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Thread: Homebrew film and print developers

  1. #1

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    Homebrew film and print developers

    Does anyone here have experience with homebrewed film and/or print developers? I'm a bit put off by the cost of XTOL, for example, especially since I use so little of the 5 L. that I have to mix each time I need a fresh batch. Ditto with Dektol.

    I develop HP5+ in homemade BTZS-style tubes, using about 50ml per 4x5 sheet, but I shoot so little (and print even less often) that any chemicals I mix exceed their shelf life long before I can use them.

    Vit. C-based developers seem like a good idea, since the components should be readily available either locally or ordered online. Does anyone here have any experience using such developers? Opinions?

    Thanks --

  2. #2

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    Re: Homebrew film and print developers

    I mix up my own "Mytol". I have not done scientific testing but it seems to work as well as the pre-mixed version. I also mix my own Dektol, the generic name is D-72. Steve Anchell put out two books with formulas. One is called the darkroom cookbook and other is called the film developer cookbook. These two are standard reference books in my darkroom. Almost every photo formula can be found on the web as well. I bought a large container of sodium sufite and sodium carbonate. These are the two chemicals that are used in the highest quantity for the more or less standard formulas.
    Good luck
    Art

  3. #3

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    Re: Homebrew film and print developers

    Thanks, Art.

    I've seen references to Steve Anchell's books and will look for copies. I've also bookmarked Patrick Gainer's article (http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/VitC/vitc.html); I remember reading it in Darkroom and Creative Camera Techniques years ago.

    Dave

  4. #4
    multi format
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    Re: Homebrew film and print developers

    i home brew ( really it is a kit from the formulary )
    ansco (formulary) 130. i am using some i mixed over a year ago
    and it is still good. ... i also home brew a coffee + vit c based
    developer for all my film. i mix it fresh, and the ingredients can be
    found with ease pretty much anywhere.

  5. #5
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Homebrew film and print developers

    I've been making all kinds of customized film and print developers for years. If you
    wish to experiment it is best to start with published formulas and then tweak things
    from there. Be prepared for some failures, so don't use your best exposures as the
    guinea pig!

  6. #6
    Dave Karp
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    Re: Homebrew film and print developers

    Mixing your own is fun. I have used some Agfa 100 print developer (from the Cookbook) and use Barry Thornton's 2 bath film developer. I have also used Divided D-76H (from the Cookbook).

    If you are concerned about cost, there are other alternatives to X-Tol that last a long long time. Pyrocat HD or MC in glycol from Photographer's Formulary, HC-110, or Ilfotec HC (I think that is what they call it) come to mind.

  7. #7
    ki6mf's Avatar
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    Re: Homebrew film and print developers

    There are a few darkroom cookbooks that offer recipes and hints on mixing your own One is The Darkroom Cookbook by Stephen Anchnell. Photographers' Formulary is both a supplier and has reference material on line at http://www.photoformulary.com/DesktopDefault.aspx
    Wally Brooks

    Everything is Analog!
    Any Fool Can Shoot Digital!
    Any Coward can shoot a zoom! Use primes and get closer.

  8. #8

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    Re: Homebrew film and print developers

    Here is a link for the "Mytol" formula
    http://www.jackspcs.com/mytol.htm
    Here is the formula for D-72 (Dektol)
    Water 125F 750ml
    Metol 3.0 grams
    Sodium Sulfite, anhydrous 45.0 grams
    Hydroquinone 12.0 grams
    Sodium Carbonate, monhydrated 80.0 grams
    Poassium Bromide 2.0 grams
    Cold water to make 1.0 Litre
    You can purchase bulk chemicals at
    Artcraft chemicals: http://www.artcraftchemicals.com/
    or
    Photographers formulary
    http://www.photoformulary.com/DesktopDefault.aspx
    And of course you will need a scale. I bought a digital toyo and it has worked great for years.
    Good luck!

  9. #9

    Re: Homebrew film and print developers

    I mix just about everything myself: developer, fixer, stop, and hypoclear. I think the only thing I don't mix myself is the photoflo. In the long run it is cheaper to mix yourself, but the initial purchase of chemicals, as well as a decent scale, gloves, glasses and a mask with a particle filter (which you should have anyways for mixing bagged chemicals) can be very expensive. Add in a used magnetic heater/stirrer (not necessary, but convenient and fun) a collection of glass beakers, graduated cylinders, maybe some pipettes, and it may well take years to recoup your costs.

    That said, when Kodak decides to stop making D-76 or Xtol I won't panic (remember the Rodinal panic?). My main concern is obtaining the raw chemicals--getting more and more difficult, but for the moment thanks to Artcraft, the Formulary, Bostick & Sullivan, and a few local suppliers I am set.

    For what it is worth, in my experience Mytol works identically to Xtol.

  10. #10
    kev curry's Avatar
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    Re: Homebrew film and print developers

    Pyro. Cheap as chips, lasts for years or even indefinately... so they say.
    Buy a kit mix it up and forger about film developer forever...ish;-)

    http://www.bostick-sullivan.com/cart/home.php?cat=50

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