i mention the film times because most people these days only use ansco 130 for paper, and it seems folks don't know that it was marketed for developing film as well. about 7 years ago i lived in a loft outside of boston. there was a can of "GAF Universal Developer" that sat on a drafty sill in the darkroom. i ran out of $$ at one point, and while i had a bunch of film, i didn't have a lot of money for developer ... so i thought "what the heck". i mixed the can that made 5 gallons of developer and decided to use it. first i made prints with it, to make sure it was okay, after all it was a can in a window sill for the better part of 20 years .. and boy did the darkroom get hot in the summer and cold in the winter ...
my prints were really nice - grays i hadn't seen before seemed to just appear ...
you folks that use ansco 130 / forumlary paper developer know what i mean
i thought, wow, if it does this for paper, what the heck will my film look like!
i shot as much film as possible that summer - roll and sheet, and processed like mad. now i know that ansco 130 has a huge shelf life, but back then i had never heard of ansco 130 so i thought, "if this summer is like last summer i better shoot and process fast cause the developer will die and die quick" ..
i must have shot 100 rolls of 35 mm film and 3 boxes of 4x5 film. my negatives looked as nice as the paper i printed.
when i finished up with the 5 gallons: i was kind of depressed. i asked as many people as i could about GAF Universal, and the only people that had a clue were old timers, and they smiled and said that i was outta luck since GAF was out of the photo-biz ... the internet was kind of young in those days and even though i did searches, i found nothing.
over the years i had been intouch with jc welch at equinox photographic in oregon. we got talking about "stuff" and i mentioned the developer - he knew it, and looked the name up in a reference book he had. he told me that it was the same as ansco 130 - the same stuff that the forumulary sells as their paper developer
... that was 3-4 years ago, and i haven't used another developer since. all i can say is that if you like what it does for your paper, try it with film. it is a fine grain developer, and gives really nice tonal values.
have a nice new year!