Developer for using TMX as a mask : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I've just picked up a copy of Ctein's excellent "Post Exposure" book in which he describes the use of a special developer for developing TMX 100 for use as a mask for both B&W and colour prints. He mentions a home-brew developer for TMX masks that provides a neutral mask image tone that doesn't effect colour balance when masking colour prints.

The results he achieves with such masks, particularly for colour prints, are stunning. To further improve my B&W and colour printing, I'd like to give both B&W unsharp masking and colour contrast masking a try.

As the chemicals required to brew this developer are somewhat nasty (KOH, etc.) and difficult to source locally, I'd like to know if anyone has found a commonly available B&W film developer that can be used to develop a mask with a neutral mask image tone - any ideas?

-- David R. Williams (, March 05, 2002


I don't know what the other chemicals his homebrew calls for, but you could substitute NaOH for KOH. I'm pretty sure they are very close to a 1 to 1 substitution. If you have the Darkroom Cookbook there is a substitution table in the back.

NaOH is commonly available as lye, sold in most hardware stores under the brand Red Devil Lye. This is pure NaOH and I use it regularly in my developers. Be sure to mix it in cold water.

I recall, also, a Howard Bond article in Photo Techniques where he discusses making unsharp masks for b&w using TMX processed in HC- 110. I don't recall the issue, but I think it appeared within the last 12 months.

Pat Gainer's vit-c developer (see for the article and formula) produces very neutral gray negatives, which should suit your purposes. You would have to experiment to find the low contrast you need, but I think a good starting point would be 1/2 concentration using his advised normal time for TMX. You might also mix it as separate A and B stock solutions, which would permit you even more flexible contrast control. Email if you want more details.

-- Ted Kaufman (, March 05, 2002.

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