View Full Version : Cheapest way to make a paper developer DIY

25-Sep-2015, 01:58

Before someone starts saying that dektol or fomadol or multigrade is best, i have no interest in commercial pre made solutions. I usually make some variations of d-72 either substituting hidroquinone by Vit C or also metol by phenidone.


Vitamin c is quite cheap
Sodium carbonate also
Potassium Bromide so so but OK

phenidone or metol are quite expensive here in portugal!

Is there any way to substitute any of these for a easely found product?

pyro, catechol and amidol are off because they are even more expensive...

any ideas or is it an unobtanium...


Rui Lourosa

25-Sep-2015, 03:52
I'd bite the bullet and buy some Phenidone, it keeps well and you don't need much per litre of stock developer solution.


25-Sep-2015, 04:03
Ive bited that bullet. I just want to know if there are any feasible solution. Specially if could be bought cheap and in a drugstore or supermarket!

I have looked around, people are using acetaminophen and coffee, mainly for film, but for paper the choices are a bit off


25-Sep-2015, 07:25
Maybe you can order abroad. For instance, disactis, in France. Their prices are very competitive, and the quality of their products is very good.

Liquid Artist
25-Sep-2015, 07:26
I imagine that you looked into Caffenol-C.

I've made it twice just to test it and it does work. However I haven't spent the time needed to perfect it.

In my case I ground up Borax and Vitamin C tablets together in a food processor, both being easy to obtain in the small town I'm in. Then mixed it with cheap instant coffee.

When I have the time I want to experiment with it some more.

Michael R
25-Sep-2015, 07:34
There isn't really a way around using either metol or Phenidone (or derivatives) in a general purpose print developer.

25-Sep-2015, 08:06
Standard paper developers usually require metol or phenidone, hydroquinone, sodium sulfite, sodium carbonate, and potassium bromide... With those chemicals, you can make MANY different formulas!!! The cheapest way (in the long run) is to buy a pound of the metol and hydroquinone, and 5 lbs of the sulfite/carbonate, and 100 gms of the phenidone + bromide, and these will last you a long time, and end up costing you VERY little for each batch mixed... But you will need a scale, but you will have saved MUCH money, and have a range of developers to choose from...

Steve K

25-Sep-2015, 08:30
Acetominophen developer, without coffee, can be used for prints. The amount of developer to use is about twice as much as for film. There are several recipes for Paracetamol archived here at the forum.

25-Sep-2015, 09:03
I have some years of experience in making photo solutions, from developers all through photo emulsions. But since there have been some evolutions since i start doing things (like parodinal and caffenol c) i was wondering if could be a new thing.

The cheap quality of the developer is not for me is more to a school i work to.

CHeers an thanks

1-Oct-2015, 04:21
There is a ebay seller in the Ukraine who sells low volumes of Metol, I ordered 90g from him for about 8 delivered. The first lot was lost at customs but second has arrived.

2-Oct-2015, 00:50
I have metol!!

I just wanted to ear about alternatives other than the ones we are used to!


Fr. Mark
2-Oct-2015, 21:23
You can develop prints with Vit. C and washing soda. Some sulfite might make it last longer. I tried this when I got suspicious that Vit. C in Caffenol C was doing most of the developing and I wanted a print developer I could see through.

400 ml H2O
4 tsp Anhydrous Sodium Carbonate
1 tsp Vit. C powder (I used food grade)

I think this was a simplification of a coffee Vit C recipe.
It worked pretty well on ancient expired Azo paper and current Ilford MG paper.
It might not satisfy perfectionists but it is very non toxic and not terribly expensive to try and experiment with.

3-Oct-2015, 00:01
You can't get any cheaper than D-23. It's just Metol and Sodium Sulfite. It will give you very good negs. Throw some Kodalk in there and you have the Barry Thornton standard.

Tim Meisburger
3-Oct-2015, 02:55
I use D23, but I think this thread is about paper developer.

Thanks Mark. I'll try that just for fun sometime, if I can find some vitamin c around here. You would think that if that would develop paper, it might also be used for film?

3-Oct-2015, 11:32
What about using that recipy and try to pump it with acetaminophen?

Fr. Mark
3-Oct-2015, 18:31
Two thoughts: Vit. C will develop film, too. I'm pretty sure an ascorbate (Vit C) is part of Xtol and some other developers. See the film development cookbook. I don't own a copy yet so I'm going of an old memory.

Acetaminophen is used as a substitute for para amino phenol in home brewing Rodinal type developers. But, I'm pretty sure that what happens is that the acetate gets cleaved off the acetaminophen making it into para amino phenol when you add all the sodium hydroxide and sulfite to the mix. The pH and temperature (it's an exothermic process) are right to make that chemical change. I don't know that acetaminophen itself will develop film in sodium carbonate. Might be worth trying, but if not try it on anything special.

Michael R
3-Oct-2015, 21:01
Ascorbates will develop film (or paper) if the pH is high enough, but since the results would tend to be high contrast/low speed, I would not recommend it with film unless there is another developing agent present. Ascorbates work wonderfully with Phenidones (XTOL is an example which uses Dimezone-S (a Phenidone derivative) and Sodium isoascorbate) and metol (p-aminophenol is another option). When these combinations are used in a film developer the pH can be much lower. Only small amounts of the additional developing agent are required.