DIY print developers

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Stu, Dec 9, 2003.

  1. Stu

    Stu Guest

    Having had some success mixing my own developer, Barry Thorntons
    (R.I.P) 2 bath, I thought I'd have a go at a print developer. Can
    anyone recommend something economical with a decent lifespan? I use
    Ilford MG paper and a condenser enlarger and aim for high definition
    landscpes, usually printed square at 12x12 and prefer a very slightly
    contrasty image. I'm currently using Ilfords PQ Universal I believe it
    is called, which I have no complaints about but thought it would be
    something new and fun to have a go at.

    Sometimes you see prints that really 'glow'. How do you do that?!


    Stu, Dec 9, 2003
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  2. Stu

    Jorge Omar Guest

    A glowing print requires, first of all, a good neg (and a scene that has
    higlights and shadows...)
    From a strict dev viewpoint, my experience has been that the formula
    doesn't matter very much - I use ID-62, but others will be alike.
    The trick for me is to substitute bromide by benzotriazole (I mix ID-62
    without bromide and double benzotriazole).

    This can be done with D72, etc.


    (Stu) wrote in
    Jorge Omar, Dec 9, 2003
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  3. There are countless paper developer formulas. Try G.252 Gevaert. I love that one.

    Metol 2.7 grammes
    Sod Sulphite 40 g
    Hydroquinone 10.6 g
    Sod Carbonate (Monohydrated) 85 g
    Pot Bromide 0.8
    Water to 1 litre

    Dilute 1+2 etc.
    Practice, practice, practice.
    Michael Scarpitti, Dec 9, 2003
  4. There are lots of print developers. Ilford papers do not
    contain developer so the developer _will_ make some
    Kodak D-72 is the equivalent of Dektol. It is pretty much
    a generic print developer. Every manufacturer of printing
    paper offered a similar formula the variations show mostly
    how non critical they are.
    Contrast is mainly a function of the paper and negative.
    For many papers the developer will have little effect on
    contrast unless the paper is not fully developed, the
    lowered contrast then coming from inadequate shadow density.
    The contast of paper depends on how much range of exposure
    is needed to go from maximum black to clear highlights.
    While developers can affect this a little for the most part
    it is a property of the emulsion.
    D-72 and Dektol are sometimes reported to produce slightly
    olive (greenish) tones on some papers. This can be cured by
    adding Benzotriazole. This is mainly an anti-fogging agent
    but also tends to produce blue-black images.
    Ilford ID-62 is the published version of Bromophen it is
    essentially a Phenidone version of Dektol. The Phenidone
    also tends toward a more neutral or colder image on some
    papers. ID-62 may have somewhat greater capacity than Kodak
    Other developers differ mainly in the amount of carbonate.
    Less active developers tend to produce warmer tones on some
    papers but also make it harder to get good blacks. Here is
    Kodak D-72 for reference:

    Kodak D-72 Universal Paper Developer Stock Solution
    Water (at 125F or 52C) 500.0 ml
    Metol 3.1 grams
    Sodium Sulfite, dessicated 45.0 grams
    Hydroquinone 12.5 grams
    Sodium Carbonate, anhydrous 67.5 grams
    Potassium Bromide 1.8 grams
    Water to make 1.0 liter

    If monohydrated sodium carbonate is used increase the amount
    to 79.0 grams
    The amount of bromide can be considerably increased. More
    bromide will tend toward warmer tones. It can be increased
    to around 10 grams/liter of stock solution but will require
    some additional exposure at that level.
    Increasing carbonate will tend toward colder tones.
    Carbonate may be increased to around 80 grams/liter of stock
    for anhyrous carbonate.

    Dissolve chemicals in order given.
    For use dilute 1:1 to 1:2

    It is helpful to boil the water for photographic solutions.
    Often this will be as good as distilled water. Boil for
    three to ten minutes. The allow to stand and cool. Decant or
    syphon the clear water. Boiling drives off dissolved oxygen
    and chlorine, it also removes some dissolved carbonates and
    will congeal any organic matter which will precipitate as
    the water stands.

    Ansco/Agfa 103 is virtually identical and Dupont/Defender
    53D is exactly identical to D-72.

    Ilford ID-62 Phenidone-Hyroquinone Paper Developer Stock

    Water (at 125F or 52C) 750.0 ml
    Sodium Sulfite, dessicated 50.0 grams
    Hydroquinone 12.0 grams
    Sodium Carbonate, anhydrous 60.0 grams
    Phenidone 0.5 grams
    Potassium Bromide 2.0 grams
    Benzotriazole 0.2 grams
    Water to make 1.0 liter

    Mix ingredients in order given.
    For use dilute one part stock with two parts water.

    Benzotriazole is best handled by making a 0.2% solution and
    adding that rather than attempting to measure out the very
    small amount required. Benzotriazole is used because bromide
    is not an effective anti-foggant for Phenidone. This formula
    contains both. As mentioned above ID-62/Bromophen tends to
    produce bluer tones on many papers than D-72/Dektol.

    I recommend finding a copy of the _Darkroom Cookbook_ second
    edition, Steve Anchell, the Focal Press. This should be
    available from Amazon or from specialist dealers like Petra
    Keller not expensive.
    Richard Knoppow, Dec 10, 2003

  5. Hi Stu,

    Here's the print developer that I use. With Agfa MCC (FB) and Ilford
    MG (FB), it gives me neutral tones. In addtion it's cheap, easy to
    mix, relatively long lastng and it doesn't stain trays, sinks,
    clothes... In addition it's relatively non-toxic.

    Print Developer to make 2 liters working strength:

    Water (processing temperture) 1500ml
    Phenidone 0.2 grams (i.e. 4 ml of a 5% solution
    dissolved in methanol)

    Ascorbid Acid 10 g (I use Now Vitamin C)
    Sodium Sulfite 30g
    Sodium Carbonate, Anh. 50g (I use Pooltime's PH+)
    Benzotriazole 2% solution 25ml
    Water to make 2L

    Peter De Smidt
    Peter De Smidt, Dec 10, 2003
  6. Jordan Wosnick, Dec 10, 2003
  7. Stu

    Jorge Omar Guest

    I've never tried a vit C paper dev, but for PQ benzotriazole gives me the
    tone I like.
    For films (lower pH, who cares for the tone?) I do not use it (E76 dev).

    Jorge Omar, Dec 10, 2003
  8. The most obvious is Ansco 130, which has an exceptional life and is unique
    because of its use of glycin. I can email you the formula if you can't find

    Jim MacKenzie, Dec 22, 2003
  9. Stu

    Dan Quinn Guest

    A. Adams' two bath version of 130 will allow for contrast control with
    graded and VC papers.
    For some strange reason A. Adams' version is sometimes given without
    the B component being mentioned. A. Adams' version of Ansco 130 is a two
    part contrast control developer. Dan
    Dan Quinn, Dec 22, 2003
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