Monday, September 29, 2014


This is an adaptation from E72, Chris Patton's D72 clone


Water (125°F/52°C)350 ml
Phenidone / Metol0.3g / 3g
Sodium sulfite45g
Salicylic Acid1g
Ascorbic Acid19g
Sodium Sulphate40g
Sodium carbonate anhy / mono70g / 90g
Water to make500ml

I don't usually add hypo to my developers, so feel free to add yours. Note that this is double streingh, compared to D72.

I use Metol for a developer agent. It's cheap and I always have it around for other projects. I have Phenidone, but it is a bit of a PITA to keep preserved. Your choice, as the results are about the same.

The Salicylic Acid and TEA prevent the dreaded REDOX reaction that kills ascorbic acid developers. The developer can be used without one or either of them, but life could suck when you have film that doesn't get developed.

I removed Potassium bromide from this developer, as we don't really need a restrainer to reduce fog. The Bleach / Clear steps take care of this.

Most ingrediants should be easy to source. There are no restricted components used and even B&H can ship these worldwide. I live in Canada and their doesn't seem to be an issue.

I convert baking soda (arm & hammer variety) to sodium carbonate (anhy) by putting it in the oven on some tin foil, 350f for a couple of hours is enough to do the conversion.

This recipe is double strength. If you want consistency, top up to 1000ml.

The sodium sulphate reduces the swelling of the gelatin. It normally is used for high temp developers which also means you have some leeway to increase your dev temp to get faster development times.

Some spots I had on my images turned out to be small points where the gel left the base. So far this developer seems to help. Please let me know how it works for you.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

E-72 for Dektol

Updated 2014-1-23

In my chase to concoct a suitable 1st dev to replace Dektol I met many dead ends. For me, mixing up Dektol from scratch was next to impossible due to the restrictions of Hydroquineone for sale. Mixing up Kodak Dektol annoyed me, as I knew I was going to have to pitch half of it because it would go bad. Buying 1 liter packets was an ultimate rip-off in pricing.

Part of my problem was caused by me. I had looked for an alternate developing solution when the complexity and time constraints of reversal processing we not really worth it. IE: when it just ain't art! I had perfected Thornton stand developing to the point that the scans could be non perceptible. Well, at least with the limitations of my V700 fluid scans. From a cost perspective, the developer was peanuts. The simplification of the development process led to a consistency where I could not even care what ISO the film was. Well most of the time.

My stock consisted of a pound of Metal and 20g of Phenedone. That would equate of several years worth of each. Ascorbic acid seemed to be the natural and only work-a-like for HQ. The problem was the traditional developers lacked the punch I got from Dektol. I tried modifying several recipes trying anything to enhance the energy required for this stuff. I burned through 100g of Citric acid trying to find the right combination.

Chris Patton came up with a Dektol work alike with ascorbic acid. You can see it . I added some Salicylic Acid (1g) before adding Ascorbic Acid to reduce the possibility of iron in the water causing problems. I also added 5g of hypo. This was a divorce from adding the hypo at development time. I found that this was the best compromise for what I was doing.

The recipe allowed for use of Metol or Phenedone. I have both so I picked Phenedone. No real reason and maybe next time I will try Metol. It's nice to have an inventory.

Here is the recipe as I am using...


Water (125°F/52°C)750 ml
Sodium sulfite (anhy)45g
Salicylic Acid1g
Ascorbic Acid19g
Sodium carbonate (mono)*90g
Potassium bromide1.9g
Water to make1000ml

*77 g Sodium carbonate (anhy).

If all works out, it should give you a PH of 10.0.

And if you want to stick to Dektol, just add the 5g of hypo.

The traditional problem with any ascorbic acid developer is the mystery of when it dies. It does not change colour, it just stops working. Unlike XTol, I can actually use this up way before it dies. It only takes me 5 mins to mix a batch up and the water can be at room temp.

Developer Times / Dilutions

FilmDilutionDrum Time
ORWO UN54+1:111
ORWO N741:110


I made 1l in Oct 15, 2013. Today (Jan 23, 2014), I haven't used it again until now. Being an ascorbic based developer, I was impressed that it passed a strip test. Sure it was only 3 months, but it was a welcome site.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I tried PC-TEA and think it is good enough to keep using. The problem is you really can't change the PH as the TEA is the alkali. I wanted something stronger to replace the Dektol I have been using in reversals and have the same keeping properties as PC-TEA.

PC-GLYCOL, as devised by the gadget man, did not contain any alkali. It just had the dev elements in Glycol. He suggested using an alkali 2nd part and mixing them at dev time. After doing some net reading, it looked like some others were experimenting with borax and lye. I had borax, but no lye. I did have tons of Sodium Metaborate, which is made from borax and lye. So I whipped up a batch as follows......

70 ml glycol (warm it up for better dissolving)
35 mg Phenidone
12 g Sodium Metaborate
10 g ascorbic acid
2 g potassium bromide (optional)

Top up with glycol for 100 ml solution

I will post results as soon as I can.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

It's gotta go......

I go to develop some negs again.....XTol has gone flat on me again! :(

Well, it's not my fault I can't use it fast enough. I process mostly reversals these days. The problem is everything is not art. XTol only comes in 5l packs and I can barely get through 1l. I like the stuff, but I don't like throwing it away along with a roll of film that got wiped because of it.

Time for a new take. I am going to switch to something I can make when I want and how much I want. Living in Canada presents some challenges of what I can get. I guess that will have to factor into something.

1) Buetler - probably the simplest there is. The promise is fine grain and acutance.

    Part A

    Dist. Water 750ml
    Metol 10g (B&H)
    Sodium Sulfite 50g (B&H)
    Dist. Water to make 1L

    Part B

    Dist. Water 750ml
    Sodium Carbonate 50g (Baking soda baked @450 for 3 hrs on a sheet of alum foil)
    Dist. Water to make 1L

Usage is 1:1:10 with a start time of around 10-15 mins.

This is what I got.

A larger one is here . Rodinal size grain. Sure this was Neopan 400 and not a recommended speed. But this is my I moved on.

2) Stoeckler 2 bath

This is a modified D23 with an alkaline 2nd bath. It is a compensating and high acutance developer. Recipe is as follows.

Bath A

    Dist. Water 750ml
    Metol 5g (B&H)
    Sodium Sulphite 100g (B&H)
    Dist. Water to 1L

Bath B

    Dist. Water 750ml
    Borax 10g (dep store, 10 mule team)
    Water to 1 ltr

I was impressed. I wasn't expecting much because of the above results. This has a capacity of about 15 rolls of 35 mm.

Larger versions here and here . Fine grain and high acutance indeed! The blacks are excellent. Worthy of a goto formula, but I play on....

3) Thornton 2 bath

This is Thornton's modification  of  Stoeckler's work. He changed the amounts of the Metol and Sulphite to adapt the tones. He used Sodium Metaborate (Kodalk) instead of borax. This was considered a more stable consistent alkali.

Bath A

    Dist. Water 750ml
    Metol 6.25g (B&H)
    Sodium Sulphite 85g (B&H)
    Water to 1L

Bath B

    Dist. Water 750ml
    Sodium Metaborite (Kodalk) 12g (B&H)
    Water to 1L

Wow. Just looking at the curves on vuescan, shows much more of an even spectrum.

A bigger version here

Note that I stand develop with these 2 bath developers. There is not much sense in using high acutanse 1developers and dulling the edges with agitation. I just vigorously shake for 15 secs and slam them down on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles. My ballpark times are 6 & 6 for iso 400, 5 & 5 for iso 100. These are generally longer than suggested by other people stuck on stirring...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A cheap and available fogging developer

With my reversal developing, it was always a pain-vs-gain decision for flashing or fogging developers.

The pain comes through post 911 crap with regards to obtaining simple photography chemicals without selling your soul. That said, I finally found a source of Stannous Chloride that was willing to ship to me. Considering I will only need .04 of a gram per dose, that 250g bottle is a lifetime supply. Oh well. I just have to wait until it gets here.

But this post is not about Stannous Chloride.

As usual, to find out anything google becomes my friend. While researching recipes, I came across several references to "Iron Out" as a fogging developer. WTF? Yep, $6 later at my local Canadian Tire store.. we have the stuff.

I did a quick test. I loaded up a foot of unexposed film (bulk loading has its uses) and put it in a tank. Put 1 tsp (loosely suggested amount elsewhere on the net and accurately measured) of this powder in 200ml of water and pour it in. I come back 5 mins later and I have one magic strip of blackness. Awesome!

No more abuse of me dancing with a film strip in front of a light bulb. ;)

Why this stuff works is because it contains a chemical called sodium hydrosulfite aka sodium dithionite. "Iron Out" comes in a varity of versions which do not have the same ingredients. You want the powder and it will state the ingredient on the "contains..." part of the label.


It would appear that it is a one shot. I used the same batch for a second roll, and my film came out blank.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Updated reversal processing times for max density proceedure

FilmEISaturated BoraxHypo1st DeveloperTimeMax Dens
TMY4002 ml12 mlDektol 1:115 mins
TMY1002 mlDektol 1:115 mins2.68
Foma 100400Dektol 1:115 mins2.30
Foma 100100Dektol 1:112 mins2.30
Lucky SHD500Dektol 1:115 mins2.94

Based on developer volume of 150ml and single roll processing.

I am currently refining my Max Density proceedure. I will post it when it is complete.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My BW Reversal Process

Updated: Apr 17, 2012

Well, this is a journey that I started 2 years ago. The hardest part was finding sources. Nothing seemed to come together until about a month ago. I am either patient, persistent, stupid or nuts. It’s probably some combination of all the above. I have now attained success and it is time to document it. I update the information as I discover new things.

If you have arrived looking for directions on how to do reversal processing, take my process with a grain of salt. Like all the others, it is a modification (ultimately) of Ilfords document on the topic. I am not a chemist and much of what I changed was based on what I could decipher from the little good information I have found on the net. Lots of people will voice their opinions and little can tell you why they suggest such. I will give my reasons for ending up where I have. Use your brain; if it does not make sense to you then don’t do it.

For me, reversal is the end of the search for the perfect process and I will likely only develop negs again for special occasions. My first 6x9 put the icing on that cake. They are fine grain, great detail and great contrast. A scanners dream.

Before attempting to do it from scratch, I suggest trying a kit. Doing this scavenger hunt for materials would be a bit of a bust when it is just a passing phase. I tried the Foma kit with their 100r film and was impressed.

The process is quite simple. Develop, wash, bleach, clear. wash, flash, develop, wash, fix, wash, wetting, dry.

For reference I use a motor base that uses 150 ml of solution to cover the film. Development is at 20c. Rinse water is kept in jugs to insure even temp between all chemicals. Distilled water is used to make all chemical solutions, including diluted developer. Except for fixer, this is a one shot process.


Ilford suggests paper developer. You need a very active high contrast developer. At first I tried D19 (as per Kodak kit), but had to use too many additives to make it active enough. I settled on Dektol because it is cheap requires the least additives available and has worked the best so far.

You do not need a fine grain developer at this stage. Just an active one. What gets developed gets bleached/cleared away. Don't get distracted.

You need to add hypo to the developer to flatten the density curve and will change with every type of film you use. I am a film hoarder (just not on TV and no current support group) and I do not like to limit myself. I chose to make a hypo solution to use as a additive in the one shot process.

My hypo solution consists of 8g hypo added to 250 ml water.

The first developing process is where most of the adjustment is achieved. A starting point of 1:2 for Dektol + 9 ml hypo solution for 12 mins of continuous agitation. If there is not enough contrast, try 1:1 Dektol. If the images are too dark, increment hypo by 3 ml amounts. Scale to your tank volume size.


5 inversions of water then dump.
10 inversions of water then dump.
20 inversions of water then dump.


Potassium dichromate 6,0 g / 1000 ml (part a)
Sulfuric acid conc %20. 1:19 dilution (part b)

I use Dichromate because I can get it without any unreasonable interrogation or MSDS fees. No other reason.

I use %20 sulfuric acid because that’s all I can get. It is not a big deal as it gets diluted anyway. It is lab quality, so it is all good.

You may notice that this is about ½ the dilution of other formulas. This has reduced the problem of the emulsion lifting off the base. Feel free to reduce more. Stretch the times if needed.

I mix 75 ml (a)+75 ml (b) and continuously agitate for 5 mins.

You have enough bleaching when the parts of the film that was fully exposed are clear. The leader on a 35mm strip should be clear as it was exposed to light during the loading of the film. For MF, remove the lens or open iris and shoot into the light for 1-2 secs.

This should have the capacity of about 4 rolls. It does not have a long shelf life mixed, but I have used the same batch over a couple days.


5 inversions of water then dump.
10 inversions of water then dump.
20 inversions of water then dump.


Mix 30 grams of sodium metabisulfite with 1 litre of water.

Measure 150 ml and continuously agitate for 5 mins.

This should last longer than the bleach when good whashing is practiced. However I mix the bleach and this before disposing to nutralize the bleach.


5 inversions of water then dump.
10 inversions of water then dump.
20 inversions of water then dump.


Carefully remove the film from the tank, holding the strip stretched between your two hands. Hold it about 2 ft from a regular light source (100 w bulb or equiv) for about 1 minute on each side. I slowly sway back and forth to insure even exposure. You will figure out what works. Blacks may become faint with uneven exposure.

You should see some images surrounded by the unexposed emulsion. In time, you can gage how much is needed.

Re roll the film onto the spool and place it back into the tank.

This and the next step can be replaced with a fogging developer. There is a post here on how to do that.


150 ml of Dektol 1:2 for 5 minutes. You are developing to completion. If your film borders are not pure black, increase this time accordingly.


5 inversions of water then dump.
10 inversions of water then dump.
20 inversions of water then dump.


Try to use a fix with a hardener. This process is hard on the emulsion. It does not need much, as all the silver should have been developed/stripped before this. I give at least 5 mins for the hardening. This fix is reusable.


 5 inversions of water then dump.
10 inversions of water then dump.
20 inversions of water then dump.


Photo-Flo and dry.


FilmEI1st devHypo1st Dev TimecommentsDMax
Lucky SHD100Dektol 1:26 ml12 minsurprisingly good, sharp
Foma 100R100Dektol 1:29 ml12 mingood high dr high contrast
Neopan 400400Dektol 1:212 ml12 mingood sharp
px100Dektol 1:26 ml12 minBase for all comparisons.
Foma 100100Dektol 1:1012 minFantastic
ORWO UN54100Dektol 1:2512 minGreat, really smooth
ORWO N74+400Dektol 1:1512 minGreat


Observe local disposal laws with the above chemicals.

Dichromate is an oxidant and you should adhere to normal precautions when dealing with such a substance.

Request MSDS documents whenever ordering your chemicals. They will contain any best-practice handling instructions for that product.