What DON'T you like about MQ developers?

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David Lyga

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I have rarely ventured past the safe, secure, pervasive genre of standard metol-hydroquinone developers because they are so good and dependable. I might tweak the MQ ratio, add some more carbonate or bromide, but rarely use other reduction chemicals like Phenidone, Amidol, etc.

Yet, there are those who swear by such alternatives. I, we, all, just might like to know why? And for prints or negatives do you choose other developers?

Perhaps the best way to approach this discussion might be to elucidate the reasons that MQ might fall short of optimal development in certain (or all?) cases. - David Lyga
 
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David Allen

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For film development, I use Barry Thornton's two-bath which just has Metol and Sodium. It is the perfect developer for my way of working - simple, reliable and cheap. As it has worked so well for me for so long, I have not found the need to try Phenidone, Amidol, etc.

Bests,

David
www.dsallen.de
 
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David Lyga

David Lyga

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I guess I should have asked 'why' rather than 'what'. And, Michael, your proper admonition about how I should be reading up on this causes, again, 'why?' If it ain't broke, why fix it? I wonder what I am missing by staying with the MQ type? I wanted to see if others found their respective formulas better in some way. And, Michael, you are probably right in saying that 'bad information' just might be endemic to all this quest, as pride and prejudice is concomitant with loyalties, some of which are built upon mere hearsay. (Witness the fine grain craze of the 1930s). And, David Allen, I guess I was tacitly including types like D-23, metol only. Thanks. - David Lyga
 
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If your pictures are good you are not missing anything.
 
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David Lyga

David Lyga

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OK, perhaps I was too broad with my enquiry. I have always wondered, and even tried some developers like HC-110 and Microphen; I really did not see any difference. I was wondering whether there were factors other than image quality that mattered here. I love my MQ developers too much to abandon them: ie, D-76 types but maybe with differentiation with MQ ratios instead of the '2' to '5' ratio that that developer uses. I have also used DK-50 which uses a '1' to '1' MQ ratio and even used Dektol diluted (D-72, which uses more HQ than normal for film developers: '3' to '12' ratio), however the huge amount of carbonate necessitates much dilution. - David Lyga
 

BradS

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What do I not like about MQ?

Very simply, I do not like the temperature sensitivity of Hydroquinone. This is why I have dropped the old standards, like D76 and ID-68 and moved almost entirely to D23 and occasionally, Suzuki's DS8.
 

Xmas

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Some people get skin problems with metol I have difficult allergy problems anyway so don't take the risk normally.

When printing with trays I use inspection gloves.

C41 dev all the time.

I normally temper at 20C from dev to final wash.

Not really detected any differences between D76, Microphen and ID68, and I like the grain in Rodinal type soup.

When I make up D76 I use a boric acid/borax buffer if Im using a stock bottle otherwise 1 to 3.
 

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Developers with hydroquinone can change activity over time. I don't see too many complaints on APUG about this, but I have experienced this myself and so tend to avoid such developers. For film. I like D-23 and for paper the variant of Ansco 130 without hydroquinone. Of course, there are others probably as good or better.
 

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The ID11 and D76 published formula can change with use or time the factory packages seem to be better but you still need to one shot or stick to the stock rules.

I use a concertina bottle and discard a month after mix.

Rodinal keeps forever...
 
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David Lyga

David Lyga

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What many people do not know is that with 'metol only' you can achieve considerable contrast, even excessive contrast, if the accelerator is sufficiently potent. - David Lyga
 
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David Lyga

David Lyga

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Right Michael, and thanks for the clarification. I wonder why 'metol only' cannot be used for prints... or can it with success? - David Lyga
 

dpurdy

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Coincidentally I have recently decided to stop using Xtol after nearly 20 years for custom processing. I want to use something I can mix myself. So I decided to do a side by side comparison of Beutlers and D76. So far my tests have been only with 120 fuji Acros. But the results have surprised me in that they are nearly indistinguishable. The grain looks the same and the sharpness looks the same (which I didn't expect). The only difference I can see is that the D76 processed film has very slightly less density in the shadows. So at least for this film I see no reason to use any more chemistry to process the film than is required for the very dilute, Metol only Beutlers formula. Next I run the same tests on Hp5. Maybe there I will see a difference.
Dennis
 

JW PHOTO

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Coincidentally I have recently decided to stop using Xtol after nearly 20 years for custom processing. I want to use something I can mix myself. So I decided to do a side by side comparison of Beutlers and D76. So far my tests have been only with 120 fuji Acros. But the results have surprised me in that they are nearly indistinguishable. The grain looks the same and the sharpness looks the same (which I didn't expect). The only difference I can see is that the D76 processed film has very slightly less density in the shadows. So at least for this film I see no reason to use any more chemistry to process the film than is required for the very dilute, Metol only Beutlers formula. Next I run the same tests on Hp5. Maybe there I will see a difference.
Dennis

I had the same problem with Acros. I ran it through Beutlers, Xtol 1:3, homebrew FX37 and Rodinal 1:100 semi-stand and had a devil of a time seeing much difference. The scene was exactly the same, camera the same, exposure the same and 120 film was used. I came to the conclusion that this film was pretty darn friendly to most of the developers I've used. HP5+ might be a better test. JohnW
 

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"What DON'T you like about MQ developers?"

The Q. It's not as toxic as catechol, but much more than P, M and Vit-C, not to speak of coffee. So easy. Here it's very difficult in the meantime to buy Q exactly for this reason.
 

Xmas

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You don't even need a potent accelerator. Contrast depends mostly on the concentration of developing agent and preservative. Contrary to what many people say, D-23 for example is not a low contrast developer. It can produce as much contrast as you want, and alkalinity is provided by Sulfite alone.
If you have not got any Q...

D-89 nearly:

metol 3g
sulfite 100g
borax 5g
pot bromide 1/2 g

Use the same times and dilutions as packaged D-76. Or D-96, but with less fog than D76.
 
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