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  1. #1

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    monobath developer ( developer+fixer in same bath)

    can anyone give me information about good monobath developers?
    does anyone still use this sort of thing? if you do, do you like it, is it convenient, or is it a total waste of time?

    the other night, i had a conversation with a chemist who did a lot of work with the photo lab index. he sparked my interest in this sort of thing when told me of some monobaths that he created for himself. his film was always "ultra sharp" and he attributed it to the monobath chemistry he processed his film in. just to give you an example of how sharp his film was ... he shot 9mm film of a scene & made an enlargements. prominent photographers thought it was shot on large format because it was really really sharp and details like a man's bloodshot eyes &C could easily be seen.

    for those who use monobaths, i have a PLI from the late 30s or 40s, is there a specific formula i should look at to try this out? or do you have a favorite you like to use? is there a good one will they work with today's films being not as silver-rich & filled with poly-vinyls? i know the chemist suggested that if he used his secret formula today, he would have problems with reticulation because of the lack of silver.

    and lastly - are there any issues regarding archival stability &C when you use a single bath "system" like this, or is it all pretty much the same?

    much thanks! ( in advance)

    - john

  2. #2

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    John, Polaroid Instant Film is a good example of a surviving monobath system (it is a viscous monobath).

    With regard to archival characteristics of a negative processed in a monobath, Polaroid 55PN and its smaller counterpart require additional processing of the negative to achieve archival properties. I have been post processing and storing microphotographs as 55PN negatives for years (it appears pretty much identical to Kodak Panatomic X).

    I know I have a number of monobath recipes in my collection of Dignan's Notes (I have a whole file cabinet drawer full of Patrick Dignan's notes). I'll take a look and let you know.

    By the way, I am skeptical about the "lack of silver" thing. I don't know of any causal connections between abundance of silver (or lack thereof) and reticulation.
    Tom Hoskinson
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  3. #3
    gainer's Avatar
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    An alternative to monobath is to add an amount of fixer concentrate to the developer after development is done. Agitate vigorously for a while to get thorough mixing. The amount to add is no less than 1/16 the amount of developer. You may have to pour out a little developer to make room. I have used this method with TF4 concentrate. Even though it is not acidic, it stops the development quickly.
    Gadget Gainer

  4. #4

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    Yes Pat, and if you couple this technique with stand or semi-stand development you will get very high acutance and excellent micro tonality as well.
    Tom Hoskinson
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  5. #5

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    Monobath formulae

    MONOBATH DEVELOPER

    Water (50c) 600ml
    SODIUM SULPHITE (Anhyd) 50.0g
    HYDROQUINONE 12.0g
    PHENIDONE 4.0g
    SODIUM HYDROXIDE 4.0g
    SODIUM THIOSULPHATE (Hypo) 110.0g
    WATER To make 1 Litre

    Do not dilute for use.
    Process for 6 min's at 20c. Agitation for first 30 seconds then 15 sec's every minute on the minute. To adjust the contrast use greater or lesser amounts of Hypo. Use of more will result in a softer image, less increases contrast.
    I have not tried this myself but saved this formulae because I'm dying to give it a try sometime. Have fun!

  6. #6

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    I just developed a roll of Kodak TMY 400 in Pat Gainer's PC-TEA developer (Triethanolamine, L-ascorbic acid, phenidone). I used Pat's one-shot fix procedure (TF-4 concentrate). The agitation was gentle, 10 seconds/minute for 9.5 minutes at 70F. I am attaching the densitometry data and curve that resulted (as a PDF file).

    I have another roll of 120 TMY exposed under identical conditions. I will try it stand developed for 13 minutes at 70F and post the results.

    If all goes well with that test, I'll try some comparative tests that will look for differences in acutance and microtonality.
    Attached Files
    Tom Hoskinson
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  7. #7

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    thanks for the responses AND the fun forumulas!

    the chemist-guy i mentioned made the comments about the lack of silver & poly vinyls about 4 times in the conversation ( maybe more! ) and said that when he was feeling up to it, he was going to work on his "secret formula" to compensate for the reticulation. yeah, i am generally clueless and gullible . just the same, i didn't really have any reason to doubt him since he was the guy that did ALL the film /paper/developer &C microscopic-analysis for the photo lab index for 50+ years ... but you never know, he might have sensed my cluelessness and was having a little fun with me
    Last edited by jnanian; 06-30-2004 at 09:38 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: forgot a few words here and there

  8. #8
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Also check over at the B&W film processing forum at photo.net. There was a good thread on monobaths a few months back. Maybe Lex Jenkins remembers offhand where it is.

  9. #9

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    I have been going through the Dignan Notes, and there is a substantial amount of information on monobaths - including a lot of recipes.

    I will a post a short technical note by Pat Dignan on the general subject of monobaths (and their limitations) as soon as I scan it and run it through my OCR program.
    Tom Hoskinson
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  10. #10

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    Tom, that would be great. Looking forward to erading it. Many thanks

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