XR-1

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by David A. Goldfarb, Aug 11, 2004.

  1. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Anyone have any success with this stuff for speed?

    I read the article on XR-1 over on Ed Buffaloe's unblinkingeye.com and thought I'd give it a try to see if I could squeeze some more real speed out of Tri-X than I'm getting with Acufine (EI 640 for a nice looking neg). So I tested it with TXT 4x5" at various speeds and development times in version "B", both 1+1 and stock, and I'm getting shadow detail at EI 1280, but the results are kind of flat compared to Acufine. The best neg I got was with 1+1 at 86 deg. for 20 min--printable, but flat. I tried the stock solution, which is recommended for push processing, but this resulted in high base fog, I'll probably try again at an even higher temperature (up to 105 deg. is possible) and maybe a longer processing time, but even at 86 degrees, the emulsion gets fragile, and maintaining 100 deg. for 25 minutes adds another challenge to the process.

    Here's Ed's article:

    http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/XR-1/xr-1.html

    Any other experiences?
     
  2. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    David, I still have some of the original stuff in sealed foil packets (I keep thinking I should tell Bruce Barnbaum). I never used it as a push-processing developer - always as a contrast control developer. Bruce Barnbaum uses it in a split development process for contrast control.

    XR-1 has long been my developer of choice for pictorial photography with Kodak Tech Pan.

    To increase the contrast, you might try "kicking the pH" with some carbonate or hydroxide.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks, Tom. That's an idea. I'll give it a go and maybe try a few other things.
     
  4. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I have some of the original stuff in foil envelopes...is it still being made?
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    No, it's no longer being made, but there are two likely formulas for it from the original patent on unblinkingeye.com.
     
  6. Jorge Oliveira

    Jorge Oliveira Member

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    The dev is already presenting base fog problems, so kicking up the pH will make matters worse.
    If one tries this course, it's better to add some benzotriazole (or maybe bromide) to it.

    Jorge O
     
  7. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Yes, Jorge! It is benzotriazole you want to add (I've done it - back in the 80's). Adding benzotriazole will decrease XR-1's activity, so be careful and add just enough to knock the fog level down - experiment! Adding benzotriazole will also tend to increase contrast with XR-1.

    Adding KBr to XR-1 didn't have a noticeable effect on the fog levels.
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks again. I'll try that with the next test.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Okay, another step forward. I tried doubling the borax and got a better result, but still not quite enough contrast. Then I doubled the hydroquinone (as well as the borax), and this test neg looks to be in the ballpark--possibly on the grainy side, but I'm mainly looking to use this with large format, so that's okay. With Arista.EDU 400 I've got good shadow detail and reasonable highlights at EI 1280, 20 min. at 86 deg. F. Next I'll try a little benzotriazole to see if I can keep down the base fog a little more.
     
  10. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    For further insight check the patent. I've a printout of it in
    front of me. Inventor, Anneman; U. S. Patent 4,083,722. Dan
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks. There's a link to the patent in Ed's article.
     
  12. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    So what are you up to; .5 gram hydroquinone and 1.5 gram borax?
    And what do you think is the reason for the high temperature
    development? Ordinarily one would think it due to a lack of
    sufficient activity at more usuall temperatures. Dan
     
  13. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Currently 0.5 g hydroquinone and 1.0 g borax. I think if I add more borax the base fog problem is going to increase.

    The high temperature is odd, but with development times of around 20 min., I'm sticking at 86 deg. I'm guessing that it has to do with the compensating effect of the developer. If it were more active, the highlights would develop more quickly, and it wouldn't be able to do what it claims to do in the patent.
     
  14. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Okay, I think I'm ready to call it "soup."

    I've posted a lousy scan of a nice neg--Arista.EDU 400 (Fortepan) 5x7", EI 1280, K2 filter, XR-1 (B) (1+1) with double the borax, double the hydroquinone, and 2 ml/l (stock) of benzotriazole 1%, 20 min. rotary processing in a print drum (preceded by a 2 min presoak). I decided to try drum processing just to eliminate the possibility of fog from light leaks in the darkroom, which I think was part of my fog problem processing at this EI in an open tray for 20 min.

    The neg has low fog with detail everywhere and should print nicely on Azo somewhere between grades 2 and 3. Grain is better than I expected, and sharpness is quite good. The snow has detail on the neg, which didn't make it into the scan, and the scanner is responsible for some streaking in the sky area. The drum agitation is more vigorous than my tray agitation, so I can probably back the time off to 18 min.

    CP400,XR-1b+.jpg

    Once I've tested it a bit more, I'll post it to the chemical recipes area.

    [Photo reposted, notes updated--d.g.]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2014
  15. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    "If it were more active, ... " But that's my point, it is
    active because of the high temperature. Why not make
    active at a lower temperature by making more alkaline?

    I don't know. I've all the ingredients and within a few weeks
    may be working with it. I think that high temperature one
    reason it is not now on the market.

    IIRC, the patent allows for a lot of variation; patented 4/78.
    Dan
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It's a good question.

    I tried making it more active by using stock solution instead of 1+1 dilution, and that produced unacceptable fog levels. Looking back at the patent I think Anneman's idea was to balance the amount of borax with the phenidone, and there is probably a point of diminishing returns where there is no advantage to making it more alkaline because the quantity of developing agent is so small (or perhaps there is some other consequence, like pinholes with an acid stop). The high temperature I'm guessing is to keep processing times under 25 minutes.

    Let me know if you try it and get interesting results.
     
  17. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Let me remind you that if you have a negative that shows the shadow detail you want but is low in contrast, you can bleach in a ferricyanide-bromide solution and redevelop in PMK, Pyrocat HD or even a simple hydroquinone-carbonate solution to produce a stained and tanned negative which contains the original silver plus the stained image. This is especially effective when you are printing on blue sensitive graded paper. If one application doesn't do it, it may be repeated, BUT the tanning contracts parts of the gelatin and repeated tanning will sometimes cause strain cracks in the emulsion.

    The same bleach you would use as the first stage of sulfide sepia toning is fine. Bleaching goes to completion. The redeveloper should have little or no sulfite. Since the development also goes to completion, there is little requirement for exact measurement of ingredients. I have used 1 teaspoon each of hydroquinone and carbonate in a pint or 500 ml of water. Needless to say, it doesn't keep. You could make enough of separate hydroquinone and carbonate solutions for a session and mix them in equal proportions just before use.

    Catechol may be used in similar fashion, and so may pyrogallol. The stain colors will differ. Of course, if you have PMK or Pyrocat HD on hand, you may use either.

    The whole process is carried out in room light because the film must be fully exposed in order to redevelop all the silver. If you are going to use a developing tank, be sure the bleached negative is thoroughly exposed. You should probably do one sheet in a tray to get an idea of how long it will take. Over development will do no harm.
     
  18. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That's true, though I wouldn't want to have to do it as a regular part of my process.

    What's the advantage of bleaching and redeveloping over, say, selenium intensification, which is what I usually would do in that situation?
     
  19. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    The grain stays the same. The stained image behaves differently with VC and blue sensitive printing materials, which is one of the advantages often quoted for PMK and other staining developers. If you use hydroquinone, it is no more dangerous than most of our print developers. I have not compared the results with selenium, but I don't remember that one can use selenium more than once. Anyway, I suggest a trial on something not important just to see what it can do by comparison with selenium. You probably have on hand everything you need.
     
  20. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks. With selenium I can usually get a one-stop expansion, but I suppose that if I think I might need more then that, then I could bleach and redevelop, and then tone if I need more.
     
  21. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Yes, you could tone the bleached and redeveloped negative without losing what you gained by the staining-tanning method. Whatever selenium would have added to the original will still be added. It will be pretty much like selenium toning a negative that was originally developed in, say, PMK.

    I should have mentioned that the tanning action may add somewhat to the sharpness.
     
  22. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I've read that hydroquinone becomes very active
    at warmer than usuall temperatures and at 80 and up
    will develop everything; I'd suppose the more so the higher.
    Perhaps your film is not so suited to XR-1. 1978 may also
    be a factor.

    A question; will that selenium treatment do anything for
    the very low density, but some image, areas.? Dan
     
  23. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Selenium doesn't help the low density areas much. It pushes up the highlights.