Mixing chemicals from scratch

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I have been toying with mixing my developers from scratch (for the fun of it, if nothing else). I currently use HC-110 for film and Dektol for paper. I was thinking possibly mixing D-72 for paper. Are there any home-brew developers that produce similar results to HC-110, other than D-76? I have read a little about FX-1 and D-23, but searches have pulled up little more about these.

-- Erik Asgeirsson (erik@erikcellist.com), December 20, 2001


Try http://www.jetcity.com/~mrjones/index.htm for some good info. I'm just starting to fool with FX-2 and Ansco 130 paper developer. I used to mix D-72 and don't have a clue why anyone would prefer that over premixed Dektol. Seems identical, and today you don't save money by mixing your own like a number of years ago. You should also get Anchell's books if you don't already have 'em.

-- Conrad Hoffman (choffman@rpa.net), December 20, 2001.

I agree with Conrad that D-72 and Dektol are nearly identical, and you can buy Dektol cheaper than you can mix D-72. But glycin and amidol formulae are another story altogether--you can't buy them premixed and they are very much worth experimenting with. I have an article on my site on mixing developers at http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Developers/developers.html.

I also have an article written with Joseph Lipka on Divided D-23 that might interest you: http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/DD-23/dd-23.html.

-- Ed Buffaloe (edb@unblinkingeye.com), December 21, 2001.

I have mixed my own for years for the fun of it with great results. HC- 110 is a standard like D76. I have ALOT of notes and a number of formulas both single and two baths in PDF if you like... Email me and I'll be glad to send them out. As far as paper developers, there are as many as there are effects.

-- Scott Walton (scotlynn@shore.net), December 21, 2001.

You might want to get hold of Dignan's 150 B/W Formula's, a lot of old and very useful information on film and paper developers, the old Photo Index from the 1940-45 are very helpful with old formula's. Pat

-- pat krentz (patwandakrentz@aol.com), December 21, 2001.

I agree with Conrad that Steve Anchell's books "The Darkroom Cookbook" and "The Film Developing Cookbook" are obligatory if you are into photochemistry. Also Carson Graves' "The Elements of Black- and-White Printing" has an extensive formulary. It is a smashing read and has some very interesting chapters such as controling print contrast with potassium bromide.

Regarding D-72, Anchell states that it is similar to Dektol. D-72 is my standard developer which I dilute 1+2.

Regarding HC-110 I would like to point out that it is completely different to D-76. First, because their ingredients are completely different, and second, because their characteristic curves are dissimilar. If you compare the characteristic curves of T-Max 400 developed in HC-110 sol. B with D-76 1+1 you will see that HC-110 is unsuitable for N- development and after 10 it hardly affects contrast. D-76 on the other hand is excellent for both N- and N+ development and able to handle Subject Brightness Ranges (SBR) of between 3-11 stops.

D-76 is _the_ benchmark against which all other developers are compared. It's only drawback is the inclusion of Metol which can cause severe dermatitis to certain people. Another developer without this drawback is Ilford DD-X which in all other respects is very similar to D-76. Personally I had excellent experience with Xtol and tabular grain films. Xtol is one of the least hazardous film developers.

D-23 is almost identical to D-76 but without hydroquinone. FX-1 is the classic high acutance developer aimed at producing maximum sharpness. I am not sure if this is an issue with today's fine grain films anymore, especially if you are a medium or large format shooter.

-- Mako (info@mako-photography.de), December 23, 2001.

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