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Thread: Dektol etc.

  1. #1
    David Ruby's Avatar
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    I have always used plain old Dektol for my paper developer, Kodak indicator stop bath, and RapidFix fixer. Reading various posts here and there, I always here a whole bunch of other names, never Dektol etc.

    Am I the only one using this stuff? Is the other stuff better (if so, why?)?

    This was the stuff that was always in the public darkroom where I got my start, and I guess it was one less unknown when I got my own. I just just curious if it was considered more of a hobbyist developer or if there were other reasons I never hear it mentioned. Thanks.

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    I for one think it is a very versatile paper dev. And it lasts long too!
    Francesco

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    Dektol is a fantastic paper developer, imo. Now, I haven't experimented much with traditional chemistry, but it would not surprise me to hear somebody more experienced than myself say that Dektol is one of the most versatile developers out there. I experiment with alternative techniques often, and it seems something always calls for dektol. For instance, to tone a cyanotype, which is originally blue, back to black, you need dektol and tannic acid. If you look at the literature for Liquid Light, Dektol is the name they give when suggesting a developer. If you're thinking about making enlarged negatives for contact printing processes, most will recommend Arista OrthoLith in Dektol. Just a few examples off the top of my head. If you're more interested in experimenting within traditional printing processes, you may want to experiment with other developers for different tones, contrast, tonal range, etc. I would suggest buying The Darkroom Cookbook and mixing your own in that case. But if you think you'll be delving into alternative processes, stick with dektol. It'll come in handy more often than you can imagine.

    Aurore

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    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with using dektol. It certainly rates being called the "standard" developer. But there is lot of variety out there. I think as people branch out in photography, they try different things to see if they work better than what they are currently using. In my case, I started seeing threads about Agfa Neutol WA giving results similar to Amidol. I tried it and found that it indeed gave better highligts and highlight seperation than dektol or the combination of selectol soft and dektol. At the same time, I explored Amidol and confirmed to myself all the good things that had been said about it.

    Now my practice is to do my proofing with Neutol, saving the relatively expensive Amidol for the final prints. Still have a gallon of dektol setting on the shelf just in case.

  5. #5
    Bruce Osgood's Avatar
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    Dektol is the Mother Of All Developers. Most of today's 'alternative' developers can be traced back to the Dektol roots. It hasn't changed in 100 years. It is the benchmark of developers. It may be said that everybody uses Dektol, in one form or another.

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    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    A couple things I forget in my first reply.

    First, this is a multi-national forum. Dektol use may not be as prevelent outside North America. There's also Agfa and Ilford in Europe and I think Fuji markets chemicals outside the USA. Plus, there's the small niche companies that are springing up offering alternatives to the Great Yellow. For example, Phtographer's Formularie offers its versions of improved dektol and many others.

    Second, it all depends on what you are trying to achieve. Many participants here are into alternative processes. Second, many choose to mix their own brews. There are many developer formulations out there which used to be commercial products but are no longer commercially available, Ansco 120 and Ansco 130 come to mind.

    Even Michael A. Smith, Guru of Azo and Amidol, admits to still using dektol once in a while if he wants a cold-toned Azo print.

    Bottom line, dektol has to have something going for it to survive on the market as long as it has. But, the alternatives are out there for the pickins.

  7. #7

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    I have been using Dektol for decades and is my stock developer for RC and some fiber papers. It has always been a consistent performer, economical and consistent.

    I do not use Dektol with Warm tone papers as I get a slight green tint and prefer to mix my own.

    - Mike

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    I have pretty much always used Dektol. I use others from time to time and do use Zonal Pro with Forte Warmtone, but I always have Dektol mixed and on hand.

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    I have pretty much always used Dektol. I use others from time to time and do use Zonal Pro with Forte Warmtone, but I always have Dektol mixed and on hand.

  10. #10
    Ole
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Hawley
    A couple things I forget in my first reply.

    First, this is a multi-national forum. Dektol use may not be as prevelent outside North America.
    You're right, Alex. I had never heard of Dektol until I started reading American books. Neutol WA is the closest equivalent in Europe, along with various Ilford developers.

    I still haven't used Dektol, and don't think I will. Homemade Ansco 130 is my new standard
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

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