Modifying D23/BTTB

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For several years I have been using Barry Thornton's Two Bath with good results. I know he lowered the amount of sodium sulfite from 100g to 80g to increase sharpness, and I was wondering what the practical lower limit for the sodium sulfite would be before there was not enough alkalinity to make it active.

How low can you go to max out sharpness and reduce the solvent effect while still having a functioning developer?

Formula:
Bath A
  1. Water 750ml
  2. Metol 6.5g
  3. Sodium Sulphite 80g
  4. Water to make 1 litre
Bath B
  1. Water 750ml
  2. Sodium metaborate 12g
  3. Water to make 1 litre
 

trendland

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For several years I have been using Barry Thornton's Two Bath with good results. I know he lowered the amount of sodium sulfite from 100g to 80g to increase sharpness, and I was wondering what the practical lower limit for the sodium sulfite would be before there was not enough alkalinity to make it active.

How low can you go to max out sharpness and reduce the solvent effect while still having a functioning developer?

Formula:
Bath A
  1. Water 750ml
  2. Metol 6.5g
  3. Sodium Sulphite 80g
  4. Water to make 1 litre
Bath B
  1. Water 750ml
  2. Sodium metaborate 12g
  3. Water to make 1 litre
To me there are several ways of reformulation. Also several recipes are published. With intensive tests there is indeed a Option to get your own formulation from this simple D23 Basis in regard of your need.
with regards
 

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For several years I have been using Barry Thornton's Two Bath with good results. I know he lowered the amount of sodium sulfite from 100g to 80g to increase sharpness, and I was wondering what the practical lower limit for the sodium sulfite would be before there was not enough alkalinity to make it active.

How low can you go to max out sharpness and reduce the solvent effect while still having a functioning developer?

Formula:
Bath A
  1. Water 750ml
  2. Metol 6.5g
  3. Sodium Sulphite 80g
  4. Water to make 1 litre
Bath B
  1. Water 750ml
  2. Sodium metaborate 12g
  3. Water to make 1 litre
Never used it but I do have a formula for a developer that uses 10g of Metol and 50g of Sodium sulphite in 1 liter mixed 1+1 with a solution of 45g of potassium carbonate in 1 liter.

There is another formula that calls for 10g Metol, 25g Sodium Sulphite and 25 grams Potassium Carbonate. This can be used on its own or mixed in various proportions with a second solution containing 25g Sodium Sulphite, 10g Hydroquinone, 25g Potassium Carbonate and 1g of Potassium Bromide. Like the one above, I have not had the opportunity to use this formula either. I would imagine that varying the proportions of each of these solutions would increase or decrease the contrast of the negative to some extent.

Right now I'm using FX37 and Beutler along with my old standby Rodinal. I am not too sure that the above formulas would bring anything additional to the table beyond what I am getting with my current developers. But, I have a bulk roll of FP4+ waiting to be put to work so I guess I could give one of these solutions a try and see how it works out.
 
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D23 is derived from Eastman Kodak's very first fine grain developer.

D76 is derived from Wellington and Ward's MQ Borax Fine Grain Developer which has very significantly less Sulphite, so there's room to experiment. Tmax and similar films would be the best choice.

Ian

Ian, You seem to know much about this based on your posts. What would you recommend on my questions above? I'd like to use a D23 like formula as a single bath and get something sharper than BTTB, more like Beutler's. Could I reduce the SS and add some borax or metaborate?
 
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In an earlier thread I was surprised to find 2 bath works with borax in the B bath:
https://www.photrio.com/forum/threa...-re-divided-metol-sulfite-development.106512/
Thanks I remember reading that when you posted. I ran some of my own tests on the BTTB B-Bath where he advocated different amounts metaborate to control contrast. After charting these I found no difference whatsoever in the densities. After much use I am dialed in at 3 min A + 3 min B at 25°C. Great negs every time. I am just trying to wring out a little extra cutting sharpness. Any suggestions?
 

Alan Johnson

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In BTTB (post 1) part A the sulfite has 3 functions.It acts to remove oxidized metol from the emulsion,it dissolves and redeposits silver leading to finer grain, and it uncovers latent image sites.
If the sulfite concentration is reduced it would have less solvent effect so sharpening up the grain but it might slow down the removal of oxidized metol and the uncovering of latent image specks.This seems to suggest that a longer time of immersion in both baths could be tried if the sulfite concentration is lowered.
 

trendland

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Ian, You seem to know much about this based on your posts. What would you recommend on my questions above? I'd like to use a D23 like formula as a single bath and get something sharper than BTTB, more like Beutler's. Could I reduce the SS and add some borax or metaborate?

Well - ParkerSmithPhoto, the issue (you mentioned above) to the function of sodium sulfite in concern of sharpness isn't quite clear to me. But that has nothing to say (if it is not clear to me :whistling:) because I come more from the practical side (not so much from the theoreticaly:cry: workflow).
"I know he lowered the amound of sodium sulfite from 100g to 80g to increase sharpness" you stated?

OK - so far , so fine now let's have a LOOK what Stephen Anchell has to say in that concern :

" In the Film developing formula Kodak D23 the large amond of Sodium Sulfite (100 Grams) serves to create an environment sufficiently alkaline that the developing agend, methol can reduce the silver halide without an additional accelerator.............."

So as we might know this is stated in concern of the Kodak D23 formulation (wich contains just 2 chemicals) 1) methol 2) sodium sulfite.

The approach of Barry T. is of course different - he splitted his formulation as two bath developer
(pls. have a LOOK at bath two : Sodium Metaborate 12g !!!!!!!!!!)

No problem at all Parker S. I will tell you I was the most lousy student in chemistry lessions you can,t imagine - (but none of this theachers find out:D:happy::happy:).

What about folowing aproach to you next :
1) you will find a different variation of D23 wich will serve you more "sharpness" but I warn you differences are not great.
Alternate 2) you will find a different developer wich will serve you more "sharpness" but I warn you because you perhaps (indeed in some cases) will louse finest grain.
Alternate 3) you will reduce higher the amound of sodium sulfite in concern of original 100g amound just to check what will happen (why not buy the way - is it less sharp then?)

My recomandation : A cross check to 3) : you first should reduce the sodium sulfite ammound on a level of 70gramm (I be sure your developer will also work on this level fine) but what could be interesting is the question : IS THE RESSULT MORE SHARPNESS INDEED ?

If this will work you may have some Tests from reducing the level of sodium sulfite to your personal optimum (in regard of sharpness) .....but if this will cost you fine grain you should think about twice.

with regards
 

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If you are planning to do some tests, you might also be interested in a modification that I have seen on German-speaking websites. However, this is not directly related to your question about increasing sharpness.

A photographer called Rüdiger Hartung‎ has claimed that this modified version of BTTB will increase effective speed:

Bath A
3.25 g of Metol
3.35 g Vitamin C (superadditivity with Metol)
0.3 g Phenidone (for the shadows)

Sodium sulphite remains constant at 80 g / liter.

Bad B.
10 g / l Sodium Metaborate.

He has also described doing the sequence Bath A / Bath B / Bath A / Bath B for even more boost to the film's effective speed.

I have only seen smallish examples of his images online but it does seem to promising.

Bests,

David.
www.dsallen.de
 

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If you are planning to do some tests, you might also be interested in a modification that I have seen on German-speaking websites. However, this is not directly related to your question about increasing sharpness.

A photographer called Rüdiger Hartung‎ has claimed that this modified version of BTTB will increase effective speed:

Bath A
3.25 g of Metol
3.35 g Vitamin C (superadditivity with Metol)
0.3 g Phenidone (for the shadows)

Sodium sulphite remains constant at 80 g / liter.

Bad B.
10 g / l Sodium Metaborate.

He has also described doing the sequence Bath A / Bath B / Bath A / Bath B for even more boost to the film's effective speed.

I have only seen smallish examples of his images online but it does seem to promising.

Bests,

David.
www.dsallen.de

David this was the intention of D23 (it is simular to Ilford's perceptol/ Kodak's microdol - x buy the way) nearly simular is more correct ....
The intention to avoid a second photographic developer substance. If you add Phenidone AND Vitamin C it is quite clear that you'll get more speed. It looks like an derivate formulation of some D76 alternates (+ VitaminC) but it is much interesting so thanks for sharing.

with regards

PS : I personally will not use D76 as a small grain developer. But the potential of D76 for reformulation in regard of high speed is indeed great. (remember Beutler's NEOFIN RED !)
 

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Willy Beutler used a formulation wich was indeed different to Tetenal (he was forced to state..:wondering:)

NEOFIN RED : 0,5 g of methol + 0,5 G of hydroquinone
5g. sodium sulfite
5g sodium carbonate
990 ml. water

with regards

PS : NEOFIN RED is long time discontinued. But perhaps some remember such legend developers :

NEOFIN BLUE
NEOFIN RED
NEOFIN DOKU
 

Ian Grant

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Ian, You seem to know much about this based on your posts. What would you recommend on my questions above? I'd like to use a D23 like formula as a single bath and get something sharper than BTTB, more like Beutler's. Could I reduce the SS and add some borax or metaborate?

Well if you think of D76/ID-11 being used at 1+3 that's 25g per litre Sodium Sulphite in the working solution. I'd probably go for somewhere around 40g per litre, adding Borax or Metaborate will be more like Haist's H76

Personally I prefer a Pyrocatechin/Phenidone or Pyrocatechin/Metol developer for fine grain and increased sharpness which is why I use Pyrocat HD. I don't know why Beutler would cause issues with Tmax 400, it shouldn't.

Ian
 
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My inclination is to go with Beutler's which is incredibly sharp. I've never seen fog with it so like Ian I don't know what happened to your film.

You might try to decrease Metol in your first bath, extend the time, then use something stronger in the second bath. There is a reason why developers such as Rodinal are really sharp.
 

trendland

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My inclination is to go with Beutler's which is incredibly sharp. I've never seen fog with it so like Ian I don't know what happened to your film.

You might try to decrease Metol in your first bath, extend the time, then use something stronger in the second bath. There is a reason why developers such as Rodinal are really sharp.

Let me short state the "Definition of sharpness" is to most photographers not realy clear.
(of course you are not meant Patrick - of course not:wink:....but it is an issue of different value to many others)
Sharpness is per definition absolut individual. Some might see a picture as realy sharp to others it isn't sharp indeed. To amatheuric photograpers a picture has sharpness if they focus the lens correct.

Is sharpness to us the same as resolution ? To most it should be the same. And here is the problem of developers (like Rodinal) wich serve a lot of edge effect.
That is what I name artifiziell sharpness. Because such effects can't higher the max. resolution.
We all know that a negative wich has low contrast looks little unsharp but the print with compensation via grade show a lot of details.
To higher the contrast let a picture subjektive looking much more sharp in comparison. All digital cameras are designed today in regard of max. contrasty result via electronic manipulation.
Some manufacturer would name this in other way : optimation. The same is with electronic edge effects (Detail).
So it is a real task to find the optimal way (the max. middle way) between smallest grain what often may result in finest detail because grain can result restrictions of resolution. And between contrasty negatives with max. edge effects.
To me Rodinal can't fullfill this task. It is much used by younger photographers who want to push
AND want to see max. grain (obviously they print in smaler formats).

So we may came back to Beutler?

with regards
 
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Thanks for all of the feedback. I took another look at my Beutler's negative and although the base density is higher than BTTB, it is uniform and the negative appears perfectly printable, almost like Ansel's "pre-flashing" technique. I compared both of these negs at 18” (the largest print I can make without running into the column) and the grain structure was identical. I believe the only real difference is the Beutlers neg has a higher CI and thus looks sharper than the BTTB. I am going to make matching prints using the paper grade to adjust contrast and see what I get.
 

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Thanks for all of the feedback. I took another look at my Beutler's negative and although the base density is higher than BTTB, it is uniform and the negative appears perfectly printable, almost like Ansel's "pre-flashing" technique. I compared both of these negs at 18” (the largest print I can make without running into the column) and the grain structure was identical. I believe the only real difference is the Beutlers neg has a higher CI and thus looks sharper than the BTTB. I am going to make matching prints using the paper grade to adjust contrast and see what I get.
I you will do it like your Avatar is done it will work..:cool:

with regards
 

jim appleyard

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Thanks I remember reading that when you posted. I ran some of my own tests on the BTTB B-Bath where he advocated different amounts metaborate to control contrast. After charting these I found no difference whatsoever in the densities. After much use I am dialed in at 3 min A + 3 min B at 25°C. Great negs every time. I am just trying to wring out a little extra cutting sharpness. Any suggestions?

You may not notice a difference in density, but in contrast, which was Barry's goal in changing the amount of metabolite in B. I've done lots of Pan-f in Barry's standard 2-bath and contrast can be a bit high. I've mixed up a B bath with just 7g of metabolite and found it works much better.
 

Trask

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Willy Beutler used a formulation wich was indeed different to Tetenal (he was forced to state..:wondering:)

NEOFIN RED : 0,5 g of methol + 0,5 G of hydroquinone
5g. sodium sulfite
5g sodium carbonate
990 ml. water

with regards

PS : NEOFIN RED is long time discontinued. But perhaps some remember such legend developers :

NEOFIN BLUE
NEOFIN RED
NEOFIN DOKU

Is that in fact Tetenal’s formula for Neofin Red? If so, thanks! I’ve still got Blue and Doku, but haven’t had Red in quite some time. If you know Doku’s formula, please share.
 

trendland

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Is that in fact Tetenal’s formula for Neofin Red? If so, thanks! I’ve still got Blue and Doku, but haven’t had Red in quite some time. If you know Doku’s formula, please share.
Yes - like other derivate formulations from what is said : " nearly the same" it is often more than
"nearly" = identical!
with regards
PS : NEOFIN DOKU is not published AFAIK if I remember correct Tetenal changed original formulation in the past (reformulated) But there are many many recipes wich seams to me that are better in comparison.
 

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Bad "boxed" TMY ? How was the storage? What production year ?

with regards

PS : I never saw bad TMY all the years......:wondering:
 
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