Saturday, January 30, 2010

Donald Qualls' successful monobath posted on phot net



IMAGES in R3

I have highlighted an interesting comment which needs to be tested.  

And Bravo to Donald!

Donald Qualls , Feb 29, 2004; 08:18 p.m.
Monobath from commercial chemicals: success!!

"Second results:

400TX 135, souped ten minutes, 75 F.

16 ml HC-110 USA concentrate
50 ml household ammonia (ammonium hydroxide,  5% solution)
10 ml Ilford Rapid Fixer concentrate
water to make 256 ml

Mixed by adding most of the water to the HC-110 concentrate, then ammonia, then fixer, then remainder of water to make up volume. Heated to 75 F in an external hot water bath.

IMPORTANT: Be certain the ammonia used is a 5% concentration. Test it first using an ammonia hydrometer available through ebay or Amazon.

Result: normal appearing negatives, within approximately 1 stop of rated speed at worst. I won't know for certain until I can scan them (they're drying now, probably won't get them scanned tonight), but to my eye contrast range appears normal and low light details are preserved -- I intentionally shot at a wide range of exposure, from about +2 to -2 stops, to test whether the latitude of the 400TX would be preserved, and it appears it was; there is considerable detail in a shot taken with a simple camera (most likely f/11, 1/100) in a grocery store aisle by available light, a situation that normally demands f/2.8 at 1/30 with ISO 400, give or take one stop.

Worthy of note that the concentrates used have excellent keeping properties, and household ammonia is a common cleaning supply available worldwide. Even accounting for use of distilled water both for mixing and a multi-change stand wash, total cost per film is about $1.25; if tap water can be used for wash, cost is more like sixty-five cents per film in 35 mm -- 120 would be about double this, since twice the solution is required for the same film area (unless one masters back-to-back loading). Film processed this way should be archivally stable if properly washed; even at this 1:24 dilution, the fixer has about 200% capacity over that needed to fix 80 square inches of film per above batch of monobath.

I'm pretty happy with this, as you can probably tell."

33 comments:

Aaron Muderick said...

The sq/ft of a 36 exp 35mm roll is the same as a 120 roll, yes? I don't think you need more chemicals for 120.

Bob Crowley said...

Wait til you see how little I try to use on one piece of sheet film.

Bob Crowley said...

I got incomplete clearing (at first appeared to be chemical fog, but not) with this formula on Ilford Pan and Tmax, but it does produce a fairly normal negative with a long toe. This is in a bath situation. I will try it on some tri x if I can find it here.

Bob Crowley said...

Another try with the same Ilford emulsion and the same mix, but at a little lower temperature, resulted in a much thinner negative with little detail in the shadows. But we will scan them in and see what we can see.

Donald Qualls said...

Poor clearing may be a result of differences in the film grain formula; T-grain films (TMax, Delta, Foma Creative 200) are infamous for requiring more fixing than conventional cubic grain types (Tri-X, Plus-X, etc.). Not sure about the Ilford Pan, and it's been several years since I did this experiment (I don't normally need a monobath). Try leaving the film in the soup longer, maybe 20 minutes instead of 10, or increase the amount of fixer by 50% for T-grain type films.

Reducing temperature affects development rate more than fixing rate, so you'd expect to get reduced density -- 75º F isn't hard to get to, and it's not very critical, but 68º F will lose film speed for sure.

Bob Crowley said...

Donald, thanks for the comments. We've found that your monobath works in 2 minutes on Efke 25 and certainly under 6 minutes on PanF, but that TMX takes longer, but we get excellent results IF we keep the pH at 9.5. That seems to be a key aspect and is easily measured with pH test strips that are cheap and quick. To get the clearing effect we were after, it was necessary to use fresh monobath (we had used some at least three times and it got fairly muddy and there was a lot of pecipitated silver.

What we were not expecting was the quality - if you look elsewhere on the blog you will see Efke results are sharp and grain free. Even the two minute thick reagent (your concoction plus methyl cellulose) did a good job on the very thin Efke in two minutes at room temp, but with less contrast. That led us to think this was (and we still do) the answer to an alternative gel reagent such as Old Pol used to use.

Thanks!

Bob

Bob Crowley said...

I've been using this for two years now. Nothing is easier. The trick though is to process at 75 degrees or even a little warmer. Once mixed, it lasts for a long time, months at least.

Anonymous said...

Bob thanky you very much for the information, i would like to test the monobath on one efke 25 sheet, can you tell me how much solution i would need to test process one sheet 4x5 efke25

greetings

Bob Crowley said...

you only need a small amount, but what would be the point of doing just one once you got set up? Mix it up according to the above. Process with the solution warm. Any black and white film can be processed in this mix.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bob, i wanted to test the solution in order to do 10 sheets at once,

got a jobo 3010 expert tank, that i would like to use with rotating agitation

so Efke25 4x5 , 2 minutes is a good starting point?

Bob Crowley said...

You don't need to agitate after the first agitation by hand is done. It's a monobath and like polaroids no agitation is needed once wetting is accomplished, but you can if you want - streaking is likely with lots of agitation. Just start with 75-80f and you will be fine. 2 minutes is fine. If you need more clearing, take a look and leave it in a little longer.

Mikee Wolfee said...

HELLO I know this article is old by recently I found this because of our type 55 film project. I hope you can release this film soon!
I have a question about this mix I used and it works great!
BUT can I reuse this mix over and over again, like 5 times?
I did not keep any because I was not sure.
Please let me know.
Thank you.

Bob Crowley said...

I still use it too. It works super at 75 degrees I have found. Not cooler though. Five times at least as long as it stays clear.

I find that it is better to NOT agitate after the first few seconds of agitation to get rid of bubbles.

We might offer this made up and ready to go, or in a concentrate. What do you think?

Tom G said...

Anyone tried this with Ilfotec HC? I've got more than I'm likely to use in the next 3 years sitting around, and I'm quite tempted to make some up if not.

Anonymous said...

I've recently returned to LF after a 30 year absence and purchased a nice 3 lens Sinar F2 setup that obviously needed to be tested - alas, no more type 55. I stumbled apron this mono bath and wanted to share some success I've had through trial and error which have given me the results I was looking for.

The "Tupperware" sandwich box was a great starting point but temperature control was a bit of an issue. I've found that certainly you need to be in the 75-80 degree range but the falloff in temp, especially since there's such a small amount of solution being used was fairly quick. I also found the sandwich boxes were somewhat translucent and I wanted to be able to load them in a changing bag and let the film develop in daylight.

I found that by spraying the Tupperware with one of the "spray on rubber" products solved 2 problems. The rubberized coating acts as a great insulator and with a 10 minute development time I lose between .5 -1 degree. The second is that it makes the boxes light tight. I've sprayed 2 light coats over the box (with the lid on) and used a razor blade to cut along the top's seam which gives me a pretty much perfect light tight seal.

I also found that by straining the solution through a coffee filter after use removes almost all of the solids and I'm getting 9 or 10 uses from each batch (so basically 3 batches 1/2 inch deep in the box will handle a 25 sheet box of film.

I'm praying that the New55 project is a success but in the short term, using the posted formula and a few of the boxes I've made up gives me a 10 minute solution for test exposures - actually, the negs are of such good quality I can and do use them for either projection printing or scans.

Hope this helps someone.

Anonymous said...

How are you adjusting the pH to get it at or close to 9.5?

woof69 said...

Darn can't get Kodak HC-110 in my country :( this sounded like a fun weekend project.

omar kuwas said...

Would this work using kodak fixer made from powder? Substituting the water for the equivalent in work strength fixer?

Pat Morrissey said...

Has anyone found a source for ammonium hydroxide, 5% solution in the UK?

Anonymous said...

I can't find Kodak HC-110 in my country. Anybody tried using Ilford developers like Ilford ID-11 powder, Ilford Ilfosol 3 or Ilford Ilfotec HC 1?

Anonymous said...

I can't find HC-110 in my country. Anybody tried other developers like Ilford Ilfosol 3, Ilfotec DD-X or Powders like ID-11, Perceptol or Microphen?

PhotoBear said...

For us europeans could you please supply us some tips?

For example I only have a 8% NH4OH solution in my country. Can I dillute it down to 5% with RO water?

HC-110 syrup (USA concentrate) isn't available in europe either but instead as a euro concentrate. I suppose they're not the same in strength so what would be the mixing ratio?

Anonymous said...

Anyone figure out an alternative to the hc100 concentrate? For those of us outside the USA.

Tadeas Plachy said...

What is durability of negative compared to classical process?

canescens said...

I used this formula today and got very thin negatives,
probably because of european concentration of Hc 110, did some arithmetic and think you have to use 1,5 x times the amount of hc 110 in this recipe.
Negatives look very promising though.

Is there somebody who has ideas about developing -in tank- polaroid color negatives (type 58) I have some dry packs and would love to use them.
already tried tetenal colorkit and Rodinal. The negatives do not react to these chemicals.

Anonymous said...


This is Dilution A with parts fixer and ammonia instead of water. So if the European version says 1:4 for Dilution A (instead of 1:15), should it not be 51,2 ml instead of 16 ml, so 3,2 times the amount?

T.C. Williams said...

This process has me very excited. I shoot a lot of MF and 4x6. I struggle with 4x6 developing as I have to use only daylight developing techniques (no darkroom, just change bag). Just when I was thinking that I would have to rig a darkroom, I cam across this concept. NOW...I'm a big fan of Ilford. I shoot almost exclusively Delta 100 in 120 and 4x5. Recently, I've been experimenting with Arista EDU in 100 for both formats. (I use Ilfosol 3 and Ilford rapid fix) I plan to use the listed formulae (with the HC and Ilford fix) and start at about 80f for 10 minutes. Does anyone have experience with using this process with either of those films? If not, I'll take notes and post my results.

T.C. Williams said...

Question....If Ilford HC-110 is 1.68 x more concentrated that Ilfosol-3...what would happen if I made this recipe with an adjusted amount of Ilfosol-3 (decreasing the water proportionally) Or will this ONLY work with HC-110?

T.C. Williams said...

Sorry, I ment 4x5...not 4x6...

Anonymous said...

An interesting thought: How would it affect the outcome if one were to use only 15ml of the HC-110, instead of 16? The idea being, use 15+50+10, mix up a bulk batch (since you have to buy all the concentrates in bulk anyway), and mix with water in a perfect 3:1 (water:chem) ratio?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any experience or thoughts on using this to develop enlarging paper?

Tim Denning said...

Hi from the UK. I've been following the blog for a while now as someone who used 'Monophen' developer/fixer a long time ago! I've now had some time to try out the monobath recipe using Ilford HC developer instead of Kodak and the 8% ammonia solution widely available in the UK. Inspecting the development time and dilution tables for both the Kodak and Ilford HC developer convinced me they must be very similar so I simply substituted Ilford for Kodak and used the same quantities. The later advice about getting the pH to 9.5 made using 8% ammonia solution easy - I added half the recipe amount to achieve an equivalent to adding 4% ammonia and then added a bit more little at a time until my universal indicator paper was very dark green going towards dark blue - the colours for pH 9 and pH 10.

So - for 320ml of solution
13ml Ilford Rapid Fixer
20ml Ilford HC Developer
Start with 30ml of ammonia at total 250ml and add a little more ammonia and water as required to get 320 solution at pH 9.5

Result after 6 minutes at 75F with Efke 100 - very thin negative but with some detail however I got the same result using standard dev/fix process…. But at 80F with FP4 Plus brilliant results! Just invert the tank a couple of times, quick knock on bench to remove bubbles and leave alone until times up!

Bob Crowley said...

R5 uses a lot less ammonia now to reduce the problem of ammonia smell and this crazy variation in concentration that caused people problems. In the US, ammonia comes in 5% solution.

Quall's formula was a thing of genius as it violated the Kodak rule of no ammonia successfully, and led the way to improvements that make monobaths work on virtually all black and white films. We put a lot of effort into getting it "just right". Google R5 monobath and see the great results.

Bob Crowley