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  1. #1

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    "rescuing" grossly underdeveloped negatives - intensifier advice requested (UK)

    In a moment of brain-fade last night, I over-diluted a batch of developer by a factor of 3 for a roll of 135.
    Had I recognised what I'd done before it was fixed, I expect I could have extended the development time and perhaps rescued the situation, but I didn't.

    Consequently I have ended up with a roll of negatives bordering on transparent. The edge markings and frame spaces are barely discernible.

    I have scanned the roll and managed to extract something, and normally I would write this off to experience and move on, but there are two shots on this roll which I would particularly like to salvage further if at all possible.

    I have "read up" what I can on the use of intensifiers, and realise that I can't expect much in the way of increased density with this particular situation, and that I can expect increased grain. The latter is no great concern.

    I know I can make my own intensifier, and have found several formulae here at APUG from Ian Grant ... but don't have all the chemicals or a staining developer to hand (plus I would rather not have to buy rather expensive and toxic materials which I will likely use only once in a blue moon)

    The choices of commercially easily available intensifiers in the UK seem to be Fotospeed Cl10, and the Speedibrews Chrome Intense and Speedintense. I can't seem to find much information about these, except that the Fotospeed product requires Dektol for the redevelopment step. Speedibrews website refers to the use of Speedintense for "grossly underdeveloped negatives" which is exactly what I have.

    Is there anything others can add from experience of these products?

  2. #2

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    I used a chromium intensifier in the 1950s. I had no success at all with really thin negatives like yours. I never tried uranium, and the only reason for suggesting it is that the BJ Almanac (1956 edition) states: For 'ghost' neatives, uranium is admirable. The formula given is (in metric units):
    Solution A: Uranium nitrate (23 g made up to 1 litre with water)
    Solution B: Potassium ferricyanide 23 g made up to 1 litre with water)
    For use, take 4 parts of A, 4 parts of B plus 1 part of acetic acid (presumaly glacial acetic acid). After intensification, wash in several changes of still water until the yellow stain is gone. A 2 per cent solution of ammonium thiocyanate will remove any yellow stain.
    I do not know if any of the commercial intensifiers available in UK are of the uranium type or of similar effect.
    Even if you go down this route, I would not hold your hopes of success high.

    Uranium nitrate (uranyl nitrate) is available from chemical suppliers. It is a nasty as are many photographic chemicals but not radioactive, as any 1950s schoolboy would know. The minimum order I have found is £66 plus vat and carriage. Concentrated acetic acid (even if not the old 'glacial') and uranyl nitrate are available from chemical suppliers like Sigma-Aldrich. The other chemicals are in the Silverprint list.

    Johnson's of Hendon made uranium intensifier see: http://bit.ly/VEywAW

    You will see there that it was recommended for thin negatives. Somebody out there may have an old pack they would be willing to part with.

  3. #3

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    Thank you for this interesting information.
    I had read references to uranium intensification but not that level of detail, so it's good to see it recorded. The Johnson's information site is a gem!

  4. #4

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    Have them scanned with a good film scanner before going down the chemical intensifier route. You'll be surprised by what the scanner can dig out from underexposed negs.

  5. #5

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    yep, see my OP

    Quote Originally Posted by pdeeh View Post
    I have scanned the roll and managed to extract something,

  6. #6

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    The obvious sensible precaution for testing your eventual plan is to shoot and develop another roll, or half a roll etc, in the same way and then to do the test on the non-important roll - before applying the results to the original. The only thing I tried was Selenium, for a roll with accidental two stops under exposure and 'tired' developer. There was a slight increase in density which made it a little easier to print, but if there is almost no silver on the neg (in the shadows in my case) then not much can help. Good luck!

  7. #7
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    The method I use is scary for those who don't have several years of experience. I have used it for more than 60 years and won't use any other. No increase in grain. It all can be done with the lights on.

    Bleach and re-develop. You may bleach in what comes with sepia toner or make your own with ferricyanide and sodium thiosulfate.
    Bleach until there is no image, or a very faint one.
    Rinse well
    Re-develop in your favorite developer. My choices are usually one of several pyrocatechin developers, but they are not necessary. Continue development until complete - in other words nothing more is happening.
    Rinse, fix and wash as usual.

    You can practice this with an underdeveloped print.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

  8. #8
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by funkydog View Post
    Have them scanned with a good film scanner before going down the chemical intensifier route. You'll be surprised by what the scanner can dig out from underexposed negs.
    You might also be surprised at what you can get out of them printing optically.


    Steve.

  9. #9

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    ....or make your own with ferricyanide and sodium thiosulfate.
    Is't that farmer's reducer?

  10. #10

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    Some people say that they have had success with repeated bleaching and redevelopment in a staining developer.

    For intensification by redevelopment you want a rehalogenizing bleach. You certainly don't want to use any bleach that contains thiosullfate since this would destroy any image.

    Chromium intensifier is not considered to be archival.
    Last edited by Gerald C Koch; 02-04-2013 at 11:59 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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