two bath development : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

i am interested in knowing if anyone can tell me the advantages/disadvantages of using a two bath developer for tmax 400 film. i really don't know much about it, except someone was mentioning acufine in combination with another developer. presently i am using d76 straight for my negatives. i shoot 8x10 and to a lesser degree 4x5. thanks

-- howard schwartz (, March 06, 2002



Acufine Corp. makes a developer called Diafine, a commercially available 2 bath developer. You develop 3 minutes in solution A, three minutes in solution B, water wash, fix, and you are done. No pre-soak, and no wash between developer baths. You can process the film between 65 and 85 F (I think, check the temps) without adjusting time, and you can process 2 or more types of film together. So if you go on a trip and shoot T-Max 100 and T-Max 400, you can develop them together.

My Dad taught me how to develop film using this developer many years ago, and I had great results with it. After using many other developers: Microdol-X, D-76/ID11, X-Tol, etc., etc., I just started using Diafine again. I use HP5+ or Arista 400 at EI200, and have seen very nice results. My tests showed that I can get good negatives at EI400, and acceptable negatives at EI600, with a loss of shadow detail. Acufine Corp. promotes this film as a speed enhancing developer, so you may find that with your procedures you can squeeze some more speed out of your film/developer combination.

If you like D-76, Photographers Formulary sells a version of Divided D-76.

There are a number of threads in this forum on divided development, especially on Divided D-23. Also, there is an article on Tuan's home page on the Stoeckler 2 bath developer. Check them out.

From what I have read, all of these developers are useful to give you a compensating effect, because the A solution contains the developer and is absorbed into the emulsion while little or no development takes place. Development does not really start until the film is immersed in the B solution. Developer absorbed into the highlights exhausts more rapidly than that absorbed elsewhere. The other areas continue to develop. This inherently allows for fuller shadow development, without blown highlights.

So far I am pleased, and will eventually try some other divided developers. Check out Adams, The Negative, and Barry Thornton's website: Also look at Anchell and Troop, The Film Developing Cookbook.

Hope this helps.

-- Dave Karp (, March 07, 2002.

Howard, I have used diafine with tmax100 4x5. My results are so poor that I have given up for now. My problem is that I get uneven development and thus I get streaks; especially lousy in the sky! Perhaps I should be more vigourous as regards the agitation of the film but the directions say to go real gentle.

-- keith baker (, March 10, 2002.

I develop the film in trays, and rock the tray gently for agitation. My procedure is to rock the tray for 10 seconds from side to side (8" side) to start. Then rock the tray from the top and bottom (10" side) for the second agitation cycle. I return to the 8" side for the third cycle of agitation. I have not experienced any streaking or uneven development with this procedure.

-- Dave Karp (, March 15, 2002.

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