Developer volume and capacity
In the Darkroom Cookbook (pp. 40-41), Steve Anchell suggests that 250 ml of undiluted developer is the bare minimum to develop 80x80 inches of film (e.g., 1 roll of 36 exp. 35mm), but suggests adding an extra 100 ml per roll. When the developer is diluted, he has a formula for further developer volume. I find this suggestion troubling because of the effective reduction in the number of rolls I can develop in one tank (e.g., 2 rolls per 4-roll tank).
Is anyone following this advice and have you noticed a meaningful difference in your negatives?
Also, I am not sure how this advice relates to developer capacity. It seems to be standard practice to toss developer that's been diluted, but to reuse developers such as D-23 that is used undiluted. But if one is trying to maximize developer action, perhaps even undiluted developer should be discarded, because the developer's effectiveness per square inch of film is reduced?
The specific developer in my case is D-23. I just mixed a batch from raw chemicals and am getting ready to use it for the first time.
I appreciate comments and advice. Thanks!
I believe you mean 80 square inches of film (1x80) not 80x80, which would equal 80 rolls of 135x36 film. The rest is what Kodak recommends as well.
Originally Posted by TheTaoOfPhil
This is not germane to your particular question but - is 80 x 80 a typo?
I'm guessing yu probably mean one roll of 36exp 135 = ~80 square inches ?
edit: damn that fast-typing man
Anchell's recommendations can be confusing because he's talking about both the minimum amount to cover the film and the minimum amount of stock to develop the film in the same context. Further, he's generalizing, which can be problematic. His recommendations in my opinion are intended to give you a huge safety margin.
The subject of developer re-use is a different matter. Here again it is dangerous to generalize because different developers (and the films are also factors) have different capacities and also respond to the buildup of development by-products, bromides etc. in different ways. This is one of the reasons why certain developers need specially designed replishers while a few others can function as their own replenishers. Specifically in the case of D-23 (Metol-Sulfite), I would not recommend re-using the stock solution if your goal is consistency. For one thing, as bromides and acidic development by-products accumulate, you will tend to lose film speed, and image characteristics may also change.
When it comes to some other developers, different people will say different things. For example, since Phenidone (and derivatives) are less sensitive to bromide, used XTOL (which contains no restrainer) can be replenished with fresh XTOL, and many people like to use it that way (undiluted of course). Kodak reminds us replenishment and/or re-use are compromises. But some people still claim replenished XTOL is "better". Just an example. There are also more exotic/older developers that were purposely "seasoned" before use.
My advice (only my opinion - but one consistent with the methods of many great photographers - and consistent with recommendations by Kodak and Ilford) is to not re-use developer, whether undiluted or diluted. If you wish to re-use undiluted developers such as D-23 I guess I'd suggest adding its replenisher to your workflow.
Since developers can vary widely in composition one really cannot specify accurately a minimum amount of developer before dilution. What works for D-76 would not work for a highly concentrated developer like Rodinal or HC-110. Anchell did a disservice by even implying that such a concept can be generalized.
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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Woops. yes, I meant _one_ roll of 36 exp 35mm.
Originally Posted by pdeeh
I read Anchell's book when I was starting out and took his advice. Previously, I was using D-76 1:1, but I only used enough solution to cover the reel. (35 mm) I noticed I had to increase development times about 10% over published times, and still got kind-of flat negatives. Now I use 15 oz total, or 250 ml of stock diluted 1:1. Negatives now look right using published developing times. Yes, it is a pain to have to use a bigger tank to hold all that solution, but it works. I don't have any experience with other developers, but it seems to work fine with D-76. Good luck
Paradoxically, a replenishment regime is one of the best solutions to the developer economy conundrum.
When you use replenishment, it doesn't cost you any more to put a litre of developer into a tank, because you are going to re-use most of it anyways.
You do need larger tanks to take advantage of this.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
I also read that in his book, and it wasn't something I had consciously thought of before, but I believe it is an important point.
What I believe Anchell is saying is:
1. use more than enough developer (i.e. more than the minimum technically required), in order to ensure that is not an issue affecting the development of your negatives
2. if you dilute a stock solution 1 to 1, you must use twice the volume you would use of the stock solution to ensure there is enough developer, and so on for increased dilutions
I have only ever used D-76, but those seem like good advice to me.
Using undiluted D-76 in, one increases the development time 10 to 15% for every 4 sheets of 4x5 developed to account for the weakening of the developer.
One qt of straight D-76 can develop 16 sheets of 4x5. Say the dev. time is 10 minutes. Dev the first 4 at 10 minutes, dev the second 4 at 11 to 11.5 minutes, the third four at around 12 to 13 minutes. The last set of four 4x5's develop for 14 minutes or so. Then toss out the D-76.
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.