Thursday, August 5, 2010
I've changed the official formula to a 2X concentrate of the original formula. Posts dated before today all refer to the original formula, regarding dilutions. All posts from today forward will reference the new 2X concentrate. I think this is a good change!
Monday, July 5, 2010
Film: Fortepan 200
Time: 54 min
Agitation: Continuous inversions for the first 30 seconds and then 10 seconds agitation every 9
minutes rotating the tank 1/4 turn every agitation
Presoak: 3 minute water presoak
Camera/Lens vintage: 1952
I recently began experimenting with GSD-10 and a particular "old school" emulsion, Fortepan 200. Along the way I encountered some problems and found some solutions I would like to share.
When experimenting with a new developer/film combination there is often not a lot to go on, but there is usually information you can start with. While there is no information out there on the GSD-10/ Fortepan 200 combination there is information to leverage. Luckily there are development times and dilutions for several films on this GSD-10 blog. On the Massive Development Chart there are development times for those same films but with developers like D-76. Jay has a PF+ full stand development time for 1:10 dilution and a certain EI in one of the early blog entries. I looked and compared the D-76 time ratios of Fortepan 200 to PF+ and took into account that I wanted to shoot at box speed. I used that information to determine a good starting point for stand development with GSD-10 1:10 and Fortepan 200.
A good thing to do is try that starting point out with a negative shot in a controlled lighting situation. Since I don't have a densitometer, I metered a simple still life that included a print gradient, a grey card, and some real world objects that provide a good test of the shadow detail and highlights. The next task is to take those negatives and find the development time that best reproduces the still life and provides both the right shadow and highlight detail. I found that 32 minutes gave me the right image at 70F (21C). So I had found correct full stand development time and temperature for 1:10. But alas, I noticed that the negatives processed this way had streaks where there was a long black object in the photo. You can see this in the example below. In the image there are white streaks below the black mirror frame. So it became clear that full stand development would not work with this developer and film combination at least at this dilution. However, i was able to eliminate the streaking by going to Low Frequency Agitation development and finding the minimum agitation that gets rid of the streaking.
To eliminate the streaking I first tried an agitation half way through developmnent. I dropped the development time to 30 minutes since there was increased agitation. But there was still some streaking. The next thing to try was agitation at 1/3 and 2/3rds of the way through development. That worked. I was able to eliminate the streaking when I agitated at 9 minute intervals with a total development time of 27 minutes. The resulting negatives have nearly identical grain size, acutance, and tonality as the full stand developed negatives. I had arrived at a successful Fortepan 200/ GSD-10 combination of 1:10 dilution, 70F (21C), 10 sec agitation at 9 minute intervals, and semi-stand development. With that working well I set about seeing how things would work with a much more dilute Working solution of GSD-10. Since the Fortepan 200 I'm using is 4x5 format, the development tank needs 1300ml. So using a more dilute solution is appealing as that reduces the cost per negative noticeably. The danger of overly dilute developers is that the chemicals will exhaust before development is complete. This happens when there is not enough of the actual development chemical in the tank to complete development. I knew that Jay has examples of successful 1:10 development of 35mm on this blog. Most 35mm tanks hold about 300ml. The 1300ml 4x5 tank holds over 4X the volume of chemical. So 1:40 dilution or higher appeared possible with this tanks size and 4 4x5 sheets without exhaustion. In terms of surface area to be developed, (4) 4x5 sheets = (1) 35mm 36 exposure roll = (1) 120 roll.
Because I wanted to keep the development time under an hour, I focused on a 1:30 dilution. I tried various development times using the same 9 minute agitation intervals but found the negatives to be thinner than the 1:10 negatives unless I was willing to go significantly longer than 1 hour. Instead I raised the temperature. I found that by raising the temperature to 77F (25C) I got a great 1:30 result at 54 minutes. My Low Frequency Agitation, 1:30/ 77F/ 54 minutes produced a similar negative density to 1:10/ 70F/ 27 minutes. Temperature is definitely something you can utilize to find development times you like. Note that 54 minutes is exactly twice 27 minutes which will be a very interesting ratio to try out on other films and dilutions.
One advantage of the 1:30 dilution and perhaps the temperature increase is that the grain appears to be finer than with the 1:10 dilution. Below is a crop of a portion of the "porch picture that shows off the fine grain. Click on the photo to see it 1:1. You will see he small grain size in the 2400 dpi scan of the negative.
I am very happy with the 1:30 GSD-10 results and this is my new favorite developer for this film.
Friday, June 4, 2010
To make a more concentrated stock solution of GSD-10 would require only substituting potassium carbonate for sodium carbonate, and reducing the ratio of sodium sulfite to glycin to around 1:1. The more concentrated version would look something like:
Distilled water: 50ml
Sodium sulfite: 12g
Potassium carbonate: 75g
Distilled water to 100ml
This concentrate would be diluted 1:50 for intermittent or rotary processing, and 1:100-1:200 for stand development.
I would expect to see an increase in the appearance of both grain and sharpness. Personally, I like the way GSD-10 balances of grain and sharpness, and so I would consider this concentrated version a compromise, especially for 35mm work.
Another option would be to double the concentration of GSD-10 by retaining the formula as-is, and simply making it up in 1/2 the water. This version would be:
Distilled water: 500ml
Sodium sulfite 100g
Sodium carbonate: 150g
Distilled water to 1 liter
Dilute 1:10 for intermittent or rotary processing, and 1:20-1:40 for stand development.
I like this option better, since it would still be the developer I know and love, but I will try both options and compare them before coming to any conclusions. If anyone decides to experiment with these, or any other variations, I'd love to know about it. Please contact me at:
with any comments, questions or suggestions, and I'm always very happy to see images made with my developers.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Juliet at Lake Lowell
This is my sweet Juliet on a windy day at Lake Lowell. The light was soft and beautiful, and I had my trusty Minolta XD-11 loaded with Ilford Pan F+. Life is good!
Film: Ilford Pan F+
Monday, May 24, 2010
Juliet at Celebration Park
I still grin from ear to ear every time I develop a roll of TMY-2; what a feat of engineering! TMY-2 is, as the package reminds us, the sharpest 400 speed film in the world, and its grain is as fine as many 100 speed films. GSD-10 was formulated with slow, quick-to-build-contrast, fine grained films in mind. The compensating effect of GSD-10 and stand development really tames these films, opening up shadows, and protecting delicate highlight detail, but it's the midtones that matter most to me. The micro contrast produced by this film/developer combination is quite impressive. I'll be experimenting with this combination a lot, and sharing my findings here. Here's the developing information for the above photo:
Format: 120 (6x7)
Time: 20 min
Agitation: 1 minute initial, 10 seconds at 1/2 way point
The light was very flat (SBR 5.5)
Monday, May 17, 2010
Juliet at Curtis Park
This image was made with Ultrafine + 100 film from Photo Warehouse. Many clues suggest it is re-labelled Lucky film from China, but I have no direct evidence it is. The film is wrapped in a black backing paper with no band to secure it once exposed (120 format), just a small and inadequate peel and stick square at the end of the paper backing itself. Don't trust it! I did with my first roll, and it came undone, fogging several frames. The film has a nasty curl to it that makes it difficult to load onto reels for processing, and dries into a tube after processing, complicating printing or scanning. There are no edge markings on the film, nor is there anything on the backing paper to identify the film once removed from the cheap, foil wrapper. These problems are enough to dissuade me from buying more once my current supply runs out, and that's a shame, because the film is actually very nice; it's sharp, fine grained, and true to its box speed, but so is Fuji Acros, which suffers none of the skimpiness of this budget film. I've finally learned my lesson regarding budget films, and will stock Fuji Acros as my slow film, and TMY-2 as my fast film, and I could do without the Acros, in most circumstances, and all formats except 35mm. Those more tolerant of handling quirks might find the following information useful.
Film: Ultrafine + 100
Agitation: 10 sec/ minute, inversion
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Julia scanned this film from 2007 with her new Epson 4490, and I like her scan better than mine using my Plustek 7200 dedicated film scanner. I'm not suggesting these differences are related to the hardware, but highlighting the influence of the operator.
Film: Pan F+
Agitation: :10/1:00 (ten seconds every minute)
Agitation: :10/1:00 (ten seconds every minute)
Scanner: Epson 4490
Scan type: Negative
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The above is a "Native"/unedited scan from our new Epson 4490 photo scanner. Julia made the scan at 600x800, I believe, for easy archiving, emailing, etc. We don't intend to print from our scans- we do our printing in the darkroom. The lighting for this image was very harsh/high contrast, with the sun shining directly through the window into an otherwise unlit room, reflecting off of Julia's very fair skin. I am very pleased with this rendition of the scene. My dear Father always kept his pistol next to his bed; I keep my camera there.
Film: Arista EDU 100
Format: 120 (6x7)
Time: 1 hour