Lith film developers are high pH (sometimes Sodium Hydroxide as the B - wear gloves), and high on the developing agent and moderate on restrainer agents like sulfite and bromide.

Many are A - the developing agent, sulfite reservative and restrainer, and B- the accelerator

D-85 is an exception. It is one solution, but finding the formaldehyde form in flakes is a challenge:

Kodalith developer for lith film
Water, not over 90F/32C 500 ml
Sodium Sulfite (anhydrous) 30 g - quite low for a film developer
Paraformaldeyhde 7.5 g - a preservative (dry form of formaldehyde) since sulfite is low, I think
Sodium Bisulfite 2.2 g - sets a pH as the accelerator
Boric Acid (granular) 7.5 g - may buffer with the bisulfuite to keep the pH stable
Hydroquinone 22.5 g - this is a lot of developing agent per litre
Potassium Bromide 1.6 g - this is quite small relative to the amount of develioping agent
Cold water to make 1L

Mixing instructions: Add chemicals in specified sequence. When mixing, seal the bottle to exclude air as each chemical is added. Allow to stand for 2 hours after mixing. Cool to 68F/20C for use. Store any unused solution in a smaller bottle, or use an amber bottle with glass marbles to exclude as much air as possible.

Dilution: Use undiluted for maximum density.

Starting point development time: 2 mins.

More common A+B is D-8 Kodalith type developer, made up in two parts so the B does not kill off the A before being used on film


Part A
Water 125F 750ml
Sodium Sulfite 90g
Hydroquinone 45g
Potassium Bromide 30.0g
to 1L

Part B
Water 50F (this is important) 750mL
Sodium hydroxide 37.5g
Water to make 1 liter

Dilute 1 part A to 1 part B to 1 part water.
Target time is about 2 minutes @68 degrees
Contrast is very high.

This developer will be dead in the tray in less than half an hour after mixing and dilution. Dilute in bits as you go.

When compared to D-85, the actual working dilution of the HQ, and sulfite are similar; there is double the restrainer in D-8, so less 'infectious development' I believe is the term.

Typically you tray develop orthochromatic high contrast graphic arts lith films to some extent by inspection under red safelight, which can be quite bright, compared to typical yellowish MG paper safelight filtration.

Try out dim yellow as a safelight test; you may not need to worry about sourcing red filters if levels are low.

My red filters are rubylith and supporting acetate cut to fit where the yellow filters usually go.

I have a few hundred feet of Ortho Lith film in 35mm, and a fair number of 14x17 boxes of sheet film. EI6 is typically the daylight working speed. I treat it like enlarging paper as a staring point when making enlarged negs under the enlarger.