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  1. #21
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    D-23 1+1 is rather good but slightly uneconomical.
    OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
    Rolleicord Va: Humble.
    Holga 120GFN: Amazingly simple yet it produces outstanding negatives to print.

  2. #22
    David Allen's Avatar
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    For your information, the levels of Sodium Metaborate suggested by Thornton are:

    N+1 = 20g
    N = 12g
    N-1 + 7g

    However, I am very surprised that you have got blown out highlights. I have used BTTB developer for many years as my only film developer and have never had this problem. I am very often shooting images that have extremely bright contrast ranges and it has never been a problem for me. Indeed, all of the images on my website are with Delta 400 rated at 200 and developed for 5 minutes in each bath. All my negatives print straight on Grade 3 using a Multigrade 500 diffusion head. However, I frequently print on a harder grade to get the particular look that I like but, even this only requires a couple of seconds burning in the very brightest highlights (hence my confusion that you are getting blown out highlights).

    In this first example photograph I metered the shadow at the bottom of the chimney and placed it on Zone III - the white etched wall read ten zones more but there is detail throughout:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2013_Pfefferberg_GREY.jpg 
Views:	38 
Size:	158.5 KB 
ID:	89801

    In this second photograph I metered the base of the tree to the centre right and placed it on Zone III - the area surrounding the street light was completely off the scale. Nevertheless, and although it might not show in this scan, there is tonality throughout except for the actual street light itself:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	night01.jpg 
Views:	41 
Size:	246.0 KB 
ID:	89802

    If you are having problems, I would suggest you look at the following areas:
    Developer temperature
    Frequency of agitation
    Time

    People regularly state that time, temperature and agitation is not critical with two-bath developers. This is plain WRONG. Two-bath developers should be treated with just the same care and attention to detail as any other developer. I have also read frequently that one should use stand development with the second bath when using two-bath developers. I tried this once and got negatives with uneven development - so never again.

    Over vigorous development, as with most developers, may cause problems but, in my experience, the usual cause of problems is not taking care to ensure that every stage of the development process is constant from film to film. This really is the key to development irrespective of your choice of developer.

    Perhaps the most useful information, is for me to outline my processing sequence and then you might be able to identify where your way of working is very different from mine.

    Firstly, I do not use metal tanks - so this should be taken into consideration.

    The processing sequence that works for me (using Paterson plastic tanks and ALL chemicals always at 20C) is as follows:

    00:00 pre-soak with constant agitation
    01:45 drain pre-soak out of the tank
    02:00 Pour Bath A in and gently invert 4 times in the first 30 seconds followed by a sharp tap on the bottom of the tank to dislodge any possible air bubbles. Then one gentle inversion every 30 seconds always followed by a sharp tap on the bottom of the tank to dislodge any possible air bubbles.
    06:45 Pour Bath A out of tank into a jug.
    07:00 Pour Bath B in and invert 4 times in the first 30 seconds followed by a sharp tap on the bottom of the tank to dislodge any possible air bubbles. Then one gentle inversion every 30 seconds always followed by a sharp tap on the bottom of the tank to dislodge any possible air bubbles.
    11:45 Pour Bath B out of tank into a jug.
    12:00 Pour in water stop bath and agitate constantly
    12:45 Pour water stop bath out into the drain.
    13:00 Pour in fix and agitate constantly
    15:00 Remove films from tank and place into a large jug of water and leave until all of the pink dye is removed from the film then return the film to the fix for a further 2 minutes.
    Finally, wash using the Ilford method.

    A note on mixing the chemicals and use
    ◦ I mix up 1 litre of Bath A (my tank is the 1 litre version that can accommodate up to 4 films) and store in a 1 litre dark brown glass bottle. This one litre is sufficient for 24 films (but note the following point about Bath B).
    ◦ I mix up two litres of Bath B at the normal 12g of Sodium Metaborate (which are stored in two 1 litre dark brown glass bottles) and use each bottle of Bath B for 12 films and then discard.
    ◦ I mix up one litre of Bath B at the N+ dilution of 20g of Sodium Metaborate (which is stored in a 1 litre dark brown glass bottles) and use rarely when needed.


    A note on the N-, N and N+ dilutions
    ◦ 99% of all my photographs are developed with the N version of Bath B. I have never had any negative where I felt that it should have been developed using the N- version of Bath B.
    ◦ The N+ version of Bath B is useful but not in the sense of a strict +1 stop expansion (which can be much better achieved by selenium toning the negative). If I photograph something that has dark shadows and bright highlights but also a significant part of the scene is relatively lacking in mid-tone separation then I use the N+ version of Bath B. This has a significant effect on expanding the mid-tones of a scene that was lacking such a mid-tone separation.

    Having just quickly looked through the 100 odd images on my website, there are 6 photographs where I used the N+ Bath B and all of the rest were developed using the normal Bath B.

    Best of luck finding your own best way of using Thornton's two-bath developer - it is a great, reliable and cheap developer.

    Best,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
    Last edited by David Allen; 06-19-2014 at 01:08 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Typo

  3. #23
    Patrick Robert James's Avatar
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    You can adjust the pH of the second bath with the amount of alkali, but it won't change contrast that much. Two bath developers are easy to use, but I don't think they live up to their promise. If you have a wide tonal range to squeeze into a negative, staining developers like Pyrocat are the way to go. I am sometimes just amazed at what gets recorded with Pyrocat.

    I did make a two bath developer with metol and glycin once, and it was nice from a tonal standpoint due to the glycin, but again, it didn't offer anything that I couldn't get another way.

    Just for reference, my favorite three developers (which all offer a different and distinct quality) are Rodinal, Pyrocat P, and Edwal 12.

    Maybe that will help you (hope it does).

  4. #24

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    Well, while Thornton's heart may have been in the right place, when I tested a lot of these things I found the chemistry logic to be flawed, or at the very least, overcomplicated for no reason.
    I agree with Michael. I too am uneasy with developers concocted by photographers who have little or no understanding of photographic chemistry. The classic example is Harry Champlin and his book "On Fine Grain." One reviewer commented that it "Read like a fairy tale where the hero tracked the dragon Fog to its lair and smothered it with clouds of nickel ammonium sulfate." Champlin was a prominent photographer but a bad chemist. For anyone with a bit of knowledge the book is a hoot to read.

    But seriously, if you are interested in getting the very best negatives, then stick with a conventional developer. Preferably one recommended by the film manufacturer. Just my personal preference tempered with over 60 years in the darkroom. If there really is a "holy grail" of developers then it is a commercial product where the manufacturer has invested large amounts of R&D money to create the very best product. The problem with the various brews mentioned on APUG is that they are essentially untested.

    There is the perception that two bath developers are easier to use than a conventional one. Years ago the manufacturer of Diafine published a pamphlet on how to use their product. They stressed all the things that must be controlled to get the best results. There was more to it than plopping the film in bath B and going to get coffee.
    Last edited by Gerald C Koch; 06-19-2014 at 02:30 PM. 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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  5. #25
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    True. Some time ago PE also expressed his opinion on two-bath and recommended to use fresh second bath every time.
    OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
    Rolleicord Va: Humble.
    Holga 120GFN: Amazingly simple yet it produces outstanding negatives to print.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Robert James View Post
    You can adjust the pH of the second bath with the amount of alkali, but it won't change contrast that much. Two bath developers are easy to use, but I don't think they live up to their promise. If you have a wide tonal range to squeeze into a negative, staining developers like Pyrocat are the way to go. I am sometimes just amazed at what gets recorded with Pyrocat.

    I did make a two bath developer with metol and glycin once, and it was nice from a tonal standpoint due to the glycin, but again, it didn't offer anything that I couldn't get another way.

    Just for reference, my favorite three developers (which all offer a different and distinct quality) are Rodinal, Pyrocat P, and Edwal 12.

    Maybe that will help you (hope it does).
    We should make sure to distinguish between "true" two-bath developers (in which case little or no development occurs in the first bath), and two-bath processes in which development takes place in the first bath as well. "Divided D-23" and all the variations on it including Thornton, are examples of the latter type. Experimentation is required, but they do give unique qualities from a sensitometric perspective, as I mentioned earlier.

    With respect to staining/tanning formulas (and there are different types), I would say it is a mis-characterization to say they "record" more than D-76 or any other developer. If they are of the compensating type, where an earlier, longer, gentler shoulder is created, the highlight compression can make a longer subject luminance scale easier to get into a straight print. However there is never a free lunch. Squeezing a longer subject luminance range into a smaller negative density range requires local contrast compression somewhere. In the case of divided developers, the compression tends to be spread over the entire scale, creating a fairly straight, lower gamma curve. In the case of compensating-type developers, the compression is in the highlights.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch View Post
    I agree with Michael. I too am uneasy with developers concocted by photographers who have little or no understanding of photographic chemistry. The classic example is Harry Champlin and his book "On Fine Grain." One reviewer commented that it "Read like a fairy tale where the hero tracked the dragon Fog to its lair and smothered it with clouds of nickel ammonium sulfate." Champlin was a prominent photographer but a bad chemist. For anyone with a bit of knowledge the book is a hoot to read.

    But seriously, if you are interested in getting the very best negatives, then stick with a conventional developer. Preferably one recommended by the film manufacturer. Just my personal preference tempered with over 60 years in the darkroom. If there really is a "holy grail" of developers then it is a commercial product where the manufacturer has invested large amounts of R&D money to create the very best product. The problem with the various brews mentioned on APUG is that they are essentially untested.

    There is the perception that two bath developers are easier to use than a conventional one. Years ago the manufacturer of Diafine published a pamphlet on how to use their product. They stressed all the things that must be controlled to get the best results. There was more to it than plopping the film in bath B and going to get coffee.
    I do have and have used commercially made developers (HC110 and Rodinal) however I am enjoying using BTTB for the time being and until this roll I have very good results. I keep all my chemicals at 20C in my darkroom and even though I have read time isn't as important with BTTB i still use a standard procedure to keep things consistent (time, agitation, temp). I do not have nearly the experience you or many others here have that's why I'm trying to understand how to use this developer better and asking about using it for zone development.

    This thread was not to discuss the merits of homebrew vs commercial developers.
    "The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering." - Bruce Lee

    "It is better to travel well than to arrive." - Buddha

  8. #28

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    Without knowing the brightness range of the subject discussing the developer performance under these conditions seems a moot point. Even if the bright and shade areas can be printed from the negative, the local contrast in parts of the image is going to need addressing in the print.
    I feel, therefore I photograph.

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Allen View Post
    For your information, the levels of Sodium Metaborate suggested by Thornton are:

    N+1 = 20g
    N = 12g
    N-1 + 7g

    However, I am very surprised that you have got blown out highlights. I have used BTTB developer for many years as my only film developer and have never had this problem. I am very often shooting images that have extremely bright contrast ranges and it has never been a problem for me. Indeed, all of the images on my website are with Delta 400 rated at 200 and developed for 5 minutes in each bath. All my negatives print straight on Grade 3 using a Multigrade 500 diffusion head. However, I frequently print on a harder grade to get the particular look that I like but, even this only requires a couple of seconds burning in the very brightest highlights (hence my confusion that you are getting blown out highlights).

    In this first example photograph I metered the shadow at the bottom of the chimney and placed it on Zone III - the white etched wall read ten zones more but there is detail throughout:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2013_Pfefferberg_GREY.jpg 
Views:	38 
Size:	158.5 KB 
ID:	89801

    In this second photograph I metered the base of the tree to the centre right and placed it on Zone III - the area surrounding the street light was completely off the scale. Nevertheless, and although it might not show in this scan, there is tonality throughout except for the actual street light itself:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	night01.jpg 
Views:	41 
Size:	246.0 KB 
ID:	89802

    If you are having problems, I would suggest you look at the following areas:
    Developer temperature
    Frequency of agitation
    Time

    People regularly state that time, temperature and agitation is not critical with two-bath developers. This is plain WRONG. Two-bath developers should be treated with just the same care and attention to detail as any other developer. I have also read frequently that one should use stand development with the second bath when using two-bath developers. I tried this once and got negatives with uneven development - so never again.

    Over vigorous development, as with most developers, may cause problems but, in my experience, the usual cause of problems is not taking care to ensure that every stage of the development process is constant from film to film. This really is the key to development irrespective of your choice of developer.

    Perhaps the most useful information, is for me to outline my processing sequence and then you might be able to identify where your way of working is very different from mine.

    Firstly, I do not use metal tanks - so this should be taken into consideration.

    The processing sequence that works for me (using Paterson plastic tanks and ALL chemicals always at 20C) is as follows:

    00:00 pre-soak with constant agitation
    01:45 drain pre-soak out of the tank
    02:00 Pour Bath A in and gently invert 4 times in the first 30 seconds followed by a sharp tap on the bottom of the tank to dislodge any possible air bubbles. Then one gentle inversion every 30 seconds always followed by a sharp tap on the bottom of the tank to dislodge any possible air bubbles.
    06:45 Pour Bath A out of tank into a jug.
    07:00 Pour Bath B in and invert 4 times in the first 30 seconds followed by a sharp tap on the bottom of the tank to dislodge any possible air bubbles. Then one gentle inversion every 30 seconds always followed by a sharp tap on the bottom of the tank to dislodge any possible air bubbles.
    11:45 Pour Bath B out of tank into a jug.
    12:00 Pour in water stop bath and agitate constantly
    12:45 Pour water stop bath out into the drain.
    13:00 Pour in fix and agitate constantly
    15:00 Remove films from tank and place into a large jug of water and leave until all of the pink dye is removed from the film then return the film to the fix for a further 2 minutes.
    Finally, wash using the Ilford method.

    A note on mixing the chemicals and use
    ◦ I mix up 1 litre of Bath A (my tank is the 1 litre version that can accommodate up to 4 films) and store in a 1 litre dark brown glass bottle. This one litre is sufficient for 24 films (but note the following point about Bath B).
    ◦ I mix up two litres of Bath B at the normal 12g of Sodium Metaborate (which are stored in two 1 litre dark brown glass bottles) and use each bottle of Bath B for 12 films and then discard.
    ◦ I mix up one litre of Bath B at the N+ dilution of 20g of Sodium Metaborate (which is stored in a 1 litre dark brown glass bottles) and use rarely when needed.


    A note on the N-, N and N+ dilutions
    ◦ 99% of all my photographs are developed with the N version of Bath B. I have never had any negative where I felt that it should have been developed using the N- version of Bath B.
    ◦ The N+ version of Bath B is useful but not in the sense of a strict +1 stop expansion (which can be much better achieved by selenium toning the negative). If I photograph something that has dark shadows and bright highlights but also a significant part of the scene is relatively lacking in mid-tone separation then I use the N+ version of Bath B. This has a significant effect on expanding the mid-tones of a scene that was lacking such a mid-tone separation.

    Having just quickly looked through the 100 odd images on my website, there are 6 photographs where I used the N+ Bath B and all of the rest were developed using the normal Bath B.

    Best of luck finding your own best way of using Thornton's two-bath developer - it is a great, reliable and cheap developer.

    Best,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
    Thank you as always you are very helpful.
    "The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering." - Bruce Lee

    "It is better to travel well than to arrive." - Buddha

  10. #30

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    Thank you to those who have given good advice and been helpful.

    I'm going to chalk it up to experience and go find something new to photograph.
    "The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering." - Bruce Lee

    "It is better to travel well than to arrive." - Buddha

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