View Full Version : efke pl100 and diafine

ronald lamarsh
2-Jan-2006, 14:00
I had some pl100 negatives I thought would be underexposed(maybe 1/2 stop) so I decided to try diafine. I mixed some up according to Steve Anchells formula and tried it. !!!!! The resulting negatives were extremely thin and I mean thin! Is this normal? or does one need to agitate more than recomended. I certainly didn't see the true one stop speed increase claimed.???

2-Jan-2006, 17:15
That's NOT DIAFINE. It's more like spit.

David Karp
2-Jan-2006, 17:48
I always questioned the Diafine formula in that book. If I recall, the MSDS sheet for Diafine indicated a much stronger accelerator than Borax. I think it was sodium carbonate, but I am not sure. However, the formula for a Diafine-like developer in that book has been repeated many times in other places, independently (I think) from the Anchell book (which by the way, I like overall).

Michael Gudzinowicz
3-Jan-2006, 14:06
First, if you want to try to "save" the negatives, bleach them in a ferricyanide/KBr bleach, and redevelop in PMK pyro to add a stain image. If that doesn't give enough density, tone in selenium at a 1+3 dilution in 1% borax.

As others have mentioned, very likely the formula you used isn't Diafine. In an old rp thread, someone indicated that they used water as the second bath and development took place. Patrick Gainer pointed out that the finding implied significant development in the first bath. That will only take place in an alkaline "A" solution... not Anchell's formulation.

There are problems with commercial Diafine and claims made for it.

It IS temperature sensitive. In one of his books, John Schaefer (prof. chemistry; former president of the U. of Arizona) examined the temperature dependency which was similar to other developers. That finding is expected and there is no reason why Diafine should be exempt from the laws of thermodynamics and kinetics as the hype implies.

It is NOT a speed enhancing developer. I used it in the early 1980's, and speed was about 1/2 of that given by D-76 with a number of films. When tested by Paul Schranz along with 4 other developers, he found a film speed with TMX of 50 (D&CCT, 1989, #2). Definition was poor, and mottling was present.

Essentially, anyone can make claims of "high speed" by employing a developer like Dektol for a few minutes followed by a water or alkaline bath in an effort to bring up some shadow detail. The Dektol will blow out a properly exposed film, so to hold highlights and give one "standard" development time, you'd underexpose films to different degrees depending on type, accept high contrast, and hope for shadow detail. In other words, if one is looking for quick and dirty, it's easy to find and "acceptable" if more refined standards haven't been or never will be developed.

Next time, use undiluted Microphen or FX-37 homebrew.

ronald lamarsh
3-Jan-2006, 16:59
Thanks guys I thought it might just be me, and it was about as good as spit by the way. I developed the rest in Rodinal 1:25 and they came out just fine! I can't wait til Photographers formulary has their liquid replacement on the market. Has anyone tried the Alpha developer being sold by the folks at defender photo? They claim its the next best thing to marvel mystery oil......same thing was claimed for diafine! Any thoughts

3-Jan-2006, 18:17
Why not use REAL Diafine?

Donald Qualls
3-Jan-2006, 19:33
"They claim its the next best thing to marvel mystery oil"

This is hilarious to me. My last job was repairing pneumatic nail guns, and we had to charge extra labor when people had used Marvel Mystery Oil (easily identified by its peppermint scent) -- it would completely destroy every o-ring and plastic seal part in the entire tool. I wouldn't use Marvel Mystery Oil on anything, for any reason, unless I was trying to sabotage the machine, and I'd be extremely cautious of any concoction, for any purpose, that made claims that sounded the least bit like those for MMO.

I use Diafine, however, and don't find it to be horrible, as some have said; I get good results with it on small format Tri-X, and diluting Bath A 1:49 gives nice tones and speed with Imagelink HQ microfilm (which is available in microfiche format, which can be cut to 4x5, if you don't mind buying a case -- still sort of on topic!). However, I get similar results without the timing tolerance of two-bath development from a developer made with coffee, vitamin C, and washing soda, and much higher film speed (real speed, judged from shadows, not just mid-tone based EI) using a soup made of Dektol, HC-110, and vitamin C; the latter, on TXT, will bring up the light pollution in a suburban sky exposed for 20 seconds at f/4.5.

None of which are likely to see much use in 4x5, because when I'm spending 20 minutes to set up a shot, I'm not likely to be all that worried if it takes 4 seconds to expose instead of 1/125. I'll be sticking with my acetaminophen-based Rodinal work-alike, good old HC-110, and possibly plain Caffenol, for the foreseeable future.

3-Jan-2006, 20:19
Marvel Mystery Oil was the magic ingredient which kept the Masonite blades on my '56 Volkswagen's Judson Supercharger going. Best smelling VW in the Southeast.

David Karp
3-Jan-2006, 22:49
I never found Diafine horrible either. Never liked it with T-Max or Delta films. Did like it with Tri-X, HP5+, and FP4+, but never saw the big speed increase. I don't use it now, because I found something I like better.