View Full Version : Books or Sites on Paper Development Chemistry

Ken Lee
4-Feb-2006, 16:59
I would like to understand the fundamentals of paper developers.

Could anyone recommend a book that actually discusses the different formulas ?

In other words, I don't need a list of formulas, I need an explanation of how they work so that I can make my own, and my own variations.

Many thanks !!

4-Feb-2006, 18:06
The Darkroom Cookbook is a theory and practice affair that explains the concepts and chemistry in the first half and has repipies in the second. Understand the first and the second should make sense.

Of course the other huge variable is the paper.

Randall Ellis
4-Feb-2006, 19:09
I second the Darkroom Cookbook suggestion. The authors go into detail about why developers do what they do and how they do it, which helps to explain what is actualy happening when you develop your prints. Their book on film is also good if you wish to understand the details of film developers.

- Randy

Paul Fitzgerald
4-Feb-2006, 19:11

I don't know of any books or sites but if you look over enough recipes it jumps out at you. They average out to:

1g - metol

20g - sulfite

4g - hydroquinone

20g - carbonate

2g - bromide

1L - water

more carbonate gets colder, more bromide gets warmer. Dilution is by paper and habit.

Have fun with it

Jorge Gasteazoro
4-Feb-2006, 23:02
Carson Grave's "The Elements of Black and White printing". It even has a section on how to make your own and how each ingredient works.

5-Feb-2006, 01:03
I would recommend Tim Rudmans Books.

The first is an intoduction to B+W printing and toning and whilst there it is aimed at the beginner it goes on to cover some more advanced topics and explains about different paper types.

"The photographers Master Printing Course" ISBN 1 85732 407 2

the second is specifically about toning. This book explains about different papers and the chemicals used to tone them. The best book available on the subject by far.

"The master photographers Toning Book" ISBN 1 902538 23 4

and the third which is specifically about lith printing:

"The master photographers Lith Printing Course" ISBN 1 902538 01 3

The toning and lith printing books will give a great deal of information on how to work with papers to achieve tonal/colour results required. I would suggest the toning book first and the Lith printing book if you get serious about it.

Basically you have papers which are either, Chloride, Chlorobromide, BromoChloride or Bromide.

Chlorides tend towards warm toned and Bromides towards Cold toned but with the correct chemical usage often combined with bleaching and redevelopment you can reverse that tendancy to dramatic effect if required.

For the most part, print developers have only subtle effects on print colour. It is the combination of paper, print developer and post print development processes which give you maximum control over print tones/colours and tonal distribution in the print which is why I recommend the toning book. It does not give lots of info on print developers but more about how to manipulate print tones which I think is what B+W printers really want control of.

5-Feb-2006, 01:07
There are a couple of articles on Lith Printing by Tim Rudman at:

Lith Printing (http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Lith/lith.html)

6-Feb-2006, 01:13
once you learn what the different ingredients do, it's helpful to look at a bunch of standard developer formulas. it will suddenly be a lot less daunting ... you'll see that the list of a hundred formulas you have is mostly just a bunch of variations (or even just name changes) of five or six basic formulas.

if you play with these basics, and see the differences, you'll learn a lot. very likely all you'll need to do is take your favorite one and tweak it a bit.

it's for good reason that we call developers soup; they're not much more complicated. they're not like pastry recipes, where if you get the proportion of ingredient A and ingredient B wrong the whole thing falls appart. it's really more like soup ... if want it to be meatier, add more meat ... saltier, add more salt.

you'll only have to head far into unknown territory if none of the basics comes close to what you're looking for. or if you want to just for kicks.

6-Feb-2006, 01:17
one other thing ... a lot of modern paper emulsions are pretty unresponsive to changes in developer. if you're printing on something like multigrade, you might get the impression that the people describing these developers are all hallucinating.

older style papers, especially warm toned ones (like fortezo) tend to be the most responsive.

Larry Kalajainen
7-Feb-2006, 06:01
There are really only a couple of major variables among paper developers:

One is the choice between Phenidone/Ascorbic acid and Metol/Hydroquinone as the developing agents. Both work very well; the P/A combo being somewhat less toxic.

The other is the choice between warm-tone and cool-tone. This is a factor, as has been suggested above, of the amount of carbonate and the choice between potassium bromide or benzotriazole as the restrainer. Bromide will give a warmer tone than benzotriazole.

Almost any of the standard formulas will work well. For my taste, the simpler the formula and the ability to stay fresh and active for a long time are key elements.

Currently, I'm using E-72, a P/AA variant by Chris Patton of Kodak's D-72 (D-72). The only changes I've made are that I mix it triple strength, leaving out the carbonate altogether. This gives me a concentrate with long keeping properties. I dilute it 1:9 with water to make a liter of solution, then throw 2 TBS of carbonate (Arm & Hammer Washing Soda) into the tray, and it dissolves in the tray in about a minute. I also prefer benzotriazole to bromide for the restrainer, so I use Edwal's Liquid Orthazite (30 ml for the liter of concentrate).