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  1. #1

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    Dual-developer development

    Anyone ever try developing a negative (or roll) in multiple developers? Like a two-solution or divided developer process, but with two different developers instead of a single divided developer or developer + alkali etc. I'm not a chemist so this might just be crazy talk but figured I'd ask.

    For example, suppose you're shooting 35mm Delta 100, and you want the film speed of say DDX, but the super fine grain of stock Perceptol. Could you use DDX first, at a higher concentration (maybe 1+2), agitate for 1 minute, then let it stand for a short time , maybe 1 minute (so total two minutes so far to get full development of zones I-II), then a water rinse (or stop bath followed by water rinse), then pour in Perceptol 1+0 and continue development until the highlights are wherever you want them.

    I guess my "reasoning" here is since relatively little silver is deposited in the low zones the possible increase in grain from using a highly active DDX solution won't be apparent in the print, while at the same time almost all of the mid to high value development is by Perceptol, yielding extremely fine grain. Obviously testing would be required to establish smooth gradation etc. Is there any merit to this?

  2. #2
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    To develop Delta 100, I use 8ml of Rodinal in with 500ml of XTOl and 600ml of tap water, all souped in together - shot at 100ASA for 8m 45sec

    YMMV

    The cocktail seemed to give all the fine grain charachersistics of XTOL but with much better actuance

    Reading your post, I wouldn't use Stop Bath until you are completely finished with development as all future development is severely restrained in an acidic enviroment. Agitated plain tap water should be sufficient to bring the first stage of development to a halt in a reasonably quick time.

    There is only one way to really find out these things - give it a go - it might give you something

    Martin

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the response. I first thought of a stop bath after the first developer for precision, and that would be followed by a thorough water rinse to remove any acidity before the second developer. But you're probably right about just using a plain water rinse between developers. I guess you're right - only one way to find out if something like this would work. I'm wondering if the grain might come out looking strange with two developers, but I'm too curious not to try it.

  4. #4
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    If you do do (doo-doo?) a test, I encourage you to have the same subject for each shot and perhaps 3 different exposures for each (+, 0, -). This of course would be easiest with sheet film, as 3 rolls of film might be a PITA. You could spool 12-exp. rolls I guess.

    That might be what you're planning to do anyways, but a test is meaningless with two different subjects.

    Sounds interesting!

  5. #5

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    Thanks. My plan was to try this with 35mm first since I don't have any grain concerns with large format. Normally when I start testing I first do it with straight sensitometry. I'll shoot a bunch of rolls, all exposed at the same EI with the same series of exposures on each roll (zone 1-15), read the negative densities, plot the curves etc, and then make prints so I can compare grain. If I get anything that seems workable in the real world I will then try to make some actual pictorial tests.

    In this case though I have no real starting point so I'll just have to wing it. I'm thinking of maybe trying DDX at 1+2 for x time until I get zone 1 just below where it should be, and then try to get the rest of the development from Perceptol. At least for starters. I have no idea what kind of strange curves, grain etc I might get, but at the very least it will be interesting.

  6. #6
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Awesome, I look forward to the results.
    If you are the big tree, we are the small axe

  7. #7

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    i have done this a few different ways
    with both paper and film negatives and prints.
    i use one developer to get the mid tones ( caffenol c )
    and another developer to boost the contrast ( ansco 130 ) ..
    now i mix a teensy bit of ansco into my caffenol ...for film
    and for prints i use the spent film developer with
    a side car of either 1:1 ansco 130, or straight stock.

    it works very well

    john

  8. #8

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    Thanks for the note John. One of these days I want to try caffenol too. So many materials, so little time...

  9. #9

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    I've done it with Xtol 1:1 followed by some Rodinal. I got interesting looking negatives, very dense highlights with more grain than would be normal for Xtol.
    My experiement was kind of casual, but the method could be useful, though I'm not sure I want to devote enough film in testing to work out the details.

  10. #10
    JPD
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    The details about one of the photos in one of the "Das Deutsche Lichtbild" yearbooks from the 1930's say that the photographer used Rodinal for a couple of minutes and then a Metol/Hydroquinone developer for the film. It didn't say why, though, but probably for the same reason that some here use Xtol and Rodinal.
    J. Patric Dahlén

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