comments from the previous article system:

By Fintan - 10:28 AM, 09-10-2004 Rating: None
Excellent article, I have ordered some grade select to try this technique

By Maine-iac - 01:08 PM, 10-15-2004 Rating: None
While I certainly concur with the technique you've described, there is an even easier and more consistent way to use two-bath developers: to make both hard and soft developers true divided developers, i.e., separating the activating agent (carbonate) from the developing agents.
Tray 1--Soft developer (any formula similar to Selectol soft will work, with the carbonate or whatever alkaline activator omitted.)
Tray 2-- Hard developer, again with activator left out. I use a Dektol-like formula.
Tray 3-- Water with sodium carbonate; proportions not critical. 1/3 cup per liter of water will do nicely.
1. Any temperature will do. Except for extremely cold solutions (under 50 degrees) which slow the process down too much, temperature is not a factor.
2. Any time will do. In Bath A (hard or soft), leave the print in only long enough for the latent image to absorb the required developing agents. This happens very quickly; I usually give it 20-30 seconds just to be sure. Then straight into Bath B (carbonate), where it will develop quickly (within a minute) to completion, BUT NO FURTHER. The activator can only activate the amount of developer soaked up in the first bath. You can leave it in Bath B for hours, but no further development will take place and no increase in contrast beyond what you've put into the negative during exposure or by selecting the hard or soft Bath A.
3. Repeatability from print to print of the same negative. Developer A (hard or soft) does not become exhausted-- only less in volume. Developer B (carbonate) will process about 20-30 8X10's per liter before beginning to poop out. Either just throw in a bit more carbonate or discard and mix fresh bath. It's just activating, so as long as it does that it's OK.
4. It will make you a better printer, since whatever manipulation or contrast choices you're going to do to the print must be done on the easel or by choice of hard or soft Bath A.
With variable contrast paper, combining this divided two-bath developer with split filter printing, prints with a very full range of tones from rich black to delicate highlights and "singing" local contrast values are possible. But the split filter technique is for another post.
Larry Kalajainen

By df cardwell - 02:47 PM, 09-23-2005 Rating: None
LES: Good article. Adams and Vestal taught this technique with one difference, use the soft developer first. Reason being, the HQ carries over into the Soft bath and makes it progressively more contrasty. However, the first bath DOES establish the 'look', and subtle differences will result. Thanks for posting it !
Larry: Split paper developer is a very good technique. My experience, though, is that one has more control with two developers. Thanks