I am in the midst of performing some comparative tests of developers on the current batch of Canadian manufactured Grade 2 8x10 Azo. The developers are:
1. Ansco 130 with 1 gram/liter KBr
2. Pat Gainer's PC-Tea (ascorbic acid/phenidone/triethanolamine), with and without KBr and Benzotriazole and with added sodium carbonate
3. Donald Miller's Phenidone, pyrogallol, pyrocatechol developer (PPPD), with and without KBr and Benzotriazole.
4. Michael Smith's Amidol developer prepared with a liquid stock solution of Amidol in propylene glycol (it'll be about 20 days old by then).
The negatives I am printing are all 8x10 Efke PL 100, semi-stand developed in Pyrocat-HD.
As a baseline, I printed all negatives (6) and developed in fresh Ansco 130 with 1 gram of KBr per working solution liter of developer. All negatives printed ok on the Grade 2 (but 2 negs needed a little bit lower contrast paper/development). The image color is slightly on the brown side, shadow detail and densities are excellent.
I diluted the PC-TEA 1:15 as a starting point and added no KBr or Benzotriazole for the first set of prints. The result was a very soft, warm toned print with plenty of fine detail. The paper contrast dropped to about a Grade 1+.
I added 1 ml of 10% KBr with no apparent effect. I then added 1 ml of 10% Benzotriazole (which had a slight effect on the image tone). I added an additional 1ml of 10% Benzotriazole, which slowed the appearance of the developing image and shifted the image color to blue/black (colder than the Ansco 130 + KBr).
I was not getting the good blacks that I was getting before adding the Benzotriazole. The resulting paper contrast remained around a 1+. I decided that the developer probably needed some more alkali and added a spoonful of sodium carbonate (about 10 grams to my liter of working developer). That did the trick, good cold blacks and about a 1.5 contrast.
This looks like a very useful paper developer. Split development with one set of liquid stock solutions? - looks possible.
Tomorrow I'll try the PPPD - with and without KBr and Benzotriazole.
Next weekend - Amidol.