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  #11  
Old 10th August 2020, 07:06 AM
John King John King is offline
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Default Developing temperatures

To elaborate, at 20c papers are normally developed to finality which means they are developed until they will not deepen the blacks any more. Ilford MG5 I have found needs 90 seconds to achieve this (MG4 was recommended that 60 seconds was enough) but I don't count down the seconds and whip the paper out once the time is up. A few seconds more won't hurt. The days of developer staining paper if you left it in too long have now largely disappeared.

If you develop in a solution which is too cool say less than 17c what you will find is the blacks are not really black at all - a sort of muddy grey would be the best description and the full black will never appear in a month of Sundays.
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  #12  
Old 10th August 2020, 09:06 AM
Alan Clark Alan Clark is offline
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Richard and John have both mentioned developing a print to finality, or completion. In his book "Elements" Barry Thornton described this notion as an old wife's tale. His method was to use Acuprint at 1+6 and give enough exposure to get the required print density after 75 seconds in the developer. He stated that a print left longer in the developer would simply carry on gaining unwanted overall density for up to 10 minutes, when fog would set in.
His factorial adjustment for developer that was losing its potency was to increase exposure time - but still stick to development for 75 seconds.

Alan
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  #13  
Old 10th August 2020, 12:14 PM
Richard Gould Richard Gould is online now
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I have never read Elements, but in several books on printing that I have read, including Eddie Ephraums Creative Elements, and Roger and Francis Hicks the black and white handbook all suggest developing to completion, with todays materials and developers, in the fifties we would adjust contrast with both exposure times and with adjusting development, simply by increasing development times until the print looked right, but this was very much with fixed grade papers, no RC and no MG paper's, in often with papers formulated 20,30, 0r even 40 years before, but papers have changed, and most printers, today, will develop to completion, I use my developer at 1/12, and develop RC paper for 2 minutes, after 2 minutes I have not seen any change in the image, for FB papers at the same dilution but develop for 3 minutes, and no more changes, in fact with a RC print, just to see what, if any difference would be seen I left a sheet/ of Kentmere vc select, in the developer for ten minutes, them same negative,exposure, Etc and developed as normal, and when dry I could not see any discernible difference between the 2 prints, and nor could any other people who I showed the 2 prints to, including some experiansed printers and photographed, what I did was show the prints and ask them to pick the print developed normally and the one for 10 minutes, and none could do so,
Richard
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  #14  
Old 14th August 2020, 03:34 PM
Nat Polton Nat Polton is offline
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I am surprised that nobody has mentioned floating the developer tray in a water bath.
Or sitting the developing tank and bottles of chemicals in a washing up bowl water bath.
You do not need fancy heaters or chill machines to keep the water bath at the correct temperature. Adding hot water or ice cubes does the trick very well.
John King mentioned muddy grey blacks..... My early prints suffered from this due to cold print developer. My darkroom was under the tiles in the loft in those days, and it got quite chilly up there sometimes.
When I tried a water bath to keep the print developer at the correct temperature, I think it was the biggest single improvement in my printing. Proper blacks and whites at last.

Try a water bath. Simple, cheap and very effective.

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  #15  
Old 14th August 2020, 05:48 PM
Richard Gould Richard Gould is online now
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I should have thought of that, sometimes back when winters were cold, a few years ago over here, I used to do that for film and print developer, I would warm the fixer/stop in the same way, these days I have central heating in my darkroom so keeping chemicals up to tempture is a doddle, I mix my developer water to around 23 with hot water from the tap, and put the fixer and stop on above the heater to get them up to temperature while I get the rest ready to print , and in the summer the problem is sometimes to keep cool,
Richard
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  #16  
Old 14th August 2020, 06:12 PM
John King John King is offline
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Over years I have acquired a selection of dish heaters large enough to fit a 10x12 dish but will also accommodate a 12x16 with a bit of overlap at the edges. They are a bit rare to find 2nd hand, but they can be bought new - at a price (Three figures)!

They have to be calibrated so they don't heat the water up too much, and because my darkroom is in a back bedroom it never really gets that warm to keep the dishes at the optimum, even in summer, but switch them on for a short while to boost the temp a bit.

Another way you can warm the developer (You can get away with the developer only) is to buy an orthopaedic heated mat, used for back injuries, I know they will work but I have doubts about them because they are not designed for working near a source of water.

Of course there is the bargain basement heater, a metal box (Remember the 1/2 size biscuit tins?) cut a hole(s) in the side and fit a light bulb socket to take 1 or 2 15w pygmy bulbs. They have to be earthed of course, but one stood me in good stead for 5 years when I started out.

It may be perfectly easy to make a damn good one with riveted aluminium sheet with the 2x15w bulbs inside and an external rheostat switch that can be bought quite cheaply from the likes of Screwfix. I think I could knock one up for less than £30-£40 including the switch.

Last edited by John King; 14th August 2020 at 06:26 PM.
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