Vitamin C developer article : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

Has anybody tried any of the Vitamin C developers in the article on the home page? The stock solutions looked interesting, but I wasn't completely sure how Mr. Gainer meant to use them. He says to "dilute 1 to 3". Does he mean 1 to 1 to 3? I like the non toxic ingredients and low cost. And he says it works well on Tmax films which makes sense since Xtol does too.

Gene Johnson

-- Gene Johnson (, February 20, 2002


Gene, I've used Pat's formula quite a bit and I'm very impressed with it. I've split the reducing agents and accelerators which allows for finer contrast adjustments and keeps better.

Part A: 8g ascorbic acid + 0.8g metol / 500ml distilled water

Part B: 6.8g sodium hydroxide + 24.4g borax / 500ml distilled water

ratio 1:1:14 for normal contrast

Agitation: 1 minute to start, then 10" / min

Delta 400 10 minutes @ 70 EI 400 Acros 100 10 minutes @ 70 EI 64-80 TMX 9-10 min @ 70 EI 80-100 (this is approximate, but should be pretty close.

I like this developer better than any commercial product I've tried-- and I've tried most everything. It shows very low fog, excellent resolution and acutance, fine,tight grain and pleasing tonality. If word ever gets out on this stuff, it will challenge PMK in the fine art world.

-- Ted Kaufman (, February 20, 2002.

Now the question is whether the 4 grams is needed or you get the same results with 2 grams of Sodium Ascorbate? In use, do you dissolve the ascorbate in a one litre solution no matter the dilution of Rodinal syrup or do you dissolve the ascorbate per 8x10 film unit to be developed?

-- Dan Smith (, February 20, 2002.

This is a stand alone developer. It is not the sodium ascorbate additive to Rodinal.

-- Ted Kaufman (, February 21, 2002.

Hmmmmm....what is 1:1:14? I am confused. Sorry. Also, where can I purchase this product? Thanks! Howard

-- Howard Posner (, February 21, 2002.

I've been using Ilfosol-s for years with tmax100. One of its main ingredients is Sodium Ascorbate.

-- Pete Andrews (, February 21, 2002.

I compared this formula to Ilfosol-s and found it signifantly sharper. It does not have sodium sulfite, as does Ilfosol-s, yet the grain is still very fine, with a nice, tight structure. If you like Ilfosol-s, I strongly recommend you give this a shot.

1:1:14 means, add 1 oz. "A" to 1 oz. of "B" to 14 oz. of water.

-- Ted Kaufman (, February 21, 2002.


This is a formula you make yourself. Article is on If you hae ever wanted to make home brews, this is very easy and economical. Late last year I began to delve into making my own chemistry to take the place for commercial products that will slowly be phased out in the next few years (conjecture on my part). I wish I would have done it several years ago because it is very satisfying to have that additional control over the process. The commercial equivalent is Kodak XTOL, which I have used exstensively the last 2 years.

-- James Chinn (, February 22, 2002.

Vitamin C is just one developing agents in Gainer's formula and other commercial products, and presence of Vitamin C itself does not determine the entire working of the developer. It should be noted that there are developers containing Vitamin C that work very differently.

In particular, XTOL and Gainer formula are quite different, partly because XTOL sets its pH rather low and well buffered, while Gainer's formula is rather opposite, relatively high pH. I haven't thought about Ilfosol-S much, but I think hydroquinone or other developing agents in the formula may contribute to its working much more than a small amount of sulfite.

For those who like to see a couple other options of Vitamin C formulae, I have a page on matching films and developers that has two Vitamin C formulae, one is like D-76 and XTOL, another not too different from Ilfosol-S.

-- Ryuji Suzuki (, February 22, 2002.

Thanks folks for all the info!

Based on Ted's recipe, I've gone on a scavenger hunt for all the locally procurable items (really fun shopping for photo chemicals in the healthfood store), and ordered the rest from PF. I did substitute Phenidone for Metol since I needed the Phenidone anyway. Can't wait to try this stuff. I'm just amazed at the economy of this recipe. For about 20 bucks, I'll be developing for years. I'll post the results as soon as I've developed some film.

-- Gene Johnson (, February 23, 2002.

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