Willi Beutler's Fine Grain / High Resolution - What's the down side?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by BradS, May 2, 2006.

  1. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,218
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    S.F. Bay Area
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I've been reading up on Willie Beutler's formula. It is posted here in the recipies area and gets mentioned quite often in conjunction with the "new Adox thin films" (ca. early 1970's).

    Looks like a simple formula that is inexpensive and easy to use, has good keeping properties, and produces consistently good results. So, what's the down side? Does it work OK with continuous agitation (i.e. in a JOBO) ?



    Willi Beutler's

    Part A:
    1000 ml water
    10 g metol
    50 g sodium sulphite

    Part B:
    1000 ml water
    50 g sodium carbonate (dry)

    to use, mix 1 part A + 1 part B + 10 parts water.
     
  2. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

    Messages:
    1,845
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    This Buetler formula, with its high dilution, wouldn't be what I'd consider "fine grain" in the traditional sense; there's only going to be about 4 grams of sulfite in a liter of final working solution, less than a gram of metol. In fact, if anything, this reminds me more of a low-contrast developer you'd use to get pictorial results out of a microfilm, without any attempt to optimize film speed. I'd guess times will run long, too.

    I'd expect to see considerable speed loss in continuous agitation compared to long-interval intermittent agitation with a much longer process.
     
  3. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,363
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2006
    Location:
    Merimbula NSW Australia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have tried it with APX 25 and Pan F+ and it's not bad, but a little low on the contrast side. I have found that the D23 formula gives similar results and is even easier to mix with only sulphite and metol. Gives soft grain and a slightly compensating effect.
     
  4. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

    Messages:
    1,670
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Comparing the Beutler formula with D-23 is like trying to compare apples and oranges. D-23 is a solvent developer (lots of sulfite) while the Beutler formula is an acutance developer which works on the principle of having only a minimum of sulfite in the working solution. Even if you should dilute the D-23 1+3 the two developers will still work differently.
     
  5. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

    Messages:
    1,670
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Developers like the Beutler formula can cause a compression of the middle tones which may not be desirable in some circumstances. However, I have used it was a general purpose developer for many years with excellent results.
     
  6. dancqu

    dancqu Member

    Messages:
    3,676
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Willamette V
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
     
  7. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,218
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    S.F. Bay Area
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Dan, Thanks. This is interesting. I imagine that your formula is roughly (exactly?) equivalent to the one above - yours just explicitly recognizes the use of monohydrate form of the carbonate instead of the (idealized?) anhydrous. Is that correct?

    Yes, I can't imagine that Beutler's can rightly be grouped in the "fine grain" category. Seems like there would be very little solvent action - if any. Perhaps, it is more appropraite to call it an acutance or, high resolution dev?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2006
  8. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,195
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2005
    Location:
    Los Alamos,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Actually, your dates are a bit off. The Beutler developer goes back at least to the early 50s. It was, indeed, popular with the early Adox "thin emulsion" films of the mid 50s. It was never intended to be a fine grain developer, but the Adox films, particularly KB14 and KB17, had fine enough grain for that not to be a problem (then). The developer is a fine example of a compensating developer. The dilution helps to control the contrast, which was quite high with these films. It also gives a strong Mackie line for sharpness effects.
     
  9. Alicouscous

    Alicouscous Member

    Messages:
    78
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Location:
    France
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Beutler is a non-solvent developper, and with a so small amount from sulfite it can not be a fine grain developper . If you use it with continuous agitation, you'll lost the adjacency effect that gives "high definition" results .

    with this developper, results are :

    -high definition (sharpness, adjacency effect )
    -more grainy than with a solvent fine grain dev like D76 1+1
    - good compensating effect

    with slow films (200 and under ) you have a speed increase from 1/2 to 1 stop with this dev (you have to test your film before to control this ).

    edit: high resolution and high definition are different
    resolution is for grain, definition is for sharpness
    Beutler is not high resolution but high definition ^^
     
  10. dancqu

    dancqu Member

    Messages:
    3,676
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Willamette V
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    [QUOTES=BradS]
    "Dan ... equivalent to the one above - yours just explicitly
    recognizes the use of monohydrate form of the carbonate ..."

    Formulas most often call for the monohydrate. It may be
    the most stable form.

    "Yes, I can't imagine that Beutler's can rightly be grouped
    in the "fine grain" category. ... very little solvent action -
    if any. Perhaps, it is more appropriate to call it an
    Acutance or, High resolution dev?"

    I relate more so to the term resolution. Both films and
    lenses have resolutions. Can any of the other three
    terms mentioned be quantified? Measured? Dan
     
  11. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

    Messages:
    2,057
    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Location:
    US
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Develope Capacity for 2-sided Film

    Any readers seeing my handle keep popping up in conjunction with my trials and tribulations in experimenting with X-Ray film, I do believe I've hit on something I can run with. Now all I need to figure is working capacity. There's no need in wasting developer, so now I want to tailor my one-shot capacities to fit the film. X-Ray film is 2-sided. Would 30ml each of the above formula be sufficient for an 8x10 piece of film, or would I be under capacity? And if you think I'm making a nuisance or forum hog of myself, feel free to say that too. Thank you.
     
  12. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

    Messages:
    6,347
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    Southern USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Willi Beutler in his book was quite adamant in his directions for using this developer. This also included agitation. Intermittent agitation 2 gentle inversions (5 sec) every minute. Off hand I would not personally recommend it for continuous agitation. In order to get the best results film exposure must be spot on. You want a thin negative that will print correctly on grade 3 paper. Time and temperature must be carefully maintained. This is not a developer for anyone whose technique is sloppy.

    The usual dilution for the Beutler developer is 1 part A + 1 part B plus 8 parts water. Some people misread inaccurate instructions given as a proportion 1:1:10 to mean 1+1+10.

    This developer is in the class of acutance developers. As such they do not produce fine grain. They depend on edge effects to give the illusion of higher resolution. This is the reason for developing to a thin negative. These developers are designed to develop the emulsion primarily at its surface. They do this by controlled exhaustion of the developing agent. Hence the very limited agitation. You do not want fresh developer to be constantly applied to the emulsion surface. Acutance developers are intended for 35mm or smaller films. There is little to recommend Beutler for MF or LF films except its economy.

    Solution A (Metol and sulfite) keeps for about 3 month in partially filled bottles. Solution B will last for about a year. The main problem with it is absorbing carbon dioxide from the air.

    Some people advocate adding a very small amount of potassium iodide to each liter of working solution. This was discussed by Geoffrey Crawley. Usually the amount is given as 2.5 to 5 ml of a 0.001% solution. Yes, you are reading this last statement correctly. The problem is that a plain iodide solution does not keep. The iodide tends to disproportionate to iodine and iodate ion.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2013
  13. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

    Messages:
    6,347
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    Southern USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    To expand a bit on why dilutions should not be given in the form of a proportion. The notation 1:3 can be interpreted as 1 part concentrate diluted to make a total of 3 parts of developer. Or it can be equally read as to mean 1 part plus 3 parts water. This was discussed ad nauseam in an older thread. The plus notation 1+3 has only one interpretation and is the proffered way to prevent misunderstandings.

    If you go back to Beutler's book the dilution is 1A+1B+8W. This should also be obvious from the concentrations of the chemicals in the two solutions. They are designed to be diluted by a factor of 10 not 12.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2013
  14. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

    Messages:
    2,057
    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Location:
    US
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    All I have here is Aaron Sussman's Amateur Photographer's handbook, 6th edition 1962. The formula matches up with modern internet ingredient weights, but mentions only a 50 cc/each to 500cc water and used at 65 degrees no higher. 7-10' for Pan-X and KB14, 8-12' for PX and KB17.
     
  15. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

    Messages:
    6,347
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    Southern USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A good write up here http://www.jackspcs.com/fdnb.htm. The writer gets it wrong in the first paragraph saying a kit make 12 liters of developer and then shows the correct dilution later.

    A quick search finds the incorrect dilution being specified on several sites. It is a pity that people don't think to go back to the original source (Beutler). Some twit gets it wrong and then people mindlessly copy his error. References to the more dilute developer did not exist before the internet. This is why I hate the internet.

    Using the more dilute solution may explain why some people complain that the developer produces low contrast.

    Some correct versions:

    Willi Beutler "Meine Dunkelkammer-Praxis" 1954
    http://photo.net/black-and-white-photo-film-processing-forum/005yOZ
    http://www.pictorialplanet.com/advanced_photography/Beutler.html
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2013
  16. el wacho

    el wacho Member

    Messages:
    443
    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    Location:
    central anat
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
  17. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,378
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
     
  18. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,577
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Sharpness is a complex thing. The components can be quantified, but objective measurements require microdensitometry. Without that, evaluations are highly subjective and often increased graininess is seen as increased sharpness. That is typically the effect of developers using a Carbonate or Hydroxide alkali system (including staining developers). Edge effects are another important factor. But they depend greatly on the film.

    Attached is a primer which may help.

    If you want to wade through the following thread it may also help. It also includes some attachments I put together summarizing studies by Altman/Henn (Kodak) and Richard Henry on resolution, acutance, etc. My conclusion is essentially that with modern films, mostly when people call a developer sharp, or say it has sharp grain etc. what they are really seeing is increased granularity/graininess. Granularity turns out to be much more impacted by the choice of materials than actual edge sharpness.

    I'd suggest starting with the "definitions" attachment. The other attachments are in post #48 (Altman/Henn) and post #60 (Henry) in the thread below. Both studies include Beutler and "Beulter-type" developers.

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum48/119467-henry-kodak-acutance-tests-edge-effects.html
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2013
  19. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

    Messages:
    6,347
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    Southern USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    One other point I would like to make. The Beutler formula and Neofin Blue are NOT the same. The Tetanal developer has gone through several different formulations since its introduction decades ago. This is evident if you trace the changes to the MsDS for the product. At times it has contained a second developing agent plus chemicals other than Metol, sulfite and carbonate. The now defunct Neofin Red did contain both Metol and hydroquinone but I am talking specifically about Neofin Blue. I mention this since a certain company that sells premeasured developer kits insists on maintaining this fiction in its catalog.
     
  20. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

    Messages:
    759
    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Location:
    Jonesboro, G
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Back in the mid 50s my father and I mixed up Beutler from the raw ingredients and used it with good results on 35mm Plus X. The negatives were thin, but printed nicely on grade three paper, usually Luminos glossy, which was cheap. Air dried they were nice. I don't have the formula we used, but since my father was an old hand in the darkroom and given the date it was probably the original. We also liked the keeping qualities of the 2 solution soup, and the economy. At that time it was easy to find metol, etc, and as a chem engineer my father knew of sources which others might not have.
     
  21. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,577
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Good point. They are often assumed to be the same. And the "Neofin Blue" developer from Formulary is not Neofin Blue.
     
  22. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

    Messages:
    6,347
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    Southern USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    From the latest MSDS Neofin Blue contains

    DTPA 1 - 5%
    Metol < 1%
    Phenidone < 1%
    Hydroqquinone < 1%
    Potassium carbonate 5 - 10%
     
  23. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,577
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    At some point it apparently contained Catechol. I can't confirm that.
     
  24. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,098
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    So did HC110. Pyrocatechin and Hydroquinone can be interchangeable when it's not a staining developer although Pyrocatechin will give fine grain on it's won unlike Hydroquinone.

    Ian