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SD-1c — a concentrate of Kodak SD-1 Pyro

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:37 am
by perfesserkev
I found a few years ago that the old Kodak SD-1 Pyro formula gave me just the right image-specific stain for an alternative process project without excessive general stain when I used it carefully. However I never enjoyed weighing out the dry chemicals to mix a batch each time I wanted to develop. It was just enough of an annoyance that I didn't get there often enough.

In an online conversation with Jay DeFehr (formulated 510 Pyro, Hypercat and others) I mentioned how I'd like to divide it into two concentrated solutions and he very generously formulated SD-1c for me.

He replaced the sodium salts with potassium to get higher saturation. An added advantage to the higher concentration this allows is a much longer shelf life of the solutions (years for one 500ml batch I made). I made some concerted tests on a small batch to make sure that the switch of salts didn't result in different color or balance of the image and general stains. I find that if there is a difference it is insignificant. I don't see a difference.

I now use this developer for a variety of image styles, with great pleasure. Having this makes SD-1 as easy to mix as PMK.

SD-1c by Jay DeFehr

A solution

Distilled water                600ml

Sodium sulfite                a pinch to preserve the pyro during mixing

Pyro                              280g

Potassium metabisulfite  150g

Distilled water to            1 liter

B solution

Distilled water                      600ml

*Potassium carbonate (mono) 806 g (689 for anhydrous)

Distilled water to                   1 liter

DILUTE 1+1+100 to make a working solution. 

*You might need to use hot water to dissolve the carbonate, and make sure it's completely dissolved, and then let it cool slowly and without stirring to avoid precipitation.

For smaller quantities just do the math to scale down. A 100ml batch is a nice way to start, just use 1/10 the quantities.

You can try PMK times to start, with a one stop reduction in ISO.

SD-1 is an old formula using only pyro as the developing agent. That means about a stop loss of speed in the shadows, though midtones and highlights may hold at box speed, depending on the film. Dropped out shadows can be a very compelling look for certain kinds of photography.

Aerial Oxidation

It is also prone to aerial oxidation streaking if you don't work with reasonable care. To limit this, try to mix immediately before use without excessive or vigorous stirring (a few gentle swirls will do with liquids) then pour straight into the tank. Mix a couple hundred milliliters extra so you can fill the tank to the absolute top and remove as much air as possible. Then proceed with 30-second agitation intervals.

This streaking can also easily appear if you use the developer for an alkaline afterbath. Experiment there. A Metaborate solution would probably be better, but as @sanchell notes, that technique may only boost general stain anyway. Use an alkaline fix (I uses Formulary TF-4 or TF-5). I have also added two milliliters of 10% EDTA solution per liter of working developer to reduce aerial oxidation staining. There seems to be a modest effect, though my testing isn't scientific. At the worst there is no other effect on development.

Could this formula be a good addition to the Film Developing Cookbook Steve Anchell?

SD-1c — a concentrate of Kodak SD-1 Pyro

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 11:30 am
by sanchell
SD-1 is already in the DCB, but not your variation. It sounds like a great way to work with the formula and I'll try to include it in the 5th edition.

Aerial staining is the result of the developing agent, in this case pyrogallol, becoming exhausted before development is complete, and the film being exposed to oxygen, usually through shuffling agitation or in a JOBO processor.

The solution is to use a greater volume of developer, as Herr Perfesserkev, suggests, filling the tank to the maximum. Another solution is to develop less film in the same volume, for example, 3 sheets of 4x5 in a 1 liter tray instead of 4. In this way the developing agent won't exhaust before development is complete.

The other solution is to not use pyro with a JOBO processor as you cannot fill the tank with enough developer to prevent exhaustion, and the rotation of the tank exposes the film to oxygen.

SD-1c — a concentrate of Kodak SD-1 Pyro

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 11:54 am
by perfesserkev
Ah... I hadn't thought of that: That it is the film contact with air and not just the developer. Would one of those cool Formulary divided sheet trays work well here in enough chemical depth to keep the film sunk during a slight tray rock?

For those who don't know what that tray is: I don't think they sell these anymore, but Photographer's Formulary used to make plastic insert trays that held six 4X5 sheets apart. You would set it in an 11X14 tray and could lift it wholesale from one chem step to another. I have one. It's cool. Haven't used it in a while though, but thanks to Steve I might dust it off for this dev and learn something new about oxidization probs with pyro. The curse I find with 4X5 on reels is turbulence streaks along the reel-side edges of the film, which functionally crop the usable image area to about 3X5. And of course I'm too clumsy to not scratch my negs in shuffle processing.

SD-1c — a concentrate of Kodak SD-1 Pyro

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:05 pm
by sanchell
The Formulary tray is the best method for developing sheet film I have found, not only for pyro but for the Zone System, where you can add individual sheets at any time during development.

They used to make 6-4x5, 4-5x7, and 2-8x10 sizes. A local machinist in the small town of Conden, MT, where the Formulary is located, made them to order. He may have passed away or retired. You can make one yourself but you would need a plexiglass distributor to cut the pieces - many glass companies can do this. Then just glue them together using Plexiglass cement and a joiner to keep them square, vertical, and straight until the glue dries.. If anyone is interested I could probably draw a schematic.

SD-1c — a concentrate of Kodak SD-1 Pyro

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:08 pm
by perfesserkev
Next time I'm at my darkroom I'll snap a pic of mine and post it here. It's red and beautiful.

SD-1c — a concentrate of Kodak SD-1 Pyro

Posted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:47 am
by perfesserkev
Here's my 6-4X5 sheet film rack from Photographer's Formulary. It sits in an 11X14 tray and needs at least 2 liters of working solution to cover film -- 3 liters if you want to sink it deep enough in pyro like above to avoid oxidization streaks.

Attached files

SD-1c — a concentrate of Kodak SD-1 Pyro

Posted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:37 pm
by sanchell
Yup. That's the one. Easy to make a facsimile by cutting the sides and inserts and gluing them in place with waterproof plexiglass glue. Be certain to drill the holes where shown. This does two things, allows fresh developer to flow under the film and allows you to pop the film off the bottom of the rack where it sticks when you pull the rack out of the solution.

Also, develop with the emulsion side up.

SD-1c — a concentrate of Kodak SD-1 Pyro

Posted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:03 pm
by Harald Leban
maybe if you add some Thiocyanate to the working solution it could keep it free from aerial oxidation, like it does in the Beutler-Pyro formula. I don´t know exactly why, but it should have some kind of chemical masking effect to the pyrogallic acid.

When I have to develop another way than Jobo rotation, I use my Nova Darkroom paper processor, as a substitute to tray developement. It has a intern heater and two kuvettes up to 8x10" fil format and gives very even and aerial-stain-free negatives.

SD-1c — a concentrate of Kodak SD-1 Pyro

Posted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:53 am
by sanchell
Not a bad suggestion. But for those who are new to the idea of aerial oxidation let me add that ALL developing agents (DA) are capable of causing aerial oxidation. If the DA, whether it is Metol, Phenidone, Glycin, et al, exhausts in solution and the remaining undeveloped silver is exposed to oxygen, by either shuffling the film, or rotating it out of solution, aerial oxidation will occur.

The reason this is a greater problem with pyro is that pyro is a highly active (volatile) developing agent - when activated by a catalyst it works fast and exhausts quickly. Adding more pyro to the formula is not a bad solution to the problem, as the amount of DA has less, if any, effect on highlight development than the amount of catalyst. This is the recommendation Bill and I give in the Film Developing Cookbook.

Keep in mind that the purpose of the DA is literally to tarnish the silver (turn it black). The DA in solution with a catalyst simply speeds up the rate of tarnishing, turning the silver exposed to light, to black. Were you to expose a silver teapot to sunlight for a few days and then drop it in a solution of film developer it would turn black within minutes - the side to the sun faster than the side to the room.

So, catalyst by itself will not tarnish silver. DA without catalyst will take hours, days, or weeks to tarnish silver. DA + catalyst, with the catalyst controlling the overall rate of development, is what develops film in a relative few minutes (according to Gordon Hutchings it's always 12 minutes :) ).

It's Sunday morning, I just got back from the gym, and my wife wants me to vacuum the house. I'm not all here. Harald or Bill will correct me if I'm wrong.

PS, see my post under Member Announcements - I need your input, everybody.