Help With Chemistry!!!!
I am in final stages of completing my own darkroom. This space will be used by two photographers ALOT as well as the occasional friend. I have been using school facilities for some time... I am adept at mixing school chemicals (D76 and other basics) as well as using some Tmax dev. for Tmax film.... Thats about it.
I own the "Darkroom Cookbook" and this place seems to be a great resource but chemcals are just a little intimidating to me. I'm torn between keeping things simple and experimenting with all kinds of stuff. I'd like to mix my own stuff as opposed to buying mixes.
Is there a good developer that can be standardized easily and maybe tweaked here and there, to do other things? What are good, easy Stops and Fixes?
Anyone have any advice on the matter?
D-23 is pretty simple. Not the cheapest developer to make but the difference is likely pennies per roll. You can tweak it with dilution.
TF-2 is a pretty simple fixer.
Stop? Water and vinegar. Pretty simple.
If you decide to mix your own you can just lay in a few common chemicals and then mix up most things.
plus a few others and you'll be able to mix most developers.
If you really wanted you could try a different developer with each roll. I wouldn't reccomend it but the only thing stopping you is your willingness to experiment.
At the risk of being no help to you, I'll throw in my 2 cents.
Originally Posted by Bighead
You'll find that the type of film you use may yield radically different results in various developers. If I had to recommend one developer, that's fairly 'tweakable', it would be HC-110. Experimenting with various dilutions and agitation methods will provide you a variety of results for any film. Many would probably say the same of Rodinal though I limit my Rodinal use to slow films in an attempt to minimize perceived grain.
The easiest stop for me is distilled water. Many will tell you it can yield uneven results, but I've never had uneven results due to the stop bath.
I switched to TF-4 archival fixer about 6 months ago and I will NEVER use any other fixer. It's fast, consistent, and MUCH easier to get rid of while washing. Furthermore, if you ever get into using any of the Pyro developers, TF-4 is the fixer you will see highly recommended for them.
I hope I helped somewhat.
I'd like to experiment but I think I'm still wet enough behind the ears that I may not notice the differences... I think I want to keep a standard going for the most part... Try new things when I've run out of ideas on what to work on... You know?? I'm kind of a control freak and I think I value consistancy more than anything. I know, not great words coming from an "artist"...
Originally Posted by Nick Zentena
I'm steering away from Tmax films and am using mostly Ilford. I may use something slow one day and Delta 3200 the next...
Originally Posted by apratsunrthd
This would be an opinion, NOT advice. I have only been at this for about 8 months, so very much the beginner. I like things simple, so I bought the raw chemicals and mix my own D23. I use it divided and develop both film and paper in it. It's simple, easy to mix, easy to use and cheap enough. My next self mixes are going to be stop and fix so that I can reduce darkroom odour.
Originally Posted by Bighead
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To begin with, buy the chemicals for D-23. Add borax and sodium carbonate to your shopping list - and a little potassium bromide is handy too.
You will then have enough chemicals to use D-23 for fine grain, two versions of "divided" D-23 with different contrast and grain size, as well as "Beutler's" for maximum sharpness (and grain) with slow films.
If I use stop bath at all I use citric acid in water.
For fixer I will [blatant plug]recommend my own construct: OF-1. Find it in the Chemical Recipes section. [/blatant plug]
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
I have been mixing my own D-76 for several years now as per the formulas in the Darkroom Cookbook. I use the buffered version, with boric acid and additional borax and use the "spoon" equivalents for easier mixing, buying all ingredients from Photographers Formulary. It takes only slightly longer than mixing from store bought powder but I find that I know the age of the ingredients whereas when I bought locally, I purchased old (brown) developer on several occations. I guess if I was more consistant in my photographic habits I would be able to buy the correct amounts of developer, but I photograph in fits and starts and so need fresh developer at 10PM on a Sunday night, 3 or 4 months after my last purchase.
Thats one I was looking for... A standard recipe with a good "tweak" factor.... I will give that a shot, at first.... Everyone, thank you for your advice thus far... Please keep the comments coming.
Originally Posted by Ole
D23, 7.5 grams metol and 100 grams sodium sulfite,
Originally Posted by John Bartley
is a complete film developer in itself. You then use
a bath 2 for further development; some alkali?
Do you use two bath for both film and paper?
Is that second bath the same for the two?
I compound all chemistry used and use
all one-shot. Dan
Originally Posted by dancqu
Yup - same for both paper and film, I guess it's "divided" development because I do a soak in the D23 for approx 3 to 5 min for film and 1-1/2 to 3 min for paper, then I put it into the second bath for times which vary according to whether or not I've deliberately (or mistakenly ) over or under exposed the film. The second bath for me is sodium metaborate, which I think Ole has identified as Borax and which I seem to remember also being called "washing soda"? The idea (short and simple) is that a short bath in "A" gets the developer into the emulsion without any real developing happening, then the activator in "B" gets the developing going, but the absorbed developer is soon exhausted in the highlights, so they don't get all burned out, while it keeps working in the shadows and you end up with good shadow detail.
I know that there are people here in APUG who can describe this correctly for you - far better than my amateur attempt here.
Oh yeah I have also used Rodinal one shot and I liked it, but it's a liquid, and I'm sure it will freeze in cold enough weather. The only reasons that I wanted to learn to mix from dry chemicals is that 1) I will have a need in the future for chemicals that I can "pack" into the bush and use even in cold weather. This D23 stuff seems to fit the bill and it's cheap, and 2) dry stuff should be more rugged to pack and have an almost indefinite shelf life with less danger of spillage