split b&w paper developer

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by egm66, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. egm66

    egm66 Member

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    Hello everyone,
    please tell me if there are formulas for split (divided) b&w paper developers.

    I know there is a process called 2-bath paper developer that involves the use of two developing baths, each containing a 'complete' developer (one soft and one hard) but that is not what I am talking about.

    How about a split paper developer where the 'activator' in bath B energizes the main developer absorbed by the paper in bath A to keep maximum black under control and let us worry less about time and temperature changes?
     
  2. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    I don't know of a commercial one available, but you could get a copy of Anchell's "Darkroom Cookbook" and mix any one of ones listed and divide the dev yourself.

    I've never done this myself, but in theory, it should work.
     
  3. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    A poster who, IIRC went by the name Maniac, regularly
    used a split as you describe. He regularly pluged it's
    advantages. I've considered using the method
    but as I process single tray and intend to
    continue so I've let the method lay. Dan
     
  4. Shelly Grimson

    Shelly Grimson Member

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    Buy a copy of View Camera magazine. There is an in-depth article on point this month. D-23 and Diafine were the developers tested. Excellent mag by the way...
     
  5. david b

    david b Member

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    I have used Kodak Selectol Soft and Kodak Dektol, in two different trays, as a two bath process.

    Works rather well.
     
  6. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    You shouldn't worry about time anyway, because ultimately, for consistency sake, you should always match your exposure in the enlarger to the developing time. I always use 3 minutes with Ansco 130 and 2 minutes with Ilford Multigrade.

    Tell me, beyond the temperature issue, what do you hope to gain?

    Instead, I would suggest to purchase a device to keep your chemistry at temp. Piglet warmers from farming supplies is a good inexpensive solution. I use an oil heated radiator that sits underneath the developer bath. I have a thermometer in the developer tray and shut the heater off when it gets too warm and turn it back on when it gets too cold. Works well too if you can stand the turning on/off all the time.

    Just a suggestion.

    - Thomas

     
  7. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Years ago there was a sort of divided developer system using special paper with a developing agent incorporated in the emulsion. As is my wont, I perverted it somewhat. The paper, available in a good quality fiber based double weight, was meant to be used with a stabilization system using a roller transport developer with 2 trays. The first activated the developer, which was very rapid acting, and the second held the stabilizer, which IIRC was a thiocyanate solution. Prints made with this system lasted long enough for reproduction, were ready for that use immediately, and could be fixed and washed for permanent storage. I used to run the prints straight from the processor into a tray of fixer. When the machine broke down or I ran out of either activator or stabilizer, I would develop the prints in a strong carbonate solution and fix them in the usual manner. The resulting prints were as good as any other, depending as usual on the care taken in making them.

    My efforts to use a similar process on RC papers was not good. Some of them did have developer incorporated in the emulsion, and may still have, but generally the emulsion is too thin to carry enough developer into even a very strong activator solution. You could probably use the MQ of D-72 as a first bathe and a strong solution of carbonate as the second. Some bromide will probably be in order as well. Paper is generally developed to completion by whatever method we use. I learned long ago that any print I had to jerk from the developer before it was done would have to be done again with the proper exposure and contrast grade.

    Anyway, there's not much to be lost by trying. Look up the recipe for D-72. Mix all the ingredients but the carbonate into one solution and the carbonate into the second. You may not be able to get the touted magical effects of a divided film developer, but you can have fun trying. Especially, if you are looking to stretch grade 2 paper into grade 1---Lots of luck!
     
  8. egm66

    egm66 Member

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    I wish to thank all the nice people who responded. Unfortunately noone here sells the View Camera magazine or Anchell's book. With stored water at a temperature of 28C/82F and ambient temperature in excess of 30C/86F a tray heater is probably redundant. My (perhaps foolish) idea was to tackle the anxiety of removing (and draining) fibre paper from a non-split developer tray before it gallops towards terminal blackness by having the divided second bath activate only 'as much' developer as the paper was able to absorb in the first. I may well try splitting up the D-72 formula and see if the beast can be tamed. If that doesn't work what other options are there to 'slow down' the process? ND filters under the enlarger lens, a rheostat for the enlarger bulb or an increase in the standard developer dilution?
     
  9. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I use print developer very dilute, one-shot. Goes well with
    single tray processing. At room temperatures, going on
    four minutes is a normal developing time. Dilute. Dan
     
  10. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    The proper exposure under the enlarger should prevent "terminal blackness." Too much exposure will not get you a good print no matter how little you develop it. Too little will not get you a good print no matter how much you develop it. If you cannot stop down the enlarger lens enough to get a good exposure in a reasonable time, then some neutral density can be added in the light path. The best place to do that is between the lamp and the negative, so as to prevent loss of acuity in the image plane.
     
  11. CBG

    CBG Member

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    I think Gainer is right on, but if you really want to waste lots of paper, just take a conventional paper developer formula and split off the accelerator into a second bath.

    The basic single solution formula for Kodak D-72 (Dektol)
    Water 750 ml
    Metol 3.1 g
    Sodium Sulphite anhyd 45 g
    Hydroquinone 12g
    Sodium Carbonate mono 80 g
    Potassium Bromide anhyd 2 g
    Water to make 1 L

    Maybe you could try breaking it into these two components:
    Tray 1
    Water 750 ml
    Metol 3.1 g
    Sodium Sulphite anhyd 45 g
    Hydroquinone 12g
    Potassium Bromide anhyd 2 g
    Water to make 1 L

    Tray 2
    Water 750 ml
    Sodium Carbonate mono 80 g
    Water to make 1 L

    I've never tried this so it's a pig in a poke.

    You'll probably have to mess with quantities to get the strength right, and even then, it'll probably be terribly substandard in it's action. I'm guessing you'll get flat underdeveloped results no matter how you adjust the formula. Regardless, if you make it work, I'll be thrilled to be proven wrong.

    Meanwhile the darkroom supply companies will be grateful for the additional business.

    Best,

    C
     
  12. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    Ansel suggested, as was mentioned above, Selectol then Dektol and recommends a through effort to learn the ins and outs of using both before moving over to anything else. Another one noted by Ansel is DeBeers two component developer...which is carried by Formulary, and which I have not used.

    Regarding the temperature...your water appears to be much warmer then we experience from the tap in Florida. Even here, however, the water temperature from the tap can go over 75 F. So, how about taking some distilled water and making ice cubes with the distilled water...obviously, you can then add the cubes to the water you use to lower the temperature. Also, perhaps freezing some water in freezer bags, and adding the bags to your chemical solutions to lower the temperature might work. Do you have easy access to a refrigerator and freezer. I do believe that regardless of what you use, your chemical solutions should be at least below 80F, and certainly closer to 75F would probably be better. Do you have room in the refrigerator to put trays inside ( obviously, don't tell your spouse, and cover carefully with clear wrap or aluminum foil ) ?
     
  13. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    ...not what I am talking about.

    How many posts have talked about that which the OP
    is NOT talking about. My first post this thread spoke
    of the split developer the OP IS talking about.

    My second post suggested higher dilutions for longer
    developing time.

    This third post suggests a third method for increasing
    developing time. Lesson the activity of the single
    developer by reducing the ph. The addition of
    some bicarbonate of soda will work.

    The best approach may be to Home-brew the paper
    developer using a blend of sodium carbonate
    and sodium bicarbonate. Dan
     
  14. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    Ok....good suggestions. However, care to comment on the temperatures that are being used? Everything I have read suggests that the use of developers at such hight temperatures will not give results that are predictable, reliable, or sustainable.

    Ed
     
  15. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Well lowering the temperature can be considered a forth approach.

    There is a fine point involved which I've never tested; that is the
    much increased activity of hydroquinone at elevated temperatures.
    I believe a lower ph less active developer will counter that increased
    activity. IIRC the OP mentioned the low 80s. That is high. So high
    as to preclude reasonable developing times so perhaps the
    problems mentioned. Dan
     
  16. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Something happened to one of my posts. Maybe I forgot to push the "Post Quick Reply" button.

    When I tried 2-bath print developer years ago, I found that the only thing it did was to cause me to rearrange my darkroom to make room for an extra tray. After not too many prints, the carry-over from tray 1 made the contents of tray 2 a complete developer anyway, so the idea of automatic limitation of development was mostly mythical. Ideally, the developer carried over should be killed by a very strong activator. To see if that actually happens, add a tiny amount of A to B and see if the mixture still develops after, say, the normal time between prints in your system.

    The ideas gleaned from Diafine and other 2-bath film developers are not strictly applicable to print development. The full density range of printing paper is used in most successful prints. If it is not, then a harder grade of paper is or a harder printing filter is used on VC paper. If the black tries to be too black for the right highlights, then a softer grade of paper or printing filter is used. On film, the maximum density range is seldom used. Even so, the idea that different exposure ranges on the same strip of film can be made to have the same density range by 2-bath development is largely mythical. You might expect a more linear characteristic curve with the 2-bath, but I never found a difference between D-23 and divided D-23 when the same density range resulted.

    It may be that some divided developer will help straighten out the highlights of a print, But I would never depend on it for automatic placement of highs and lows on any print from a negative that did not meet the density range required by the printing paper.