Vitamin enriched D-23?? : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

John Hicks suggested D-23 1+3 with 4g/liter sodium ascorbate (not ascorbic acid itself) makes a finer grain in processing Delta 3200. Interesting. Did anyone try that?

To John: is your favourite dev for Delta 3200 changed again? Is this also good for some other films too??

Yeah, I know, no real input on my side this time. I just found this his idea interesting, or even surprising, and wanted to make it more visible.

-- Ryuji Suzuki (, December 10, 2001


I've never tried it, but it makes good sense. I'd like to try the same combo with Delta 3200.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, December 10, 2001.

OK, here goes:

D3200 in D-23 1:3 w 4g/L sodium ascorbate, "NutriBiotic" brand from the local health-food store. I tried a couple of those mall chain stores but they didn't have a clue.

At first I tried plain D-23 (curious about John Douglas' recommendations) and while that worked ok it didn't show me anything. For EI 1600, D-23 1:3 20'/75F rotary agitation.

The addition of sodium ascorbate required a reduction in development time to 15'/75F and yielded identical curve shape and EI. Graininess, though, is easily visibly decreased.

The "real" speed, .10DU above fb&f for Zone I, is EI 1000.

These negs are pretty hot; since it's a push the rating may really need to be EI 2400 or so. DD-X 1:4 gives more shadow density and less contrast for the same EI.

What I'll need to do is shoot some direct-comparison negs. I haven't shot much D3200 lately; I've been more into D400 at EI 800 at f2 in 35mm rather than D3200 at f2.8 EI 1600 in 120.

-- John Hicks (, December 10, 2001.

Thanks for the detail. I said that idea is surprising because if one believes that ascorbates are pretty inactive in low pH environment then we would not expect the behavior of D-23 to change by adding s.a. But John Hicks reported faster process and finer grain... I'm more curious about the general potential of D-23 with s.a. than particular application to d3200, so maybe I'll try it with HP5+ or something.

Pat Gainer also suggested to replace hydroquinone in D-76 with s.a. It's more like a vitamin enriched D-76H (let's name it something like D-76HC) or D-23C with borax. It may be interesting to change the base while the reductants (2g metol + 4g s.a. in 1 liter) are held fixed and see what happens. Well, too many things to think about for now.

-- Ryuji Suzuki (, December 11, 2001.

> replace hydroquinone in D-76

Anchell & Troop recommend 1.8X the hydroquinone amount.

I made a few D3200 prints last night; it's not bad. Pretty contrasty but dense highlights burned ok; I think contrastwise it wants EI 3200 but otoh that might turn sufficient shadow density into insufficient. Nice and sharp with reasonably fine grain.

The bottom line is that it works, and that "improved" D-23 is an improvement over ordinary D-23 for D3200.

I too have been wondering about popping a little s.a. into my D-76H.

-- John Hicks (, December 11, 2001.

The inactivity of ascorbates in low pH does not apply to superadditive mixtures. The ascorbates are superaditive with phenidone, p-aminophenol, metol and some others but not with hydroquinone. While sodium ascorbate alone needs pH like hydroquinone to ve active, it's a terrible developer by itself. At least, the isomer we can easily get is. Generally, the result of using ascorbate is a better combination of grain, speed and acutance, though any one of those things may not be so good. I have had HP5+ come out looking like FP4 + and I have had TMY come out with coarser grain than I am accustomed to, but with very nice gradations and plenty of speed, so its great for pictures of people doing things.

-- Patrick A. Gainer (, December 11, 2001.

One frustrating thing about trying ascorbic acid developers is that I can't find a reliable source about the developer kinetics especially of superadditivity. With hydroquinone the reaction by-product was alkaline and that itself accelerated further development, but this doesn't seem to happen with ascorbates. Then how ascorbate formulae can attain improved accutance? etc. In Gainer metol-ascorbate-carbonate formula, I guess the pH is quite a bit higher than D-23C. Does the s.a. give the same kind of benefit in these two formulae??? I know, my questions never end and I never go to bed, but it would be nice if anyone could share experimental result/theoretical consideration. Thanks.

-- Ryuji Suzuki (, December 12, 2001.

You can use borax in a phenidone-C developer If you use ascorbic acid, you will have to neutralize it first with about 1/2 gram of baking soda per gram of ascorbic acid. The first oxidation product of ascorbic acid (or sodium ascorbate) is desoxyascorbic acid and is biologically active, according to my encyclopedia. Whether that means it continues to act as a developer, I do not know. It's a matter for experiment anyway. Even the Kodak Research Laboratories had to experiment and were quite surprised to find how superadditive the isomers of ascorbic acid were with phenidone. This was in the early 70's, so it's nothing new. Ordinary Vitamin C requires pH around 12 to do any developing, and a lot of bromide to keep it from generating mostly fog. You can make a fairly good lith developer with 1/2 tbs sodium ascorbate, 1 tsp potassium bromide and 10 grams of lye in 500 ml of water. It doesn't last long, but neither does the hydroquinone version with sulfite. All these things are instructive, whether you ever want to use them for real pictures or not. I do. Suit yourself. That's what we're supposed to do. But when you find out something photographic, even if it's just an interesting fact, go ahead and share it. Maybe someone else can add to it and really get somewhere.

-- Patrick A. Gainer (, December 19, 2001.

Reality check:

I got curious about John Douglas' recommendation of D-23 for Delta 3200; it worked, nothing spectacular, pretty grainy but more "real" speed than D-76 while less than Xtol, Microphen etc.

Then Patrick Gainer got me to thinking about vitamin c, so I added some sodium ascorbate, fiddled around and came up with a _greatly improved_ version of D-23 for Delta 3200.

But then last night I made some more negs using the "standard" of DD-X 1:4 for a fresh comparison...well, that's the end of the D-23 experiment.

However, this has been a very interesting project and worthwhile exercise.

Patrick, we really appreciate your participation here in this forum.

-- John Hicks (, December 19, 2001.

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