What do you think of these formulas?

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Jeremy

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I've been looking at what chemicals I need to make my own developer, stop, fix, and hypo-clear and I've come up with these:

Hypo Clearing Agent
Water (125º F) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 750 ml
Sodium Sulfite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200 g
Sodium bisulfite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 g
Water to make . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 liter

Dilute 1:9 for use.


Pyrocat-HD
Stock Solution A
Distilled Water (125 degrees F) . . . . . . . . 75 ml
Sodium Bisulfite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 g
Pyrocatechin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 g
Phenidone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.2 g
Potassium Bromide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.2 g
Water to make . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 ml

Stock Solution B
Distilled Water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 ml
Potassium Carbonate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 g

To make a standard working solution, mix 1 part A with 1 part B with 100 ml water.

TF-2 Alkaline Fixer
Water.........................................1000 ml
Sodium Thiosulfate................250 g
Sodium Sulfite (anhy)............15 g
Sodium Metaborate................10 g
Water to make...........................1000 ml
Fix the film for three times the clearing time, usually 3 to 5 minutes. Follow with a two minute wash in running water for film. A hypo clearing agent is not required. Prints should be rinsed for at least 30 minutes in running water.


Stop Bath
A small spoonful of ctirc acid in a liter of water


This is what I've been able to gather from personal emails, these forums, and various websites. Any suggestions or corrections?
Also, will the hypo clear not be needed due to using the TF-2 fixer or does it still reduce the wash times?

Jeremy
 

Donald Miller

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TF2 is still using Sodium Thiosulfate and as such will benefit from HCA. You may be confusing the TF2 with Formulary's TF4 formula.
 
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Jeremy

Jeremy

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I thought something was off about that as the lack of a need for hypo clear was the reason for using TF4--or at least that was what my memory told me.

This was just info I had gotten from one website and this is the reason I'm asking.
 
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Jeremy

Jeremy

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Also, are there anysuggestions of quantities of products to buy based on their life expectancy or is this not a problem with the individual ingredients, only the stock and working solutions?

Sorry to have so many questions on this subject, but I've never worked with any chemicals other than those that say "Dilute this to so much water" or Dektol
 
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Jeremy

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another addition:

is there a difference between sodium bisulfite and sodium metabisulfite?
 

LFGuy

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Jeremy Moore said:
another addition:

is there a difference between sodium bisulfite and sodium metabisulfite?

They are different chemical formulas, but I think they are interchangable (from what I remember in the Darkroom Cookbook, or maybe Film Developing Cookbook by Anchell).
 

Robert

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TF-2 is akaline just like TF-4 or TF-3. I thought that was the reason for the lack of HCA. The stuff lasts forever. I throw it out and the fixer will still be fixing film in the same time periods that it did when new. But will have started to yellow so out it goes.

Buy a big bag of Sodium sulfite [say 10lbs. ] Everything uses it. The other stuff is more related to how much you use it. Check ebay for a seller called something like surebet2. His 10lb specials are pretty good.
 

LFGuy

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Jeremy Moore said:
Also, are there anysuggestions of quantities of products to buy based on their life expectancy or is this not a problem with the individual ingredients, only the stock and working solutions?

Sorry to have so many questions on this subject, but I've never worked with any chemicals other than those that say "Dilute this to so much water" or Dektol

Depends on your storage conditions and all, and how much chemicals you use.... sometimes, when you buy chemicals, they simply come in sealed plastic bags, which may be harder to store once you open them up. I prefer glass or plastic bottles, but you don't always get these from photo chemical places unless you buy more than say 100 or 200 grams worth.

The shelf life of each chemical varies, unfortunately I don't have any info on my at the moment for the different parts of Pyrocat-HD, fixer, etc.

Make sure you buy enough to mix several solutions of stock solution, that way you have more in case you mess up and it gives you enough to test with. Also, chemicals are usually get cheaper per gram when you buy more.
 

Donald Miller

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Jeremy,
You ask some very good and pertinent questions. As others have suggested, it depends greatly on the amount of film developing and printing that you do.

When I started mixing my own chemistry, I worked it backwards from the amount of chemical per litre of use solution. Most everything (individual chemicals) has a good shelf life if kept in sealed containers. It is primarily when use solutions are prepared that oxidation occurs.

If you are planning on Pyrocat HD, as it appears, then I found that I substituted Sodium Carbonate for Potassium Carbonate since I already had it on hand for other uses. I spoke with Sandy King prior to doing this. The only change is I mix it in five times the amount of water for the stock solution. I then change the mix to 1-5-100. The reason is that Sodium Carbonate reaches solution saturation much more rapidly then Potassium Carbonate. It just makes my life easier to eliminate different chemicals where I can.

I understand that Michael Smith is still printing with a large quantity of Amidol that he bought a number of years ago.

I have bought from both Photographers Formulary and Artcraft Chemicals and I prefer the latter for reasons of service and price.

It is my understanding that in regard to TF4 which is a proprietary Photographers Formulary formula the issue is one of a stop bath, not of HCA. Due to the fact that it is alkaline it requires no stop bath since the developer is alkaline and to transfer an alkaline developer into an acid fix is to neutralize the fix and shorten it's useful life.

The issue with HCA and thiosulfate based fixers is that the thiosulfate compound is difficult to wash from fiber based prints and the HCA converts the thiosulfate compound to a more readily removal compound. I believe that I am correct in this. If not I am sure that someone will step up and straighten us both out.
 
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Jeremy

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Like I said, I really have no idea about the HCA, it was just what it said on Jack's chemical website... I just asked because everything else he says fits right in with all of my other info except for that one part.

It looks like I'll also be using Sodium Carbonate instead of potassium just from the fact that it takes less and is cheaper :smile:

My so-called final shopping list comes out to be in alphabetcal order:

Catechol: 250 g
Phenidone: 50 g
Potassium Bromide: 250 g (this should last a long time!)
Sodium Carbonate: 1 lb
Sodium Metabisulfite: 1 lb
Sodium Metaborate: 1 lb
Sodium Sulfite: 5 lb
Sodium Thiosulfate: 5 lb

This will be my first chemical order and am therefore starting from scratch. If anyone has any suggestions on different chemicals, different amounts, or additional chemicals let me know. The total cost including shipping comes up to be $93 and I'm hoping this will last me quite a while before having to re-stock up.
 
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Bill Troops, author of the TF formulas (and co-author of the Film Cookbook) states that with alkali fixers you do not need HCA.

HCA - Just some sulphite in water will do. No need to mix it in advance (half a 35mm film cannister is OK, solve, use and discard after).

You may substitute borax for metaborate in the fixer (same amount; I used it both ways - no diference).

Get good jars with good covers to store all that.

Phenidone is very tricky to measure and solve, and many bad results with it are due to that. Make a 1 (or 2) percent solution and use it from the solution.

Two suggestions:

- Solve it in isopropyl alcohol (just alcohol - no additives like colors, perfume, etc). Some people use cheap vodka...
- Solve it in a metabissulfite solution mixed at 5g/liter.

I've used both; both works and I do not know which is the best.

No Photo Flo?

I do not use stop bath anymore - just plain water. No streaks or alike. All alkali processing.

Jorge O

Whew!
 
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Jeremy

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I still have one of those larger sized bottles of photo-flo... can you mix that yourself?
 
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AFAIK no...

If one want to make sure your negs will last 100 yrs and so on, one shall not run risks.

If one is daring (or don't care for archival storage), then dishwasher detergent, etc will work as well as...

Somepeople uses only distilled water as last wash.

Jorge O
 

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First, the HCA /thiosulfate/rapid fix question:

All fixers contain thiosulfate, except some very special ones which are truly nasty. So the thiosulfate is what does the job.
There are two forms of thiosulfate used in fixers: Sodium thiosulfate and Ammonium thiosulfate. The sodium (Na) version is called "hypo", the ammonium fixers are usually called something with "rapid" in it. The reason for this is that the ammonium actually sppeds up the rate of dissolution of the silver halides. Since this is a function of the ammonium it's not specific to "ammonium thiosulfate". You get the same effect by ading a few teaspoons of ammonium chloride to a liter of Hypo fix - clearing times down to less than 20 seconds.

Fixers are either acidic or alkaline (and some are almost neutral). Alkaline fixers wash out more rapidly. When using acid fixers, HCA will neurtalise the acid and make the film (or paper) alkaline - thus washing out faster. The HCA also helps converting some of the byproducts of fixing to more easily soluble compounds. Due to the more rapid washing after alkaline fix, this is not necessary unless using acid fix - or very old fix. If your fix is yellow, it's dead. If it gets really bad, it will work as a hypo toner - although not as cleanly.

Don't worry about the life expectancy and capacity of the fix: If in doubt, make new. Compared to film, fixer is dirt cheap: Don't risk it.

Phenidone is not very stable in solution: Measure new every time, a per cent solution is very unreliable.


Sodium bisulfite and sodium metabisulfite have different formulas, but are thought by many to be the same chemical. They are certainly interchangeable.


Pyrocat-HD: Instead of making a solution "B", I dissolve the equivalent amount of carbonate in the mixing water. For 1 liter of 1:1:100, use 6.5g of sodium carbonate monohydrate, or 7.3g of potassium carbonate. Dissolve in 1/2 liter water, add part A dissolved in the other 1/2 liter.


Amounts: I suggest you reduce your KBr to 50 g, and buy 200g Hydroquinone. It's not used in Pyrocat-HD, but it is a very useful developing agent to have around. Some (250g?) Metol is useful to have, as well.
 
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Ole

I beg to disagree on this one.

Mesuring minute amounts of phenidone requires a really good scale.
If you do not trust the life of the solution, mix, use and discard.
I have used my phenidone reserve solutions both in absolute ethanol and isopropyl alchool for a couple of months without any problem, and many years ago I've used it solved in metabissulfite.
(all my developers, film and paper, are phenidone based - I was unable to find metol locally)

Jorge O
 

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Much of the research suggests that phenidone is not very stable in solution. However, exactly what does that mean? In water? In alcohol? In acetone? In diet cola?

I have found that phenidone is very stable in the Part A Stock Soluition of Pyrocat-HD. And I am using Phenidone A, not one of the more exotic variants of Phenidone. My Stock A solutions are good for up to six months, or slightly more. There is absolutely nothing in my experience to suggest that one will get better results by mixing the Phenidone from scratch for every working solution.

The key to the stability of Stock Solution A, at least from my perspective, is the balance of preservative, i.e. sodiuim bisulfite, in Stock Solution A. There must be enough to preserve the reducing elements, but not so much that all staining is eliminated. I think we have just about the right amount in the Pyrocat-HD formula, though for sure with certain films and long development times one may need to add a pinch or two of sodium sulfite to reduce the possibility of general fog from developer oxidation.

Sandy King
 

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Sandy, I have found Stock Solution A to be very stable as well. My last batch was used over a three-month period, and I'm sure this one will last nearly as long.

The concerns over the stability of Phenidone apply if you wish to mix that in a solution on its own, say 2g in some volume to add 1/10 of that in making up Pyrocat A. This pre-stock solution could easily sit around for a year, at which time the stability would be important. With the relatively low solubility of Phenidone, it takes quite a lot of water to dissolve 2 grams...

I don't advocate measuring 0.002g Phenidone for every working solution of Pyrocat-HD, but I think it is a good idea to use a balance precise enough to measure 0.2g for every STOCK solution.
 

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Ole,

My understanding is that it is the acidity of sodium bisulfite that provides the preservative. I don't have any experience with the stability of phenidone in other solutions, especially alkaline ones.

Regarding precise measurments, check out the site below for a digital scale capable of measuring to 0.001g.
http://www.balances.com/myweigh/i200-scale.html

Sandy
 

sanking

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Sorry, the precision of the iBal 201 is 0.01g, not 0.001g.

Can't imagine what kind of precision would be involved with 1/1000 of a gram. Even at 1/100 of a gram the display weight fluctuates when you breath close to the scale.

Sandy
 

LFGuy

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Most of those kind of scales (which costs thousands of dollars) usually have a sliding cover to block all outside influences. Some can read to .1 or .01 mg precision. Fun to use, but overkill for photography!
 
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AFAIK:

Phenidone is very difficult to solve in water;
It is stable for years as a dry powder, but will slowly decompose in alkali solutions;
It will decompose fairly quickly in water;
It will solve well in alcohol and metabissulfite solutions;
It will keep well (whatever well may be) in these solutions.

Jorge O
 
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