Creative Two Bath Developers : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I have a few questions regarding photographic chemistry and in particular the mixing of developers. I was wondering if any of you had any experience in mixing a D-23 type developer with a high acutance developer such as Rodinal? For example, to bring out better shadow detail without the loss of acutance, use D-23 and Rodinal as a two bath process. As a starting point, use Ilford PanF+ at 50 ASA, dilute D-23 1:1 and immerse film for 5-6 minutes at 68 degrees F, rinse in distilled water, and then use Rodinal at 1:25 dilution for another 5-6 minutes. The exact times would be determined by experimentation (trial and error). If not PanF+ then what film would be more satisfactory. If not D-23 then what, if not Rodinal, then what ... ???

Any ideas or suggesions....??????

-- Warren Way (, January 20, 2002


D23, due to it's high sulfite content will give you "soft" grain... a beautiful developer but not fine grain or not high acutance at all. Divided D76 for extremely fine grain or for a snappier higher acutance (sharper finer grain) use Diafine. The nice part of the split bath developer is that they are compensating (develop the highlights only to a point) making printing easier and negatives that are developed to perfection. Stick with Pan F, it is beautiful also!!!

-- Scott Walton (, January 22, 2002.

See my article Appreciating Rodinal for information on adding sulfite or sodium ascorbate to Rodinal for finer grain. There is also a note from Sam Elkind regarding combining Rodinal with Xtol.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, January 22, 2002.

I don't think that using two normal developers for one film can be compared to the effect achieved by the special two bath formulas (like Diafine, Divided D-23 or other). What Warren suggests is using normal Rodinal and then D-23, for the develpment of one film, which will probably not give results too much different than using just one of the two developers (the strongest acting one, I guess). It shall also depend on the combination of time that he will have each one of the two chemicals in the tank. On the other hand, the suggested two bath formulas base their unique way of acting on the fact that they separate the developing substances (metol, hydroquinone, etc) from the alkali that is necessary for the development to happen. This is quite a different philosophy, and is only applied with the specific formulas, giving really special results (combination of fine grain WITH high acutance) not easily obtained with single bath formulas. Try the two bath formulas, Warren, not just two ordinary developers.

-- George Papantoniou (, January 22, 2002.

Having developed B&W film for nearly 50 years, I don't understand why more people don't use 2 bath developers. Diafine makes film developing down right fun and easy. The results are beautiful.

-- Gene Crumpler (, January 24, 2002.

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