glycin : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I also posted this to r.p.d., but since there seems to be a different group here I thought I'd try it here too.

I was thinking of trying some glycin paper developing formulas, and a few questions came to mind. Has anyone used any of the print formulas at (other than Ansco 130, which will be my first try), or have any other good glycin formulas?

I asked a few days ago about brown, not green, warm tones, but didnt see any replies. I've seen glycin described several places as producing a warm brown or (in the case of D-155) even reddish brown tone. Maybe this is what I'm looking for?

What other qualities do prints developed with glycin have?

I've read that the powder doesnt keep well, but that glycin developer solutions keep very well. Since its also somewhat more toxic tha other reducers, I'd like to minimize my exposure to it. Could a person make a concentrated long-lasting alkaline X% solution to dilute as needed, or do the stock solutions last long enough to make this unnecessary? (Formulary claims some of their glycin-based stock solutions last 1 year)

-- Wayne (, April 05, 2001


Glycin is a nice agent - at least, I like formulae (for paper and film) utilizing glycin. Glycin in dry form is not very stable - you will also want to keep it out of light. If the glycin is a grey powder, its probably oxidised. Its alsmost insoluble in water but dissolves readily in alkaline solutions (a mild sulfite solution will dissolve glycing quite readily) and it keeps incredibly well in solution. Its reputed to be particularly effective at avoiding aeriel oxidation and is thus useful for tray or tank processing - I would imagine that given the high rate of aeriel oxidation with rotary processing, it should be good there as well. To give you an idea about how well it lasts, I mixed up some Ansco 130 (4 litres of it) - it took me in excess of 6 months to go through it but it kept remarkably well. Towards the end, the stock turned a dark brown but it functioned with little perceptible difference - finally the solution was too dark to see the developing image but it continued wrking as usual. I would suggest that making up X% stock solutions should not be necessary (since some oxidation presumably would still occur) - I would instead invest into a pair of gloves and a dust mask - but it should be possible to make up a 10% solution of glycin (in a 3% sulfite solution) quite easily.

Paper formulae using glycin include the venerable Ansco 130 (and the Adams version of this). Other include D155, WW1, Dasonville D3 autotoning developer (also known as Ansco 115), Carbone's sepia toned developer and developer 106. D3 is said to produce interesting effects known as "gravure brown" at high dilutions. Developer 106 is a specialty developer for producing brown tones on Ektalure type paper. Let me know if you would like details on any of these. Good luck. Cheers, DJ.

-- N Dhananjay (, April 06, 2001.

The warmest brown tones I've been able to produce (untoned) have been using Forte Fortezo graded paper with Zonal Pro warmtone developer (1:20). Actually too warm for some people. I have not yet tried the developer with Polywarmtone but plan to soon. In my limited experience with Developer 106 from a Formulary kit it is definitely warmer than 130.

-- Chuck (, April 06, 2001.

I find that Ansco 130 gives rather neutral tones when fresh, which become markedly more green as the developer ages. It keeps very well, but at some stage (say two to three months) it begins to form an overall stain on the highlights of the print that is not at all desireable. But I use it for 4-6 sessions, sometimes reviving it with some carbonate and benzotriazole. If kept in a full airtight bottle, I have no doubt it would last a year. The only way I have gotten brown tones from it is to use selenium or brown toner. It's my favorite developer. I've tried a few other glycin formulas, but I like Ansco 130 best. I've used Adams' variant a lot too, but in the long run I prefer the original formula.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, April 06, 2001.

Thanks for everyone's repllies so far. What do you like about Ansco 130, Ed? What does it do that a cheaper formula doesnt do?

I'm particularly interested in what glycin does for highlights

-- Wayne (, April 07, 2001.

I've been using 130 for a couple years as my main developer. Its shelf life (and tray life) are pretty amazing, as noted in several of the responses. As for tone, and if you want cold, I'd strongly recommend you try 130 with Oriental Seagull. Very good blacks and real good separation in the middle values. That's something (the mid-tone gradation) that hasn't been mentioned in the responses about glycin and, according to a couple sources I've read, may be its most important attribute. This applies to glycin film developers, too, by the way. It's what makes FX2 more "pleasing and pictorial" etc. than FX1 and, moreover, it's a great streak resister, making FX2 well-suited to minimal agitation.... On the whites issue: 130 is a METOL/glycin developer. Metol is a basic "soft" development constituent. If you use a metol dev. (let's say) w/ a cold head and soft-style paper (Cachet Expo Graded springs to mind), you may have a hard time getting good whites. Seagull's different here. Or Ilford Gallerie. No problem. -jeff buckels (albuquerque)

-- Jeff Buckels (, April 09, 2001.

This should probably be a different thread, but...Chuck, I've been playing with warmtone papers the last few days. I found Fortezo to be practically neutral when compared with Bergger warmtone. Only after using Neutal WA did it really get warm. Then it was warmer than Bergger in Ansco 120, which was quite warm. But Bergger in Neutral WA was even warmer again! That was too warm. I dont like the greenish aspect of most warm tones. I really want more of a brownish warm tone, but would prefer not to tone. There are some brown-toning glycin formulas

I'm primarily looking for a warmtone, low contrast developer for portraits. The Ansco 120 is beautiful for contrast. I thought some glycin formulas might do some interesting things for portraits too,a nd as a general purpose developing agent too. I think I'll probably like the Adams version of 130. With the Bergger paper, I dont even need the developer to be warm. I think Bergger warmtone would be as hard to chill as Seagull is to warm. (I tried Seagull in the WA and it didnt do much of anything to the tone, which is as I expected). I'll try some different glycin formulas on all of these papers later next week.

-- Wayne (, April 09, 2001.

My first lesson: You cannot make a 10% glycin solution in a 3% sulfite solution. The concept seemed sound to me, but that aint enuff alkali! Lesson learned.

By various means of adding more water and sulfite, I ended up with a 5% glycin solution with less than 3% sulfite, because the additional sulfite wouldnt dissolve once I had a bunch of glycin dissolved, Strange but true, and I had to filter off some.

However, you can make a much more potent % solution than 10%, if enough alkali is added. I found this old formula in _Photographic Facts and Formulas_ (Wall and Jordan 1975)

Hubl Paste

Sulfite 165 g Hot water 500 ml glycin 135 g

Mix well and add gradually

Potassium carbonate 625 g water to make 1 liter

shake well before use. Normal dilution is 1:12 for trays but less dilution may be used for more contrasty negatives.

I havent tried the above and have no plans to, but I did mix up some Ansco 130, Adams version. I printed with it 1:1 (sans HQ, with 1 g of bromide per working liter) on Bergger Prestige CB, Fortezo, and Seagull. I thought it gave a very similar effect to Ansco 120, with a slightly warmer tone on the Fortezo and the Bergger (didnt make a big difference on the Seagull, as I expcted). I had a real hard time deciding which was my favorite between the Bergger in 120 or 130. They are very close to my eye, but the 130 seems slightly more brown and less green, which is what I was hoping for. So tone-color-wise I think it has a slight edge, IMO, but as far as contrast, gradation, and overall print quality they seem nearly identical to me. Of course this is only one print from one negative.

Now I think I'm going to try some Dassonville D-3 or something similar and see how brown we can get.

-- Wayne (, April 14, 2001.

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