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  1. #1
    Marc Leest's Avatar
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    DIY Low-contrast paper developer

    I am doing some experiments with graded papers, but have sometimes need for a low contrast paper developer.
    Could such a developer mixed from chemicals using phenidone ?

    thx, Marc
    We cannot change how the cards are dealt, just how to play the hand...
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  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Yes, Ilford published just such a formula in a Patent over 60 years ago. But it will be very much softer than the Metol equivalent, which is published as ID-3

    Kendall 1941 - Phenidone Patent.
    U. S. Patent No. 2,289,367

    Example 1

    Phenidone 6 gm.
    Sodium sulphite (anhyd.) 25 gm.
    Sodium carbonate (anhyd.) 37.5 gm.
    Potassium Bromide 1gm.
    Water to make 1 litre

    To use 1+3
    Results are similar in characteristics to a Metol only developer using the same weight of developer, only softer.

    ID-3 is an excellent soft working developer and gives similar results to Selectol Soft (Kodak) and Adaptol (Agfa)

    You can try it and see

    Ian

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Leest View Post
    I am doing some experiments with graded papers,
    but have sometimes need for a low contrast paper developer.
    Could such a developer mixed from chemicals using phenidone?
    Sure. I've records some where covering a series
    of tests done with phenidone only and that plus other
    developing agents. IIRC a phenidone -sulfite -carbonate
    mix will yield low contrast by limiting the blacks to a
    very dark gray. Mid-tones and highlights were
    very nice. If Max Black is not your goal test
    out a few combinations of the three
    chemicals I've mentioned. Dan

  4. #4
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    Diluted developer or developer/water batch cycles will lower contrast. You will have to increase the exposure to compensate. It works best on highlight contrast. If overdone the blacks get murky and grey. The print tone usually goes to the warm end, if dilute enough it is possible to get orange prints though there is very little contrast in the print.

    It's the same overexpose/underdevelop procedure that is used for film. The reason for using dilution instead of just shortening developing time is that it is very hard to get even paper development with very short development times. Most soft working developers are just slow developers. If you leave the print in a soft working developer long enough the results are pretty much the same as Dektol/D-72.
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  5. #5
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Most soft working developers are just slow developers. If you leave the print in a soft working developer long enough the results are pretty much the same as Dektol/D-72

    Umm, maybe in YOUR darkroom, not in mine.

    Ilford MG FB surely isn't comparable to old standards like Elite or Portriga,
    but is the defacto standard to day, and comparing step wedge results from Ilford MG with
    120 and D-72, the soft developer gives a longer scale and different curve shape.

    'In between formulae like LPD, 130-minus-HQ, and Selectol give 'in-between' results.
    Mixing your own developers gives more flexibility because you can leave out the restrainer,
    adding it only as you need it. But even with off the shelf developers, the differences
    between the 3 developer types are significant, repeatable, and consistent.

    And the results are DIFFERENT from filtration differences.

    The upshot of this is that a photographer with an open mind and a little ambition,
    can test the paper / developer combinations and design a film curve to suit each one.

    The silver printing universe is a lot more interesting than commonly understood.
    .
    .
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    .
    Last edited by df cardwell; 06-10-2008 at 07:05 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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  6. #6
    MurrayMinchin's Avatar
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    Have you tried mixing up some Ansco 120? A photographer who's printing I really respect wrote that Ansco 120 is superior to Selectol Soft in that Ansco 120 doesn't 'veil' the print like Selectol Soft does. I mixed up some 120 (the first developer from scratch I ever did) made a side by side comparison between the two, and will never use Selectol Soft again!

    Murray
    Last edited by MurrayMinchin; 06-10-2008 at 08:49 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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  7. #7
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell View Post
    Most soft working developers are just slow developers. If you leave the print in a soft working developer long enough the results are pretty much the same as Dektol/D-72

    Umm, maybe in YOUR darkroom, not in mine.
    Well, here is what happens in my darkroom. Step tablet results look the same. The only differences are lower D-Max for A-130 developer and slightly less speed, both indicating the A-130 development should have gone on a bit longer.
    http://www.darkroomautomation.com/su...fbwta130hd.jpg
    http://www.darkroomautomation.com/su...vfbwtd72hd.jpg

    Could you post your results?
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  8. #8
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    So Agfa-Ansco 130 is a standard print developer. It shouldn't be much different to D72.

    Afga Ansco 120 is the Soft working developer.

    Ian

  9. #9

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    There are four recipes in "The Darkroom Cookbook", but they use metol, not phenidone; could be alternatives, tho'.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell View Post
    [I]
    ... comparing step wedge results from Ilford MG with
    120 and D-72, the soft developer gives a longer scale
    and different curve shape.

    'In between formulae like ...
    Mixing your own developers gives more flexibility ...

    And the results are DIFFERENT from filtration differences.
    There ARE soft and hard developers; Beer's and Ansel
    Adams' split Ansco 130 are the two most known examples
    of Contrast Control developers. Edwal markets another.

    The one significant difference twixt the soft and hard forms
    of those three contrast control developers is HYDROQUINONE.
    Hydroquinone when active in a developer disproportionately
    reduces the more exposed silver halides over the less.
    That builds contrast.

    BTW, Ansco 120 and Beer's A, the soft, share the same
    formula save for the stock strength concentration. Dan

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