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Thread: A Magic Bullet?

  1. #1

    A Magic Bullet?

    Has anyone had much experience with Diafine? For the last year I've been struggling to land upon a processing routine that would return a good, printable tonal scale in a pinhole camera with infrared film. Until last night i was beginning to think this was a fools errand. I've been using Rodinal at 1+50 and getting reasonable results with non-IR film, not great but understandable given the pinhole. Shadow detail, at least with the camera I have, is tough to get with any consistency without blowing out the highlights. I'll confess I haven't made a lot of developing time tests so this may be part of the problem.

    I ran two rolls of Rollei Retro 80s (120), exposed through a #720 IR filter, in Diafine at 4 + 4 for time. This is my first experience with this developer. The EI I used was '-1' which is one stop below the .8 setting on my Luna Pro. The shadow detail in these negatives looks very good without blocked-up highlights. Only darkroom printing will tell, and as soon as I get some of them scanned I'll post them in the IR forum. I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

    Steve

  2. #2

    A Magic Bullet?

    I've always had success with good ol' D76. I shot many, many rolls of Kodak infrared when it was available (I still have about a dozen rolls) and after numerous attempts with other developers, this is the one I came back to. When I tried Diafine I did not like it because it is a fine grain developer and does not offer the acutance of D76.

    That said, you are talking about a different film and different size, so my experiences may well not be relevant. One thing that may be relevant, however, is the time of year. As you are in Missouri you are seeing the end of summer and beginning of autumn. This means that the Wood effect will not be nearly as strong as during the summer, which is when you will have the most difficulty with blocked highlights, meaning that that aspect may have more to do with the time of year than the developer.

    My recommendation is to do a comparison between D76 and Diafine - same subject, same time. The reason I push D76 is that it is easy to mix from scratch. I am concerned that many things will go away and am planning for it by selecting as many things as I can make if the supplier goes away. By doing a one-to-one comparison you will know the differences between the two developers, and can determine whether or not those differences are meaningful.

    Cheers -

    george

  3. #3
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    A Magic Bullet?

    Diafine is a two bath developer, and though I haven't used it, I have been mixing my own two bath developers in recent weeks. All two bath mixes work the same way - the first bath allows the emulsion to absorb the reducing agent (metol, hydroquinone, phenidone, catechol, etc) and then the second bath contains the accelerator (borax, sodium carbonate, sodium metaborate, sodium hydroxide). The idea is that the developer in the highlights will exhaust itself while the shadow areas can keep working. The first bath in some formulas does not work much at all, but in the formula I use (Barry Thornton's), there is enough sodium sulfite in the first bath to do some development before it goes into the accelerator.

    I like the results that i am getting. I can mix up different varieties of film in the same batch, and the process is not as temperature sensitive as single bath developers. If you have a scale that can weigh accurately to .1 gram, you can purchase the raw materials dirt cheap. A lifetime supply of metol is less than $20.

  4. #4

    A Magic Bullet?

    Earl,

    Having seen your recent, excellent results with 2-bath, it's hard not look closely at what you are doing. I know 2-bath developers are supposed to "highly" compensating to some degree, but I guess I was not expecting the positive results I got. I probably have stars in my eyes, over an unexpected outcome. I've not ever used 2-bath development before so it's an eye opener.

    Steve

  5. #5
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    A Magic Bullet?

    You can mix D76 as a two bath developer as well. There are lots of recipes out there, you just need a scale and the willingness to go for it.

  6. #6
    My preferred developer is dilute Rodinal with semi-stand development, but I'm going to try the Barry Thornton two bath method with some rollfilm soon. These are the methods that I like. I really love dilute Rodinal, so it's going to have to be pretty darn good, but having seen what Earl does, I think it's going to be close.

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