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  1. #1
    Snapshot's Avatar
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    Two-Step Paper Development

    Hi All,

    I'm experimenting with two-step paper development. Anyone have any basic advice as to obtain the best results? My current process involves 60 seconds in D-72 diluted at 1+3 and 60 seconds in D-72 diluted at 1+1. The results look fine but if anyone can offer any other helpful tidbits of advice, that would be great.
    "The secret to life is to keep your mind full and your bowels empty. Unfortunately, the converse is true for most people."

  2. #2

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    What are your goals with the two-step technique? If it's contrast control you might be better off learning the split-filtration technique instead. A problem comes immediately to mind with what you are doing and that is developer carry-over: as you move prints from one developer to the next your second developer will become increasingly 'contaminated' with any of the first developer that remains on the print. Trying to solve this with an intermediate water rinse will just carry over water instead, slowly diluting your second developer. It would be tough to maintain consistency enough for processing notes to be useful unless you make only a very few prints before dumping and starting over with fresh chemicals.

  3. #3
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    Using the two dilutions of D72 you listed will have little or no affect on the final result. For two bath development you need to use a hard working developer such as D72 and a soft working developer such as Kodak Selectol Soft. Start by using the manufactuers suggested dilutions and split the development time of say 3 minutes equally between the two developers. When you see the results from that combination experiment by using different developer dilutions and different times in each developer. For example, I use a very strong hard working developer 1 to 2 or 3 instead of the recommended 1 to 9 and a very dilute soft working developer 1 to 4 or5 instead of the recommended 1 to 1 or 2. With that combination I leave the print in the hard developer until the first sign of the image appears and then transfer it to the soft working developer for the remainder of the development. Experiment until you find a combination that produces the print contrast and tonality you prefer.
    "Digital circuits are made from analogue parts"
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    Website: www.lesmcleanphotography.com

  4. #4
    Snapshot's Avatar
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    The goal is to improve the tonality of the image. Contrast control is of secondary consideration but important as well. I know that using differing dilutions of D-72 would limit results but I didn't know which soft developer to use with D-72. It sounds like that using only D-72 is of limited benefit. There is D-52 that could fit the bill but as Nacio pointed out, it would contaminate the D-72 solution with a different developer formula.
    "The secret to life is to keep your mind full and your bowels empty. Unfortunately, the converse is true for most people."

  5. #5

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    The Defender 52-D TWO-SOLUTION VARIABLE CONTRAST DEVELOPER recipe sounds to me like it would meet your requirements. And the BEERS developer should do so as well.
    Tom Hoskinson
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    Everything is analog - even digital :D

  6. #6
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Usually the soft working first developer is Metol based with little or no Hydroquinone, and the second developer a more regular Metol/Hydroquinone.

    The carry over of the first developer has negligible effect on the second developer, ie as les says Selectol Soft / Dektol (D72). However any contamination of the first developer with the second does have a huge effect on its softness.

    Ian

  7. #7
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    Having used the combination I suggested for at least 20 years I can speak from a well tested personal experience. I often dilute my hard (D72 or Dektol) developer 1 to 3, the recommended dilution is 1 to 9 so it is a quite strong developer. The Selectol Soft is diluted 1 to 4 or 5 sometimes even 1 to 6, the suggested dilution is 1 to 2 making my dilution very weak. I place the print in the hard developer first and as soon as the first tone appears on the paper (usually 15 to 25seconds) I remove the print from the dev, drain it and place it in the selectol Soft where I leave it a give continuous agitation until the image reaches the desired tonality. Those on APUG who have seen me work this way will, I'm sure agree that the blacks are deep and rich and the highlights are very subtley on the paper.

    Sorry to disagree with you here Ian but I have noticed no significant change in the Selectol Soft development as a result of carryover of hard developer. I have to admit that when I first started working this way I did consider the carryover may be a problem so I tested it and found no significant differences when making the same print at the beginning and the end of a printing session.

    Obviously, as I said in my first post this is not the only way to work with two bath development and I'dstrongly suggest that experimentation is the best way to go to decide what best suits your taste.

    For those who may be interested this is one of the demonstrations I'll be doing in my Darkroom Workshop at Foto3.
    "Digital circuits are made from analogue parts"
    Fourtune Cookie-Brooklyn May 2006

    Website: www.lesmcleanphotography.com

  8. #8

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    If your goal is to improve tonal quality, you might try using a better developer.

  9. #9
    david b's Avatar
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    I've done some two bath developing with some contrasty negs.

    1.5 minutes in Selectol Soft and then 1.5 minutes in Dektol with very pleasing results.

  10. #10
    Snapshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowell Huff View Post
    If your goal is to improve tonal quality, you might try using a better developer.
    What would be recommended? I'm mixing my own right now but if there is something that would improve the tonal range, I would be interested.
    "The secret to life is to keep your mind full and your bowels empty. Unfortunately, the converse is true for most people."

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