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  1. #1

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    chlorhydroquinone substitue?

    Hello Everybody,

    I am returning to analogue photography after lengthy hiatus. And I've discovered to my dismay that the film developer that I used almost exclusively for years starting is the 70s, FG7, is no longer available. (I might add that before FG7, I used Harvey's 777 in small tanks with complete success.) Spending several hours on the internet has suggested that Harry Champlin's Number 16 was a likely starting point for FG7. I've dug out my copy of Champlin on Fine Grain and found that Champlin 16 contains Tironamine-C which is apparently the same as Triethanolamine and Chlorhydroquinone which is very difficult to find and very expensive. I've also discovered in The Darkroom Cookbook that the developing properties of Chlorhydroquinone "roughly correspond to those of a mixture of hydroquinone with 5% of metol." Since Champlin 16 calls for 50 grams of Chlorhydroquinone, would I be correct in assuming -- at least as a starting point -- 50 grams of hydroquinone and 2.5 grams of metol would be a reasonable beginning?

    I'd appreciate your thoughts on this.
    For those of you who have not recently looked at the formula for Champlin 16, it goes as follows:

    Water : 800ccs
    Sodium Sulphite: 100 grams
    Chlorhydroquinone: 50 grams
    Tironamine-C: 60ccs
    Water to make 1000ccs

    My thanks to those of you who can help me on this.

    Cheers,
    John

  2. #2
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    It all depends on the working strength dilution.

    100g of sulfite per litre is typical of d-76 etc.
    TEA is a less common strong alkali I used to use for making up home brew RA-4 developer. It was used at paper developer strength at something like 15mL per litre of working solution. Paper developers are usually more alkaline than continous tone film developers.

    50g of HQ is a lot per litre. Lith developers use as much as 12g/l working solution, when mixed with the part B alkali.

    There is also no formal restrainer. Sulfite at higher concentrations can be a restrainer as well as a mild alkali and an oxygen scavenger.

    So your draft formula might work well well diluted, if you can take the fog, but used as stock I have my doubts.


    I have played with home brew of what I consider to be something close to 777, and have calibrated its use. It uses glycin and ppd as developing agents. It works well, provided you can 'feed' it regularly, i.e. develop a few rolls of film in it every week. I think I found the formula in a discussion on The Unblinking Eye web site.

    It is a repleinished formula that is seasoned with a few scrap films if mixed fresh to start to provide the bromide restraining action. Because it is replenished, it contains some residual silver, and long lived developing agents known to not be too healthy. So if you go there, wear gloves.

    CHQ from my reading was expensive and rather volatile to make, and has faded from use.
    my real name, imagine that.

  3. #3

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    Chlorhydroquinone is what is known as an "orphan" chemical which means it has no commercial uses. This accounts for its high cost and lack of sources. Each developing agent has a set of unique characteristics. Among these characteristics are redux potential and bromide potential. Despite its name chlorhydroquinone behaved more like metol than hydroquinone. So it could be used as the only developing agent. But there is no substitute for this developing agent. Ethol UFG used this developing agent and was later reformulted when it was no longer available. The results were not the same as the older version.

    Champlin's book "On Fine Grain" is unintentionally funny but not really a source of useful information. Champlin was a commercial photographer with absolutely no knowledge of photographic chemistry. Dr Edmund Lowe, who forrmulated the Edwal developers, described it as "a children's story, where the evil dragon Grain is tracked to its lair and smothered with clouds of nickel ammonium sulfate." If you are looking for useful defveloper formulas then you must look somewhere else.
    Last edited by Gerald C Koch; 05-07-2013 at 10:59 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.

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  4. #4
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Have to agree with Gerald, Champlin's book is good for a laugh but has no useful formulae.

    I must look at mine again I've just retrieved it off my shelf in Turkey to look at again once back in the UK.

    Chloroquinone is available but it may not be pure enough for photographic use.

    Ian

  5. #5
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    The somewhere else is NOT The Darkroom Cookbook.
    Get hold of some photochemistry texts from the 1940's-1960's and you will find useful info upon which you can depend.
    British Journal of Photography was an excellent source for many years and they are relatively easy to find. The American Journal of Photography was OK, but not as good as the British.
    Also do a search on here and other forums. Mymemory says that within the past couple of years, 777 was thoroughly discussed and a close cousin formula divulged.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

  6. #6
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Jim, the DCB 3rd Edition is excellent, it has has been cleansed of the errors of all US books which took data from the Photo Lab Indexes - which were riddled with typos and errors.

    Jacobson, Developing, 18th Ed is also good, as are early Focal Encyclopedias of Photography.

    Ian

  7. #7

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    Pierre Glafkides "Photographic Chemistry" gives a lot of formulas. However the only really modern book is Haist's 2 volume set.
    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

  8. #8

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    I would also like to warn anyone about the formulas in Champlin's book which contain organic acids such as benzoic and salicylic acids. These chemicals may cause softening of the emulsion leading to reticulation.

    This book illustrates why I take a jaundiced eye to all old developer formulations. Modern emulsions are very different from those used when these old time developers were formulated. There is no reason to believe that these formulations will provide better results than modern developers. Despite what some advocate on APUG, there is no "holy grail" of developers.
    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

  9. #9
    mts
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    Since you are returning to film after an interval of time, you should consider more modern and known effective developers. The point made by Gerald is well taken; the emulsions available today are not the same as the ones you are familiar with, and these new films have been formulated and tested with the developers that are currently available.

    To my mind the one constant in film photography continues to be D-76/ID-11 which is a formulation that has stood the test of time, for medium and large format at any rate. There are modern formulations of phenidone-hydroquinone developers and you might start by examining some of the better known modern "fine grain" developers. Unfortunately that other standby Panatomic-X is long gone, but there are still a few slow films that you can use to experiment.
    By denying the facts, any paradox can be sustained--Galileo

  10. #10

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    I'm delighted. Thanks

    Hello Everybody,

    Thank you all for your very thoughtful responses. And in response to some of what has been said, may I add that Champlin 16 was intended to be used 1 to 9 with water or, preferably, a 10% sodium sulphite solution. Mike, does that take care of your concerns? I don't follow your comments about no formal restrainer (ignorance on my part), hence this question.

    Ironically, given Dr. Lowe's comments, it has long been thought/guessed that Champlin 16 was the basis for FG7...I'm not criticizing Dr. Lowe, here; he was a fine and good photo chemist; and much of what Champlin did/wrote, was, indeed, a bit odd. But, Champlin 16 seems to be rather better founded than much of his other work. And, as I just said, C 16 is thought by some to have been the basis for FG7.

    It was the 3rd edition of the Darkroom Cookbook from which I got the chlorhydroquinone equivalency; so, hopefully, it's accurate.

    I would be tempted to go back to 777 except that I probably won't be developing enough film to keep it viable.
    I know the Unblinking Eye thread on 777; in fact, the Instructions/time and temperature sheets that are posted there were my contribution to the discussion. At that time, I didn't have a scanner, so one of the college secretaries scanned it for me. I've always wondered why I wasn't given credit...Oh well, I wasn't one of the chosen few.

    Mike, may I ask how you modified the 777 formula (Germain's if I remember correctly) given on the Unblinking Eye site?

    By the way, I switched to FG7 on the advice (in an article, I didn't know him) of W. Eugene Smith. He felt that contemporary (in the 70s) emulsions responded better to FG7 than 777. Also, for the humble, 777 was becoming very difficult to get...a situation that still obtains. Has anyone checked with Photographer's Formulary to see if their 777 is the formula from the Unblinking Eye site or did they license it from Bluegrass?

    I'm off tomorrow to the four days of the Standard Schnauzer National Specialty cluster of shows. I'll take along some of the volumes from The Complete Photographer on developer formulation. There's a long article on developers and developing by Harold Harvey that is the best thing I've ever read on the subject. Most of what little I know about film developing I learned from HH.

    Cheers,
    John

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