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  1. #1

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    split b&w paper developer

    Hello everyone,
    please tell me if there are formulas for split (divided) b&w paper developers.

    I know there is a process called 2-bath paper developer that involves the use of two developing baths, each containing a 'complete' developer (one soft and one hard) but that is not what I am talking about.

    How about a split paper developer where the 'activator' in bath B energizes the main developer absorbed by the paper in bath A to keep maximum black under control and let us worry less about time and temperature changes?

  2. #2

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    I don't know of a commercial one available, but you could get a copy of Anchell's "Darkroom Cookbook" and mix any one of ones listed and divide the dev yourself.

    I've never done this myself, but in theory, it should work.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by egm66 View Post
    How about a split paper developer where the 'activator' in
    bath B energizes the main developer absorbed by the paper
    in bath A to keep maximum black under control and let us
    worry less about time and temperature changes?
    A poster who, IIRC went by the name Maniac, regularly
    used a split as you describe. He regularly pluged it's
    advantages. I've considered using the method
    but as I process single tray and intend to
    continue so I've let the method lay. Dan

  4. #4

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    Buy a copy of View Camera magazine. There is an in-depth article on point this month. D-23 and Diafine were the developers tested. Excellent mag by the way...

  5. #5
    david b's Avatar
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    I have used Kodak Selectol Soft and Kodak Dektol, in two different trays, as a two bath process.

    Works rather well.

  6. #6
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    You shouldn't worry about time anyway, because ultimately, for consistency sake, you should always match your exposure in the enlarger to the developing time. I always use 3 minutes with Ansco 130 and 2 minutes with Ilford Multigrade.

    Tell me, beyond the temperature issue, what do you hope to gain?

    Instead, I would suggest to purchase a device to keep your chemistry at temp. Piglet warmers from farming supplies is a good inexpensive solution. I use an oil heated radiator that sits underneath the developer bath. I have a thermometer in the developer tray and shut the heater off when it gets too warm and turn it back on when it gets too cold. Works well too if you can stand the turning on/off all the time.

    Just a suggestion.

    - Thomas

    Quote Originally Posted by egm66 View Post
    Hello everyone,
    please tell me if there are formulas for split (divided) b&w paper developers.

    I know there is a process called 2-bath paper developer that involves the use of two developing baths, each containing a 'complete' developer (one soft and one hard) but that is not what I am talking about.

    How about a split paper developer where the 'activator' in bath B energizes the main developer absorbed by the paper in bath A to keep maximum black under control and let us worry less about time and temperature changes?
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  7. #7
    gainer's Avatar
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    Years ago there was a sort of divided developer system using special paper with a developing agent incorporated in the emulsion. As is my wont, I perverted it somewhat. The paper, available in a good quality fiber based double weight, was meant to be used with a stabilization system using a roller transport developer with 2 trays. The first activated the developer, which was very rapid acting, and the second held the stabilizer, which IIRC was a thiocyanate solution. Prints made with this system lasted long enough for reproduction, were ready for that use immediately, and could be fixed and washed for permanent storage. I used to run the prints straight from the processor into a tray of fixer. When the machine broke down or I ran out of either activator or stabilizer, I would develop the prints in a strong carbonate solution and fix them in the usual manner. The resulting prints were as good as any other, depending as usual on the care taken in making them.

    My efforts to use a similar process on RC papers was not good. Some of them did have developer incorporated in the emulsion, and may still have, but generally the emulsion is too thin to carry enough developer into even a very strong activator solution. You could probably use the MQ of D-72 as a first bathe and a strong solution of carbonate as the second. Some bromide will probably be in order as well. Paper is generally developed to completion by whatever method we use. I learned long ago that any print I had to jerk from the developer before it was done would have to be done again with the proper exposure and contrast grade.

    Anyway, there's not much to be lost by trying. Look up the recipe for D-72. Mix all the ingredients but the carbonate into one solution and the carbonate into the second. You may not be able to get the touted magical effects of a divided film developer, but you can have fun trying. Especially, if you are looking to stretch grade 2 paper into grade 1---Lots of luck!
    Gadget Gainer

  8. #8

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    I wish to thank all the nice people who responded. Unfortunately noone here sells the View Camera magazine or Anchell's book. With stored water at a temperature of 28C/82F and ambient temperature in excess of 30C/86F a tray heater is probably redundant. My (perhaps foolish) idea was to tackle the anxiety of removing (and draining) fibre paper from a non-split developer tray before it gallops towards terminal blackness by having the divided second bath activate only 'as much' developer as the paper was able to absorb in the first. I may well try splitting up the D-72 formula and see if the beast can be tamed. If that doesn't work what other options are there to 'slow down' the process? ND filters under the enlarger lens, a rheostat for the enlarger bulb or an increase in the standard developer dilution?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by egm66 View Post
    v
    If that doesn't work what other options are there
    to 'slow down' the process? ND filters under the enlarger
    lens, a rheostat for the enlarger bulb or an increase in the
    standard developer dilution?
    I use print developer very dilute, one-shot. Goes well with
    single tray processing. At room temperatures, going on
    four minutes is a normal developing time. Dilute. Dan

  10. #10
    gainer's Avatar
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    The proper exposure under the enlarger should prevent "terminal blackness." Too much exposure will not get you a good print no matter how little you develop it. Too little will not get you a good print no matter how much you develop it. If you cannot stop down the enlarger lens enough to get a good exposure in a reasonable time, then some neutral density can be added in the light path. The best place to do that is between the lamp and the negative, so as to prevent loss of acuity in the image plane.
    Gadget Gainer

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