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  1. #11

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    DK-50 was quite commonly used by sheet film photographers through the 60s. It is a rather nice developer. I found it to have only moderate contrast, somewhat more than D-76 but decidedly less than DK-60a, which was often used for press work. It is not a fine-grain formulation, but is a quite good general purpose developer. It does not give the speed increase seen with D-76, so you need to give full exposure. DK-50 was used undiluted for the older sheet films, but dilution 1+1 was recommended for the more modern types, like Plus-X Pan. (This is similar to the recommendations for D-76, but I've noticed that some of the latest films recommend using D-76 undiluted.) Some recommended developing times from 1969:

    TXP 5 minutes (1+1)
    Tri-X Pan 4.5 (1+1)
    Super-XX 5
    Super-XX 8 (1+1)
    Plus-X Pan 4.5 (1+1) (sheet)
    Plus-X Pan 4 (1+1) (roll)

    The packaging you mention was used for M-Q type developers through the late 40s or early 50s. One part holds the metol and the other everything else. Mixing order is important, so follow the instructions on the can. The stuff may very well still be good.

    Of note is a derivative that was published in the BJP many years ago. It was supposed to give high sharpness with miniature films, and it had quite a following for a while.

    BJ Dilute DK-50 high sharpness developer

    Solution A
    Metol 2.5 g
    Hydroquinone 2.5 g
    Sodium sulfite, anh. 30 g
    Potassium bromide 0.5 g
    WTM 1 l

    Solution B
    Sodium metaborate 50 g
    WTM 1 l

    Use as one-shot.
    Dilute 1:1:3 (A:B:water) for use (1:1:6 for tabular grain films)

    Variations
    Replace potassium bromide with 100 mg of potassium iodide.
    Replace sodium metaborate with carbonate - bicarbonate buffer (40 g sodium carbonate, 10 g sodium bicarbonate)

  2. #12

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    Chris, Is the formula you've given...How to make DK-50? I guess I don't understand :-( I've got the powder, 2 part stuff. I'm looking for time temp stats.
    Thanks,
    Bart

  3. #13

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    Thanks, NWORTH. I will give it a shot.
    Bart

  4. #14
    mts
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    DK-50 diluted 1:1 and used as a one-shot tray developer (start with about 5.5 minutes @ 20C) produces nice negatives on Efke 50 sheet film. As mentioned above it is an old formula that still works well for general pictorial work on sheet films giving slightly higher contrast than D-76. Press photographers favored DK-50 because it produced "punchy" negatives that reproduced well in newsprint.

    In the thread titled "I want to blow up the Moon" I posted an example of Arista 100/DK-50 with an enlarged scan that shows lunar maria. For general pictorial work there is nothing wrong at all with DK-50, in my opinion. You will likely find the old cans still good. I am slowly using up my own stock of a similar vintage with no problems. The Kodak double-can packaging was some of the best ever made.
    Last edited by mts; 05-08-2010 at 10:30 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: added thread reference
    By denying the facts, any paradox can be sustained--Galileo

  5. #15
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    My recipe is to batch it from scratch. And the times are good starting points when you cannot find documrntation on the films you wish to use with DK50 film developer.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
    APUG BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE
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    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

  6. #16
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Looking at an old thread, I know...

    I was given six gallon kits by a fellow photographer, and found out via a darkroom guru that DK-50 at 1+1 dilution is basically the same as HC-110 Dilution B. I also found the times are very similar. Tri-X 400 shot at EI 320 or so is great at 5 minutes with both developers, for normal contrast lighting.

    Attached shot proves that it's just as fine with roll film as it is with sheet film... The negative is nicely sharp and with tight grain. Plus-X in 645 format.

    - Thomas
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Plus-X - DK50 - 01.jpg  
    "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. #17

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    When I got my first job in a studio in 1964, it was my job to mix all the chemistry each morning for the film room and the print room and all we ever used in the film tanks, was DK50. All weddings were shot in 4x5 and most studio portraits were 5x7 or 8x0 and the film was mostly Tri X Pro 320 or Super Hypan 500 in 120 which was only used for available light candids at weddings when the situation required. I remember DK50 as a pretty reliable developer but a bit contrasty when fresh. When I had important roll film negatives to develop, I would take them home and develop them in Mic X, trying to tame the grain of Super Hypan and it did help but I never told my boss.
    Denise Libby

  8. #18
    mts
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    DK-50 is an excellent pictorial developer for large format, especially so for older films that tend to have lower gamma and longer range. It is a good choice for Efke films. It's by no means bad but not the best choice for 35mm or medium format films.

    Use if for low to medium contrast lighting, because it tends to give higher gamma than you will like for brightly lit outdoor scenes. It is excellent for portraiture done in open shade. This was a favorite for news photography for which higher contrast "snappy" negatives were favored for newspaper reproduction. I often used DK-50 in 1:1 dilution which tends to soften the contrast just a bit. As stated above, D-76 largely replaced it for general use, and also favored by many people in 1:1 dilution.
    By denying the facts, any paradox can be sustained--Galileo

  9. #19

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    i have processed everything from 35mm to 5x7 sheets in it ..
    i used a deep tank and coathangers with a replenished system ...
    the less than 5x7 was my stuff the sheet film was at the portrait studio i worked for.
    like a lot of these developers you need to run a bunch of film through it
    to get it a bit used and it will be perfect after that ...
    we used to mix a new batch after a certain amount of films went through it ( 1000 sheets ? )
    and cut the new developer with 1/4 tank of the seasoned developer ...


    john
    Last edited by jnanian; 07-07-2011 at 04:44 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    silver magnets, trickle tanks sold
    artwork often times sold for charity
    PM me for details

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