Prints Per Volume Of Chemistry

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by Dave Colangelo, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    So Im getting into the darkroom and trying to figure it all out on my own (the internet has been a great tool).

    After realizing it was silly to attempt to print with rodinol...

    I was doing some printing last night, here was the setup

    - Ilford Multigrade Dev - 1+19 Dilution - Mixed up 600ML - 60 second Dev time (it was hot in the dark room)
    - Ilford Stop Bath
    - Ilford Rapid Fixer
    - Ilford multi-grade RC Pearl paper - 8x10 in 8x10 trays

    The test prints went along quite nicely, ended up needing to do 2 to figure out the timing. Third print at the proper exposure was spot on. However the fourth print seemed a bit lighter. Every thing else was held constant, was I running out of developer?

    Is there any rule of thumb, hard numbers, (soft numbers) lose estimations or data on how many prints you can get per volume of developer?


     
  2. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Dunno about specifically about Ilford developer ... but four prints seems rather light usage for the developer to run out of juice. You should be about to print all day long with one tray. (Well maybe half a day, lol.)

    I used Dektol. I find stop bath as a waste of money. A quick rinse and into the fix works quite well for both film and paper. I always found multi-grade paper to be on the muddy side of things.

    I would rip up a 8x10 into 2"x3" (approx) strips for testing. Place the strip over the most important element of the photo. Saves a lot of paper.
     
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  3. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    @Gary A.

    Ill test that out with the strips.

    As for the choices, i went with the MG paper as I got a nice VCCE head with my Saunders which makes contrast control fairly easy without needing to mess with graded papers. They also provide all the settings for the Leitz focomat (one of the 4 enlargers actually noted on the data sheet) to get contrast control with the color head on that unit which I also have.

    I only used the stop bath as I have it lying around for my film processing. Its cheap and I only use a bit. Similarly because of the size of my bathroom and where the sink and tub are, my current setup makes it hard to move around and get the print to running water to stop it so the bath in tray is the easiest.

    Some issues I think I'm seeing.
    • My temperature control is pretty abysmal due to the tiny size of the room it heats up pretty fast with me and the enlarger in there. This may have had an effect on things.
    • I'm cheap and the 1+19 may have been to light a dilution (even though its book value for "economy printing"). I will have to run some tests at 1+9
    • I have seen a lot of people mention Dektol, its in my next BH order for sure.
    • I may have messed up something trival and not noticed as well.
    This was just a first run, more to come....
     
  4. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    For a first run, I think you're doing well. Temp will most certainly affect the development. If you have a 'hot' spot on the print, while in the developer rub it to increase the heat and development on that spot. A tray of water and some agitation, usually is quite sufficient for a rinse between developer and fix.

    If you print at night, you may be able to keep the bathroom door open for better ventilation. Paper isn't nearly as sensitive to light as film.

    How are your dust spots?
     
  5. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    @Gary A.

    Dust spots are there but tolerable for a first run.

    Last night was also my first attempt at using a grain focuser which turned out quite well.

    The prints were fairly consistent in term of spots and stuff but overall I was seeing a bit lighter on the 4th one across the board. I was doing lots of hand mixing and tray shaking to agitate which seems like it worked nicely. I may try with the door open the ambient city light (even with the shades drawn) is less than ideal. Unfortunately I don't own my apartment so I can build and air exchanger into the wall (but thats neither here nor there).
     
  6. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Aluminum foil is not only effective light stop in windows, but also makes a quite attractive window dressing when viewed from the outside.
     
  7. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I suggest you stop poisoning yourself first before you worry any further about exhausted chemistry. It's possible to work safely in a darkroom but it sounds like you're not doing that.

    Get and read this book now: https://www.amazon.com/Overexposure...31&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=overexposure rossoll

    Here's a further helpful reference site: ACTS: Monona Rossol industrial hygienist

    If there's one great big hidden secret to photography and companies like Ilford & Kodak it's the health hazards of photo chemistry that they suppressed for centuries. We started out with Daguerreotypes that the photographer held in a dark enclosure and steamed over a heated tin of mercury and proceeded downhill from there.

    John Pfhal writes the forward to the book above and recounts his battle with lymphatic cancer after decades in the darkroom with open trays of color chemistry. I've lost two friends now to lymphatic cancer. They were both photographers and they loved the darkroom, one of them even set up a cot there to sleep overnight. He died in his late forties.

    Enjoy your darkroom, safely -- read the book.

    Joe
     
  8. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I think you should be able to get way more than just a few prints. Of course I used to use a shared darkroom at a university where those students used it to the max! So it can get so dark that you can only get a lousy light print...

    Seems like they were using Sprint and dilution was 1:9 parts, and room temp a little on the cool side was about as warm as you'd want to go. Maybe mix it to package directions then later on experiment with a bit more dilution and see what you get.

    I got in the habit of bringing along a microfiber cloth to gently wipe the enlarging lens because college students are a bunch of little piggies... wait I mean due to the high usage of the equipment during the school year.
     
  9. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I used test strips too (like Gary talked about), cut those on a paper cutter there. Learned to determine f stop then do a strip of 5-10-15-20-25 sec. exposures. (I later usually just did up to 20, that was getting pretty dark.)

    Then develop, stop, fix for a minute, rinse for a minute, then take it out into the light and see where you are. If for example, 15 is a little dark then I'd go with a 12 or13 sec. exposure and repeat the process til I had a strip with a 'black' black and a 'white' white somewhere. On occasion I'd have to go ahead and do a half sheet or just do an entire print if I was having trouble seeing on the test strip if I was 'there' yet. If I wanted to save the test strip I'd slide it back in the fixer for, I forget, 10 min. maybe? and rinse for probably at least 10 (or until I was ready to fish out a bunch of prints).

    That's what I learned anyway. A rather hefty vintage Kodak squeegee for the prints is the best thing I ever bought at a camera swap.

    Best advice I got was from a longtime owner of a camera store (who since retired/went out of business) was that f8 and 11 sec. or f11 and 8 sec. is usually a good starting point - and that works amazingly well. I liked starting at f8 and 11 sec. (although usually the proper exposure ended up being closer to 12-14 sec.) because it gives me a few more seconds if I need to dodge some detail out of a dark area (or just want an excuse to play with the dodging tools). Have a homemade one done in a workshop at the university where I learned, but bought a dodgette set at a camera swap too, second best find.

    And rinse the tongs and keep one for each tray, especially the developer or you can get black marks on the edges of prints... This is why a college campus is nice in the summer when most of the students are gone! lol one reason anyway.
     
  10. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    This is great advise. I worked in the collision repair industry for 30 years. Sprayed thousands of gallons of liquid chemicals and I took the best safety precautions available at the time, of course this evolved with greater protection. I used a fresh air supply the day it was available. You at a minimum want a charcoal respirator, powder free latex gloves, splash eye protection, and a lab coat or an automotive painters suit. I read the msds sheets for the chemicals I use and I wear those things I listed above. Chemicals can be absorbed through the skin, eye, and inhalation. Basic safety is readily available and should be used. I even have a printed copy of the msds just in case something goes wrong and I can bring it with me to urgent care for proper medical treatment. Seems extreme but they make those msds sheets for a reason.
     
  11. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    When I was at college we used D76 with three trays to serve roughly ten to 15 students, it was mixed at 15-1 and the dev tray lasted the morning and usually dozens of prints, I suggest the 'light' print was just an overexposed neg which needed more enlarger time or more time in the soup to reach its potential.

    On the issue of poisoning oneself whether its your place or not you need an extractor in a bathroom, you can buy small fans cheap so I'd fit one if I were you, you could always ask permission from the owner who might even get the work done for you, if only to cut down on the damp that condensation in poorly ventilated bathrooms create.
     
  12. webestang64

    webestang64 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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