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Thread: BW-65 experience?

  1. #1
    westernlens al olson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Southwest Mountains of Colorado

    BW-65 experience?

    Has anyone had any experience with the shelf life of the Formulary’s BW-65 Liquid Paper Developer. Their catalog listing states that it has a long shelf life, but I have my doubts, at least with regard to the working solution.

    After testing many B&W developers in my DoMac roller processor, I found that BW-65 was the only developer that produced a print with good contrast and excellent tonality during the short time (45 sec) that the print is in contact with the developer. Of course after a developing session I drain the chemicals and use fresh for future sessions so shelf life of working solution had never been a problem.

    I also have a Nova Slot Processor that in the past I have used Dektol at 1 ˝ minutes. I use this processor when I go into the darkroom to make only a few prints, rather than the roller processor where I mix chemicals for longer printing sessions. With the lid on the slot processor, chemicals will keep for weeks and whenever I start a printing session I will drain 300 ml out of the developer slot and replace it with fresh developer.

    I decided that it would be good for my test prints if I used the same developer in the slot processor that I was using in the roller processor. Four days ago I mixed up 1800 ml of BW-65 (1:1:2 the same as for the roller processor) and reinstalled fresh chemicals in all slots. I printed a number of contact sheets with results close to where I wanted them.

    Last night I went to make a few prints from those negatives. The results were terrible. The image was weak and very contrasty, even at four times the exposure used for the contacts. I think that the fact that BW-65 comes in two bottles is a clue that when mixed the shelf life becomes very short.

    Has anyone had similar experience with the shelf life of BW-65 working solution? I can go back to Dektol for the slot processor but because of its design it will be necessary to dump all three slots to replace the developer. To refill because no slot can be higher than 500 ml above the others [I presume this is so the pressure head does not cause leaks at the base] makes for a tedious job.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Re: BW-65 experience?

    Hi, Al,

    I've used pf's bw-65 in the past. Back when it was introduced they used to send sample bottles with orders. I recall that I wasn't impressed with it enough to purchase some. If you're looking for something to standardize on, that's easy to mix, will work with a wide range of temps and work well with short times then you might want to try either ilford 2000 or trebla trepan 2000. Both developers will be more versatile and much more affordable than the bw-65.

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