Chemical advice : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

I'm gettting my darkroom together(Finally!!) and was wandering if anyone can recomend any individual brands of Developer, Stop Bath, Fixer and other chemicals. I will be working only with Black and White, mostly with FB paper. Thanks in advance for the help!

-- Gretchen Yoder (, January 28, 2001


Well, the developer is the most important chemical. I normally use Agfa Neutol WA, for slight warmtoned prints. I use normally a citric acid based signal stopbad (Amaloco but brand is not that important) and a rapid fix bath (Agfa Agefix, again brand is not that important). FB prints give very fine results but do curl when not dried correctly. Consider toning afterwards - sepia toning (I use Agfa Viradon since its very easy to use - but it really smells terrible) and selenium toning (Kodak selenium toner) but selenium toner is potentially toxic. FB prints should IMHO always toned.

-- Marc Leest (, January 29, 2001.

Gretchen, for starters I would strongly recommend the Sprint line of chemistry. You can get it from B&H and Adorama, among others.

Sprint has a nice & complete line of chemistry that is as non-toxic as possible. It is a liquid that is mixed 1:9 for all solutions. Its film developer is equal to D76, 1:1, and on the back of each bottle is a complete description for developing times for a bunch of films.

I have used it for years, and I believe quite few people on this forum do also. A lot of schools/colleges use it too.

It comes in one liter and 4 liter [gallon] bottles/containers. I would recommend getting a basic set in the one liter bottles.

To get you started you need:

Sprint Standard B&W Film Developer Sprint Quick Silver Print Developer Sprint Block Stop Bath Sprint Record Speed Fixer Sprint Archive Fixer Remover

Once you are familiar with this set up, you might want to try different film/developer and paper/print developer combinations. I have found it best to stick with one brand/type of anything for a while, to really get to know it.

Good luck,


-- Christian Harkness (, January 29, 2001.

Gretchen, I agree. Sprint is a clean working line and... it actually smells good! The Stop Bath is Vanilla scented (go ahead and laugh but it does make hours in the darkroom more enjoyable) and the fixer isn't as pungent also. I would go with Heico Permawash though because of it's thoroughness!!! For a really nice, versatile print developer, also remember LPD made by Ethol or Edwal (I always screw that one up) but it is called LPD. It is a long lasting developer that with dilution you can go from cold tones to warm tones without contrast buildup! It comes in powder or liquid and has REALLY GOOD keeping qualities. Cheers

-- Scott Walton (, January 29, 2001.

For stop and fixer, they are pretty much the same. I would use Rapid Fixer though.

For developer, pick one that is easy to get where you are. And then use it until you can tell exactly what you want different in your prints. Then try different developers to see what changes come about.

The same for paper.

-- Terry Carraway (, February 01, 2001.

For what it's worth.

Paper developer - Ilford PQ universal (Dilute 1:9) - Clean working, long tray life, Nice neutral tones. Or Tetenal Eukobrom (dilute 1:9) - good tray life, slightly colder tones.

Stop bath - anything by Kodak, Ilford (who also do an odourless one), Agfa or Tetenal.

Fixer - Ilford Hypam (dialute 1:9 for prints)long lasting.

Before washing - Kodak hypo clearing agent. Reduces wash time.

-- Adrian Twiss (, February 10, 2001.

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