High-accutance developers?

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John Cook

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As we head toward winter here in New England, the sun will soon be too low in the sky to do film testing, as it will not clear the neighboring trees until Spring. So I have decided to test some of my favorite developers while there is still time.

My personal theory is that a trade-off exists with most things in life, including photography. B&W is without color but is much sharper than color film. Large format is slower and more awkward than 35mm, but yields much more detail.

Therefore, when selecting a suitable developer for B&W large format, I believe one should favor high accutance formulas which will make the most of the main advantage the format has to offer. Mushy “fine grain” developers like Microdol-X are not among my favorites, as they seem (for me) to defeat my purpose in choosing B&W LF.

To this end, I have been attempting to assemble as many ultra-high accutance formulas as I can remember. So far, they include: Rodinal, Calbe R09, Neofin Blau, Ethol T.E.C., Paterson FX-39 and the Photographer’s Formulary family of FX-1 products.

Can anyone think of something I have omitted?

Much obliged for your wisdom.
 

Tom Hoskinson

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I would definitely include Pyrocat-HD. Check out Francesco's Gallery for examples.
 

Ole

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FX-2? Beutler's original?
 

Mongo

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Perceptol and Microdol-X at 1:3 are both high accutance. At stock dilution, they are not high accutance.
 

Ole

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jdef said:
... High definition developers usually sacrifice film speed, ...

Not in my experience - it's fine-grain developers that do that! Most films will gain a full stop in a developer like Beutler's or FX-2. In some cases that's the main reason I use high acutance developers (besides which I like the gradation I get from them with FP-4).
 

lpacilio

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High Accutance

Personally, I'm a big fan of Formulary's TFX-2 irregardless of what format I'm shooting. I use it with a minimal agitation pattern and get astoundingly sharp negs with a half to full stop gain in speed.

It's a super soup.
 

Tom Hoskinson

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Geoffrey Crawley published two variations of the Original Beutler acutance formulation ((there was a url link here which no longer exists)). These are Crawley's FX-1 and FX-13. The formulations were published in the November 1971 edition of Dignan's Photographic Newsletter. I will post them in the APUG Chemistry Recipes.
 
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John Cook

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Thank-you all for your responses.

Tom, I shall be interested to see the difference between FX-1 and FX-13.

Last year I ran some tests with FX-1 and Delta 100 4x5. Big mistake. Absolutely lovely, neat-and-sweet results, but none of the engraving-like ultra-sharp special effects which Photographer's Formulary suggests in their description.

The general concencious was that Delta did not have enough silver to react properly to this sort of formula. Kind of like a fancy hair stylist working on a bald customer. We'll see how it does with some of the other soups mentioned above. I am also playing around with Efke 25, Acros 100, HP5 Plus and revisiting Tri-X after a twenty year hiatus.

Lots of darkroom work ahead. You know what they say, "A tan photographer is a poor photographer".
 

clay

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John:

I have been getting extraordinary results with Delta 400 and FX-39 1:14 for 10 minutes at 72 degrees for roll film. Extremely sharp, fine, etching type grain. I expose at EI250 and am intentionally slightly underdeveloping the film. FP-4 exposed at EI64 and developed in FX-39 for 6-1/2 minutes at the same dilution is giving me 35mm enlargements at 16x20 that look like medium format. The only knock on the stuff is that it goes bad in about a month and half after opening the bottle.
 

fschifano

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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned XTOL. It's sharp and relatively fine grained as well, and that's not a combination of properties often found together.
 

Ole

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I'm about to start my long-planned experiment series with EFKE KB25 in a selection of acutance developers. The main object is to retro-engineer a home-brew version of Neofin Blau; in the process I will use that, Beutler's original, FX-1, FX-2, and various Beutler derivatives. A Metol/phenidone combination with minimal sulfite seems to be a possibility...

I'll let you all know.
 

Mike McMullen

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FX-13

Is anyone else using this and comparing to, for example, PMK or Xtol? It looks fantastic for FP4 diluted 1 part A, 1 part B and 18 parts water. Some have suggested FX-13 compresses midtones - I am not seeing that, is there truth to it? Any other downsides - the sharpness and detail is the most I've seen with any developer - has anyone found anything better? Thanks!
 

Gerald C Koch

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Not in my experience - it's fine-grain developers that do that! Most films will gain a full stop in a developer like Beutler's or FX-2. In some cases that's the main reason I use high acutance developers (besides which I like the gradation I get from them with FP-4).

+1
 

Gerald C Koch

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I'm about to start my long-planned experiment series with EFKE KB25 in a selection of acutance developers. The main object is to retro-engineer a home-brew version of Neofin Blau; in the process I will use that, Beutler's original, FX-1, FX-2, and various Beutler derivatives. A Metol/phenidone combination with minimal sulfite seems to be a possibility...

I'll let you all know.

You might look at the two formulas in the patent for Perfection XR-1 (US Patent 4083722). They use a combination of Metol, Phenidone and hydroquinone in a low sulfite developer. The MSDS for Neofin Blue also gives a small amount of information as it says that potassium carbonate is the alkali.

http://www.freestylephoto.biz/pdf/msds/tetenal/Neofin_Blue.pdf
 

Gerald C Koch

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Alan Johnson

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FX-13 is given in Crawley's article in BJP Jan 27 1961 p49:
"Add to FX-1 working solution (with or without iodide) 40 gm/litre of anhydrous sodium sulphite.....The bare solvent action removes surface flare and image spread..."
It is listed in The Film Developing Cookbook as "FX 1b (Originally published as FX 13)". The FDC says "FX 1b is Crawley's attempt to formulate a fine grain , high acutance developer.The method employed is to add 45g/L of sulfite.This is not a successful approach.It is better to use one developer type,either fine grain or high acutance....It is important to understand that that adding sulfite to an acutance developer does not merely decrease grain by adding a solvent effect,;it also preserves the developing agent so that fewer adjacency effects are formed..."
 

JPJackson

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How about DS-12?
DS-12

High acutance film developer

[TABLE="class: MsoNormalTable"]

Water
750
ml


Metol
0.4
g


Ascorbic Acid
1
g


Sodium Sulfite (anhydrous)
20
g


Salicylic Acid
0.2
g


Triethanolamine 99%
2
ml



Sodium Carbonate (monohydrate*)
2
g


Water to make
1000
ml

[/TABLE]

[TABLE="class: MsoNormalTable"]

Mixing Instructions: Add chemicals in specified sequence.


Dilution: Stock or 2+1 (2 parts stock + 1 part water)



Usage: Starting point dev time: 8 mins (Stock)



Notes: *multiply amount by 0.833 if using Sodium Carbonate in anhydrous form.

[/TABLE]
 

Lachlan Young

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Is anyone else using this and comparing to, for example, PMK or Xtol? It looks fantastic for FP4 diluted 1 part A, 1 part B and 18 parts water. Some have suggested FX-13 compresses midtones - I am not seeing that, is there truth to it? Any other downsides - the sharpness and detail is the most I've seen with any developer - has anyone found anything better? Thanks!

what sort of time/temp/agitation are you using? Are you printing in the darkroom?
 
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As we head toward winter here in New England, the sun will soon be too low in the sky to do film testing, as it will not clear the neighboring trees until Spring. So I have decided to test some of my favorite developers while there is still time.

My personal theory is that a trade-off exists with most things in life, including photography. B&W is without color but is much sharper than color film. Large format is slower and more awkward than 35mm, but yields much more detail.

Therefore, when selecting a suitable developer for B&W large format, I believe one should favor high accutance formulas which will make the most of the main advantage the format has to offer. Mushy “fine grain” developers like Microdol-X are not among my favorites, as they seem (for me) to defeat my purpose in choosing B&W LF.

To this end, I have been attempting to assemble as many ultra-high accutance formulas as I can remember. So far, they include: Rodinal, Calbe R09, Neofin Blau, Ethol T.E.C., Paterson FX-39 and the Photographer’s Formulary family of FX-1 products.

Can anyone think of something I have omitted?

Much obliged for your wisdom.

as you said:everything is a compromise in photography but the best compromise amobg developers is D76 when it comes to grain,sharpness and speed.t is also a yardstick developerthat should be part of your comparison to compare the others against.Othr than that, your list is a good one for acutance developers.I'm interested in seeing the results.Please publish a test report.:smile:
 

Mike McMullen

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what sort of time/temp/agitation are you using? Are you printing in the darkroom?

Well, I am 4 months late but... I will find that data and get back to you on Sunday. Promise. Meanwhile, I see noone commented on XTOL or PMK comparison to other developers, would be interested to know. FP4 in PMK is really nice and my favorite combination, but I am getting ready to try pyrocat - can anyone share their experience with PMK vs. pyrocat? Thanks.
 
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