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Thread: Still Standing

  1. #1

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    Still Standing

    It began with the exploration of Pyrocat-HD.

    Pyrocat-HD became the gateway drug to explore low agitation development.

    That became a gateway drug for exploring the use of severely out of date films - most recently, 2x3 Plus-X expired in Nov. 1974.

    This is just a short update for those of you still following along:

    PRIOR FINDINGS

    Given a highly dilute developer and a very long development time:

    • Stand development (no agitation) does not work reliably with modern films
    • Semistand development (1 midpoint agitation) does work quite reliably with modern films.
    • Extreme Minimal Agitation (2 or more agitations during development similarly gives good results with modern films.
    • In every case, using minimal support to hold sheet film reduced the tendency to encounter bromide drag.



    I documented this here:

    https://gitbucket.tundraware.com/tun...nd-Development


    ALONG THE WAY


    I did get a private email from someone who said, "You're problem is using Pyrocat-HD to this stuff. I do everything with stand development in Rodinal and never have issues."


    ENTER VERY OLD FILM



    I then extended the exploration to try and do semi-stand with very old films. First with Tri-X expired in July of 1993, and then the aforementioned Plus-X. The results were ... interesting.

    The Tri-X had no issues being semistand developed. The Plus-X, however, has shown an unpleasant tendency toward bromide drag.

    So, I wanted to figure out whether this was primarily the film formulation or the age of the film causing the bromide artifacts.

    So ... I semistand developed the Plus-X in D-23 1:1 for an hour with a single 10 second midpoint agitation at 31 minutes after an initial 2 minutes of continuous agitation. NO bromide drag. To be sure I shot two sheets of each scene and developed the first in D-23 and the second in Pyrocat-HD. The Pyrocat-HD negs exhibited very nasty drag effects, but the D-23 negs look perfect and - even after nearly 50 years - still show full film speed and no significant visible fogging.

    I therefore conclude that highly dilute Pyrocat-HD semistand development is incompatible with at least some very old films. I do have some frozen Plus-X sheets which - while out of date - should still be fresh, and I'll explore that at some point.

    Of course, the D-23 is nowhere near as dilute at 1:1 as the Pyrocat-HD is at 1.5:1:200. So, one future exploration might be to further dilute the D-23. The problem is that 2 liters of D-23 1:1 only have 7.5g of Metol total. Severe further dilution might really deactivate the development. Still, it's on my list of things to try.

    The other thing I want to go back and do now is to put that old Plus-X through an Extreme Minimal Agitation cycle rather than semi-stand. EMA should materially reduce the risk for bromide drag.

    That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it ... for now.
    Silver Photographers Never Die, They're Just Getting Fixed

  2. #2
    David Schaller
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    Re: Still Standing

    Thank you for making the effort to do the experiments. I hope that you're enjoying the process along the way. I am one who feels that life is too short to get into regularly using expired film, although I occasionally find some that I have and just can't throw away. So your information is very useful, even to me, and I'm sure it will be for others.

  3. #3
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Still Standing

    Thanks for your update with specifics!

    I am still on my first developer, 9 years of Rodinol

    I cheat a bit with PQ on very old film, plates and X-Ray

    I am almost ready for D23, and have plenty of what I need
    Images vastly preferred

    not game trying to


    focus


    In Time

  4. #4

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    Re: Still Standing

    The process is great fun, but there are pragmatic reasons to pursue old film development. Among them:


    - There will inevitably come a time when new film will be hard to get and/or stratopsherically expensive.

    - There are certain films no longer made that I love too much to abandon entirely. Agfapan APX 100 is on that list, for example, since it only is available in 35mm these days.


    - There are frequently heard requests for help because someone "Found grandpa's camera will film in it", and these techniques may help.
    Silver Photographers Never Die, They're Just Getting Fixed

  5. #5

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    Re: Still Standing

    I have no problem with EMA and Pyrocat HD. By the way, I do not buy this developer from a company, I mix it form raw chemicals. I have used iit with Super XX, and Ortho Tri-X, both of which are very old films.
    Perhaps your problem is you have bought it instead of mixing it correctly. This is not the only problem I have heard of when people have bought mixed from PF>

  6. #6

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    Re: Still Standing

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Noel View Post
    I have no problem with EMA and Pyrocat HD. By the way, I do not buy this developer from a company, I mix it form raw chemicals. I have used iit with Super XX, and Ortho Tri-X, both of which are very old films.
    Perhaps your problem is you have bought it instead of mixing it correctly. This is not the only problem I have heard of when people have bought mixed from PF>
    Please go back and reread my comments. I have never had a problem with EMA. The thing I am documenting here is semistand and only old Plus-X has shown a problem with bromide drag.

    I also mix my own chemistry and this batch has worked perfectly with every other film/dev style I have tried.
    Silver Photographers Never Die, They're Just Getting Fixed

  7. #7

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    Re: Still Standing

    I should have mentioned that I would love to find some Super XX to try this with but alas ...

    I have done semistand very successfully with Efke PL100 which is an "old school" type emulsion.
    Silver Photographers Never Die, They're Just Getting Fixed

  8. #8

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    Re: Still Standing

    Thanks for sharing as I have some old film I have been afraid to shoot because I wasn't sure how to process it.

    With any of the cachetol developers I have tried, I get better results with a 2-3 minute initial agitation regardless of dilution or agitation frequency after that. I am guessing that much of the developer distribution is absorbed in the first couple of minutes and starts working. Edge effect differences are not apparent to my eye (yet).

    I have switched to Pyrocat-M which is easy to make in small batches and uses fewer chemicals but yields similar results to HD. No potassium bromide, so wonder if that would eliminate your bromide drag?. At first I thought 'M' was a softer look but it was just the low contrast images I was working with. High contrast seems to be the same.
    Jay DeFehr's OA is really dilute but has no advantage over HD or M other than simplicity of the chemistry.

    Next step for me is to determine whether I like a thinly stained negative or a heavily stained negative better for contact printing.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
    http://www.searing.photography

  9. #9

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    Re: Still Standing

    Quote Originally Posted by esearing View Post
    Thanks for sharing as I have some old film I have been afraid to shoot because I wasn't sure how to process it.

    With any of the cachetol developers I have tried, I get better results with a 2-3 minute initial agitation regardless of dilution or agitation frequency after that. I am guessing that much of the developer distribution is absorbed in the first couple of minutes and starts working. Edge effect differences are not apparent to my eye (yet).

    I have switched to Pyrocat-M which is easy to make in small batches and uses fewer chemicals but yields similar results to HD. No potassium bromide, so wonder if that would eliminate your bromide drag?. At first I thought 'M' was a softer look but it was just the low contrast images I was working with. High contrast seems to be the same.
    Jay DeFehr's OA is really dilute but has no advantage over HD or M other than simplicity of the chemistry.

    Next step for me is to determine whether I like a thinly stained negative or a heavily stained negative better for contact printing.
    I also do initially agitate 2 minutes after 3 minutes of presoak for much the reasons you mention.

    Thanks for the heads up on Pyrocat-M, though it's worth mentioning that the only place I've seen bromide issues is with this very old Plus-X. I have not tried it with "new" frozen Plus-X. Otherwise, I've seen little evidence of bromide drag. But still, your idea is worthwhile pursuing, so thanks for that.

    I will say that long semistand in D-23 1:1 does seem to work really well for old film -at least the Plus-X anyway. This was often the technique used by commercial labs in the past. One person here mentioned that they'd worked in a place that did D-23 with a single agitation overnight for all customer films.
    Silver Photographers Never Die, They're Just Getting Fixed

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