Do some paper developers stop and others keep going? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

When printing in college with Kodak Polyfiber paper, and I don't know what kind of developer, sometimes I would use developing to my advantage. What I mean is, if, after two minutes the print needed to be just a bit darker, I'd keep it in the developer just a bit longer. If I didn't remove the print it would go black. I could also "rub" an area in the print to darken it, with my finger, which I learned from a fellow student. I know that now my printing statistics jotted down on the back of the print would not be precise, but when your sweating it for finals, the outcome is what counted. Now, on my own, I'm presently working with Kodak Polymax Fine Art paper, which I Iike very much, and Polymax developer. With this developer, the print is "there" in about a minute, maybe a little longer. I could leave it for five minutes and it would stay the same. It would not get any darker. Just different chemistry I assume. I was wondering what fellow photographers prefer working with, a developer that keeps going, or one that doesn't.

-- Raven (, August 14, 2000


I think most photographers have extended development times, rubbed prints, and even poured warmed developer on specific spots. All very exciting when you're learning and your standards aren't very high. But it doens't lend itself to repeatable results, so we improve our techniques, increase out understanding of the process, and eventually produce better prints. Now when I develop in Dektol 1:2 I pull the print at exactly 1:30.

-- Tom Raymondson (, August 15, 2000.


Paper is usually developed to "extinction", that point at which there is little or no effect if it's left in the developer. After that point, there may be some chemical fog set in. The paper usually develops fully in about 1 1/2 to three minutes. You may have been getting some serious paper fog from either safelights or chemicals in your college darkroom. Sounds like your current darkroom is not fogging the paper. I have been in a couple of college darkrooms as a visitor and was appalled at how bright they were. There was no way to get a print with clean highlights. One of the darkrooms in a major university had 60 watt bulbs in the safelights! The students had put the bright bulbs in because the darkroom was too dark.

Regards, Doug.

-- Doug Paramore (, August 15, 2000.


I didn't read your post carefully enough. Polyfiber does indeed have a long developing time, up to about five minutes. That would make a difference.


-- Doug Paramore (, August 15, 2000.

Assuming you used test strips with the Polyfiber to determine the enlarger exposure, did you develop the strips for a standard time? Pulling prints when they looked OK under the safelight was not unheard of in my student days and if that was the case, you may simply have overexposed the paper and compensated with underdevelopment. For best results, test and standardize everything you can. Otherwise, you're just chasing your tail as you fudge this to compensate for that.

-- Steve Singleton (, August 15, 2000.

Papers are meant to be developed to completion. To get more contrast you chasnge paper grades or filtration with VC papers. If you want an image to darken, you give it more exposure. You can change densities in the papers somewhat with different developers and even darken a given paper by rubbing it or pouring hot water on an area though an unwise move. What yiou should be doing is standardizing your proceedures to maximize your materials and their behaviors. Given the proper exposure a paper will not go completely black no matter how long you leave it in the developer. If you overexpose your paper and try to judge when it should come out of the developer you are making it hard on yourself. But go ahead. James

-- james (, August 15, 2000.

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