Paper Developer Alternative to ILFORD Multigrade

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Arthurwg

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I've been using ILFORD Multigrade developer but it seems to have a short tray life and it's difficult to keep fresh in an opened bottle. Before I know it, it's turned brown. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong, but I'd like to switch to something with a longer life. I believe there was a recent thread on this but I can't seem to find it. Any suggestions? I've been using ILFORD paper but plan to try Foma in the near future.
 

GregY

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I've been using ILFORD Multigrade developer but it seems to have a short tray life and it's difficult to keep fresh in an opened bottle. Before I know it, it's turned brown. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong, but I'd like to switch to something with a longer life. I believe there was a recent thread on this but I can't seem to find it. Any suggestions? I've been using ILFORD paper but plan to try Foma in the near future.

 

Melvin J Bramley

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I have a 5 litre container of Ilford MG developer that is now 4 months old and half full.
it still gives good results.
I find Ilford is quite conservative as to the longevity of its chemicals.
Store it dark and store it cool is my motto.
To prolong chemical life re cant the brew and store it in multiple containers; preferably brown glass.

TB
 

Dwayne Martin

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I buy it in the gallon jug, takes me months to use it all. The stock turns more and more brown the older it gets but it always seems to perform the same. I use butane on top of it and it still turns brown.
In my case it's never in the tray for more than a couple hours.
 

petrk

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Foma GD-L is said to have better longevity in days in a tray. If it is your goal, lt could be fine. But as many other developers, it changes a tone to warm a little with exhaustion, so for a consistent work, better to stay with a shorter exposure to air and have it freshly mixed, as you probably do now.

Edit: GD-L changes its color too, but from my experience even dark brown still works.
 
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RalphLambrecht

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I've been using ILFORD Multigrade developer but it seems to have a short tray life and it's difficult to keep fresh in an opened bottle. Before I know it, it's turned brown. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong, but I'd like to switch to something with a longer life. I believe there was a recent thread on this but I can't seem to find it. Any suggestions? I've been using ILFORD paper but plan to try Foma in the near future.

There is little that hasa longer tray life than Kodak Dektol aka D72.
 

Tom Kershaw

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I've had mixed results with ILFORD MG developer in terms of longevity. Perhaps depending on how long the stock has been sitting on the shelf prior to purchase. More recently I've made up the DS-14 formula - lasts well in the tray and can be replenished.
 
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I've been using ILFORD Multigrade developer but it seems to have a short tray life and it's difficult to keep fresh in an opened bottle. Before I know it, it's turned brown. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong, but I'd like to switch to something with a longer life. I believe there was a recent thread on this but I can't seem to find it. Any suggestions? I've been using ILFORD paper but plan to try Foma in the near future.

Multigrade developer is supposed to have a higher working capacity than all the other paper developers that Ilford sell so the short tray life is odd.
Perhaps decanting the concentrate into small bottles to the brim as already suggested will prevent the problem from happening again.
I have not yet had a problem with Multigrade developer, so perhaps I have been lucky.
 
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Is it sold with the stupid paper seal caps at the moment? I have little faith in them. If it goes bad on you in the bottle, first thing I'd try is a bottle with better sealing cap and/protective gas.
 

Lachlan Young

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If your throughput of stock solution is so low that the bottle is actually going off (not merely changing colour), then you should probably buy smaller quantities at a time... It lasts pretty much as per Ilford's stated lifespan for it.
 

mrosenlof

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Chris Patton’s E-72 Paper Developer​

Water 750ml
Phenidone 0.3g
Sodium Sulfite 45g
Ascorbic Acid 19g
Sodium Carbonate 90g (mono) (or 77g anhydrous)
KBr 1.9g (anti-fog)
Water to make 1000ml

Dillute 1:2 to use​


Tray life is at least a week in my experience. I cover my trays when not actively printing to control evaporation, but it's just a polycarbonate lid, not a seal. I only mix what I need to start using immediately, so I don't know about bottle storage.
 

mrosenlof

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I have used this a few times also:


bottle life of HC110 is quite long. It looks like the tray life is shorter than E-72, but for sure a whole day, maybe more. I'm not sure what kind of tray life the OP is unhappy with.
 

Roger Cole

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There is little that hasa longer tray life than Kodak Dektol aka D72.

Are you kidding? The fact the stuff died after one day at working strength was mainly (along with the godawful stains on everything) the reason I moved to LPD decades ago.

LPD is still far and away my favorite paper developer.

I really, really hate Dektol. (The results are fine but it doesn't last and it leaves even places you'd swear you got it all up a blue-black mess later.)
 

GregY

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I've been using ILFORD Multigrade developer but it seems to have a short tray life and it's difficult to keep fresh in an opened bottle. Before I know it, it's turned brown. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong, but I'd like to switch to something with a longer life. I believe there was a recent thread on this but I can't seem to find it. Any suggestions? I've been using ILFORD paper but plan to try Foma in the near future.
Arthur when you say Multigrade has a short tray life, are you saying it dies during a printing session or you leave it uncovered to use the next day? I've never had this issue. My favourite developers are Ansco 130 and LPD, which i use for sale or exhibition prints. The rest of my work is done with Multigrade bought in the 5 litre jugs because it's economical and i can get it locally. I've never had issues with it, even when it's changed colour. Can you elaborate?
 

Ian Grant

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Are you kidding? The fact the stuff died after one day at working strength was mainly (along with the godawful stains on everything) the reason I moved to LPD decades ago.

LPD is still far and away my favorite paper developer.

I really, really hate Dektol. (The results are fine but it doesn't last and it leaves even places you'd swear you got it all up a blue-black mess later.)

One problem with MQ developers like D-72/Dektol is capacity, it's much lower than a PQ developer as Metol is inhibited by Bromide build up. In recent years I've tended to print less frequently, but when I do these are often long sessions of exhibition prints, 8-10 hours a day. I mix my own PQ paper developers to commercial strength.

Ian
 

MarkS

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Photographer's Formulary sells a developer called "Liquidol". It was devised to have a longer life than other paper developers, by Ron Mowrey (Photo Engineer here, RIP) and someone else.
I've been using it mostly for the last five years or so, and my anecdotal experience is that it does indeed last longer than Ilford MG developer. and when I switched back and forth (due to immediate availability) I couldn't detect any differences in performance between the two. So I've found my answer to the question.
 

pentaxuser

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Photographer's Formulary sells a developer called "Liquidol". It was devised to have a longer life than other paper developers, by Ron Mowrey (Photo Engineer here, RIP) and someone else.
I've been using it mostly for the last five years or so, and my anecdotal experience is that it does indeed last longer than Ilford MG developer. and when I switched back and forth (due to immediate availability) I couldn't detect any differences in performance between the two. So I've found my answer to the question.

Yes it would appear that PE's Liquidol does have an extended life. Is it now made by Photographer's Formulary or some company for PF? I wonder how the formula was discovered as I don't recall Ron being prepared to release it or maybe he was obligated not to?

pentaxuser
 

MattKing

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Yes it would appear that PE's Liquidol does have an extended life. Is it now made by Photographer's Formulary or some company for PF? I wonder how the formula was discovered as I don't recall Ron being prepared to release it or maybe he was obligated not to?

pentaxuser

Liquidol was co-designed by Ron Mowrey and Bill Troop and at least marketed through Photographer's Formulary. The instructions lead me to the conclusion that it is manufactured by or for Photographer's Formulary as well.
 

rcphoto

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To answer your question, the shop I worked at sold a lot of LPD to high school photo programs. Seemed to give them good economy and apparently stayed in good shape over the summer.

I do not print from late February to early November because I can't control how warm my darkroom gets in the spring and summer. My multigrade developer turns dark as coffee during the offseason but still works really well for me come late fall when I start printing again.
 
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I like the convenience of Multigrade. I have nothing but good to say about its image quality.

I recently changed to LPD powder partly due to the posts about replenishment and I find it lasts longer than Multigrade. Even if you did not replenish, LPD will support more DR sessions than Multigrade. I’m sticking with LPD. I currently go through a gallon of stock inside 3 months so can’t report on long term storage. My bet is LPL stored in hard plastic 1l containers filled to the top achieves 6 months storage.

When a stock solution turns deep amber the image degrades start in how tones are split (micro-contrast) after the working solution develops a few prints. I hate non productive DR sessions so for me its not worth the risk to use solutions past a point. Sure oxidized developer develops an image but can you expect the print to sparkle.
 
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GregY

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Liquidol was co-designed by Ron Mowrey and Bill Troop and at least marketed through Photographer's Formulary. The instructions lead me to the conclusion that it is manufactured by or for Photographer's Formulary as well.
Having been in the Formulary many times over the years. They're not just a wholesale dealer. They package and manufacture. Not many similar places in the photo world. I'd bet they make the Liquidol. As a matter of fact when it came out they gave me some to try out.
 

Roger Cole

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One problem with MQ developers like D-72/Dektol is capacity, it's much lower than a PQ developer as Metol is inhibited by Bromide build up. In recent years I've tended to print less frequently, but when I do these are often long sessions of exhibition prints, 8-10 hours a day. I mix my own PQ paper developers to commercial strength.

Ian

That makes sense. I've avoided MQ paper developers ever since giving up on Dektol back in the 70s. As I said I mainly use LPD since I've found nothing else that I like quite as much overall. I occasionally will use a warm tone developer with WT papers though, rather than more dilute LPD.
 

Roger Cole

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I like the convenience of Multigrade. I have nothing but good to say about its image quality.

I recently changed to LPD powder partly due to the posts about replenishment. Even if you did not replenish, LPD will support more DR sessions than Multigrade. I’m staying with LPD. I currently go through a gallon of stock inside 3 months so can’t report on long term storage. My bet is LPL stored in hard plastic 1l containers filled to the top achieves 6 months storage.

When a stock solution turns deep amber the image degrades start in how tones are split (micro-contrast) after the working solution develops a few prints. I hate non productive DR sessions so for me its not worth the risk to use solutions past a point. Sure oxidized developer develops an image but can you expect the print to sparkle.

I once went back into the darkroom after a break. I looked at my bottle of working strength LPD (just poured back into plastic bottle when done printing, air squeezed out and capped.) I write the date mixed on a piece of tape I put on the bottle. It was (so I thought) two months old so I figured it'd be fine. It was. Worked perfectly.

Then I looked at the date again when I finished that printing session and... I'd read the YEAR wrong. The stuff was FOURTEEN months old. Worked fine.

 
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