Film developed in 130 paper developer : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I've often heard that one can develop film in "alternative" developers such as coffee, badly polluted river water, etc. This morning while mixing some 130 paper developer I wondered what it would do as a film developer. "Why not-its got lots of the same ingredients?" This afternoon the thought hit me again so I loaded one sheet of 4X5 Arista 400 and went forth with my Crown Graphic and light meter. Fortunately my dog was sitting on the front steps and was willing to pose for me-click. I ran back inside, mixed 50ml of 130 stock with 500ml of water ("pretty potent stuff" I thought, hence the 1:10 dilution), poured that into a tray and dropped in the film. Six minutes and a little agitation later I rinsed the film, fixed it and upon turning on the lights found myself holding a pretty nice looking negative. Its drying now. Has anyone ever tried a similar experiment?

-- Henry Ambrose (, May 15, 2002


Off the top of my head I don't recall how the quantities compare, but FX-2 has basically the same ingredients as 130--glycin and metol, activated by potassium carbonate.

On the other side of the coin, I found myself with a considerable amount of aging FX-2 some time ago. I had switched to other developers that employ catechol or pyro, so I knew I'd probably never find a use for the FX-2 I had. I figured it might work as a paper developer. So I used it 1(a+b):2 with water and it did an excellent job as a paper developer.

-- Ted Kaufman (, May 15, 2002.

Chemstry is chemistry. Any reducing agent will develop latent images. The typical criterion for paper developers is to make them reasonably fast acting i.e., build density fast (becasue few people are likley to have the patience to wait 15 mins for each print). However, film developers do need to be formulated more carefully. The reason for this is that since the negative will be enlarged, you are concerned about things like grain and sharpness to a much greater degree than with paper developers (grain etc is inconsequential in paper). This would matter much more for smaller formats than larger formats. Cheers, DJ

-- N Dhananjay (, May 16, 2002.

Print developers have their own requirements. Even a bit of fog is not tolerated as in film developers. Short induction time is also a requirement as N Dhananjay stated. By the way, your looooong user name seems a pretty effective anti-spam strategy! Does it work? (I used to have an Indian friend whose last name was too long, and different email account truncates it at different lengths, so it was hard for me to remember his emails...)

-- Ryuji Suzuki (, May 16, 2002.

Yes, print developers cannot tolerate any fog, and they typically have higher amounts of bromide (so when used for developing film, you might see film speeds decline).

You can see why I go by DJ...;-) Unfortunately, the name proves not a guarantee against spam - determined folks out there.I dread ordering things over the phone - better part of a day shot to hell, spelling my name out...;-)

Cheers, DJ

-- N Dhananjay (, May 17, 2002.

"I dread ordering things over the phone"

When I order something on the phone, they often say "hey, Suzuki, as in motorcycle? how you spell it?"

I'd rather cancel that order :-) People who refer to violin method tend to know the spelling correctly.

-- Ryuji Suzuki (, May 17, 2002.

Above is a thread from the large format list - a couple posts down is a fellow who regularly uses 130 on film. I wonder if this may be an old idea thats not so uncommon?

-- Henry Ambrose (, May 19, 2002.

hi there

gaf marketed the same developer as gaf universal developer, it had instructions on the "can" for processing film as well as paper. i was under the impression that was why they called it "universal" developer ..

anyhow, the red & white can of "gaf universal developer" had pretty cryptic instructions on it for processing film .. "68, dilute 1:5 6 1/2 mins. agitate" no information about film speeds or anything.

it was in a studio i used to rent - left there for 20+ years and kind of rested on the window sill. eventually i decided to open it. i was flat broke and couldn't afford to buy more developer at the time, and even though this stuff had been sweltering in 115 heat in the summer, and 40-50 in the winter ( for 20+ years!) ... i figured i had really nothing to loose. yes, i was kind of desparate :)

i also had no idea that 130 has a huge shelf life, so i mixed it and made 5 gallons, and prayed that i could use it all up throughout the summer, and before it was shot. i processed about 55 rolls of film in it, as well as 100-sheet-boxes of 4x5 film also made 100s of prints, both fiber and rc. as you can guess i didn't have a problem with the developer going bad, but i was really upset after it was all used up. i bought a photographers cookbook to see if i could try to figure it all out, but was pretty much stopped in my tracks... eventually i spoke to a guy in oregon at equinox photo, and he set me straight and told me that i could find it at the photographers formulary, and that it was also called formulary (ansco) 130 .. i haven't used anyting else since ...

sorry for the long introduction :)

depending on how old the developer is, i have diluted it a few different ways, and ALWAYS gotten good results. i have some stock that was mixed last fall. it is the last gallon of 4 gallon supply :) so it is kind of getting "spent" i have been processing film lately with a dilution of 1:2 and 1 :1 and getting really nice results. i usually tray process about 4-6 sheets at a time in about 1-2L of diluted solution. i pre wet with regular water for about 1-2 mins and then shuffle the film for about 7 - 8 mins in the 130. i develop by inspection so i don't really know exactly how long i process for .. i would say "around" 8 mins or so ..). i don't use stop bath but use another tray of water and rinse for about 1-2 mins then directly to the fix. sometimes with the more diluted chemistry i get negatives that are quite a bit thinner, but they are still nice :) i have really over processed my film in 130, but have never had a problem with bad highlights or shadow areas. i have been shooting tmax 400, tmax 100 and tri x and had great results with all the film, even film outdated by 2-4 years .. i used to process everything in sprint, dk 50, tmax rs, then xtol. i have about 3 packets of xtol that i got "just in case" (for emergency purposes) but they sit un-mixed in a drawer :)

its funny ... most people kind of look at me like i am out of my mind processing film in this stuff .. but i find it to be a really nice fine grain developer, with a nice tonal range - what it does for paper, it seems to do for film .. i am going to make another 4 gallons of developer in a few weeks (waiting for the "fresh" glycin to dry out), and will mix some of my old stock into it, to "mellow" it a little bit, kind of what "old timers" would have told you to do with a tank of dk50 when it was pretty much spent ..

best of luck!

-- jnanian (, May 19, 2002.

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