Monday, November 28, 2011

The Fenomenal developer. A universal fine grain developer

During the last weeks I have tested a new developer mix, the Fenomenal.

It consists of basic ingredients like phenidone, ascorbic acid, sodium sulfite and a small part of parodinal.
The reason for adding the parodinal is that I wasn't competely satisfied with the contrast without it.

Mixing it is a two step operation since you will need Parodinal.

Parodinal is mixed in this way:
75ml boiled and cooled water
Add 8g of lye (NaOh) pearls one gram at the time. (Red devil)Keep it cool! Temperature will rise.
20g sodium sulfite.
6g tylenol/paracetamol. Crush 12 tablets to fine powder.
Use the rest of the water to wash the rest of the powder out of your mortar if needed.
Add this water to get 100ml in your bottle.

Be sure that each ingredient is completely dissolved before adding next.

Use a plastic bottle so you can squeeze as much air out of it as possible before you cap it.
Shake the bottle to make sure the crushed tablets are dissolved.

Let this bottle rest for at least 72 hours. Don't shake it, don't open it during that period.

After the 72 hours has passed, you have Parodinal.
It can be used as Rodinal, but in this case it is needed in the Fenomenal developer.

Since this developer contains phenidone and KBr, you are adviced to make solutions containg this chemicals.

KBr: To 100ml water add 10g KBr. Each 10ml of this is 1g KBr.

Phenidone: To 100ml methylated spirits add 1g phenidone. Each 10ml of this is 0.1g phenidone.
Ok, now it's time to mix a serious developer.

800ml boiled and cooled water.
100g sodium sulfite
6g ascorbic acid
0.15g phenidone. Use 15ml of the phenidone solution.
5ml parodinal. This is 1:200 mix.
20g borax
0.5g KBr. Use 5ml of the KBr solutuion.
Water to 1000ml.

This is a very potent developer. In fact so potent that I prefer to dilute it 1:1 with water.
Take half of it (500ml) and dilute with 500ml boiled cooled water.

This batch of 1000ml is your working solution.

Use as D76. Start time as D76. Fomapan 100 needs 6.5 min@20C.
For each film, add 6% develpment time.

This makes this table.

Film no.
Multiply time by
1 1
2 1,06
3 1,12
4 1,19
5 1,26
6 1,34
7 1,42
8 1,5
9 1,59
10 1,69
11 1,79
12 1,9
13 2,01
14 2,13
15 2,26
16 2,4
17 2,54
18 2,69
19 2,85
20 3,03

The table is valid for a 1000ml working solution.

If you choose to use a 500ml working solution, you have to skip every other entry in the table.
Film no. 2 time is multiplied with 1.12, and so on.

Based on my tests you can develop 10 films in this one liter working solution.
That is 20 films from the initial mix.

Keeping qualities seems to be good. I haven't seen any degradation of activity during the testing period, but it is a bit early to conclude yet. The high level of sodium sulfite and relatively low pH of the borax alkali makes it a bit more stable than developers that have higher pH.

Some sample pictures.

No adjustment of contrast or brightness done on this triplet.
Exposure is +1EV, +-0EV and -1EV

This is the image that is exposed according to the meter.
No adjustment of contrast, brightness and sharpness. No grain reduction in the scanner process.

I mixed a 500ml working solution to do the initial testing. This to reach developer exhaustion earlier. This is the fifth film developed in this 500ml working solution.This equals the in 1000ml working solution. The table for extending time for each film developed seems to work just fine. Since I use just 500ml, I jump two steps in the table for each film.

Go ahead, mix yourself a batch of this developer. In my humble opinion it is a great developer.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Phenidone-Ascorbic acid - fourth film in the developer

Camera Canon EOS 50e, kit lens 28-80mm
Film Kodal Gold 200 C41  11 minutes @ 20C

Altered recipe, added phenidone from 1:100 vs ascorbic acid to 1:40
Upped the phenidone from the previous amount and adjusted the development time accordingly (to what was said to be the activity)

Development time based on a baseline for std. B/W film 6,5 minutes (said to be comparable to D-76 at this concentration of Phenidone)
Compensated for C41 film (ca 25% longer time, and a 6,5% longer time per film through the developer)
6,5 minutes x 1.25 x 1 x 1.065 x 1.065 x 1.065 for a total of 9,8 minutes @ 20 centigrade.
Since we've had many films through the developer already, I added 1 minute to be on the safe side.

Kanon Gold 200 extra phenidone added, straight scan
Exposed at boxspeed, -1 step and + 1 step

 Exposed at box speed, straight scan
Box speed postprocessed 1 step

Exposed at - 1 step, straight scan
Exposed at - 1 step, postprocessed.

Exposed at + 1 step, straight scan
Exposed at + 1 step, postprocessed.

Exposed at boxspeed, -1 step and + 1 step

Exposed at box speed, straight scan
Box speed postprocessed 1 step

Exposed at - 1 step, straight scan
Exposed at - 1 step, postprocessed

Exposed at + 1 step, straight scan
Exposed at + 1 step, postprocessed

This seem a pretty good mixture, the negatives are better, but still there is no real blacks.  Also there is the small matter of fogging, not in this C41 Gold 200 film, but on B&W films.
The recipe will be adjusted with a little KBr, but as reported by Trond 0.5 gram /litre was to much so we'll try with less.

Also what remains to be proven is how many films can safely be processed in a litre, we're now at 4 films, with a 2 gram / litre ascorbic acid / 1:40 Phenidone mix, so more films will be processed.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Phenidone-Ascorbic acid - third film in the developer

                              Camera Canon EOS 50e, kit lens 28-80mm
                              Film Kodal Gold 100 C41, unaltered recipe.

Development time based on a baseline for std. B/W film ca 8,5 minutes, compensated for C41 film (ca 25% longer time, and a 6,5% longer time per film through the developer)
8,5 minutes x 1.25 x 1 x 1.065 x 1.065 for a total of 12 minutes @ 20 centigrade

Triplet exposed a box speed, -1 ISO and +1 ISO

Box speed, straight scan, no postprocessing

Box speed, enhanched 1 step

-1 ISO, straight scan, no postprocessing

+1 ISO, straight scan, no postprocessing.

Triplet exposed a box speed, -1 ISO and +1 ISO

This looks quite good, what now matters is how many films we can develop in the mix.
Small matter remaining is the fact that we do not get true blacks with this recipe, we get scannable negatives, but the film leader, fully exposesd to light and developed at the same time as the negatives does not get BLACK, I'm niot quite sure if that matters, it keeps the contrast down to a certain degree, but I think the overall results will be better if we manage to get true blacks.

Feedback from Michael who championed this early on indicates that Gainers early work has been supplanted by a stronger mix, which should give rich blacks and a more films through the developer.
Michael stated that instead of a ratio of 1:100 between Ascorbic acid and Phenidone, it should be replaced with a ratio of 1:40, this being the "sweet spot".  So in the name of science more Phenidone will be added.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Phenidone & Ilford FP4 - second film in this developer

I had this camera, bought chep in an "antiques" store back in the 1970's, a Certo Durata II, fitted with a Meyer Trioplan lens and a simple shutter. At the time I knew nothing about this camera, except that I wanted a folder. At the time I was considered to be a lunatic, I already had 3 Canon SLR bodies, and wanted an outdated, old fashiomned folder?

Foolishly enough I sold it, or rather gave it away for a pittance to a collector many moons ago. (That Trioplan lens annoyed me too, I had learned that Certo fitted them with proper Zeiss Tessars also, I got a copy of Abring's book : "von daguerre bis heute", where 5000 cameras where listed.....

Long story short, about a year ago I found another Durata, this time with the good lens, Tessar 2,8/50 and the good shutter, and I've given it a spin.

I found my old bulk loader, for reloading 35mm casettes, still containing about 50 feet of very, very old FP4 that has survived in haphazard storage conditions maybe since I got the original Durata. This film, the FP4 has been tried out with caffenol, and developed just fiine in C-CM with 1 g/L KBr, virtually no fogging.

I decided to try this film with the new developer and here are the prelimnary results :

Certo Durata, CZ Tessar f:2,8/50 Ilford FP4
developed 9 minutes @ 20 centigrade

The time was guesstimated from a baseline of 8,5 minutes for first film through the developer, adding 6,5% development time per film through the mix.
The mix in question was phenidone/ascorbate with soda :

Soda  (anhydrous)         5,77 gram
Ascorbic acid powder   2,11 gram
Phenidone                     0,0215 gram

Negatives came out just good, looks like this is correct development time, but there is a problem getting the blacks, even the leader, totattly exposed to light when loading/reloading the film is not totally black it CAN be seen throuh it, in that respect this developer is a bit on the weak side.

On the strong side is the fact that the tone scale is fine, grain is fine and the film is sharp, contrast is better than most caffenol mixes I've seen.
Hoiwever, one fly in the oinment, concerning this old and VERY! outdated film, there is sløight fogging. Nothing too bad, but an overall layer of fog, this takes the contrast down a notch with this particular film. I have no reason yet to believe that fogging will be a problem, others have tried Fomapan and T-max and I've seen the negatives. Sweet.

The pictures :

Straight scan FP4 9min @ 20C
Slightly underexposed

Same picture, enhanced contrast, less saturation

Straight scan

Enhanched 1 step

Straight scan

Enhanced 1 step

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

First results with Phenidone/Ascorbate developer and learning to use it.

My first experiments with this developer resulted in underdeveloped films.
To demontrate what it looks like I'll post these images here.

Take a look at the shadows. There is no details in the shadows. The highlights have some details, but not like it should be. The tonal scale is somewhat strange. Not directly short, but there is something missing. Grains are also visible. All kinds of microscopic dust shows up so to make a half-decent image it takes a lot of cloning away dust spots.

I tweaked the settings of the scanner in all ways to make some useable scans.

This image is captured on a Kentmere 400 film, shot at ISO 400.
Take a look at the shadows. No details!

This is a crop from the previous image.
Here it is easier to see that the shadows lacks details.

I have use an unsharp mask to increase sharpness. This makes the grains and scanner artifacts more visible.

The images are useable, but not perfect.
This is the results from thin and underdeveloped negatives.

You can get this from using any developer, including Caffenol and this one.

Michael mentiones that the activity in this blend is a bit off the sweetspot, so the development times is a bit longer than anticipated.

In addition to this, I used the temperature-time correction chart at Digitaltruth to correct development time for 23C instead of 20C. It seems that this chart isn't correct for this film and this developer. Reading Kodaks charts reveals that they are different for each film and developer. Both time differences and slope of the curve varies from film type to film type.

Increasing development baseline time from 6.5 minutes to 8.5 minutes and NOT correcting for 22C temperature gave me the close to perfect negatives for the images I posted earlier today.
Not correcting for temperature will give about 0.4 stops push according to the time-temp chart and push-processing tables. Looking at the negatives I will say that it may be about 0.2 stops push. Nothing to worry too much about with other words.

This image is from the last fil through the developer. Take a look at the shadow details in this image. There is a lot more detail in the shadows. The scanner software was not tweaked in any way to get this image. Just set white and black points. Turned down brightness just a tad.
The image has much better tonality and the grains are quite fine. The scanner hasn't generated any strange artifacts caused by a thin negative. All in all a much better result.

Some small adjustments now, and we have a real good developer.

More tests.

Using the same phenidone/ascrobate developer as as Erik, I adjusted start time to 8.5 minutes and got great results.
I haven'thad time to scan many images yeet, but the few I have scanned shows that I am about spot on with Fomapan 100 exposed at ISO 100, developed for 8.5 minutes + correction for being film number 6 through the developer. Temperature was 22C instead of 20C, so I expected the negatives to be a tiny bit denser than optimal, and I was right. It is so close to perfect that it doesn't really matter, but we are striving for the perfect, aren't we?

This sample triplet is scanned as one image. Just set the correct white and black points. Nothing further done with brightness or contrast.

Camera used is an old Werra 3 with 50mm f2.8 Carls Zeiss lens. 1/30 sec. f2.8 to f5.6.
The leftmost image is exposed +1EV according to the metered light. In the middle -1EV, and to the right just as the meter said.

In my opinion the development is about right on. In the middle image the shadows has lost some detail and the image to the left has less details in the highlights.
There might be neccessary to do some small adjustments in devlopment time for temperature correction. This would make the "correct" exposed image somewhere between the middle and the rightmost image. That would be absolutely perfect.