View Full Version : Amidol Woes

30-Jun-2011, 14:38
I have been experimenting with Fienne's Amidol developer as it gives very satisfying cold tones. However I am having difficulty with pink staining. My first attempts were with Fomatone MG and then with Adox Vario Classic. Both papers exhibit the same problem.

I mix the main constituents with water at 70 degrees F and then mix the amidol in a small amount of chilled water as I understand amidol does not dissolve well in hot water. When I mix it the colour is a moderately deep rose. I use a citric acid stop bath but this does not seem to mitigate the pink stain. After washing the stain is diminished but the whites are never truly white.

Any advice from amidol users would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.


Drew Wiley
30-Jun-2011, 15:31
??? First of all, an acid stop bath is useless because, unlike most developers, amidol does not need an alkaline environment (just stop with plain water). It mixes just fine
in warm water, though I personally add it to the precursor chemistry just before the work session. Not every paper responds well to amidol. And you can cool the tone
by substituting less benzotriazole for more KBr.

Michael Jones
30-Jun-2011, 15:36
However I am having difficulty with pink staining.

It sounds like you may have some of the "Chinese" amidol. Try straining the mixed amidol through a coffee filter (or filter media) to strain our any lumps & impurities.

You are already on Michael Smith's forum and that is the most readily available source of info.

Good luck. It does work.


Richard Wasserman
30-Jun-2011, 17:15
I'm going from memory here, but if I remember correctly Amidol does not like rapid fix—ammonium thiosulfate—which can cause pink staining, but works best with plain Hypo.

Nathan Potter
30-Jun-2011, 18:15
Amidol really should be fresh to avoid staining. In Chinese versions I don't think the straining will help much, again I think the age is what is more related to staining. Like Drew says use a water stop or I use citric acid bought from the grocery store in tablet form. All chemistry one shot in a tray. The technique of adding the Amidol just prior to developing is what I have done. I used B. Westons 1982 formula with a couple of citric acid tablets rather than the benzotriazole. I was not convinced that the blacks were much superior to carefully calibrated Dektol.

Ah, the Rapid Fix possibility is interesting, I also used plain Hypo.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

30-Jun-2011, 22:17
Thank you for your replies.

1. Drew - I use a citric acid stop bath as recommended by Stephen Anchell in his book "the darkroom cookbook". However this may be redundant as Fien's has citirc acid in it.

2. Richard - I did not know that Amidol does not like rapid fix. I will buy some plain hypo and see what happens.

3. Nathan - I understand what you are saying but according to Michael Smith he used Amidol that was packaged in 1903. I doubt my amidol is that old. I purchased it about a year ago from Silverprint.


Jim Shanesy
2-Jul-2011, 16:33
Amidol really should be fresh to avoid staining. In Chinese versions I don't think the straining will help much, again I think the age is what is more related to staining.

The amidol that Michael Smith uses was bottled in 1903, so I hardly think that freshness is much of a consideration here.

The staining that I get with Chinese amidol is yellow and goes away after sufficient washing. It produces the densest blacks I've ever seen which is why I put up with all the staining (and not just of the prints - it's really nasty stuff).

Since the OP said that the staining wasn't mitigated by the acid stop he uses, I deduce that he's getting it in the developer. Hence the fixer issue would seem moot in this case, although ammonium thiosulfate fixers do turn amidol-developed prints pink. Use plain hypo (sodium thiosulfate pentahydrate) to fix amidol prints. You might also want to try an acetic acid stop bath. That's what MAS and Paula Chamlee use.

I suspect the culprit is the benzotriazole in Fien's amidol. Use KBr as a restrainer instead. You'll get a warmer tone, but it may solve your staining problem.