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  1. #1
    fhovie's Avatar
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    Sodium Sulfite bath B - for instant Mytol

    PC TEA has been my roll film brew for while and as convenient as it is, I miss the grain softening solvents that I most enjoyed in XTOL. I tried adding Sodium Sulfite to PC-TEA but still did not get the results I was looking for.

    So I tried "instant Mytol" Great! something that will mix easy and not go bad on the shelf. Everything XTOL does and everything XTOL is not (long shelf life.) So there is just one more thing ..... I need to add 60g of sodium sulfite to each liter of working solution. This means powders, dissolving, mixing - using my stirrer that heats up 1L 4 deg by the time everything dissolves. Ahhh, the delights of Pyrocat or PMK. (liquid only)

    So - to the real chemists (I am only a cook): Can I dissolve 600g of sodium sulfite in 500ml of water (so I can use equal parts with stock developer) and put it on the shelf and have it last indefinitely in Amber Glass? Or if not - then 600g in 1000ml so I can mix it 1:2:17
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

  2. #2

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    No, as I recall the solubility of sulfite is about 125g per liter.

    Jurgen

  3. #3
    fhovie's Avatar
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    Any chance of getting a higher concentration in something like glycol?
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

  4. #4

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    I haven't tested it, but the likelihood of getting any appreciable quantity of sodium sulfite in anything other than water is slim.

    Glad you're liking Instant MYTOL anyway. It is quite reliable.

  5. #5
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    I'm missing something here. I can't see how Mytol has better shelf life than XTOL. IIRC it has about as much sulfite as anyone would need. You could use 10% sulfite solution to dilute PC-TEA. 600 g/l? You must be kidding!

    The grain we see in prints, remember, is the "holes" between bits of silver. Are you sure you want to make those holes bigger?
    Gadget Gainer

  6. #6
    fhovie's Avatar
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    Hi Pat:

    I do a lot of push processing with roll film. I use TRI-X and push it to 1600. PC-TEA is easy and it gives good densities and the grain structure is very coarse and sharp. With a finer grain film it would be much better but I need something for hand held in available light. MYTOL/XTOL is a little bit solvent and it tends to reduce the apparent graininess. The Mytol I am referring to in this post is not mixed in water but in TEA and glycol, without any sulfite - appropriate to maintain proper ph. So the stock solution will last many years. The inconvenience is mixing in the sulfite powder for the working solution. It is not a big deal, I have been mixing sulfite in PC-TEA for quite a while, it is just that an all liquid developer would be more convenient and quicker. I know that PC-TEA and MYTOL "should" have similar results but I know that when I enlarge a TRI-X 6x6 neg to 16x20 that was pushed to ASA1600 in MYTOL, the grain is there but not a show stealer. At ASA1600 with PC-TEA, TRI-X has very noticeable grain at even an 8x10 print.
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

  7. #7

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    Pat -- "Instant MYTOL" is something I cooked up in 2006 to simplify the MYTOL recipe. I kept the sodium sulfite and phenidone of the MYTOL formula at their original concentrations, but eliminated the sodium metabisulfite, replaced sodium ascorbate with ascorbic acid, and used triethanolamine to reach the XTOL target pH. The resulting formula is a little easier to mix (fewer ingredients, easier to find) and the results seem the same to me.

    With "Instant MYTOL", it's possible to get everything but the sodium sulfite into a triethanolamine / propylene glycol solution at a concentration high enough that the resulting stock is diluted 1+19 with water to mimic stock MYTOL. (Of course, you then have to add the sodium sulfite to the working solution at 60 g/L.) As far as I know, Frank is asking if it's possible to get this sulfite into an ultra-concentrated stock as well, but I think the answer is no.

    "Instant MYTOL" has worked well for me with HP5 Plus, Tri-X, Acros, and Fomapan 200. I've also had some feedback from other users and it seems to be a pretty reliable formula. I use the XTOL developing times directly.

    There is an article about it here on APUG: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum223/...ant-mytol.html
    Explanation of the rationale from my website: http://www.photosensitive.ca/wp/archives/50
    A page with the glycol / TEA stock formula: http://www.photosensitive.ca/wp/easy-film-developers

  8. #8
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    And of course I was poking a little fun besides. I'm sure you cannot get 600 grams of sulfite to dissolve in a liter of water. I remember a recipe, I think it was in Kodak's recipes for reversal processing to remove the bleached image from the first developer, that called for 200. I don't see why 10% sulfite couldn't be mixed in large quantities and used to dilute either the PC-TEA or the instant Mytol. It should last quite a while before it turns to sulfate. You could be mixing next week's batch while you are using the last of this week's.

    If you want to try it, you can use hydroquinone along with or in place of ascorbic acid in PC-TEA as long as there is some sulfite in the final solution. I'm really getting old, I guess, because I can't see enough grain in HP5+ to keep me from using PC-TEA without sulfite. I have some 11x14 enlargements from 35 mm, though, that an artist friend thinks are fine and she's nowhere near 80 years old.
    Gadget Gainer

  9. #9
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    P.S.
    I think there is an optimum amount of sulfite that needs to be discovered for each use. Any subject I have had to push for seemed quite at home with some grain, but it should complement the gradations, like a charcoal drawing on rough paper is sometimes more powerful than one painted on a smooth surface. Pushing is a good grain intensifier, which I always figured was due to infectious development. If I have my druthers, I would druther develop as little as possible and use a higher contrast in printing. I never liked the idea that shadows had to have a certain density in the neg as long as there is some slope to the H&D curve.
    Gadget Gainer

  10. #10
    fhovie's Avatar
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    I do a lot of 4x5 enlargements and 8x10 contact prints, so my tolerance to grain is in that context. I have some photos that I took with 6x6 tri-x and pushed 2 stops and blew up to 16x20. Yep there is grain - but it is not objectionable - it actually adds to the mood of the shot - I would miss it if it were not there. But that was with Mytol. I get grain like that and even more with an 8x10 from pc-tea on a push. So if I am making 5x7 prints from 6x6 (which is quite often) PC TEA is great - The look is tacky sharp and I like it a lot. If I want to push it and enlarge it, It needs to be done with Mytol or the grain is just too much - I draws the attention from the subject rather than enhance the subject.
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

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