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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Fujicolor Eterna 250D and Dignan-2bath-developer

I have been using Dignan developer for C-41 films now for quite a long time and gained some experience using it. Results depend much more on the second bath composition and duration. The first bath may be kept as it was proposed by Dignan but I had to change the second bath several times in order to achieve better results. Durations of both baths have also to be adapted.

Let me remind you about the original recipe of the first bath:

500 ml water
9 g Sodium Sulphite
1 g Sodium Bisulphite
11 g CD4
Water to make 1 liter
pH should be less than 6.5
Time duration: 3 min. at room temperature

One may use Sodium Metabisulphite instead of Bisulphite, in a 1:1 basis. 3 min. duration is very short and may lead to poor results, specially if the bath is not fresh any more. I use always 15 min. and this first bath will keep for some 2-3 months, developing about 40 films. Because I prepare only 500 ml each time, I use it for about 20 films. In a closed amber bottle and if not still used it will keep longer than 3 months. I thought that this first bath could live for ever but no, it will loose its «strength» and you need to increase its duration. So, 15 minutes will work 20 times with minimum changes in results. When the image density starts to decrease, even with a long 2.nd bath, it is time to make a fresh 1.st bath.

Now, let me talk about the 2.nd bath. Remember that the original recipe was:

500 ml water
53 g Potassium Carbonate
0.5 g Potassium Bromide
Water to make 1 liter.
optional: Benzotriazole (Kodak anti fog #2) 2 milligrams
pH: 11.8
Time duration: 6 minutes at room temperature


I am now quite sure that the second bath must be adapted to the particular film we are using. But in general the original recipe is to concentrated and some films will 'overdevelop' in the sense that the dyes may be so dense that the color will tend to loose saturation.

Most of the modern films worked well with following recipe, where Potassium Carbonate is reduced to less than the half and the time prolonged to 15 minutes, frequent agitation for even development:


500 ml water
25 g Potassium Carbonate
0.6 g Potassium Bromide
Water to make 1 liter.

Example:
Fujicolor Superia 100 with reduced soda version

I purchased, at ebay, 400 ft of an old 35mm movie colour film (Fujicolor Eterna 250D) and I intend to use it for taking photographs. Movie films have an anti-static layer on the back, which need to be removed and this may happen before or after normal development. But with Dignan 2-bath you don't need to care about it, it will be removed naturally in a more prolonged second bath that will be then discarded.

Following my reduced soda recipe, I developed a first batch using 15 min. first bath and 30 min. second bath, frequent agitation. See result below:

Fujicolor Eterna 250D with reduced version
The colors were very dense and looked fast B&W in film. I had to use auto color correction of scanner and increase saturation in order to get colours.

I was hesitating between «Is it so with movie films? Do they need to be darker because the projection light is very strong?» and «Is it possible to get better results diluting even more the second bath?». And because I have nothing to loose, I diluted the 2.nd bath even more:

500 ml water
20 g Potassium Carbonate
0.5 g Potassium Bromide
Water to make 1 liter.

And yes, I have got a better result, almost like it came out, setting the scanner to full automatic.

Fujicolor Eterna 250D with extra-reduced soda
I liked the result, the red could be a little more saturated but it is much better than the above one.