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  1. #1

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    P-C-TEA vs. 2 part vit.c developer

    OK, here is my question. I am getting ready to order chemicals to make some vitamin c developer per Pat Gainers' article in the march/april issue of Photo techniques. In the article, he first outlines a developer made with vitamin c and phenodine in anti freeze, used as stock, and then mixed with an activator solution prior to use. He also describes P-C-TEA, using phenodine and ascorbic acid in Triethanolamine, used as a single solution.
    How different are the characteristics between the two? Any great advantage to using one over the other? This will be for shooting 35mm and 120 hp5+ if that makes a difference.

  2. #2
    gainer's Avatar
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    Yes, I was having phantasms when I dreamed it up.
    Gadget Gainer

  3. #3
    arkoshkobash's Avatar
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    PC-TEA is so simple and fool-proof, I don't know why anyone would use anything else.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by arkoshkobash
    PC-TEA is so simple and fool-proof, I don't know why anyone would use anything else.
    Because I have not found TEA to be a better activator than, e.g. sodium metaborate. I have found it a lot easier to throw a teaspoon of metaborate (or 5 ml of a stock liquid solution if you use Gainer's recipe for creating metaborate from borax and lye) into a liter of water containing some Phenidone-ascorbic acid stock than to go through the mess (and smell!) of heating TEA in order to dissolve the chemicals.

    In PC-TEA, the only difference is the TEA itself as the activator. The amounts of Phenidone and Vitamin C remain the same. I can't tell the difference in my negs at 11 X14 enlargements in terms of grain or tonality. So for me, the teaspoon of Kodalk is quicker and easier than making up the TEA solution.

    Larry

  5. #5

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    I guess my thought is that if the image quality is the same, why spend the money to order something (TEA) I can't get locally? A quart of TEA is $ 15, plus 4 pounds shipping, whereas I can get propolyne and ehtyline glycol locally for 1/4 of that, with no shipping. Mixing a separate activator does not seem like much of a big deal to me.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maine-iac
    Because I have not found TEA to be a better activator than, e.g. sodium metaborate. /~/ In PC-TEA, the only difference is the TEA itself as the activator. The amounts of Phenidone and Vitamin C remain the same. I can't tell the difference in my negs at 11 X14 enlargements in terms of grain or tonality. So for me, the teaspoon of Kodalk is quicker and easier than making up the TEA solution.
    That's very interesting... maybe the stock solution in TEA just keeps better than in water? What would be the approximate shelf life of PC-Kodalk water developer concentrate? Do you add Kodalk right before usage of a diluted stock? I will be very glad if you would put here your recipe, so I can try it on FOMA films.

    Zhenya

  7. #7
    Maine-iac's Avatar
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    That's very interesting... maybe the stock solution in TEA just keeps better than in water? What would be the approximate shelf life of PC-Kodalk water developer concentrate? Do you add Kodalk right before usage of a diluted stock? I will be very glad if you would put here your recipe, so I can try it on FOMA films.

    Maybe I did overheat the TEA. It worked fine, but it sure did, and still does, stink up the whole darkroom with a sweet-ish, unpleasant smell that persists for a couple of days. I bought it from the Formulary.


    1 tsp. (5g.) Kodalk (metaborate) OR 1 tsp. (6g) carbonate (Arm & Hammer Washing Soda or PH Plus) See note below.

    1/2 tsp. (4 g.) Vitamin C powder (ascorbic acid)

    4 ml 1% Phenidone stock solution (1g dissolved in 100ml either Propylene glycol or 90% alcohol)

    1 liter water at 70F (22C)

    I use metaborate for Delta 400; carbonate for Delta 100, Fuji ACROS, and Neopan 400

    6 minutes for Delta 400
    6:30 for Delta 100
    7 minutes for Neopan 400
    7:15 for ACROS

    You may need to adjust times, but these will get you close.


    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    A two-solution formula, with the ascorbic acid and phenidone dissolved in glycol, and the alkali added to the working solution seems the best alternative to TEA. I've made up many different TEA solutions, and have never noticed a bad smell, and there is no more of a mess than mixing in glycol. Maybe you're overheating your TEA?

    Jay
    As you can see from above. I'm not talking about a two-solution formula. I make only one stock solution containing the Phenidone, either in Propylene Glycol or 90% alcohol. It's a 1% solution--1 g. Phenidone (1/2 teaspoon) to 100 ml of the liquid.

    When I'm ready to develop, I fill a beaker with 1 liter of water at 70 F. (22C.), then stir in either Kodalk (s. metaborate) OR s. carbonate and the Vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Sticking a measuring spoon into a jar of chemical and stirring it into the water takes no longer on average than measuring two pre-mixed stock solutions. (These chemicals dissolve very rapidly.) Finally, I add 4 ml of the Phenidone stock using a cheap medicine dropper from the pharmacy. All this takes less than three minutes to mix, and I'm ready to pour it into the tank.

    Result: lovely negs, very fine grain, very full shadow and highlight detail.


    Some say that the Propylene glycol will preserve the Phenidone longer without loss of potency than the 90% alcohol, and theoretically that may be true. But a 100 ml bottle of the alcohol-Phen stock will make 25 liters of developer (in my two-reel tank (I shoot medium format mostly, and use a stainless steel Omega tank with 2 reels), that's 50 rolls of film. Since I'm only shooting for my own pleasure, and still holding down a day job, that's about 6 months worth of film on average for me. Maybe I also shoot a box of sheet film in that time too, and I use the same developer in 8X10 trays for my sheet film. I've never noticed any loss of potency with my alcohol-Phen. stock in a six-month period. So as far as my own working is concerned, it's longevity is a moot point.

    If I wanted to not buy metaborate from a photo store or chemical company, I'd use Pat's formula mixing borax and lye into a stock solution, and then use 5 ml of that in place of the 1 tsp. of the metaborate powder. But at only a teaspoon per liter, a regular-sized jar of Kodalk lasts a long time.

    Larry

  8. #8

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    Dilutions?

    Maine-iac- Hello-you got my interest perked up to try your one solution formula. I do alot of processing with 4x5 so your developer has the ability to save me quite a bit of money; but time is money too.Mixing up the 5 Liter packages of Xtol in a pail is very quick and easy for me and it will do a good amount of 4x5 mixed 1:1. Since I'm trying this to replace Xtol my question is as follows:
    1. I use the Xtol at a 1:1 dilution
    2. Will my negatives fairly replicate in your formula as a stock?
    3. Have you ever tried to dilute the developer or is it not neccessary AND OR are the results that good there is no reson to bother diluting?
    4. How many negatives/4x5/ per liter of working solution?
    I realize I need to do my own experimenting and come to my own conclusions. Your input is appreciated. Thanks beforehand and thanks for an interesting thread
    Regards Peter

  9. #9
    gainer's Avatar
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    Peter:
    5 liters of Xtol can be replaced by 200 ml of PC-TEA stock solution. It is diluted 1+50 to give about the equivalent of the Main-iac's version. It is very good stuff by all reports including mine.

    In case you missed it somewhere along the line, get some triethanolamine (TEA), some ascorbic acid (erythorbic acid is as good) and some phenidone. Mix 200 ml of TEA with 18 grams of ascorbic acid and 0.5 grams of phenidone and heat the mixture until it dissolves. It may have to go to 180 F or so. This will make 10 liters of 1+50 working solution that should give fairly close to the developing times you are using, but please make a throwaway test first.
    Gadget Gainer

  10. #10
    fhovie's Avatar
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    I am pretty sure that on some films (like the APX 400 roll I just did), XTOL is a little finer grain than PC-TEA - I may have to keep using them both - They push the same and times seem very similar - it must be the sulfite

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