View Full Version : Cold weather neg dev

8-Dec-2011, 19:27
Request followed by brief explanation:

I need a dev time chart for Ilford ID-11 that goes down to around 45 degrees...or just a list of temp with percent deviation of standard developing at 68 degrees f.

The issue at hand is a cold room with no insulation and no way to heat adequately. I'm at the mercy of the elements with some 4x5 Delta 100 sheets to process in trays. Ugh.

Gem Singer
8-Dec-2011, 20:17

Ilford ID-11 developer is formulated with a combination of Hydroquinone and Phenidone.

At that low of a temperature, the Hydroquinone is deactivated. Phenidone can be used at low temperatures, however, it is a low contrast developing agent.

Search the archives of this website for methods that can be used to warm processing solutions.

Look into aquarium heaters, heating pads, space heaters, etc.

Brian C. Miller
8-Dec-2011, 21:59
I knew a fellow who used heating pads for reptiles. These are water proof, and the heat is adjustable. You can set the trays directly on the pads, and it will be fine.

8-Dec-2011, 22:08

I feel your pain. I have had to develop with chemical temps at 55 degrees F.
One way I have gotten the temps up, has been by using a large deep 16x20 tray with warm or hot water to increase the temps of the chemicals. I put the bottles or beakers in the large tray with the warm/hot water and bring the developer, stop bath water, and fixer temps up. The temp will drop as you are developing, so keeping a thermometer in the large tray's water to helps to monitor temp. I heat up water and add to the large tray as temps begin to drop.

Other options are the electric heaters that can be submersed in the chemical trays. The heaters were common in the past. I haven't seen them around lately. Some folks even use fish aquarium heaters.

Good luck,


Doremus Scudder
9-Dec-2011, 03:05

Gem is spot on, your developer will not work properly in that low of a temperature due to the hydroquinone losing activity at lower temps. You need to keep your developer above 65F to keep the hydroquinone going.

There was an interesting thread a while back on how much hand and ambient room temperature affected the temperature of the developer during development. The consensus was that, while there were temperature fluctuations, being consistent was really more important.

In that line of thinking, you might simply start with your developer (and other solution temperatures) a little higher than normal, say 75F and let the solution change temp as you develop. A couple of tests will tell you what temperature to start at to keep the developer above 65F for the entire processing time. Couple this with some larger volumes of higher temp water used as a water bath for the trays, and I imagine you can get by fairly well.

A quick calculation of the average temp and a glance at the Ilford temperature adjustment sheet (which I'm attaching) should give you a useable time.

Admittedly, this is not as controlled a process as could be desired, but, if you can live with the imprecision, it should work.

Best of luck,


9-Dec-2011, 06:12
Thanks alot guys. Appreciate the technical reason for this being a bad idea and will be looking into a big tray with a submersible heater. Money money money. Photography is worse than a car.