[alt-photo] Development By Inspection Methods

Francesco Fragomeni fdfragomeni at gmail.com
Thu Mar 8 01:12:04 GMT 2012

Hi all,

I've been working on a set up in my darkroom which uses IR illuminators and
IR goggles to develop film by inspection. The primary purpose for this was
to visually learn exactly how film develops and eliminate the mystery built
into traditional time and temperature development methods. The IR
illuminator runs at 940nm which is out of the sensitivity range of most
panchromatic 100 ISO or slower films and the system works great with TMAX
100 and Delta 100 which are my primary 100 speed films. However, I do a lot
of shooting using Tri-X 400 and Delta 400 and today I've found that the
film is fogging (FBF is way denser then it should be) and the only cause
can be that it is sensitive to the wavelength of IR light produced by the
illuminator. Unfortunate because watching the film develop under IR is
really quite fun and mesmerizing aside from the obvious advantages or
perfectly developed film all of the time.

Anyway, I am very curious about other DBI methods but I've been unable to
find much information on the web and in the forums. I know that there are
still some people who DBI using a dark green Wratten safelight. Michael A.
Smith discusses this in brief in one of his articles on his website. I'll
be having dinner with Michael and Paula tomorrow night so I'll pick their
brains about this particular method. Another method involves the use of a
desensitizing agent, typically either Pinacryptol Yellow or Pinacryptol
Green, which allows a red or green safelight (depending on desensitizer) to
be left on during development. Apparently both Pinacryptol Yellow and
Pinacryptol Green have become very difficult to get and there isn't much
information about them on the web. Formulary may have some Pinacryptol
Yellow left but I don't know if they still have an active source for it.
I've also read about people using Safranin T dye, used to stain microscopy
specimens, but that it can be difficult to remove the stain from the film
after development.

Is there anyone here who has experience with any of the above alternative
methods or something that I haven't listed here? I've seen the benefits of
DBI and I would like to continue to use it even if the IR system doesn't
end up working out.

Thanks in advance!

-Francesco Fragomeni

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