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Jay DeFehr
13-Jan-2011, 22:07
I've been playing with this formula for a few years, on and off, refining and tweaking here and there, and now it has become my primary developer for all films and formats. The advantage of superfine grain for small formats is obvious, but the advantages for larger formats might be less so. In short, improved scanning benefits any format that is scanned, and those benefits also apply to optical enlarging. Halcyon produces negatives of very high resolution, with extremely fine grain, but best of all, very fine gradation. TMY-2 developed in Halcyon is a dream combination, but it works well with all the films I've tested. Halcyon gives normal development times and full film speed, but tolerates overexposure better than underexposure. As with all superfine grain developers, there is a risk of dichroic fog, so fresh fix should be used as a preventative measure. Halcyon makes possible high enlargement factors without compromising image quality. While the superfine grain is the most obvious characteristic, it is the total image quality package that makes Halcyon my primary developer.

Halcyon

DH2O 750ml
PPD 7g
Sodium Sulfite 50g
Salycylic acid .5g
Ascorbic acid 3.5g
DH2O to 1 liter

Develop TMY-2 7:30, 70F, IA

Halcyon-R

DH2O 750ml
PPD 10g
Sodium sulfite 50g
Salycilic acid .6g
Ascorbic acid 5g
Triethanolamine 10ml
DH2O to 1 liter

Replenish by bleed method, 25-50ml/ roll or equivalent

PPD is toxic, so use appropriate precautions.

mdm
13-Jan-2011, 22:56
I wondered when this one was coming. After posting about it for some time you finally put your bolloks on the block.

Eric Woodbury
13-Jan-2011, 23:13
Jay, you've been spending too much time in the frozen north. But then again, I was looking up DH-20 trying to figure out what that was.

mdm
13-Jan-2011, 23:30
Distilled water, I have no clue what PPD is but that is probably ignorance on my part.

Jay DeFehr
13-Jan-2011, 23:35
David,

I've been tinkering with this developer for a while now, but only recently have I had the feedback of other users. That my own results have been confirmed by others, and requests from many curious about the developer motivated me to post the formula for anyone interested. I think the formula is unique and useful, especially in this era of hybrid film/digital workflows. I also think it's not for the faint of heart, or those unfamiliar with process control, but I'm happy to make the formula known to anyone interested in trying it. I have nothing to lose or to gain by sharing this information.

Eric,

You might be right. DH2O is distilled water, for those who don't recognize the convention.

Jay DeFehr
13-Jan-2011, 23:35
Distilled water, I have no clue what PPD is but that is probably ignorance on my part.

PPD is ParaPhenyleneDiamine

CG
14-Jan-2011, 10:55
Are both variants Halcyon and Halcyon R replenishable with same 25 to 50 ml per roll?

CG
14-Jan-2011, 10:58
And why the relatively slight variation between formulas. Which does what best?

Jay DeFehr
14-Jan-2011, 12:48
Halcyon is the working developer, Halcyon-R is the replenisher.

archer
15-Jan-2011, 08:00
Dear Jay;
can the formula be divided for split development and do you have a formula for using it thus? If not, can you give a starting development time for any of the Efke films or Foma films? It seems like a very interesting developer. I'm anxious to try it. How does it handle highlight values? Does it require -N to control very high values in overexposure?
Denise Libby

CG
15-Jan-2011, 12:35
Halcyon is the working developer, Halcyon-R is the replenisher.I could have guessed that, had I engaged my brain. I don't know why it didn't occur to me.

mdm
15-Jan-2011, 14:53
I think someone asked an unanswered question, just before all this began. This thread is about Halcyon, is it?

If your developer has merit then it develop it, isnt that what Sandy has done with his Pyrocat family. If you keep moving onto the next best thing yourself, you will never develop a stable user base, neither will it attract the people capable of producing the best results with it. Perhaps thats why he wont try it himself, or at least own up to it. Life is just too short.

eduardtoader
15-Jan-2011, 15:58
Hy all. Im a newbie interested to fine grains..

I have about 3 years developing BW film (35mm and 4x5 sheet). I only made it with HC110 in 1:31 formula. I heard about 1:100 or less concentration, about Rodinal, Pyro and another developers. Im curious about the results of weak dilutions but Im afraid to loose my negatives. As long as Kodak dont specify on the HC110 bottle weak dilutions than 1:31 or a reply with a proven formula, I dont gamble my negatives.

Im very curious to try the Halycon. I would like a lot to see the fine grain results. It require some special item? It avoid some tank materials? Could I use it on a usual PVC tank?

First of all: The TMY is the TMAX 400? Im using the TMax 100. The Halycon developing time would be the same as with the HC 110? How about the agitation?

Second: Which step is the replenisher? I pour developer, stop, water, fixer,water an finally distiled water with flo. Wich would be the replenisher step in the Halycon developing process? Is one more or is a stop or fixer replacement?

Someone of you could sell me chemicals for 1 liter dilution? Or I could make it myself? Im a DYI man but Ive not played with chemicals. Could I use:

Aspirine as Salycylic acid
C vitamin as Ascorbic acid C
But - PPD, Sodium sulfite,Triethanolamine - is easy to purchase it?

Thanks a lot to let me in.. Forgive the idiots level questions..

Jay DeFehr
15-Jan-2011, 16:50
Dear Jay;
can the formula be divided for split development and do you have a formula for using it thus? If not, can you give a starting development time for any of the Efke films or Foma films? It seems like a very interesting developer. I'm anxious to try it. How does it handle highlight values? Does it require -N to control very high values in overexposure?
Denise Libby

I'm sorry, Denise, I thought I had answered your questions, but must not have submitted my reply.

Halcyon should be used full strength and replenished. Development time for Halcyon is similar to development times for Xtol full strength, replenished, and has similar working properties.

David,

I don't care about a "stable user base". I don't care if anyone uses any of my developers. I formulate my developers for my own reasons, and mostly for my own use. I publish my formulas for anyone who might be interested. That's it. I have no further agenda. I've adopted Halcyon as my primary developer because I like the results I get with it. Halcyon is not a good choice for anyone unfamiliar with process control, or unwilling to do their own testing. I don't think there are many people for whom Halcyon is the best choice, but I posted the formula for anyone who might be interested. It doesn't cost me anything to share my formula, but it might be valuable to someone, so it makes sense for me to share it. If you want to try it, there's nothing stopping you. if you don't, there's nothing forcing you.

Eduard,

I don't think aspirin is a good substitution for salycilic acid, but maybe I'm wrong! Ascorbic acid is vitamin C. Halcyon can be used in any normal developing tank.

Bleed replenishment is done as follows:

Mark the full level of your developer storage container. Measure out the required volume of replenisher, and set it aside. Pour the developer into the film developing tank, and the measured replenisher into the developer storage container. When development is complete, pour the used developer from the film developing tank back into its storage container only up to the full mark, and discard the rest of the used developer in the film developing tank. Does that make sense?

If it's possible to do so, I'd be happy to send you the chemicals to make up a liter of each solution. Where do you live?

eduardtoader
15-Jan-2011, 18:00
You right. The aspiryn is acid acetylsalicylic . Is the salicylicacetyl who dont let me to do the alchemy in my kitchen.. dam..

The replenisher convert the used developer in once again usable? You said 25-50ml of replenisher for each roll. And for a 4x5 sheet? Is not a exact proportion?

Could I use it for 4x5 sheet or only for 35/120 film? What about the TMAX 100 developing time?

I live in Spain, 12528 zip code

Thanks for your kindness.

Jay DeFehr
15-Jan-2011, 18:20
Eduard,

Yes, the replenisher keeps the working solution fresh. 25-50ml is a useful range, but process control testing is required to fine tune to your use. a 4x5 sheet is 1/4 of a roll or 8x10 sheet, so the replenishment rate would be 25-50ml/ (4) 4x5 sheets. I use Halcyon for all formats from 35mm up to 8x10. Development time for TMX would be around 6:30, 70F. Send me your mailing address and I'll send you the chemicals to make the developer and replenisher.

jdefehr@gmail.com

mdm
18-Jan-2011, 12:20
Its not the cure for cancer we are talking about here. Just another wheel when there are lots of others out there. It may be the best wheel ever invented but its still round like every other wheel. They all get you where you want to go.

sanking
18-Jan-2011, 13:13
Its not the cure for cancer we are talking about here. Just another wheel when there are lots of others out there. It may be the best wheel ever invented but its still round like every other wheel. They all get you where you want to go.

Regardless, you still would want to test to see how round this wheel is compared to other wheels.

The only meaningful method of testing IMO would be with wet processing of silver gelatin prints. The reason is that scanning technique and post processing controls in Photoshop would allow one to apply noise (grain) reduction and/or sharpening procedures that would have far more impact than any developer, whether fine grain or high acutance.

Sandy King

Jay DeFehr
19-Jan-2011, 15:12
Halcyon may be an exception but in general (and specific) terms it is exceedingly difficult to obtain finer grain without sacrificing acutance. That is why most people change film rather than look for a magic bullet developer if finer grain is what they need.

Sandy,

There's much more to the image quality equation than simply grain vs acutance. Acutance relies on grain for the appearance of sharpness in prints, at the expense of resolution. Grain does nothing to enhance the appearance of sharpness in scanned images, and represents an unqualified disadvantage. Acutance is also competitive with gradation; too much acutance looks coarse and jagged. A good developer delivers the best possible combination of characteristics for the best expression of the image. There is no magic in a good developer, though the results might seem magical, and your claim above that "most people" change film for finer grain is both unsupported, and ignores the fact that a finer grained developer produces finer grain with any film, of any speed, and the obvious fact that changing to a finer grained film means changing to a slower one, which represents a more significant compromise than any differences in acutance. Between the two of us, I'm the only one who has made any meaningful comparisons, so I enjoy an advantageous information asymmetry. I can say with complete confidence that Halcyon offers real advantages over Pyrocat, especially for film to be scanned, which is why I thought you might be interested, since you claim to scan almost all of your film, and why I offered to send you a kit. If you're hung up on acutance as the primary imaging characteristic, you should try Hypercat. Personally, I consider the complete image quality package, which is why I've made Halcyon my primary developer.

sanking
19-Jan-2011, 15:43
Sandy,

There's much more to the image quality equation than simply grain vs acutance. Acutance relies on grain for the appearance of sharpness in prints, at the expense of resolution.

Jay,

Excuse me but I am pretty sure that I know as much about image quality as you. After all, I am a creative image maker with gallery representation and a reputation that is good enough to attract several dozen people who do workshops with me on both carbon transfer and pt/pd in a given year. Believe me, I have a pretty good idea what is required in a negative to make a high quality exhibition type prints in any size up to about 40X60" from MF and LF original negatives. My prints from 12X18" up to 40X60" from Acros negatives developed in Pyrocat do not have any grain. It would be hard to improve on that, and I am not interested in experimenting with inferior films, so the combination of Acros + Pyrocat gives me more image quality than I need.

As for Halycon, if I felt that it would help my creative image making I would try it. I don't, and that is the bottom line. If it helps you, and others, more power to you. There is no criticism of Halycon stated, or implied, in my comment. It may be a magic bullet, but I don't need magic bullets.

Sandy

Kirk Gittings
19-Jan-2011, 18:02
Sandy, I am curious about your choice of Acros. I haven't seen you mention that before. I primarily use it too, but that is mainly because I still have a ton of readyloads-and I like the reciprocity characteristics. What are your reasons?

Peter De Smidt
19-Jan-2011, 18:21
I wish I had a ton of Acros Quickloads.

sanking
19-Jan-2011, 18:26
Sandy, I am curious about your choice of Acros. I haven't seen you mention that before. I primarily use it too, but that is mainly because I still have a ton of readyloads-and I like the reciprocity characteristics. What are your reasons?

Kirk,

There are several reasons why I like Acros. First, it has very high resolution and very fine grain and holds up well to considerable magnification when scanned. Not necessarily better than Tmax-100 in this regard, but at least as good. Second, and as you note, it has very low reciprocity failure, better than any film I have ever used, considerably better than Tmax-100, which is no slouch itself. I have found that in low light conditions exposure times are actually often shorter than with an ASA 400 film like TMY-2, to say nothing of traditional emulsion films. And most surprisingly, it is one of the least expensive films around, at least in medium format which is my primary use of the film. I also have some 5X7 Acros but in this size I don't find it offers any advantage over TMY-2, except for reciprocity failure.

The only caveat I would offer about Acros is that it has limited sensitivity to Red, which gives it a somewhat unusual spectral rendition of some subjects, but for the most part I have never found this to be a problem in my own work.

Sandy

Ken Lee
20-Jan-2011, 06:55
At what degree of enlargement, would we begin to see a difference ?

I have a 15x loupe, and rarely see a substantial difference when comparing developers.

Sal Santamaura
20-Jan-2011, 08:49
...I also have some 5X7 Acros...As far as I am aware, Fuji never offered Acros in 5x7. Where did you get yours? Did you cut it yourself from 8x10? Is it actually half plate and you have half plate holders that fit your 5x7 camera? Thanks in advance for answering.

sanking
20-Jan-2011, 09:03
As far as I am aware, Fuji never offered Acros in 5x7. Where did you get yours? Did you cut it yourself from 8x10? Is it actually half plate and you have half plate holders that fit your 5x7 camera? Thanks in advance for answering.

Sal,

I cut it from 8X10 several years ago.

Sandy

Jay DeFehr
21-Jan-2011, 04:09
At what degree of enlargement, would we begin to see a difference ?

I have a 15x loupe, and rarely see a substantial difference when comparing developers.

Ken,

The degree of enlargement varies. The easiest way to make a comparison of grain is to use small format fast film, and scan it, or put it in a neg carrier, crank up the head, and use a focus scope. There isn't much difference in grain among most general purpose developers, but Halcyon belongs to a different class of developers, formulated specifically for superfine grain.

There's a limit to how fine of grain one can use, beyond which dichroic fog develops. The trick is to locate that threshold and stay as close to it as possible without crossing it. But that's just the fine grain; what really matters is the total image quality package delivered at that threshold. Most superfine grain developers give up significant film speed and sharpness for the privilege of grainless negatives, but that's a strategy doomed to the extremes. A fine grain developer will give finer grain with any film, relative to a GP developer, or an acutance developer. If you develop a 400 speed film in a SFG developer, you can expect 100 speed film results, but if it costs you 2 stops of film speed, what have you gained? The only way to get an advantage is to use the slowest, finest grained film available, and at that point, the grain is already so fine that finer becomes meaningless. But if you can develop 400 speed film exposed at box speed and get 100 speed film results, you have a 2 stop advantage in film speed for equivalent grain.

If the grain/speed relationship was the only advantage offered by Halcyon, I wouldn't bother with it, but the total image quality package Halcyon delivers is better than any developer I've ever used, for my purposes. Halcyon doesn't produce the highest acutance or film speed of any developer I've used, but the resolution, gradation, and fine grain are off the charts, the film speed is normal, and sharpness is excellent. TMY-2 and Acros are my favorite films and both produce stunning results in Halcyon, and negatives that scan like a dream.

Vlad Soare
21-Jan-2011, 06:27
Jay, how does this developer get such extremely fine grain? What does it do at physical and chemical levels to achieve it?
I mean, there are a few tricks to get the impression of fine grain, like using lots of sulfite to dissolve the grain edges, avoiding high pH accelerators, using stain to fill in the gaps between grains, and so on. What's Halcyon's trick?

Rick A
25-Jan-2011, 05:47
My question is what temp the DH2O should be for mixing?

Jay DeFehr
26-Jan-2011, 22:35
Vlad,

Halcyon employs all of those tricks, and more. The primary mechanism is the solvent action of PPD, but there's much more to the story. Classic superfine grain developers used PPD in combination with high sulfite concentrations, and without additional alkali, but these developers were slow working, developed only moderate contrast, and required significant increases in exposure. The solvent action of the high sulfite concentration in combination with the PPD made for mushy grain and negatively impacted sharpness. Adding glycin to the mix improved development time, contrast, and film speed, but did little to improve the sharpness. Films typical of the period when the classic SFG developers were popular were far more grainy than our current films, and the solvent effect was the only way to get truly superfine grain from them, so sharpness and film speed were the prices paid for the privilege.

As I mentioned previously, there is a limit to the fineness of grain that can be tolerated without producing dichroic fog, and since current technology films starts off with much finer grain than vintage emulsions had, we don't need so much solvent effect. This is why Halcyon contains only 50g/liter of sodium sulfite instead of the typical 100g/liter.

PPD has other interesting properties; it has no induction period. The induction period is determined by the electrical charge of the molecules of the developing agent, and is one theoretical mechanism for superadditivity. PPD is indeed superadditive with ascorbic acid, activating that agent in a pH environment too low for it to act as a developer on its own. Low pH is another important factor in producing fine grain. Further, ascorbic acid is a surface developer, and by confining development to the surface of the emulsion, and not to its depth, fewer grains are developed, and sharpness is enhanced by limiting irradiation within the emulsion. Both PPD and ascorbic acid create edge effects, which significantly increase the appearance of sharpness. And PPD enjoys the benefits of a staining developer, without the stain. The superfine grain produced by PPD appears brown by transmitted light, producing the same contrast effects as a staining developer. Since the color of the image increases contrast, less development of the silver is required to produce a given print contrast, which in turn decreases the appearance of grain.

The success of Halcyon can be attributed to all of the factors noted above, in combination.

Rick,

125F.

Vlad Soare
26-Jan-2011, 23:41
I see. Thanks, Jay. I find these things very fascinating.

Jay DeFehr
26-Jan-2011, 23:54
I see. Thanks, Jay. I find these things very fascinating.

Me too, Vlad.

Jim Byers
10-Mar-2011, 23:41
Jay,
What have you found in terms of agitation? Do you believe Halcyon it is suitable for rotary processing?

Thanks

Jay DeFehr
11-Mar-2011, 00:18
Hi Jim. Yes, I've done quite a bit of rotary processing with Halcyon. Rotary processing will affect your replenishment rate, so be a little more generous with replenishment when you use it. Also, I'm not 100% convinced the TEA is necessary in the replenisher, but it's been working so well I'm hesitant to try it without it. Maybe I'll make up a separate liter of working solution and another of replenisher without TEA and see what happens.

Last night I was looking through some old photos with notes and remembered I processed some TMY in an earlier version of Halcyon with semi-stand development. The resulting photos look very good, but I haven't tried that with the current version of the developer, which is significantly different. I have used low frequency agitation in the 10sec/3 min range with excellent results. You might be surprised by how sharp your negs are; I was.

Good luck, Jim! I look forward to your impressions.

Pentaxista
21-Mar-2011, 12:25
Dear Mr De Fehr,

I have prepared the developer Halcyon according to your instructions.
Negatives are of high quality thank you very much!

1. Please, can you tell me how I should guess the amount of replenisher
used for developing of one film roll?
2. Is it suitable to use up 1 litre of the regenerator for regeneration of
litre of a developer?
3. Is it normal a small turbid of Halcyon after developing the second film?
I have developed 5 films type 120 and one film type 135 so far the
turbidity has not been changing any longer .
4. Have you ever developed the films Rollei Retro and Kodak PlusX?

Thanks
Pentaxista

Jay DeFehr
21-Mar-2011, 16:19
Hello Pentaxista,

The exact amount of replenisher to use will depend on many factors, but a good starting point is to use 50ml of replenisher for every 120 roll, or equivalent. If your negatives begin to look underdeveloped, increase the rate of replenishment. It's important to bleed off some of the used developer when you replenish. My method is as follows:
1. Mark the full height of the developer on the developer storage container.
2. Measure out the replenisher required for the film to be developed
3. Pour developer into developing tank, and develop as normal.
4. add the pre-measured replenisher to the developer storage container
5. pour the used developer back into its storage container up to the full mark
6. Discard used developer remaining in the developer tank.

Removing a portion of the used developer is as important as adding fresh developer.

Yes, the turbidity is normal. Mine is a greenish-gray silt in a yellow liquid. I've used 2 liters of replenisher for one liter of developer, and it's better than new.

I have not developed the films you referred to, but I think they're both good candidates.

Where did you learn about Halcyon?

Feel free to contact me at:

jdefehr@gmail.com

I'd love to see some examples.

Be well,

Jay