Two-Step Paper Development

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Snapshot, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    Hi All,

    I'm experimenting with two-step paper development. Anyone have any basic advice as to obtain the best results? My current process involves 60 seconds in D-72 diluted at 1+3 and 60 seconds in D-72 diluted at 1+1. The results look fine but if anyone can offer any other helpful tidbits of advice, that would be great.
     
  2. Nacio Jan Brown

    Nacio Jan Brown Member

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    What are your goals with the two-step technique? If it's contrast control you might be better off learning the split-filtration technique instead. A problem comes immediately to mind with what you are doing and that is developer carry-over: as you move prints from one developer to the next your second developer will become increasingly 'contaminated' with any of the first developer that remains on the print. Trying to solve this with an intermediate water rinse will just carry over water instead, slowly diluting your second developer. It would be tough to maintain consistency enough for processing notes to be useful unless you make only a very few prints before dumping and starting over with fresh chemicals.
     
  3. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    Using the two dilutions of D72 you listed will have little or no affect on the final result. For two bath development you need to use a hard working developer such as D72 and a soft working developer such as Kodak Selectol Soft. Start by using the manufactuers suggested dilutions and split the development time of say 3 minutes equally between the two developers. When you see the results from that combination experiment by using different developer dilutions and different times in each developer. For example, I use a very strong hard working developer 1 to 2 or 3 instead of the recommended 1 to 9 and a very dilute soft working developer 1 to 4 or5 instead of the recommended 1 to 1 or 2. With that combination I leave the print in the hard developer until the first sign of the image appears and then transfer it to the soft working developer for the remainder of the development. Experiment until you find a combination that produces the print contrast and tonality you prefer.
     
  4. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    The goal is to improve the tonality of the image. Contrast control is of secondary consideration but important as well. I know that using differing dilutions of D-72 would limit results but I didn't know which soft developer to use with D-72. It sounds like that using only D-72 is of limited benefit. There is D-52 that could fit the bill but as Nacio pointed out, it would contaminate the D-72 solution with a different developer formula.
     
  5. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    The Defender 52-D TWO-SOLUTION VARIABLE CONTRAST DEVELOPER recipe sounds to me like it would meet your requirements. And the BEERS developer should do so as well.
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Usually the soft working first developer is Metol based with little or no Hydroquinone, and the second developer a more regular Metol/Hydroquinone.

    The carry over of the first developer has negligible effect on the second developer, ie as les says Selectol Soft / Dektol (D72). However any contamination of the first developer with the second does have a huge effect on its softness.

    Ian
     
  7. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    Having used the combination I suggested for at least 20 years I can speak from a well tested personal experience. I often dilute my hard (D72 or Dektol) developer 1 to 3, the recommended dilution is 1 to 9 so it is a quite strong developer. The Selectol Soft is diluted 1 to 4 or 5 sometimes even 1 to 6, the suggested dilution is 1 to 2 making my dilution very weak. I place the print in the hard developer first and as soon as the first tone appears on the paper (usually 15 to 25seconds) I remove the print from the dev, drain it and place it in the selectol Soft where I leave it a give continuous agitation until the image reaches the desired tonality. Those on APUG who have seen me work this way will, I'm sure agree that the blacks are deep and rich and the highlights are very subtley on the paper.

    Sorry to disagree with you here Ian but I have noticed no significant change in the Selectol Soft development as a result of carryover of hard developer. I have to admit that when I first started working this way I did consider the carryover may be a problem so I tested it and found no significant differences when making the same print at the beginning and the end of a printing session.

    Obviously, as I said in my first post this is not the only way to work with two bath development and I'dstrongly suggest that experimentation is the best way to go to decide what best suits your taste.

    For those who may be interested this is one of the demonstrations I'll be doing in my Darkroom Workshop at Foto3.
     
  8. Lowell Huff

    Lowell Huff Inactive

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    If your goal is to improve tonal quality, you might try using a better developer.
     
  9. david b

    david b Member

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    I've done some two bath developing with some contrasty negs.

    1.5 minutes in Selectol Soft and then 1.5 minutes in Dektol with very pleasing results.
     
  10. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    What would be recommended? I'm mixing my own right now but if there is something that would improve the tonal range, I would be interested.
     
  11. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    Is the formula readily available? I haven't heard of Defender 52-D and I didn't see in the Cookbooks.
     
  12. John Simmons

    John Simmons Member

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    Les, what would be the benefits on doing a two bath technique on a variable contrast paper...other than image tone...which probably would be very subtle on a coldtone paper? I know that the dektol / selectol soft two bath combo has been used and taught extensively by Bruce Barnbaum and John Sexton at their darkroom workshop classes in the past but has been abandoned for the most part by Bruce (I don't know about John) with the advent of variable contrast papers. Am I missing something here?
     
  13. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    2 Bath

    John-I can't see any benefit for using a two bath for the VC paper. with graded there is amidol with a water bath which is by far the best method I have ever used; although it will also work with dektol and a water bath...just not as long lasting or as fast....
    Best, Peter
     
  14. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    John, my experience in using two bath development goes back to the days when VC paper was not the best product in the market place and we used it to control the subtle nuances of contrast with graded paper. When fibre VC paper appeared I thought there would be no need to use two bath development because of the extra dimension VC paper gave us. What I found when I started to experiment with the combination of split grade printing and the use of two bath development, and often the use of water bath development, was that I achieved an even greater level of both tonal and contrast control. My view of what makes the fine black and white print is that subtleties are a very important element and any measure that can be employed to improve and control them is surely a benefit. We all have our favourite methods of working and I'm sure that Bruce has good reason to have abandoned his use of two bath development.
     
  15. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Defender 52-D Recipe status

    Snapshot, I'll post the Defender 52-D Recipe this evening after I convert Grains to Grams, etc.

    However, what I personally use is Michael Smith's Amidol recipe with a water bath.
     
  16. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    That would be very kind of you. As for the Amidol recipe, it's my understanding that Amidol doesn't keep well, which is why I shy away from it. Also, I'm not aware of any good supplies. Is there a reliable source, in terms of quality?
     
  17. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Amidol keeps well as a dry chemical. I use the working developer as a one-shot. Artcraft, J.D Photochem and Photographer's Formulary are all good, reliable sources of high quality Amidol.



    Defender D-52 Stock Solution A
    Water 500 ml
    Metol 3 gm
    Sodium Sulfite -anhyd 21 gm
    Hydroquinone 3 gm
    Sodium Carbonate - mono 14 gm
    Potassium Bromide 1 gm
    water to make 1.0 liter
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2008
  18. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Defender D-52 Stock Solution B
    Water 500 ml
    Metol none
    Sodium Sulfite -anhyd 21 gm
    Hydroquinone 9 gm
    Sodium Carbonate - mono 14 gm
    Potassium Bromide 1 gm
    water to make 1.0 liter
     
  19. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Using 52-D

    NORMAL CONTRAST:
    MIX 1 PART A, 1 PART B AND 2 PARTS WATER

    FOR SOFT CONTRAST RESULTS:
    MIX 3 PARTS A, 1 PART B AND 4 PARTS WATER

    FOR HARD CONTRAST RESULTS:
    MIX 1 PART A, 3 PARTS B AND 4 PARTS WATER

    DEVELOPING TIME SHOULD BE MAINTAINED BETWEEN 1.5 TO 2 MINUTES AT 70F.

    SOURCE: DARKROOM HANDBOOK AND FORMULARY, MORRIS GERMAIN, 1940
     
  20. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    Thanks for the D-52 formula Tom. I'll try it out in the near future.
     
  21. tim rudman

    tim rudman Member

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    Oh, but there can be.

    Perhaps I may quote from Wolfgang Moersch in my recent 'World of Lith Printing'. We are discussing 2-bath lith processes, which are an extension of the 2 developer concept. He is talking here about the 'pushed' negative:

    "The shadows are thin and the highlights too dense and even with most skilful split-grading the two ends of the curve cannot both be properly captured on the paper. Here only the two-bath technique can help and the greater the difference in the way the two developers work the more variable the results can be - and nothing beats the Lith + Amidol combination. "

    We do a number of 2-bath processes on my lith workshops, with the first being lith developer - but the concept is the same. The results just a bit more apparent.

    Incidentally, I second the endorsement of amidol. For 2 bath with Lith my preference for technical and practical reasons is for Weston's amidol, also available in kit form from 'The Formulary'. Using it as a 2 bath and a waterbath with the very warm Fomatone MG is quality of the resulting duotone prints is wonderful.
    Tim