D23 questions

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albireo

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I had been planning to try D23 for a while and have finally managed to source the chemicals and give it a go.

It appears be easy to prepare and, from what I read online, relatively tolerant of measurement inaccuracies. However, I have found surprisingly little hard 'centralised' info online on how to properly make and use plain D23. There seem to be a lot of info on how to make and maintain variants of D23 (two bath, replenished, etc), however I'm not interested in those, as I first want to learn well the strengths and weaknesses of the basic thing.

This is the recipe I used:
-1L distilled supermarket water
-7.5g metol
-100g sodium sulphite

This is the procedure I used:
1. boil distilled water briefly then let it cool down to approx 50°C.
2. pour 2/3 water in preparation vessel
2. measure Metol using cheap Chinese digital scales - set aside
3. measure Sodium Sulphite using cheap Chinese digital scales - set aside
4. pour a pinch of Sodium Sulphite in water; agitate briefly
5. pour Metol in water; agitate and fully dissolve
6. pour Sodium Sulphite - agitate and fully dissolve
7. top up water to make 1L solution, and store.

Now, provided the above is correct - how to best use the above if I want to use it in stock configuration?

At the moment, I'm not interested in 1+1,1+2, replenished etc. I just want to understand how it works in stock mode. So how many 120 rolls do people recommend I develop with this 1L bottle before a) prolonging dev times and b) discarding whole lot?

For info, I use an AP tank with 600ml stock for 1 120 roll and 400ml stock for 1 135mm roll. Many thanks in advance!
 

Don Heisz

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If you are not replenishing it and want to get the same results from every roll you develop, discard the amount used to develop a roll after developing. You can make it last longer by using it 1:1.

To make the replenisher for d23, you need only sodium metaborate in addition to metol and sodium sulphite. That way, you have two bottles. You pour stock to develop the film. While the film is developing, you add 20ml (or so) of replenisher to the the stock and then, when the develping is done, you pour the used developer back into the stock bottle up to the 1 litre mark (assuming you made a litre of it). That way, you can reuse that litre of developer until the bottle of replenisher is gone (or it becomes too murky).
 

juan

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Your mixing procedure appears correct, though I’ve never boiled the water. I live in a warm climate, so room temperature works for me. You might try just warming the water.
 

Alan9940

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I don't boil the water initially, but I do warm it to about 125F just before mixing; otherwise, everything else is the same. I use it as a stock solution and discard after each use. D-23 is such a cheap developer to make that I'd, personally, use dilutions of it for reasons other than economy.
 
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albireo

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If you are not replenishing it and want to get the same results from every roll you develop, discard the amount used to develop a roll after developing. You can make it last longer by using it 1:1.

I use it as a stock solution and discard after each use. D-23 is such a cheap developer to make that I'd, personally, use dilutions of it for reasons other than economy.

Thank you both. I would be interested in re-using the stock solution due to moderate difficulty in sourcing the chemicals, not so much due to economy. However, if reuse should incur in significant performance decrease I would definitely avoid and discard as suggested, or use diluted.

I have had good luck in the past with reusing some other powder-based developers: Fomadon Excel (Foma's Xtol clone), Fomadon P (Foma's D76 clone) and Foma Retro Special. I'd be interested to know if anything inherent to D23's formulation makes it more unsuitable than others for reuse.
 

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You’ve received good advice already. If you want a good starting point for development times, the massive dev chart works: https://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php?Film=&Developer=%D-23%&mdc=Search&TempUnits=C&TimeUnits=D

There’s nothing complicated about making D-23. You’ve got it right, but no need to boil the water - just heat to 50C
I don’t use D-23 stock solution as anything but single use developer. I’d avoid running multiple rolls through a batch unless you plan on going the replenish route.
 
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albireo

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Great! Thank you Paul. I'll just use and discard then.

One further question if I may. Stock D23 vs 1+1. Have people who have tried both found large differences in grain size? I'm asking because, at least initially, I would like to test my D23 on a 400ISO 35mm film (Kentmere 400) which has given me disappointing results in other developers.
 
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Saganich

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I find that somewhere between 500 ml and 1,000 ml of replenisher there's a noticeable change in tonality with triX anyway. I tend to mix new stock after 500 ml of replenisher and then all seems consistent film to film, batch to batch. Additionally, when mixing a new stock, I top off the bottle with the old stock to remove the air gap and to have a little extra in the bottle so i'm not pouring sludge in the tank when using two stainless tanks at once. Also, D23 seems to be relatively panthermic between 20-27C, where the negs aren't overly different tonally at different temperatures. Edit: I find in practice that grain differences to be more a function of exposure and development than dilution. With 1:1 dilutions it is more difficult to get the exposure/development time correct and people tend to underdeveloped or overexpose. I use D23 stock so I can use 400 Hp5 or Trix in almost any lighting condition. The tendency is to overexpose because everyone's afraid of losing details in shadows. I shoot TriX and HP5 at 400 and expose shadows without details at what would be Zone 1 or 2 and increase or decrease development (+/- 2 minutes) depending on the light.
 
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takilmaboxer

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I mix it fresh 500 mL at a time (or 1 cup English) and discard after use. I have experimented with saving it because 500 mL is enough to develop 2 120 rolls. It was still fine a month later, but just to be careful I use it straight and 1 shot. I use D76 times unless the contrast is unusually high then I use 85% of D76 times. Works great!
 

pentaxuser

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Have a look at this video. Yes I know he talks about D76 but note that in a reply to a comment from Negative Development he says that all of what he says translates exactly to D23



pentaxuser
 

BradS

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Many years ago, I re-used, without replenishing, a one liter bottle of D23 so many times that silver precipitated out of solution and made the insides of the clear glass storage bottle gray. There is some loss of activity and the character of the developed results change some with use but it does work just fine. I did this at a time in my life where I wasn't really overly concerned about achieving consistent results. Today, I prefer consistent results and although I do still use D23, I use a slightly modified recipe to save cost and only use it one-shot. I also prefer D-76 most of the time because it costs less than D23.
 

pentaxuser

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I also prefer D-76 most of the time because it costs less than D23.
Is that a comparison between D23 ( hand-made so to speak) and D76 commercial or D76 (hand-made) ? How much of a saving is there with either version of D76?

Thanks

pentaxuser
 
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... No need for the pinch of sulfite before Metol but it doesn’t hurt if the pinch of sulfite is small. ...

Michael,

I've always read/heard that adding that pinch of sodium sulfite before the Metol is helpful to keep the Metol from oxidizing quickly once it is in solution. Is this just another myth? Or, do you get that Metol dissolved and then the sulfite in as quickly as possible?

Doremus
 

Don Heisz

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D76 has less metol than D23, the same amount of sodium sulphite, plus hydroquinone and borax. D23 is more expensive to make than D76, due to the cost of metol (see BradS' post below). At 100g/l, sodium sulphite is the bulk of each mixture and an expensive source drives the price of your homemade formulas up. (Edited because I read BradS' post.)

D76 can be used at 1:3 or used 1:1 or used stock and replenished. You can probably get more mileage out of D76 - that might make it cheaper.

Put the pinch of sulphite in before the metol - it's like tossing salt over your shoulder: gives you good luck.
 
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albireo

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Have a look at this video. Yes I know he talks about D76 but note that in a reply to a comment from Negative Development he says that all of what he says translates exactly to D23



pentaxuser


Interesting thanks. He seems to prefer the results he got using the 1+3 dilution however I have to say I like the 1+1 ones more.
 

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Michael,

I've always read/heard that adding that pinch of sodium sulfite before the Metol is helpful to keep the Metol from oxidizing quickly once it is in solution. Is this just another myth? Or, do you get that Metol dissolved and then the sulfite in as quickly as possible?

Doremus

Its not a myth: a small amount of Sodium sulfite in the water before the Metol captures the oxygen dissolved in the water, preventing the rapid oxidation of the Metol.
 

pentaxuser

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Interesting thanks. He seems to prefer the results he got using the 1+3 dilution however I have to say I like the 1+1 ones more.
He has one of the clearest and most straightforward presentation content and styles I have seen on YouTube. It has been a while since I watched it but I think my liking was also for the 1+1 but either way both 1+3 and1+1 make it cheaper and in that scene seemingly better than stock so it appears to be a win-win result

pentaxuser
 

BradS

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Is that a comparison between D23 ( hand-made so to speak) and D76 commercial or D76 (hand-made) ? How much of a saving is there with either version of D76?

Thanks

pentaxuser

Yes, all three. At the time I did the analysis, commercially packaged D76 was least expensive (if one bought the package to make one gallon). Homemade d76 was next and D23 was most expensive due to the high cost of Metol compared to hydroquinone. The commercially packaged D76 was significantly less expensive per roll that the homemade….again, assuming the one gallon package. The analysis also assumed that the homemade versions were mixed with store bought water at $1.00 per gallon whereas the commercial D76 is mixed with boiled tap water.

The analysis also assumed Metol cost $35/pound and hydroquinone cost $15/pound. I don’t remember what the cost of sodium sulfite was. These were the actual costs that I paid at the time. And iirc, a package of D76 to make one gallon cost $9.99? As you can tell, it’s been a while.
 

McDiesel

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@albireo any updates? what have you found? :smile: every online review for every developer says the same thing!
 

McDiesel

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Typical example:

"It's so simple a developer yet so very versatile. It might be the best developer you'll ever use!"

TBH I don't quite understand the meaning of "versatile". Is D76 not versatile? Is Xtol not versatile? And the line of "it might be the best" is also popular but equally meaningless. My cat might learn to speak English. Or it might not

For me it's easier to understand chemistry in terms of its differentiation. Rodinal doesn't disolve grain and lasts forever. Xtol can replenish itself. Stuff like that.
 

Donald Qualls

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FWIW, John Finch (PictorialPlanet on YouTube) likes D-23 because it's easy/quick to mix, can be replenished (hence maintains stock solution characteristics without need to change time), and softens grain like D-76. Or so I recall him saying in his videos. It's also very inexpensive, though the replenisher (DK-25R) costs more per liter than the developer does (which is fine, because you only need IIRC 22 ml per 135-36 or 120 roll). Two ingredients for the developer, four for the replenisher (same as developer, plus borax and potassium bromide).

If you like the crisper grain of diluted developers you probably won't want to use replenished D-23 (100 g/L sodium sulfite), but diluted 1+1 to as much as 1+3 will give similar grain to the same dilutions of D-76. If it's too slow, you can add some borax and use D-76 times.

You do lose some speed -- about 1/3 stop compared to D-76, maybe 2/3 compared to Xtol -- but you can keep the chemicals on hand and never have that "Oh, no, I'm out of stock solution and don't have another pack of powder!" moment.
 

David Lindquist

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FWIW, John Finch (PictorialPlanet on YouTube) likes D-23 because it's easy/quick to mix, can be replenished (hence maintains stock solution characteristics without need to change time), and softens grain like D-76. Or so I recall him saying in his videos. It's also very inexpensive, though the replenisher (DK-25R) costs more per liter than the developer does (which is fine, because you only need IIRC 22 ml per 135-36 or 120 roll). Two ingredients for the developer, four for the replenisher (same as developer, plus borax and potassium bromide).

If you like the crisper grain of diluted developers you probably won't want to use replenished D-23 (100 g/L sodium sulfite), but diluted 1+1 to as much as 1+3 will give similar grain to the same dilutions of D-76. If it's too slow, you can add some borax and use D-76 times.

You do lose some speed -- about 1/3 stop compared to D-76, maybe 2/3 compared to Xtol -- but you can keep the chemicals on hand and never have that "Oh, no, I'm out of stock solution and don't have another pack of powder!" moment.
Wonder if you could check your DK-25R recipe. The one in my Kodak Professional Data Book J-1 Processing Chemicals and Formulas, 6th edition, 1963 uses Kodalk Balanced Alkali (sodium metaborate) rather than borax and does not use KBr.

I went back to using D23 for sheet film when there began to be problems with XTOL reported. Yes there is a speed loss compared to XTOL but it's not a problem plus I kinda like mixing my own developers from scratch. And one doesn't have to worry about one's favorite developer being discontinued (or going through a bad patch). Otherwise I'm not sure I operate at a level of decernment that would allow me to tell the difference between one of my negatives developed in D23 vs the same one developed in XTOL.

Lastly I'd think the spell check on a photography forum that includes analogue processes would readily accept that when one types "metaborate" one means "metaborate" and not "metabolite". :smile:

David
 

grat

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Lastly I'd think the spell check on a photography forum that includes analogue processes would readily accept that when one types "metaborate" one means "metaborate" and not "metabolite". :smile:

Spell check is a function of the browser, not the forum software.
 
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