H&W Control developer recipe?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : B&W Photo: Alternative Process : One Thread

I've seen several old references for a film/ developer combination for H&W Control. I think the film was microfilm. It was to have excellent resolution/ edges in the film. Any information, reference, archive? Thanks, Steve

-- Steve Bates (Steve.Bates@AlconLabs.com), March 19, 2001


Can you provide any more information? I have an extensive library of old formularies and other books, but have never heard of this.

-- Ed Buffaloe (edb@unblinkingeye.com), March 19, 2001.

I finally found a few references for it. It was called H&W Control and was a proprietary formula that was often used to develop Technical Pan film and Kodak High Contrast Copy Film. It was produced in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. H&W is no longer made. Apparently H&W Control would give 100 ASA with Tech Pan(?). There was also an H&W Control Film, which was reputed to be Agfa microfilm perforated and respooled--it too is no longer made.

Possible substitutes would be Ethol TEC, Kodak Technidol, Beutler, POTA, etc.

-- Ed Buffaloe (edb@unblinkingeye.com), March 19, 2001.

Given the microfilm connection, and the 100 ISO rating of Tech-pan, I think it's more likely that this was a normal to high contrast developer. Probably something more like ID2 or D-19. (Are either of those made anymore?)

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), April 04, 2001.

In the early 1970's I used both the film and the developer. It's recommended asa was 80, although I found 40 to be more realistic. Its ability to produce grainless 16x20 prints from a 35mm negative was much appreciated. The H&W film was indeed Agfa microfilm. It also had the most beautiful delicacy in tonal range. Nothing could even come close to its combination of super sharpness and wide tonal range until Tech-Pan film/developer came around. I once saw a 30x60 enlargement that had been made from a minox negative-astoundingly sharp and grainless. The photo was of an old bearded scholar reading a Greek text. Beautiful!

-- peter mcdonough (31416@mediaone.net), April 12, 2001.

i used the film and developer for approximately 10 years for close up and some macro work. at one time in the 70s i was considered to be some sort of expert in the use of the film and developer. i is to bad it is no longer around. one of the techniques you could use was called still development. that process produced negatives with no grain.

-- mike leahy (mleahy@iowatelecom.net), March 13, 2002.

Harold Holden and Arnold Weichert patented a phenidone-based, ultra- low contrast developer in the late 1960's, and in 1972 they offered it for sale with repackaged Agfa Copex Pan Rapid microfilm, in 35mm cartridges and on 120 spools. The brand name was "H&W Control VTE Panchromatic Film" and they stated on their instruction sheet that it was the Agfa film noted above. "VTE" stood for Very Thin Emulsion. In experiments that preceeded the patent, they got good results with copy films at about ISO 25-40, and with microfilms at 50-80. They rated the Agfa film they sold at 80.

The formula is in the public domain. Apparently today's Gigabit product from Germany behaves identically (which does not prove it is identical). Since 35mm perfed microfilms don't exist any more except wherever Gigabit get theirs, experimenters are limited to Minox or 16mm subminiature equipment. I have experimented extensively with the formula and several 16mm microfilms, and the interactions of thin base, thin emulsion, clear emulsion (very disconcerting!) and a development process utterly unlike standard processing is, well, let's say, a fruitful field for on-going research. I have projected a 12x18mm neg to approximately 1x1.3m feet on the wall, and made a print of a part of the image, and even at that magnification, grain does not degrade the image. I have samples of a similar image on display at my commercial site (http://www.frugalphotographer.com/microfilm_examples.htm).

Microfilms achieve their purpose, which is a stark black image on a stark clear background, with no gray, through massive underexposure and overdevelopment. That's why document copying is usually done at relatively fast shutter speeds (ratings of 200 or more are not unusual) and A/B type chemistries that mimic lith developers. Holden and Weichert's achievement was to reverse the situation, and, more importantly, to find a combination of overexposure and underdevelopment that was useful for ordinary photography. In arriving at a useable speed range of 40 to 80, and by inventing an almost shockingly low-contrast developer, they succeeded. The most serious limitation of their invention is that exposures must be exact. There is no latitude.

-- David Foy (dfoy@frugalphotographer.com), April 12, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ