2 bath processing with normal developers

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At Barry Thornton's very informative web site (www.barrythornton.com) I read about the use of a simple 2 spoons of kodalk/liter 2nd bath which can be used with normal developers to get a kind of a two bath developer with your normal developer. Ansel Adams also talks about this in his book the negative which lays on my bedside cabinet. I have some experience with 2 bath developers, mostly emofin but also diafine. I was very satisfied with the result but I'm not always looking for their speed increasing. In fact I only use it with Tri-x for 800 asa and get good printable negatives with my condenser enlarger (focomat 1c). With slower films it is not always easy to keep the contrast normal and this 2nd bath sounds like the perfect solution. Has someone experience with this technique ? Probabely in combination with rodinal ? And where can I find a bit of kodalk ? I've found supliers of photographic products on internet but I'm afraid they are not interested in sending my about 100 g of kodalk. And what will the mailman say when he is delivering me a letter with powder ? They don't laugh with these jokes. Greetings

-- Frederik Boone (frederik.boone@harol.be), October 19, 2001


Probably it's interesting to insert the text from Barry Thornton here, it was found at the end of his text on two bath developers. Here Kodalk is called sodium metaborate.

The Teaspoonful Two Bath

As far as I know nobody has mentioned another technique which I have evolved and which works really well to give different tonal characteristics and very similar automatic contrast control, and to avoid having to mix anything but an approximate Bath B – two heaped teaspoons of sodium metaborate in 1 litre of water. It dissolves almost instantly and is cheap enough to use once then throw away, though it would handle 15 roll films if re-used. Simply use your normal standard developer (T-Max, ID11, llfotech, HC110, Econotol, Perceptol etc.) for half to two thirds of the maker’s stated time as Bath A, drain it off, and use the teaspoon-measured Bath B for 3 minutes at the same temperature as Bath A. You may have to fine tune Bath A time by experience. For all 2 baths stop and fix afterwards in the usual way after Bath B, but not between the two baths

-- Frederik Boone (frederik.boone@harol.be), October 19, 2001.

Kodak stopped usling the name "Kodalk" quite a few years ago, and now refers to it as "Balanced Alkalai". It is indeed sodium metaborate.

It sounds like you might like divided D23 or divided D76. I suggest you buy the Film Developing Cookbook for more information on divided (2-bath) developers.

In the US, Photographer's Formulary (http://www.photoformulary.com/) sells kits for divided D-76, as well as bulk chemicals in small quantities. Sodium metaborate is $2.50 for 10g, 3.25 for 100g, and 5.95 for 1 pound. With shipping, no real sense in ordering less than 1 pound, unless you are really strapped for cash.

-- Charlie Strack (charlie_strack@sti.com), October 19, 2001.

Take a look at Joseph Lipka's article on Divided D-23 at http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/DD-23/dd-23.html. Divided D-23 is simply the standard D-23 formula with a Borax or Kodalk after-bath.

-- Ed Buffaloe (edb@unblinkingeye.com), October 19, 2001.

I don't really get how you intend to convert a single bath developer (like Rodinal) which contains an alkali in its formula to a two-bath one. Two-bath devs do not contain the alkali in the first bath, so no developer activity takes place in the first part of the process. The alkali is contained in the second bath, so it reacts with the developer that is absorbed in the film emulsion and the silver salts are converted to metallic silver. If you use Rodinal as your first bath, the whole process will happen in your first bath and your alkali in the second bath will just use up the remainind Rodinal in the film emulsion to further develop some (eventually) underdeveloped areas of film. The result will not be so much different than if you just left the Rodinal act for a while longer (the only positive difference might be some compensating effect during the development in the second bath). If you succeed to separate the alkali from your developer formula, then you can use it as a first bath for a two bath working chemical. As for the fact that you prefer not using the speed increasing effect with Emofin, try to dilute both of its ingredients with twice the amount of water and develop a normally exposed film through it, I think you will like the results. And the economy, too...

-- George Papantoniou (papanton@hol.gr), October 20, 2001.

If you want super fine grain with no real speed increase, go to Photo Formulary and get some Divided D76. It works like Diafine being a 2 bath developer also. You also can mix it up from scratch if you want... I have a recipe in PDF that I can send you if you want. Cheers

-- Scott Walton (scotlynn@shore.net), October 22, 2001.

Thanks a lot for the answers and sugestions. The second bath containing kodalk will probabely have only a limited influence, comparable to a water bath. since I don't have any kodalk I tried this water bath last night with Tri-x after 19 minutes of development in rodinal 1+100, during 3 minutes. I can't say anything on it since I didn't print these negatives yet. A formula like diveded D-76 might be a better solution to get these easy negatives without extra speed which I in general don't need. Don't understand me wrong, I like emofin a lot. I'm in fact very currious to try more 2-bath developers. Greetings, Frederik

-- Frederik Boone (frederik.boone@harol.be), October 22, 2001.

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