Stöckler formula

Film Photography & Darkroom discussion

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anyhuus
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 4:53 am
Location: Norway

Stöckler formula

Postby anyhuus » Wed Mar 02, 2005 5:06 am

I have come across an old film developer created by Leica's Heinrich Stöckler in the 30'ies. It is a two-bath developer, and the purpose is said to address partly the roll-films challenge of varying contrast and partly the fact that exposure meters were rare among the public at that time, which resulted in a lot of incorrect exposures.

The formula is similar to divided D-23, but with less metol on bath A.

I want to try the Stöckler formula both because of its compensating effect and its forgiveness in both development time and temperature. On top of that, it promises rich tonality and fine grains!

Nevertheless, I could do with some guidelines around time/temp and also agitation.

Does anyone have any experience with this developer?

(I shoot 35mm, mostly HP5 but also APX100, Delta100 and Pan-F)


Lowell Huff
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Postby Lowell Huff » Fri Mar 04, 2005 12:23 pm

I think this is such nonsense.
Modern film and paper emulsions are much more sophisticatated than just ten years ago much less seventy five years past. So to use these ancient formulas is an exercise in mental "jumping jacks ."

anyhuus
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 4:53 am
Location: Norway

Postby anyhuus » Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:37 pm

Thanks for your kind advice. I guess taking your argument to its logical conclusion, means that I should abandon film altogether and go for the latest inventions in digital photography.

Please be adviced that I am not asking for opinions about my preferences regarding my hobby, merely if anyone had any experience with this particular developer, and what they are.

Furthermore, to your argument about age: two of the most popular developers even today, namely the D-76 and the Rodinal are considerably older than Stöckler's. D-76 from the turn of the century, and Rodinal dating back to 1880. These developers are still used widely.

reellis67
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Location: Earth

Postby reellis67 » Sun Mar 13, 2005 9:44 am

Barry Thornton stated in his book "Edge of Darkness" (pg 94-5) that he found the emulsion layer too thin in modern films for this formula but he also provided a modern version of this formula that allows for better results. I would suggest reading the entire passage for more detail as his formula allows for various manipulations for different results.

Bath A:

Water - 750ml
Metol - 6.5 grams
Sodium Sulphite - 80 grams
Water to 1 liter

Bath B:

Water - 750ml
Sodium Metaborate - 12 grams
Water to 1 liter

Notes:
* Temperature isn't too critical, somewhere around room temperature
* Good life expectancy, one year or so @ 15+ rolls per liter
* No agitation in the second bath

Hope this helps!

- Randy

anyhuus
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Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 4:53 am
Location: Norway

Postby anyhuus » Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:49 am

Thanks for your help and book reference. I'll order the book right away.

Anders

anyhuus
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Location: Norway

Postby anyhuus » Thu Apr 21, 2005 3:15 pm

reellis67: Thanks for the advice about Thornton's book. It is one of the best books I have ever read about photography. So entertaining and yet so educational to read. I have tried Thornton's Stöeckler variation on HP5+ and I must say it is the sharpest and most awesome result I have ever seen on HP5+ (or any 400ASA for that matter). The grain that was "smudged" by Stöckler's original, due to its silver solvent capabilities, are now sharp and crisp without becoming anywher near as gritty as e.g. Rodinal on HP5+ (which is disastrous in my opinion).

I have now ordered Thorntons proprietary developer DiXactol, and look forward to try that. Any experience on DiXactol?

I have only one problem with both Stöeckler's and Thornton's variant: streaking (or bromide drag). I use Paterson System 4 tank with two reels, and it seems that the top film is prone to streaking from the perforation. I agitate 30 sec. cont. + 5 sec. every 30 sec. for both baths. Any advice?

jdef
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Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2005 4:15 pm

2-bath development

Postby jdef » Wed Sep 28, 2005 5:22 pm

Hi all.

I've been experimenting with 2-bath developers lately, and can say with absolute confidence that the technique is very well suited to modern films. A 2-bath developer need not be complicated, and in my own approach, need not keep for long. I often shoot several kinds of films in various conditions over a period of time, and process them all in one darkroom session. A single-session, 2-bath developer is a very appealing option, for several reasons. Since it doesn't have to keep for more than a day or two, no sulfite is required, allowing very high acutance formulations. Issues of keeping properties are totally avoided, and it is not necessary to store solutions of unknown activity for any length of time. In this way, it behaves much like a one-shot developer. It is a very economical approach, as several films can be processed in a small volume of solution, and it is very consistent in performance over its lifetime, without the complications of replenishment. The only limit to the number of films that can be processed in a single-session, 2-bath developer over its lifetime, is the solution volume. Each film carries a small amount of the first solution with it to the second bath, thereby reducing the volume of the first bath. A roll of film will reduce the volume of the first bath by 10-20ml. If your tank requires 500ml of solution to cover your film, and you make one liter of each bath, you can safely process about 25-50 rolls of film before the volume of the first bath is reduced below 500ml. In other words, capacity is simply not an issue for a single-session developer. Contrast control is possible over a wide range by adjusting the time in the first bath. I've found the following formula to produce consistently excellent results with a wide variety of films, including designer-grain films:

A

water 750ml

metol 5g

sodium ascorbate 20g

water to 1 liter

B

10% sodium metaborate.


Development times are 1-3min in each bath, for normal contrast. Increase time in A to increase contrast.

This type of developer is very forgiving, in every way. If you don't have a scale, simply use teaspoon measurements (1tsp metol/4tsp. sodium ascorbate/liter). If you don't have sodium metaborate, use whatever you have. A 1% borax second bath will reduce grain and contrast, and a 10% sodium carbonate bath will increase both. Development times for a given film will differ with changes to the second bath. If you have ascorbic acid, but no sodium ascorbate, mix 4tsp ascorbic acid with 2 tsp baking soda in a small amount of water (50ml +/-) to make sodium ascorbate.

this developer produces extremely sharp negatives, with full film speed, and very fine grain. Fog is very low, and gradation is excellent. The first bath will keep for weeks, but I use it as a single-session developer and avoid finding out exactly how long it will keep. Enjoy!

Jay

Jay

JC
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Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 5:43 pm

Postby JC » Thu Sep 29, 2005 2:42 pm

Jay,

What occurs in the second bath or the first for that matter, is it like a compensating affect? similar to a water bath with Azo/amidol slowing or stopping the shadow development?

jdef
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2005 4:15 pm

Postby jdef » Sat Oct 01, 2005 7:38 pm

JC,

the second bath activates the developing agents present in the saturated emulsion, to exhaustion. The developer present in the high intensity exposure regions (highlights) of the film exhausts quickly, while the developer in the shadow regions continues to develop more of the available development centers there, resulting in a compensating effect, or speed increase. The degree of development that takes place in the first bath, and the pH of the second bath will determine the total development time and contrast. Since the alkali-only second bath is extremely cheap, it is very practical to make up as many as three separate second baths; one each for low, normal, and high contrast development, for very fine control of contrast, over a very wide range.

Jay

steve
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Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2005 2:04 pm
Location: United Kingdom

Stoecklers 2 bath

Postby steve » Thu Jan 12, 2006 4:44 pm

Hi the Stoecklers 2 bath developer I have used on a number of accasions, mainly if I have been photographing floodlit buildings at night. I started using it when doing a photography course at night school, it was the tutor who recommended it to me. I was haveing trouble at the time with the highlight area's of the prints.

Because of the nature of the developer this means it takes care of the highlight's in the negative very well.

There is a way of altering the formula, by altering the amount of the raw chemicals but this I have never done or found the need to.

If I can help in any other way let me know,

The developing times that I was given are:-

5 Minutes each bath very gentle agitation in the first bath and left to stand in the second bath.
Don't use a water bath between baths.

The first bath can be used again and again.

If you are making the formula up your self Make the second bath so you have to dilute it to use. This is because the carry over from the first bath to the second bath will deteriate the second bath a lot quicker.The second bath can then be descarded after use.

Steve

anyhuus
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 4:53 am
Location: Norway

Postby anyhuus » Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:05 am

I have recently performed some EI-tests on Ilford HP5+ in Thornton's Stöeckler variation, and not surprisingly arrived at the same results as many others (e.g. both Thornton and Ansel Adams): EI 160.

However, I am very confused as to how Stöeckler (or any metol-based two-bath developer of similar kind) actually works.

Thornton was chasing sharpness (accutance) and tonality. He claimed that regarding filmspeed and development times generally that nominal filmspeed is too high and nominal development times are to long (= loss of shadow detail and too much contrast). His advice was to overexpose by 1 to 1 1/2 stops and underdevelop about 30% less than nominal time, which gives finer grain and better shadow detail etc. This is all fine, and I think I understand the principles. However, although this is a fundamental principle in Thornton's practice, he never says anything about how he underdevelops by 30% with his 2-bath Stöeckler variant. Anchell claims in "Darkroom Cookbook" that with Stöeckler "is it virtually impossible to overdevelop and takes an effort to underdevelop". The alleged reason being that no development takes place i bath A and bath activates the developer carried over from bath A in the emulsion (the theory behind both its compensating effect and it's forgiving nature wrt. time/temperature). James M. Kates describes in his article on http://www.largeformatphotography.info/twobath how he actually can change contrast with time in bath A, because contrary to what Anchell says there is a certain development going on in bath A.

Now, the esteemed Norwegian LF photographer Ole Tjugen pointed out for me that Stöeckler bath A and the traditional single-bath D-23 are virtually identical (it is 7.5 grams metol in D-23, whilst 5 grams in Stöeckler bath A), and many seem to forget this fact.

My point is: All sources I have seen point to the forgiving nature of Stöeckler with respect to time and temperature. Virtually all films can be developed in 4-5 mins in each bath. Thornton used a Stöckler variant that he modified for sharpness, but says the same thing about time/temperature. Anchell underlines this property further. How could Thornton control development with this two-bath to achieve "overexpose and 30% underdevelopment"? How come that D23 as a single bath developer is identical to bath A of Stöeckler - why does it develop as D23, but not as bath A in Stöeckler? What actually then takes place in bath B?
Is it so that if one uses single-bath D-23, one needs much longer development time than those 4-5 mins in Stöeckler bath A, and that it is a relativley short development time in bath A that requires the use of bath B. (I.e. given time enough one could develop completely in bath A)? If this is so, it points back to my original problem: How did Thornton control development in his two-bath developer?

Keith Tapscott.
Posts: 506
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 8:58 am
Location: Plymouth, England.

Re: Stöckler formula

Postby Keith Tapscott. » Tue Jan 17, 2006 9:34 am

anyhuus wrote:I have come across an old film developer created by Leica's Heinrich Stöckler in the 30'ies. It is a two-bath developer, and the purpose is said to address partly the roll-films challenge of varying contrast and partly the fact that exposure meters were rare among the public at that time, which resulted in a lot of incorrect exposures.

The formula is similar to divided D-23, but with less metol on bath A.

I want to try the Stöckler formula both because of its compensating effect and its forgiveness in both development time and temperature. On top of that, it promises rich tonality and fine grains!

Nevertheless, I could do with some guidelines around time/temp and also agitation.

Does anyone have any experience with this developer?

(I shoot 35mm, mostly HP5 but also APX100, Delta100 and Pan-F)
My own experience with two-bath developers are that they heavily restrict the tonal range with modern films and the prints can look very flat with an unpleasant greyish look in the dark tones and highlights.

Ornello
Posts: 833
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:49 am

Re: Stöckler formula

Postby Ornello » Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:54 am

anyhuus wrote:I have come across an old film developer created by Leica's Heinrich Stöckler in the 30'ies. It is a two-bath developer, and the purpose is said to address partly the roll-films challenge of varying contrast and partly the fact that exposure meters were rare among the public at that time, which resulted in a lot of incorrect exposures.

The formula is similar to divided D-23, but with less metol on bath A.

I want to try the Stöckler formula both because of its compensating effect and its forgiveness in both development time and temperature. On top of that, it promises rich tonality and fine grains!

Nevertheless, I could do with some guidelines around time/temp and also agitation.

Does anyone have any experience with this developer?

(I shoot 35mm, mostly HP5 but also APX100, Delta100 and Pan-F)
Two-bath development is really not particularly good. I have tried it myself. Simply diluting developer more gives better and more consistent results.

Jay DeFehr
Posts: 50
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2006 8:40 pm

mythology

Postby Jay DeFehr » Tue Jan 24, 2006 8:46 pm

The idea that 2-bath development is inherently better or worse than single bath development is pure mythology. Either approach is capable of the same results, and each has strenghths and weaknesses. If one doesn't know how to use either approach, results are sure to disappoint.

Jay

Ornello
Posts: 833
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:49 am

Re: mythology

Postby Ornello » Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:13 am

Jay DeFehr wrote:The idea that 2-bath development is inherently better or worse than single bath development is pure mythology. Either approach is capable of the same results, and each has strenghths and weaknesses. If one doesn't know how to use either approach, results are sure to disappoint.

Jay
My experience, at least with glycin, which is supposed to be especially good with a two-bath system, was not very good. I have not used a two-bath metol developer. Glycin is supposed to minimize streaking, but I got uneven development. I used the same agitation I usually use. Perhaps a different pattern is called for. I don't have time or the interest to find out.


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