WT / CT developers can not be kept?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Marco B, Nov 18, 2007.

  1. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Hi all,

    Up to now, I have been using Ilford Multigrade developer to develop my prints. However, last week I saw some Harman / Ilford Warmtone developer in a shop and wanted to give it a try. However, reading the instruction sheet that came with the developer, it states that working strength (1:9 diluted that is) can only be kept for "up to 24 hours" even when in a "tightly capped bottle".

    Is this true, and what is the reason why working strength WT / CT developers can not be kept? :confused:

    It seems like a big waist of developer... and can one apply replenishing? (remove 100cc / per liter and add fresh 100cc developer concentrate), instead of having to ditch 2 liters of developer each day???

    Thanks,

    Marco
     
  2. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Most print developers have a very short working strength life. They are very active developers in general, and they get a lot of oxygen mixed in when used in trays for print processing. The act of agitating a print oxidizes the developer. If you are continuously processing over several days and you have a big volume of developer in your tray (say 1/2 gallon, or so) then you can "get by" with spiking the developer with some fresh, but the developer will start turning brown, making it hard to evaluate the print. This is general information for all print developers. The fact that print developers need to be very active developers means that they cannot have the amount of restrainers and preservatives in them that film developers can. These restrainers and preservatives tend to "slow down" oxidation.
     
  3. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    OK, but *one* day in "tightly capped bottle"?

    I understand the developer oxidizes and gets brown. But I never judge my prints when in the developer, instead wait until they are fully processed and than switch on some daylight type lighting in my darkroom to have a closer look...

    So, besides the developer becoming a little less active, and turning brown, is there really a need to ditch a WT / CT developer within a day? Are there any serious negative consequences to be expected of using oxidized - but still active(!) - developer, e.g. in terms of archivability? :confused:

    I have sometimes kept my Ilford Multigrade developer for weeks... (in a closed bottle of course). Maybe I am sloppy in this, but it is still usable after these times...
     
  4. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I agree with PHOTOTONE.

    I like Ilford ID-78 as a Warm Tone Print Developer. To warm the tone further, I add Potassium Bromide to the working solution. To Cool the tone (to a Blue-Black) I add Benzotriazole to the working solution.

    In December 2005 I mixed concentrated ID-78 stock solutions (A and B). These stock concentrates are still going strong today.

    I use the working developer as a one-shot (it is inexpensive).

    A Solution
    Propylene Glycol @140deg. F, 100ml
    Hydroquinone 12.00 g
    Phenidone 0.50 g

    B Solution
    Sodium Sulphite, anhyd 50.00 g
    Sodium Carbonate, anhyd 62.00 g
    Potassium Bromide 4.5 g
    Water to make 1 litre
     
  5. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    I reuse the cooltone developer for ages. It seems to keep fine to me so I'm puzzled over the 24hours warning too. Then again, as I keep saying, I'm probably just not picky enough.
     
  6. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Ok, if others have contributions in terms of the working strength life time, I would gladly hear them...

    Tom's detailed answer with recipes raises another question though:

    - How do these WT/CT developers actually work??? :confused:

    I mean: silver is silver? :surprised:

    How can a developer actually change the "tone" of the print??? What is the chemistry or physics behind their workings? Is it a change in the size or shape of the silver particles? Or are there actually more substances deposited than just plain metallic silver in a silver print??
     
  7. Trevor Crone

    Trevor Crone Member

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    Most one shot developers don't keep well for more then a day or so but as you suggest I replenish my Ilford/Harmon WT & CT working strength developers. For each new print session I mix up fresh developer and add about a third of oxidised old developer to make up to the total volume. As yet I've had no adverse effects, blacks are as deep as when using just fresh developer.

    You may want to experiment and perhaps try a 50:50 mix.

    Good luck,
    Trevor.
     
  8. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Thanks for your clear answer Trevor. You talk about "one-shot-developers" though, I have never heard of this term before... Is there really a distinction between "one-shot" and "multi-shot" :D print developers, the latter of course being developers that can be kept for a longer time. :tongue:?

    I mean, should I consider:

    - Ilford WT and CT developer as "one-shot"
    - and Ilford Multigrade as "multi-shot"?

    Hmmm, any contributions welcome... also regarding the question I raised in the previous post: how do these WT / CT developers actually work???
     
  9. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    The image tone of a print paper is mostly determined by the emulsion design and thus by the paper manufacturer. Print Exposure and development can modify the image tone and color to a degree by increasing and decreasing image fog (through the use of restrainers - potassium bromide and/or benzotriazole) and by changing image contrast (via developer dilution and activity changes).

    0

    po
     
  10. Trevor Crone

    Trevor Crone Member

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    Marco,

    Have a look at this link: http://www.retrophotographic.com/moerschchem.htm

    The Moersch SE2 Warm developer keeps for a number of weeks in its diluted working strength form.

    So not all WS diluted developers are 'one-shot', use only once then throw away. Clearly there are some out there that keep well (if in full containers) and can be reused.

    Regards,
    Trevor.
     
  11. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Thanks Tom and Trevor for your good answers!

    Interesting link by the way Trevor, I didn't know this site yet...
     
  12. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    If we were talking about keeping properties of CT diluted to working strength in an open tray then maybe 24 hrs is about right. Often this doesn't matter as in the course of the printing session there is time to do enough prints to exhaust the developer and it is then thrown away. If the open tray were to be covered by cling film then I'd have thought it would keep longer as would be the case if it were then poured back into a bottle filled up to the top and re-used.

    However I have no actual knowledge of tray developing as I use a Nova Quad tank. In that I can say from experience that CT has a very long life. Of course as each print is developed it uses some developer which has to be replaced so over the course of days or weeks depending on usage the whole Nova slot of one litre is replenished.

    I haven't tried WT dev yet but I would be surprised if its keeping properties is different. I am a very low volume printer and I am still using the 1 litre container of CT which was first poured into the Nova tank in Sept 2006. In between printing sessions, days or even weeks go by with no activity and when I return to the tank, the developer is still OK.


    I feel we may be doing Ilford developers a disservice here. I have been impressed with CT's longlife in a Nova tank.

    pentaxuser

    pentaxuser