Playing around with a Microdol- X Substitute

Film Photography & Darkroom discussion

Moderator: Keith Tapscott.

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

Re: Playing around with a Microdol- X Substitute

Postby Ornello » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:39 am

Keith Tapscott. wrote:
Ornello wrote: Because of improvements in fast films, which have made them finer-grained, fine-grain formulas like Microdol-X have fallen out of fashion.
Straight D-76 is hardly different in any case. With my technique, I am able to use high-acutance developers and achieve fine grain as well.
Foma sell a variant of D-76 called Fomadon-P.
It is actually the D-76d buffered-borax formula, but needs some what longer developing times than packaged D-76/ID-11 to reach the same contrast level.

Examples of images for the use of this developer are here.
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=Fomadon+P
People learned that by reducing development a little and using a slightly higher grade of paper (#3 instead of #2) finer grain is obtained. You don't need super-fine-grain developers.


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

Re: Playing around with a Microdol- X Substitute

Postby Keith Tapscott. » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:05 am

Ornello wrote:
People learned that by reducing development a little and using a slightly higher grade of paper (#3 instead of #2) finer grain is obtained. You don't need super-fine-grain developers.
I always use D-76 normally. I have always considered Microdol types as special purpose rather the general use developers.
I am aware that grade 3 papers are preferred by 35mm users to optimize image quality. A lower contrast negative also provides finer grain as you already mentioned in previous posts.

You could post another thread about this as a refresher in case anyone is interested.

KennyE
Posts: 98
Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 6:49 am
Location: Waterford, Michigan USA

Re: Playing around with a Microdol- X Substitute

Postby KennyE » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:40 pm

Keith Microdol-X was a general purpose go to fine grain developer that replaced DK-20 in that role. It can be used for roll and sheet film. Many photographers, started using it instead of DK-50 or DK-60, as their general purpose developer.

I do not think that Microdol-X was considered a "super fine grain" developer. But please, correct me if I am wrong there.

I have used in the past various D-76 type developers and all are good at what they do, but the one I like most was Du Pont ND-2.
But I would past it by for Microdol-X or the developers of my own creation that I use.

Thank You

KennyE

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

Re: Playing around with a Microdol- X Substitute

Postby Ornello » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:44 pm

Keith Tapscott. wrote:
Ornello wrote:
People learned that by reducing development a little and using a slightly higher grade of paper (#3 instead of #2) finer grain is obtained. You don't need super-fine-grain developers.
I always use D-76 normally. I have always considered Microdol types as special purpose rather the general use developers.
I am aware that grade 3 papers are preferred by 35mm users to optimize image quality. A lower contrast negative also provides finer grain as you already mentioned in previous posts.

You could post another thread about this as a refresher in case anyone is interested.
Basically, giving slightly more exposure (an additional 1/2 to 2/3 stop) and about 30% less development and using grade 3 paper rather than grade 2 will give superior results.

The average grain size is smaller, because less development time limits the development of the largest (fastest) grains, keeping their size down, and the increased exposure brings a greater proportion of the slower, smaller grains into play, as more of them receive enough exposure to be developable.

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

Re: Playing around with a Microdol- X Substitute

Postby Keith Tapscott. » Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:55 am

KennyE wrote:Keith Microdol-X was a general purpose go to fine grain developer that replaced DK-20 in that role. It can be used for roll and sheet film. Many photographers, started using it instead of DK-50 or DK-60, as their general purpose developer.

I do not think that Microdol-X was considered a "super fine grain" developer. But please, correct me if I am wrong there.

I have used in the past various D-76 type developers and all are good at what they do, but the one I like most was Du Pont ND-2.
But I would past it by for Microdol-X or the developers of my own creation that I use.

Thank You

KennyE
My understanding of Microdol-X was that it was designed to provide similar results to the old PPD containing EFG developers, but less toxic. Of course I could be mistaken.

Another formula I have on my hard-drive is as follows;

750ml of water at 52*C
Metol 5 grams
Sodium sulphite, anhydrous 90 grams
Sodium metabisulphite 2 grams
4-chlororesorcinol 0.5 gram
Kodalk 4 grams
Water to make 1 litre.

I cannot find the reference from where I got it from, but may have been a patent I researched some years ago. IIRC, it was claimed to give a speed yield that matches D-76/ID-11 but provides improved resolution and finer grain.

KennyE
Posts: 98
Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 6:49 am
Location: Waterford, Michigan USA

Re: Playing around with a Microdol- X Substitute

Postby KennyE » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:49 pm

Keith, that is a good formula, and I think that we are getting closer to the true Microdol-X formula. I say that because I seen a similar formula in patent, and I will look for it this weekend.

4-chlororesorcinol, is used in hair dye, as a coupler. It is toxic to the skin in high dose, any thing greater than 2.5% of solution. But it has this wonderful thing it does to black and white film. Very fine grain, it does.

I have been trying to get my hands on it, and I am having trouble finding it about. So the search continues.

I copied your formula, and I am running it through my program, I am increasing the metol by 2 grams and reducing the balance alkali by 2 grams, since we are using an acid, metabisulfite. That is too much alkali, with the caustic alkali present.

As well, I am increasing the sodium sulfite to 125 grams, to work out a theory that Ornello was stating earlier.

Thank You

KennyE

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

Re: Playing around with a Microdol- X Substitute

Postby Ornello » Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:13 pm

KennyE wrote:Keith, that is a good formula, and I think that we are getting closer to the true Microdol-X formula. I say that because I seen a similar formula in patent, and I will look for it this weekend.

4-chlororesorcinol, is used in hair dye, as a coupler. It is toxic to the skin in high dose, any thing greater than 2.5% of solution. But it has this wonderful thing it does to black and white film. Very fine grain, it does.

I have been trying to get my hands on it, and I am having trouble finding it about. So the search continues.

I copied your formula, and I am running it through my program, I am increasing the metol by 2 grams and reducing the balance alkali by 2 grams, since we are using an acid, metabisulfite. That is too much alkali, with the caustic alkali present.

As well, I am increasing the sodium sulfite to 125 grams, to work out a theory that Ornello was stating earlier.

Thank You

KennyE
Crawley FX-5 should do as well as Microdol-X for all practical purposes.

http://www.digitaltruth.com/data/fx-5.php

IanG
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:56 am

Re: Playing around with a Microdol- X Substitute

Postby IanG » Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:05 pm

Kodatol, Microdol and Microdol-X were never general purpose go to fine grain developers, they were all specialist super/extra fine grain developers and as such reduced the inherent film speed of a film by around a stop in comparison to normal fine grain developers like ID-11/D76.

A hybrid extra fine grain developer somewhere between D25 and Microdol/Perceptol with some Metabisulphite and Sodium Chloride works very well.

If you see the amazingly high quality achievable with the combination of Pan F and Perceptol you then realise why people like developers like this.

Ian

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

Re: Playing around with a Microdol- X Substitute

Postby Ornello » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:30 pm

IanG wrote:Kodatol, Microdol and Microdol-X were never general purpose go to fine grain developers, they were all specialist super/extra fine grain developers and as such reduced the inherent film speed of a film by around a stop in comparison to normal fine grain developers like ID-11/D76.

A hybrid extra fine grain developer somewhere between D25 and Microdol/Perceptol with some Metabisulphite and Sodium Chloride works very well.

If you see the amazingly high quality achievable with the combination of Pan F and Perceptol you then realise why people like developers like this.

Ian
Pan F is already a very fine grain film, so using a fine-grain developer on it is pointless. High-definition-compensating developers are actually more appropriate. D-76 1:1 or even 1:3 should do as well as anything. In fact, Fuji Acros is even better than Pan-F Plus, and about 2/3 stop faster.

KennyE
Posts: 98
Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 6:49 am
Location: Waterford, Michigan USA

Re: Playing around with a Microdol- X Substitute

Postby KennyE » Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:37 pm

For along time now; since, Ian made the statement that Microdol-X was a super or an extra fine grain developer, I have check with other sources and even Kodak themselves to see if they felt that Microdol-X was in the category stated by Ian, and they stated themselves that Microdol-X was and is a fine grain developer, as stated on the its packaging. And that finer grain results could be obtained if diluted 1:3.

But to Ian's credit, BJP 1962; does list Microdol-X as "extremely fine grain developer". Good show old man, it is wonderful to see that you are indeed on the ball. Because I miss that bit of information.

But I know that there are those persons out there that are seeking the formula for Microdol-X, because soon the available supply of Microdol-X will disappear. I purchase a 1 quart can off of E-bay Monday, as it becomes available for sell. So finding it in the future will be similar to finding Ansco 130 or 125 from its true manufacture. Non existing.

Ornello is a man who enjoys simple, thou effective film developers, so here is a few.

Metol 8.0 g
Sodium Sulphite 100 gms
Sodium Metaborate 4.0 gms
Sodium Chloride 1 gms
Water to 1 litre
Dilute 1:3 develop 10-12 minutes

After looking at and testing the above formula. I remembered Pat Gainer's work in using Ascorbic Acid, in place of Hydroquinone, and I added a little to the test formula above and got some real good results. It is just finding the desired chemical levels, in using the Ascorbic Acid.

Another simple formula:

Metol 5.0 g
Sodium Sulphite 150 gms
Sodium Metaborate 6.0 gms
Glycin 12 gms
Water to 1 litre

Dilute 1:7, develop 11-16 minutes

I got this idea from viewing PMK formulas and the formulas stated in the Agfa formula book 1910, where Metol and Glycin are used together in development, but using Sodium Carbonate instead of a balance alkali as I did. But just like in Gordon Hutchings formula and works. The formula achieved the best results in sharpness, minimum general stain, better edge effects, film speed, flexibility for zone system development, stability, repeatability, plus convenience of use and long shelf-life, with the balance alkali. Yet I used lower concentrated levels than the Hutchings formula. I will get back to this formula after the holidays.

Another simple formula:

Metol 7.0 g
Sodium Sulphite 100 gms
Ethanolamine 4gms
Sodium Metaborate 2.0 gms
Sodium Chloride 1 gms
Water to 1 litre

Very little testing was done on the above formula, but I plan to preform future test, and they are being planned.

So, Ian, Keith, Ornello..., come on; join in and add some of your secret or newly drawn up formulas. I do assume that you guys do have some hidden away..., some where. And Ian, do you think or know if Kodak uses Sodium Metabisulfite in Microdol-X? I could get little information from the person I spoke with.

Oh yes, and Happy Holidays to all.

Thank You

KennyE
Last edited by KennyE on Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:29 am, edited 4 times in total.


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 1 guest