Mottling with Beutler developer

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ParkerSmithPhoto, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Member
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    I tried some TMY in the old Beutler's formula and found it to be a very sharp but aggressive developer. Comparison test prints at 20" against both Barry Thornton Two Bath and Pyrocat-HD showed that the Beutler's was clearly sharper, and it brought out a lovely grain structure that wasn't too obtrusive. There was, however, some mottling in areas of continuous tone, just small spots that were darker than the surrounding areas.

    I always use SS tanks and leave and airspace at the top, agitating by 5 over and back inversions per minute, so I don't think it was an agitation issue. Could it be the sodium carbonate accelerator? Could I maybe try a higher dilution of the sodium carbonate or use sodium metaborate instead?

    Most of my work over the past several years has been developed with Barry Thornton Two Bath and I'm getting great results, so maybe this is just chasing a tiny, incremental improvement that is only visible at 20" BUT, I would love to go to a single bath metol-only developer to make things a bit simpler, as I could then feel confident running 4-6 rolls of 120 at a time.
     
  2. trendland

    trendland Member
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    I can't say if you mentioned mottling is caused from incorrect developing with beutler.
    But I don't think so - beutler is so simple I guess there is nothing to be done wrong. Perhaps - you never mind about.
    Have a new try - may be it is better.
    But I would strongly recommend you to advance with simple metol formulas.
    And have great fun to compare with beutler. I is allmost not as sharp but with smalest grain.
    with regards
     
  3. ozmoose

    ozmoose Member

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    How old is your TMY?

    Over many (and I do mean many) years of using Beutler developers, I have found that processing older films in this developer can result in mottling. Thin-emulsion films are not so prone to this but most 'regular' emulsions can mottle if the films are overly long expired.

    I first used Beutler's in the 1960s, so I am no novice at the process.

    Like the OP, I also used the Thornton's two-bath developer for almost two decades but in the past year I have gone back to the Beutler system, finding they produce greater sharpness and fewer unwanted contrast fluctuations.

    Like the Thornton's (and all other two-bath) developers, the Beutler mixes are super easy to make up.

    My 'reconversion' was partly due to an Ebay lucky purchase, a 1957 booklet by Herr Beutler on using his mixes and thin-emulsion films to produce super fine quality exhibition prints with 35mm films. In this case, unlike most other darkroom books I've read and used, the Beutler processes from this 60-year old booklet all work as intended and produce exactly the results I want.
     
  4. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber
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    By spots, do mean actual spots or blotches? Occasionally over the years I've seen spots of intense development with dilute developers, but I've always attributed that to my laziness in mixing or crystals left in the developer that stick to the film. Splotches tend to be older film as ozmoose mentions.

    I really like Beutler's just because it is really easy to mix up and the negatives have a really long scale. It is pretty hard to get highlights to block up with Beutler's. Sharp as a tack as well. Different scale than Rodinal though, but similar sharpness. Pretty good alternative to the pyro developers, but not the same of course.

    Not so fond of two bath developers. I've found them to be inconsistent and awash with problems like bromide drag that strike at the worst times.
     
  5. Chris Livsey

    Chris Livsey Member

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    I am a little concerned at your agitation regime for Beutler which may be why you see it as "aggresive".
    High acutance developers respond best with a lower agitation, Geoffrey Crawley showed this IMHO conclusively in discussing his FX1 formula BJP 27th Jan 1961 the edge effect in particular is reduced.

    I have not seen "mottling" at any time with Beutler, are you in or out of the pre-wash camp? Either could be the issue depending on your technique but if you have good results with Pyrocat HD I see no reasons why Beutler should differ. If you tested only one run I would repeat on a non significant testing roll.

    Interesting Instagram feed BTW
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  6. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Beutler IS a single bath metol developer you mix it 1 part A plus 1 part B plus 8 parts water. Your post and reference to the BTTB gives the impression you are trying to use it as a two bath developer.

    I have always used Beutler with conventional agitation, 2 inversions every 30 sec with excellent results no loss of acutence. Never experienced any spots.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  7. OP
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    ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Member
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    Thanks for the feedback, Gerald. My poor phrasing left the wrong impression. I am trying to move from a two bath developer to a single developer, and investigating all of the metol-only choices to keep the same look but with a slightly simpler development workflow and maybe a bit more acutance, although BTTB is plenty sharp.

    Is Beutler's your everyday developer?
     
  8. OP
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    ParkerSmithPhoto

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    I generally shoot film that is well within the date but I can't say for sure in this case. It may have been close to or just past expiration, so I will give this another test roll.
     
  9. OP
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    ParkerSmithPhoto

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    Always presoak for any developer.

    When I use BTTB, I agitate in Bath A, and then STAND in Bath B after a few turns when filling the tank. I'm going to give it another go with less agitation. I do think it's exciting that you can get sharper results than Pyrocat HD with a metol only developer. P-HD had a very slight edge on the BTTB at 20". VERY slight.

    Thanks for checking out the IG feed, Chris. I've got a ton of new work I'll be getting printed soon.
     
  10. julio1fer

    julio1fer Member
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    I have used Beutler since the 1960s, and it has been my main developer for low ISO films for a long, long time. Never used it with TMY, but IMHO it is excellent for TMX. John Sexton called Beutler and TMX a match made in Heaven and he was right.

    Beutler developer was optimized for low ISO films, thin emulsion such as Panatomic-X, KB-14 or Agfa IFF. It gives larger grain than for instance D-76, but it enhances sharpness because of the famous edge effect; I also find it gives a compensation effect.

    Never got the mottling in dark areas that you mention with the films I processed in Beutler (FP4+, Pan F+, TMX), which is about 300 rolls if my count is correct. But then I never did TMY with Beutler.

    I always use distilled or deionized water, agitation 1st minute continuously, then one or two inversions each minute. Temperatures between 18 and 22 C, correcting developing times accordingly. No presoak, no stop bath.
     
  11. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    It was for several years and then Kodak discontinued Pan-X. A friend gave me a short-end roll of Eastman Backgrount-X which was a good substitute but it too was discontinued. I look forward to trying Ferrania P30 with the Beutler formula. I think it may be a good match.

    BTW Kodak D-23 diluted 1+3 is also a good acutance developer. Another good choice is D-76H the Grant Haist variant of D-76. Both it and D-23 use metol as the single developing agent.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  12. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    A picture of the mottled neg or negs might help those users of Beutler's to narrow down the possible causes? Just a thought

    pentaxuser
     
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