Polydol, D-19, DK-50, and other things.

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by robert_macdonald, May 8, 2004.

  1. Hi,

    Last week I posted about a load of stuff I got from a local high
    school, Today I went back to get the rest of it. This time I found two
    packets of DK-50, another developer which is new to me, I also found a
    big can of Dektol (to make five gallons) and three cans of Microdol-X
    (one gallon cans). My question is this, will the chemicals in the cans
    still be ok?
    My other question is this, I have been unable to find any useful
    information on Polydol, DK-50 or D-19. I have an urge to try them out
    but don't know where to start (i.e. dilutions, times, etc). The film I
    am mainly using now is HP5+. If someone could give me some ballpark
    times I would be most grateful. I realize D-19 is a high contrast
    developer but this is the very reason I want to experiment with it.
    Polydol on the other hand I know nothing about other then what is
    written on the package, it says that is meant for use with 8X10 film
    and does not mention 120 or 35.
  2. Polydol, useful for commercial, portrait and school photography. Use at 68 deg for 8 - 11 mins. Capacity, 40 8x10 sheets / gallon.

    D19, develop 6 minutes in a tank or 5 minutes in a tray at 68 deg according to the contrast desired.

    DK50 Clean working and moderately fast, popular with commercial and portrait photographers. Dilute 1:1 with water and develop 10 mins at 68 deg. Without dilution use 6 mins.

    This is from Kodak databook "Processing Chemicals and Formulas for Black and White Photography"

    I wouldn't use them if the solutions they make are darker than tea or have a strong odor.

    I have used all of these developers before and they are very good. You have some good stuff. And, BTW, the film format is not important to its usefulness. Whether 8x10 or 120 does not matter, the type of film processed is more important. For example, Tri X would probably go through all of these just fine regardless of film format. The problem I would wonder about is what the current recommendation is for todays films. Kodak changed all of the recommendations when they came out with the new films.

    The only one that is relatively common today is DK50. You can get D19, but it is not used as commonly due to the high contrast. Polydol used to be used by photofinishers a lot IIRC.

    Good luck. Have fun.

    Ron Mowrey
  3. Try the Kodak webpage.


  4. DK-50 is one of my favorite developers. Every bit as fast and clean working as Microphen, but with tighter grain. I recommend it for any work, it also sems to increase the apparent lattitude of a film. Times, that's tough. I usually test for each kind of film. I have a few practical tests I wrote down for Neopan 400 and Acros 100 in a dilution of 1:1. I'll try to look them up when I get back to the darkroom. The Acros was very nice I recall shot at E.I.80.
  5. Dilute your DK-50 1:1 and follow processing times and temperatures for Kodak T-Max Developer 1:4 and you'll have perfect results every single time!
  6. Dilute your DK-50 1:1 and follow the times and temperatures for Kodak T-Max Developer 1:4 and you'll have extraordinary results every time!
  7. Theses devs may or may not be good. You'll have to open each can and find out. Fresh developers will be white or a light tan in color if still good. Overall, I've had great luck in using old, canned devs.
  8. We used to go through a lot of DK-50 when we used a lot of sheet film. A few years ago I even processed some 4x5 Super XX (expired 1984) and it had relatively low fog. But I've also done Plus-X in DK-50 and liked the results as well.
  9. I have had oxidized powder in the foil/paper bags. When mixed, it came out dark brown, even though it seems to be a sealed package.

    As above, mix it and see what color it is. Though tea colored is usually fine.

    Use a less important roll for the first one in each batch.
  10. Wow, I was doing a lot of B&W photography in the late '60s and '70s and it was rare to see developer in cans even then. That stuff is seriously old. As said above, go by color. Going brown is bad. Chemicals in foil pouches don't last nearly as long. I don't remember anybody using D19 for pictorial work. I used lots of DK-50 and was quite fond of it.
  11. It's a thread from 2004. If the developer was suspect back then, pretty sure it has managed to completely go bad by now :)
  12. I remember the cans in the 1960's and foil/paper packages in the 1970's. So it might be from 40 to now 50 years.

    I saw an E2 kit on eBay not so long ago, and bid low. I didn't get it.
  13. An old thread indeed, but the following advice might be of use to someone else.

    I'd be very suspicious of chemicals already in solution. They oxidise quite quickly even in well-sealed containers.

    Try them out first on a strip of fogged 35mm leader. This can be developed in room lighting at the recommended time/temperature and fixed. The fogged density should be > 2.1D (too dark to easily see through). If the film doesn't get that dark, then the chemicals are no good.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  14. I still have over a dozen cans of the DK-50 and Polydol. I still open, mix and use without any difficulties. The powder is still white and fresh as Kodak sealed their canned developers with Nitrogen, which removes all of the air, unlike those packaged in envelopes. Polydol, when mixed, is a yellowish weak tea color, which is normal for Polydol.
  15. Those canned developers from Kodak are still good. I still have over a dozen of them and I still use and mix them. The contents are fresh and white. Kodak sealed their cans with Nitrogen, which removes the air prior to Kodak sealing them, unlike their enveloped packaged developers. Ansco uses the same packaging process as Kodak does. Ethol chemistries are not packaged with Nitrogen, and those developers are definitely shot when it's expired!

    Take my word on it as I've been processing my own films for over 41 years!
  16. Sometimes, the DK-50 will be a violet or purple in color. The developer is still good and does not indicate exhaustion.
  17. "robert_macdonald was last seen:
    Feb 23, 2006"

    - Pretty sure the above OP, and everyone else, has lost interest in this thread by now.

    Hands up anyone who has a stash of old tins of DK-50.
  18. I mean, you're telling me there are developers other than D-76?

    I think it was Vestal who said, pick one developer and stick to it.

    It's not as though I don't try other things. Once I diluted the D-76 1:1, for example:rolleyes:
  19. Dilution of the DK-50 is not only reusable, but replinishable as well. Use the DK-50 1:1 With DK-50 Replinisher 1:1. DK-50 is a natural film developer which brings out the full potential of the films way better than DK-50 and has a wider tonal scale than the other developers. You also have a greater film capacity with DK-50 than with D-76. D-76, IMHO, is a waste of money!

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