View Full Version : water-bath development to control contrast?

Mark Sampson
23-Sep-2007, 16:54
Is anyone using the water-bath processing technique to control contrast? I'm specifically thinking of the methods mentioned by Adams in his various "The Negative" books. The only thing I hear is that they don't work with modern films, but I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who does this successfully. For the record, I'm thinking of processing 4x5 Tri-X in trays.

23-Sep-2007, 17:28
I haven't tried it, but I suspect you'd get more consistent and more even results by using a dilute or extreme compensating developer.

Doremus Scudder
24-Sep-2007, 02:33

I used to use water-bath development with Tri-X and BPF-200 and HC-110 1:31. Twenty to thirty seconds in the developer with constant agitation followed by two minutes resting in a tray of water made a cycle. Four cycles at 30/120 sec was my N-2, Four at 20/120 was N-3. The results were good, but sometimes too weak in the shadows, even with generous exposure compensation. I have since changes to SLIMTs for all my contractions.

I know many maintain that the water-bath technique worked better on "older" thick-emulsion films, and that may be so. However, you can get some compensation and contrast control even with modern films. You'll have to try it and see if you like the results. As I mentioned, the weak shadows prompted me to look for a better way.

Hope this helps,

Doremus Scudder

24-Sep-2007, 08:24
Check out Steve Sherman's articles on controlling contrast with various pyro formulas and semistand development...might still be available at the View Camera site.

Mark Sampson
24-Sep-2007, 12:24
It was only a thought. I'm not opposed to testing, just considering the available time for such things, compared to time for making pictures. I think I'll just stick with the same method I've used for the last 10-12 years and go make pictures.

Darryl Baird
24-Sep-2007, 17:12
I have used Acros 100 with Rodinal 1:100, agitated for thirty seconds and left for an hour. Even 120 has virtually no grain that I can see with a 8X loupe. The trick seems to be in how much and how vigorous the early agitation. I think many films would work, but trays would potentially oxidize too much. I also don't have a darkroom that dark. A tank would be my choice. A small Jobo would be ideal.

phil sweeney
25-Sep-2007, 05:19
Check out Steve Sherman's articles on controlling contrast with various pyro formulas and semistand development...might still be available at the View Camera site.

There are a lot of posts on semistand at APUG. It is a great way to handle N- negatives without speed loss and I have had success down to N-7.

25-Sep-2007, 21:44
i haven't tried water-bath on regular film. i did however try it on microfilm back in my subminiature camera days (yes i know, completely foreign here!). it didn't seem to do anything, certainly inferior to stand development for such a high-contrast film.

have you considered two-bath developers for controlling contrast? they keep highlights in check very well, without losing much if any speed. i use a simple divided D-76 most of the time, especially for roll film but also for a lot of 4x5. i just mixed up some Anchell/Troop TD-200 and i think i'm getting more speed. it's really a convenient way to do things: temperture isn't a consideration, and it's hard to over or under-develop something. and you reuse the developer 10 times or so. i wouldn't recommend it for all films (Efke comes to mind), but it works well for modern films like Tmax and Delta, as well as old school Arista.edu etc.

George Grosu
26-Sep-2007, 00:51
I make same tests and you can see same pictures.
I make the test with Neopan SS in June 2007. The film is out data from august 2001. You can see also the difference between tree stops of expositions. In my site you can see same other tests but is only in my language. Sorry. (See Revelatori si tehnici de developare a/n. in my SITE)

George Grosu