Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
I think D-76 is the best developer of all time. When you make it up, it is a bit like draught Guinness, you have to wait for it. But once made you can't go wrong.
Kodak spent many years looking at how to imporve D76 which is a derivation of a much older Wellington & Ward Buffered Borax developer. As a consequence there are over a dozen variants of D76 all but one (DK76b) containing both Metol and Hydroquinone

However there was an un-numbereed Kodak Fine Grain Developer published in 1927.

From the 1928 British Journal Photographic Almanac.

Eastman Kodak Research Fine Gran Developer 1927

For Fine grain. - A developer recommended by the Eastman Kodak Research Laboratories for use when images of specially fine grain are required is as follows:-

Metol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 gr (2g)
Sodium Sulphite (anhyd) . . . . . . 400gr (100g)
Borax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 gr (2g)
Water to . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 ozs (1600ml)

The developer works more slowly than those of normal formula. - A.P., May 25, p. 504.

This seems to be one of the earliest published Fine Grain developer from Kodak.



One of the problems with D76 is the high sulphite level and if this is dropped slightly as in Adox Borax MQ there can be some significant improvements in terms of better sharpness, slightly higher film speed, cleaner working (less solvency effects) which helps improve tonality.


Adox Borax MQ (Fotokemia FR-2)

Metol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2g
Sodium Sulphite (anhyd) . . . . . 80g
Hydroquinone . . . . . . . . . . . . 4g
Borax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4g
Potassium Bromide . . . . . . . . 0.5g
Water to . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 litre

Another option which was commercially available in the US:


Agfa 44 (Agfa-Ansco 17)


Metol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.5g
Sodium Sulphite (anhyd) . . . . . 80g
Hydroquinone . . . . . . . . . . . . 3g
Borax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3g
Potassium Bromide . . . . . . . . . 0.5g
Water to . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 litre


If I still used a developer of this type it would be Adox Borax MQ, it lives up to what Geoffreu Crawley wrote about it back in the early 1960's, and with 35mm negatives there's a noticable improvement over D76.

Ian