Microdol-x replacement

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by michael9793, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. michael9793

    michael9793 Member

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    At $10.00 a bag to make a gal. is there a formula out there that would be the same. I mean the same not close but the same fine grain formula. I have found using this developer and 25 or 100 asa film allows me to blow up to 16x20 from 120 film. It also gives me great tones through out the range.

    thanks
    mike andersen
     
  2. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Is it that much now? You can go to D-76/ID-11 or any general purpose dev and get similar results; they're not that different from MX

    Ilford makes Perceptol which is supposed to be very similar to MX.

    A substitute formula is in Anchell & Troops "Film Developing Cookbook". If you're into homebrew, it works well.
     
  3. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    It is said that Microdol X is suitably replaced by D-23 with 30 or so grams of sodium chloride added to the liter. Be sure to use non-iodized salt. Most grocery stores will have it, as it is used for canning.
     
  4. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Haven't used Microdol-X in years. These days it is almost superfluous considering the improvements made to decrease grain while maintaining film speed. Years ago, Tri-X was really grainy. Now, not so much. Modern emulsions like TMax, Delta, and Acros are better still. D-76 or ID-11 will do just fine even diluted 1+1. Or, you might like to give XTOL a try. It's about the same price as Microdol-X, but much better IMO.
     
  5. trexx

    trexx Member

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    $10 a bag whats that come to 65 cents a roll FS. If it produces the results you want it's a fair deal. If you are looking for alternatives, as Pat said, Microdol-X is D-23 with 30 gr. of salt added, a slight reduction in Metol too, and you can mix your own. I have not tried it but Diafine gets lots of praise here and it certainly gets a lot of films per gal. I really have come to like staining developers, particularly Pyrocat.

    My biggest suggestion is to pick something and try.
     
  6. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Microdol-X, usually with TMax-100, is my standard developer. With TMX it produces grain as fine as TechPan, though TMX can't achieve the same 'large-format look' as TechPan. TechPan has very high resolution of very low contrast details, something it seems no other film can quite match - off my TP soap box, back to M-X...

    M-X, in my experience, provides finer grain than Xtol or D-76 when used with very fine grain films. I often use it with Tri-X usually because I always have some M-X on hand, but for higher speed films Xtol works better and D-76 1:1 works far better than M-X with Plus-X.

    I have tried DIY Microdol but find it is much more active than the Kodak product. I have just gone back to the Great Yellow Father and render the $.65 a roll, after spending a day shooting off a roll of film I would rather have reliable results.

    I will brew my own paper developers - if I screw it up I can always do it over. With film there is less forgiveness for error.
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    In "TECHNICAL INFORMATION SHEET P10 FINE GRAIN DEVELOPMENT" an Iford Technical Sheet from around 1965 Ilford say:

    Developers containing silver halide solvents


    Certain fine grain formulae contain silver halide solvents such as hypo and thiocyanate. These depend for their action on the fact that some of the silver dissolved during development is redeposited in a very fine form to reinforce the final image. Ilford ID-48 Developer is of this class. Such developers give considerable reduction in grain size but require 50 to 100 per cent extra exposure. Both Ilford ID-11 and ID-2 developers may be simply modified to work in this way.

    ID-11 Add ammonium chloride to ID-1l in the proportion of 20 g. per 500 cc working solution. Camera exposures should be increased by about 50 per cent and the development times are double those specified for ID-11.

    ID-2 To ID-2 diluted 1 + 2 add ammonium chloride in the proportion of 5 g. per 500 cc. developer.
    ________________________________________________________

    So adding Ammonium Chloride to ID-11/D76 is one alternative.

    There is another alternative formula that I have somewhere that included NaCl instead of Bromide, it gives results very similar to Perceptol or Microdol-X. I have it here somewhere I'll try & find it later.

    Ian
     
  8. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    D-23:
    Water 750 ml
    Metol 7.5g
    Sodium sulfite 100g
    Water to make 1 liter

    MX homebrew: (Anchell & Troop)
    Water 750 ml
    Metol 5g
    Sodium sulfite 100g
    Sodium chloride 30g
    Water to make 1 liter

    Slight difference here.
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    A recommended substitute for Perceptol / Microdol-X is:

    D25 - with added NaCl

    Metol 7.5g
    Sodium Sulphite, anhydrous 100g
    Sodium Metabisulphite (Bisulphite) 5g
    Sodium Chloride 30g
    Water to 1 litre

    I should add I haven't tried this developer, but I'm told it does work well.

    This is the correct formula Jim, I've had it from way before the Film Developing Cookbook came out. Troop makes some glaring mistakes unfortunately.

    Ian
     
  10. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Hi Ian, sorry, but you lost me here. Is it D-23 or D-25 plus salt that makes the MX homebrew? A&T state that it is D-23. ???

    However, it probably comes out being pretty close in the end.
     
  11. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    D-25 only differs slightly from D-23 in that Metabisulphite (Bisulphite) is added, 15g per litre. Less Metabisulphite is added in the D25 with NaCl, the grain is already much finer and the reduction in the Metabisulphite results in slightly tighter grain & better definition/acutance. So this is really somewhere between D23 & D25. The Metabisulphite will also affect the pH slightly.

    It isn't the exact formula for Microdol-X or Perceptol but is supposed to be very close in terms of results, Microdol-X contains a weak buffer, Boric Acid.

    It's worth noting that Kodak call D23 a Fine Grain developer and D25 an Extra fine Grain developer, they also share a common replenisher D25R which contains Sodium Metaborate (Kodalk).

    It's about 20-30 years since I researched these particular developers, and I'm re-reading my scraps & notes.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2009
  12. John Shriver

    John Shriver Member

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    I think the family tree is DK-20 --> Microdol --> Microdol-X. Both DK-20 and Microdol have "dichroic fog" issues with modern films, Microdol-X doesn't.

    Perceptol is certainly Ilford's competing product, a strongly solvent developer.
     
  13. lensmagic

    lensmagic Subscriber

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    Strongly solvent unless diluted.
     
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  15. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The family tree is back to the roots:

    D76 ---> DK20 ---> Microdol

    D76 ---> D23/D25 ----> Microdol-X

    Ian
     
  16. Jayd

    Jayd Subscriber

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    I have wondered where in the USA one gets the chemicals to home brew ?
    Jay
     
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    In a wine and beer makers supply store usually :D

    If you want to make your up own developers from scientific formulae then try reading Steve Anchell's Darkroom Cookbook, he lists US suppliers like the Photographers Formulary, Artcraft etc.

    Ian
     
  18. Pat Erson

    Pat Erson Member

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    Two extra questions about M-X : do you have to rate your TRI-X at 200 Iso or is 400 OK? And what's the recommended dilution of M-X?
     
  19. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Microdol-X like Perceptol and ID-11/D76 can be used at FS, 1+1, (1+2), 1+3 etc. There is a loss in film speed of a stop.

    Many people already use Tri-x at 200 EI in developers like ID-11/D76 so the potential additional loss of speed may be impractical to them which is why it's very important to do your own tests to determine what effective film speed suits you with this film/developer combination.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2009
  20. billtroop

    billtroop Member

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    Ian claims I have the wrong formula for Microdol in my book, and then gives D-25 plus sodium chloride, claiming that is the right formula. Sorry, Ian, I have that direct from Grant Haist. You are in error. Needless to say, you will want to add some sort of anti-silvering agent -- otherwise Kodak Microdol-X is the best bet for this kind of developer.

    I'd like to know what other errors Ian thinks I have made.

    >25 - with added NaCl

    Metol 7.5g
    Sodium Sulphite, anhydrous 100g
    Sodium Metabisulphite (Bisulphite) 5g
    Sodium Chloride 30g
    Water to 1 litre

    I should add I haven't tried this developer, but I'm told it does work well.

    This is the correct formula Jim, I've had it from way before the Film Developing Cookbook came out. Troop makes some glaring mistakes unfortunately.
    <
     
  21. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Bill, thanks for the update on the proper formula. Your version of MX w/o bisulfile works quite well, tho'.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2009
  22. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Jim, Troop adds salt to D23, but the formula I'd suggest is is D25 + salt. As D25 is D23 with added Metabisulphite it amounts to the same thing :D

    Ian
     
  23. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Remember that adding any silver halide solvent to the developer increases the chance of dichroic fog. Microdol-X is unique in that it contains a proprietary dichroic fog inhibitor. It should also be noted that modern emulsions by Kodak, Fuji and Ilford are less prone to forming dichroic fog than films with older emulsion types.

    PE
     
  24. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    16x20 from 120 film?

    I guess it's true. I don't know nothing. I was making 16x20s from 120 negatives and I don't even remember what film & developer I was using.

    What's the big deal with needing Microdol-X for 16x20 prints? Given the state of current modern emulsions, any combination should work. Fuji Neopan Acros, Ilford PanF+ or Delta 100, Kodak Tmax 100 or Tmax 400, Efke 25-50-100.

    Xtol yields 5 liters/$10. That's more than 1 gallon. Either developer can be diluted 1:3. Xtol = $0.66/400ml batch. Microdol-X = $2.50/gallon of working solution.

    Try Pyrocat-HD or Pyrocat-MC if you need fine grain and ultimate enlargement quality. On the other hand, your wallet may be stressed.
     
  25. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    This was the reason why both Kodak & Ilford switched from using Thiocyanate based Super fine grain developers, but chloride was already being used before WWII and DK20 and later Microdol, in innovative Super fine grain developers from a number of small specialist manufacturers.

    Sodium Chloride shouldn't need a "Dichroic Fog Inhibitor" maybe that was Kodak's name for Salt :D

    Ian
     
  26. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Some people use 35mm and want to extract the ultimate quality, that can mean using Microdol-X/Perceptol or another Super fine grain developer.

    Personally I use Pyrocat HD as it fits my needs perfectly, and even with LF is very economic.

    Ian