Too Short Developing Times : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

I've been shooting black and white for a while, but have only in the last few weeks started printing, because i am now at a school with the appropriate facilites. I know how to do everything generally, but the results are sheer trial and error. My last time in the darkoom, i had trouble with extremely short developing times for the paper. Development was hard to control because over 15 seconds would leave the paper entirely black. It was basically dip it in developer and pull it right out, which was too difficult to do consistently. This had never happened before so I was rather confused. What is the cause of this? Ilford films and paper, Omega condenser enlarger, Dektol 1:2.

-- Peter BG (, November 23, 2001


Dektol concentrate should be diluted 1:9, not 1:2. Were there no instructions packed with the developer?

-- Pete Andrews (, November 23, 2001.

I usually dilute Dektol 1:2, and emergence times are usually about 20 seconds and full development is 1 to 2 minutes. I've never heard of diluting Dektol stock solution 1:9 -- perhaps you're using the rare and elusive non-US market liquid Dektol.

15 seconds to full black is indicating overexposure: failure to stop down the lens, unsafe safelights, etc.

-- John O'Connell (, November 23, 2001.

John is probably pointing to the source of the problem: overexposure under the enlarger. Perhaps you have started to use a paper that is faster (and therefore will require less exposure) than you used before? For instance, some RC-papers are much faster than some fiber- based papers. If you like the new papers characteristics, reduce the exposure time or use a smaller aperture on the enlarger lens. Don't use too small aperture though, that will make your prints less sharp and less contrasty. If you want a large aperture AND long exposure times, you can try a slower paper or a neutral density filter under the enlarger lens.

It could also be that the developer is fast working but that wouldn't account for the paper turning completely black within 15 seconds.

-- Peter Olsson (, November 23, 2001.

I forgot to mention that one way to increase the exposure times (if you need time for dodging and burning or such) is to make a bigger enlargement. The exposure times increases with the square of the increased "length" of the print. An enlargment that is twice as long will be four times the surface and therefore require four times the exposure time.

-- Peter (, November 23, 2001.

Develop a small piece of paper without exposing it. It should stay white after a 2 minute development. If that works, use shorter enlarger exposure times and smaller apertures as other have said.

-- Conrad Hoffman (, November 23, 2001.

Greetings Peter, Did you see the image before it went black? Perhaps your paper was exposed to light before hand. If you did see an image you could be totally overexposing the paper from the get go. Use f/11 on the enlarging lense and do a test strip of 3 second intervals up to about 15 seconds. Dektol 1:2 is fine. I used that dilution for years.

-- Kenneth Bruno (, May 26, 2002.

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