Brown Dektol!

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by danac, Jul 23, 2021.

  1. I just mixed up a batch of fresh Dektol and it came out dark brown! I thought I was having a major senior moment. After searching the internet I discovered that Kodak says:

    Dektol batches with date codes of August 2019 or later will exhibit a dark
    brown solution when mixed.
    However, image quality is unaffected - The color is due to an impurity which
    is not photo-active.
    Our manufacturing as well as an outside lab have tested the dark colored
    Dektol batches: Sensitometry Dmax, Dmin, paper speed, and image tone
    match the Dektol standard.

    We are working on the source of the impurity so we can get the appearance
    back to normal.

    Of course they're going to state that all is well. Has anyone here noticed any difference (no matter how slight) in how prints look with this weird solution compared with the old stuff?
  2. Wow, that is weird. Dektol doesn't have that much in it, so I'd think finding the source of the problem would be a one day job. Haven't made a wet print in years so can't offer any first hand report.
  3. Thanks for giving me a pleasant half-hour looking up chemical formulae for D-72 and Dektol.

    I wouldn't go back, but I can still be nostalgic.
    Minicam [Modern] Photography 1941-04
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
  4. What are the alternatives for print developer? I have my doubts about the contaminated Dektol.
  5. Hello everyone. Until 2015 when my wet lab was burned along with the house, I used Freestyle Camera & Formulary for different paper developing chemistries. You will find both parties have their version of Dektol in pre-packaged sizes. Same stuff as the Yellow Box companies. You might also try Formulary for alternative film developing chemistry if you start a quest to replace your Plus X film. Freestyle is now offering an emulsion they call Astrum in 100, 200 & 400 asa speeds. I was impressed with the 200 asa material in Pyrocat HDC but have not work with it any further than the 2 initial rolls. Rick Drawbridge has done some work with it. You might also consider Kentmere 100 material. Again in Pyrocat HDC, I have had very good results with it. Bill
  6. It's been many years, but I always used the Formulary for raw chemicals and mixed developers as I needed them. Easy and you always get the same thing. Plus-X was great stuff but I also liked Ilford FP4 Plus in some of the Crawley developers. FX-37 was good. More grain but good tonality for many things. FWIW, I never liked the t-grain films, even with their fine grain.
  7. conrad_hoffman: Why did you dislike t-grain films?
  8. It's hard to describe, probably the same reasons I don't like beets or lima beans. :D It was just something about the tonal signature and edges; I could almost always tell photos taken on T-Max film. Now, that was a long time ago so they might be different now. What's interesting is that when the films were introduced, Kodak published a brochure on them with what I thought were very nice images with great tonal quality. I never was able to get that look.
  9. AJG


    I had a similar reaction to Conrad Hoffman's--the fine grain was nice but I didn't like the tonal range compared to Tri-X. Also, the T-Max films were much more fussy about developing precision and I wasn't about to buy a machine for processing B&W at the volume that I was using. Finally, I seem to remember Kodak coming out with multiple iterations of T-Max developers that were supposed to solve the tonal range problem. Since it seemed that Kodak couldn't solve the problem I certainly didn't think that I was going to be able to fix it with my limited resources and knowledge.
  10. Personally, I have no idea why Kodak discontinued D-163 in favour of Dektol. D-163 gave much deeper blacks more readily.

    The formula for D-163 is readily found, and the chemicals can be bought from internet sources. Also, with digital 'drug dealer' scales available cheaply, it's quite easy to make up processing solutions from dry chemicals. The weighing-out doesn't need to be milligram accurate.

    Stock D-163 has a reasonable storage life, and at least if it turns dark brown you know it's time to ditch it!

    WRT T-max 100. The first release gave a peculiar tone curve in D-76 and some other 'traditional' developers. This was fixed with the later version, and using T-max developer gives a very straight (in log space) tone curve. Quite frankly, I think anyone would be hard-pressed to see a tonality difference from conventional grain films.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2021
  11. I used Legacy Pro Paper Developer from Freestyle Photographic Supplies yesterday. It mixed and processed the same as Dektol and the results are indistinguishable from the Kodak version.
  12. There are TMax and TMax RS, which seem to be two different developers. I have some of the former, mostly because it seems to be recommended for TMax3200.

    Before that, I only had Diafine and HC-110, the latter preferred for older film.
    But I also have enough old TMax, and sometimes use HC-110 for that.

    I have never tried to measure the tonal range of film.

Share This Page