing in the sulfite powder for the working solution. It is not a big deal, I have been mixing sulfite in PC-TEA for quite a while, it is just that an all liquid developer would be more convenient and quicker. I know that PC-TEA and MYTOL "should" have similar results but I know that when I enlarge a TRI-X 6x6 neg to 16x20 that was pushed to ASA1600 in MYTOL, the grain is there but not a show stealer. At ASA1600 with PC-TEA, TRI-X has very noticeable grain at even an 8x10 print.
     
  7. Jordan

    Jordan Member

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    Pat -- "Instant MYTOL" is something I cooked up in 2006 to simplify the MYTOL recipe. I kept the sodium sulfite and phenidone of the MYTOL formula at their original concentrations, but eliminated the sodium metabisulfite, replaced sodium ascorbate with ascorbic acid, and used triethanolamine to reach the XTOL target pH. The resulting formula is a little easier to mix (fewer ingredients, easier to find) and the results seem the same to me.

    With "Instant MYTOL", it's possible to get everything but the sodium sulfite into a triethanolamine / propylene glycol solution at a concentration high enough that the resulting stock is diluted 1+19 with water to mimic stock MYTOL. (Of course, you then have to add the sodium sulfite to the working solution at 60 g/L.) As far as I know, Frank is asking if it's possible to get this sulfite into an ultra-concentrated stock as well, but I think the answer is no.

    "Instant MYTOL" has worked well for me with HP5 Plus, Tri-X, Acros, and Fomapan 200. I've also had some feedback from other users and it seems to be a pretty reliable formula. I use the XTOL developing times directly.

    There is an article about it here on APUG: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum223/33880-instant-mytol.html
    Explanation of the rationale from my website: http://www.photosensitive.ca/wp/archives/50
    A page with the glycol / TEA stock formula: http://www.photosensitive.ca/wp/easy-film-developers
     
  8. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    And of course I was poking a little fun besides. I'm sure you cannot get 600 grams of sulfite to dissolve in a liter of water. I remember a recipe, I think it was in Kodak's recipes for reversal processing to remove the bleached image from the first developer, that called for 200. I don't see why 10% sulfite couldn't be mixed in large quantities and used to dilute either the PC-TEA or the instant Mytol. It should last quite a while before it turns to sulfate. You could be mixing next week's batch while you are using the last of this week's.

    If you want to try it, you can use hydroquinone along with or in place of ascorbic acid in PC-TEA as long as there is some sulfite in the final solution. I'm really getting old, I guess, because I can't see enough grain in HP5+ to keep me from using PC-TEA without sulfite. I have some 11x14 enlargements from 35 mm, though, that an artist friend thinks are fine and she's nowhere near 80 years old.
     
  9. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    P.S.
    I think there is an optimum amount of sulfite that needs to be discovered for each use. Any subject I have had to push for seemed quite at home with some grain, but it should complement the gradations, like a charcoal drawing on rough paper is sometimes more powerful than one painted on a smooth surface. Pushing is a good grain intensifier, which I always figured was due to infectious development. If I have my druthers, I would druther develop as little as possible and use a higher contrast in printing. I never liked the idea that shadows had to have a certain density in the neg as long as there is some slope to the H&D curve.
     
  10. fhovie

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    I do a lot of 4x5 enlargements and 8x10 contact prints, so my tolerance to grain is in that context. I have some photos that I took with 6x6 tri-x and pushed 2 stops and blew up to 16x20. Yep there is grain - but it is not objectionable - it actually adds to the mood of the shot - I would miss it if it were not there. But that was with Mytol. I get grain like that and even more with an 8x10 from pc-tea on a push. So if I am making 5x7 prints from 6x6 (which is quite often) PC TEA is great - The look is tacky sharp and I like it a lot. If I want to push it and enlarge it, It needs to be done with Mytol or the grain is just too much - I draws the attention from the subject rather than enhance the subject.
     
  11. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    I'm still having difficulty seeing where the difference is between Mytol and PC-TEA with sulfite. Not that I don't believe there is a difference, because I have not tried both, and especially not in direct comparison. I'm just looking at formulas and seeing the same ingredients that can be made to be pretty close to one another by manipulations of dilution amount of sulfite. I guess I would truly be worried if either Jordan or I were making money off PC-TEA. The way I look at it, when I retired from NASA, I still work for the U.S. but I can do anything (legal) I want with my pension. In this case, I'm concerned about the mystery of it. I like explanations a whole lot better than mysteries, even though one thrives on the other.

    Now you can tell I'm getting old.
     
  12. fhovie

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    I am not a chemist Pat, I do not know why some developing agents cause one effect and others something different. PC-TEA is marvelous at creating good densities and grain that stays completely sharp and seemingly large. When I use Mytol, the grains are not as large and there is a softening effect on the edges of them that help them blend. It is not as pronounced as the grain softening effect of D76 or D23. But it is certainly greater than PC-TEA - even with 60g/liter of sulfite added to it - which seemed to me to be ineffective at changing it in any way. Pat, I was so confident that PC-TEA would do what I wanted that I made a liter of stock solution, of which at least 800ml remains. The only reason I left Mytol in the first place was due to shelf life. When I mix it up and I use it 1:1 or 1:3 and then there is a month or more till I have the next run on roll film developing, I wind up with a confidence issue and dump it for fresh. I have no confidence issue with anything in glycol or TEA. Even my Pyrocat that I mix is exclusively done in glycol now because I started noticing a gradual decline in densities that necessitated a gradual increase in development times and a lot of negatives that were less dense than what I was shooting for. Another thing I noticed about PC-TEA is that it creates greater base fog in expired film than Mytol. I know this would likely be easily solved by adding some potassium bromide but I didn't follow this route because the grain issue has yet to be solved. I am comparing only negatives that are push processed as well. It might be that at N development, Mytol and PC-TEA are very close where at N+2, Mytol has less pronounced grain and PC-TEA has higher base fog. I have not experimented to see if adding not only the 60g/liter of sulfite but perhaps also 1g potassium bromide would make the results similar. With instant Mytol, that experiment would not be a priority for me right now but it would be nice to try some day. Curious that Mytol does not have bromide as a restrainer and yet has lower base fog, Maybe the big difference is that PC-TEA is more active in some ways and that causes it to give different results. Again, I am not a chemist - but I have been mixing a dozen or so different developers over the years and know that they all do things just a little bit different and that is why people adopt one and defend it - for properties that match their style. I wanted it to be PC-TEA and can not explain why it is not - but the appearance of the grain and the base fog are significantly different when push processed.
     
  13. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Looking at my original notes I find that I used a 50-50 mixture of TEA and Propylene glycol, and claimed 9.5 minutes at 70 F for TMY at 1:50 dilution.

    If you see base fog with PC-TEA that you do not see with Mytol, that certainly could explain the difference in grain, but not why the fog occurs in the first place. It might be that a little benzotriazole would help. You could used bromide in the working solution, but I have read that it is not very effective in phenidone developers.

    The problem with the internet is the difficulty of showing such things as grain and resolution, especially when my maximum transmission rate here in the boondocks is 26.4 K. Some day we'll be able to get DSL. I hope I'm still alive to celebrate it. I can't afford a satellite hookup. Maybe if I enlarge the heck out of a piece I can show what I find. Scanning in general is a little iffy because of aliasing between scan rate and grain size.