Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rod-Thermic: Fine Grain Film Developer

Hello...,  I am KennyE; and I would like to welcome you to my blog page on using the Rodinal type process to make a “Panthermic Developer”.

Defender/Harvey 777 is made using the "ternary effect", which was first patented by Philips Petroleum 1924. And it would be used by many different companies in the years that followed. And many would use it in many different methods.

Yet we will be using the standard method of mixing dry powders together in boiled or distilled water, to obtain this wonderful film developer.

 Like I have stated before, there are many different methods of producing 777 or formulas that work very close to it. And this is a smart and ingenious way of producing a good “Panthermic Developer” with the good qualities of  4-Aminophenol HCI, Hydroquinone, and a special P-Phenylenediamine type reducer, CD3, that is non staining and less toxic.

4-Aminophenol HCI, also known as Para-Aminophenol HCI, is one of the best developing agents to use at high temperatures. It is known not to fog most films. And..., if you use this developer at temperatures higher than 80 degs. Simply add some Sodium Sulfate, about 25 to 30 grams per liter.

The Hydroquinone will provide us with the contrast that is needed in our prints, and the fine grain is provide by the CD3 color developer. To obtain a better understanding of the abilities of CD3,  review USP # 2,193,015. A limited amount of information on CD3 can be found in Focal Press book; "Developers".

CD3 is sold at ArtCraft Chemicals and it comes in 100 grams units. All the other items can be purchase at Photographer Formulary or ArtCraft Chemicals

One of the most important things to keep in mind when making this developer, is some of the mechanics as to how it works.

Because Rodinal, is a fine grain and a high-definition developer in its self, and if used at very high dilution rates it can produce outstanding negatives; thou however, at times..., Rodinal will produce some grainy negatives. I believe this is due to the chemicals not being completely mixed uniformly. And when it is diluted, the needed amounts of sodium chloride is too low to do the job, due to the high dilution rates that is used; as well as the chemicals separating out from the solution, from time to time.

Note: At low dilution rates, grainy negatives is a given, when using Rodinal. And even more so with today's modern films.

Now enter CD3. It will assist in the fine grain development, by aiding for the absent of the much needed sodium chloride to produce the fine grain development desired, which is often lost in the high dilution rate; when using Rodinal only. And it will aid in restoring detail to the negative.

One could use the sum of 10 grams of CD3, but 5 grams would work nicely too. At a 10 gram concentration rate, that is over kill. You can get by with as little as 3.0 grams of CD3.

In this formula, we will use only 3 grams of CD3.

As I stated before, I recommend that you have some skills in the art of photographic chemistry, before you attempt to make and use this formula. And also, that you fully understand the use and handling of chemicals and film developers. And that you employ all chemical handling and safety rules.

I post no development times per say, and all responsibilities rest with the user. You must be 18 years or older to use these formulas and you accept all liabilities.

KennyE 777 Rod-Thermic Developer

Spoons and Ounces
Water (160 deg. F)
Potassium Metabisulfite    90.0 gm.
tablespoons plus
Sodium Hydroxide
CD3 color developer
Cold water to make
Note: Do not mix the chemicals in the order given. Caution: CD3 may cause skin irritation.

Note: If possibile always use a microwave oven and a glass container, to boil your water. Using metal pots and containers, can add metal traces to one's water.

Microwave one quart of distilled water to boiling point. Once it has cooled to (180 deg. F), add 1 gram of Potassium Metabisulfite to 150 ml of water in a 250 ml beaker. Stir until it is dissolved, then add the 20 grams of Para-Aminophenol HCI and stir until most of it is dissolved. Now add to that mixture the remaining 89 grams of Potassium Metabisulfite, and stir for 30 seconds.

Now let us make the Sodium Hydroxide solution. This is a very safe way to do it, first obtain a wash pan of cold water. In another 250 ml beaker, add to it 100 ml of cold water and add the 20 grams of Sodium Hydroxide. Next place the beaker into the wash pan; you will have to hold on to the beaker so that it will not tip over in the wash pan, and stir the Sodium Hydroxide until it is mixed and clear. The cold water in the wash pan will cool the Sodium Hydroxide in the beaker.

Using a 1 gallon Motts apple juice bottle, pour the Para-Aminophenol HCI solution in first, followed by the Sodium Hydroxide solution.

The water used to rinse out the beakers..., pour that rinse water into the Motts bottle. Add  water to the solution to make 500 ml, and shake for 1 full minute.

There will be heavy black deposits in the solution. Please do not worry about these deposits.

Now add the 5 grams of Hydroquinone and the 3.0 grams of CD3 Color Developer. Shake the solution to mix it for 45 seconds.

Add water to make a 750 ml of concentrated stock solution. Allow the stock solution to settle for 1 or 2 days, then filter the solution using a glass or plastic funnel, with medical cotton balls.

Always dampen the medical cotton balls, before using them for filtering solutions.

To use: Shake or stir the stock solution, then dilute approx.100 ml stock solution to  3900 ml of water, to give you 4000 ml of working solution. This is your working solution for large format tank developing at a 1:40 ratio. Check development times against Rodinal and decrease or increase by 2-3 minutes as required by the film being used. As the solution ripens, adjust the development times as needed. Replenish with fresh developer. Use the bleed replenishment method.

To use: In small tanks..., take 1 part of the above working solution (which is already diluted to 1:40), to 20 parts of water for a 1:60 ratio or take 1 part of the above working solution to 40 parts of water for a 1:80 ratio. The average development time is 10-14 minutes and 16-28 minutes respectively. Use as a one-shot solution.

Small tank user can use this developer similar to large tank users, if you are using a Paterson tank, like I use. Fill the tank with the right amount of solution needed to develop two rolls of 35 mm film. Even if you are only developing one roll of film. To do this..., mix 50 ml of stock solution to 3,950 ml of distilled/boiled water. This will be your new working stock solution. When you  are done with developing the film, pour the used solution back into the remaining working stock solution container. Shake and wait until your next use. This is good for 3 to 4 months, if well sealed.

After the 3-4 months have past or you have developed 8 rolls of film,  pour out 1/4 to 1/2 of the working stock solution, then mix a fresh 25 ml stock solution to 1,375 ml of distilled/boiled water and add that to your old working solution. Mix or shake up the new combined working solution and you are good to go for another 8 rolls of film.

This solution will ripen and only get better and better. But as you develop more rolls, your development times will get longer. You can add 5 ml of stock solution, with 60 grams of Sodium Sulfite or Potassium/Sodium Metabisulfite , to 250 ml of distilled water; to add to your working solution to replenish it as well.

Remember this is a Rodinal type developer, but it has the fine grain abilities of PPD, and the contrast of DK-50.

For small tank repeat users and large tank users, your biggest problem will be sledge; so filter the solution as needed..., using medical cotton balls, or a good coffee filter.

Storage Note:

One can not store their Rod-Thermic Developer as a concentrate pass four or six months. Because the developer will start to break down, due to the presents of the Sodium Hydroxide. Therefore, if you decide to store or keep this developer in concentrate form for longer periods of time.You will have to make it into a "two part" formula. Part A, is the Rodinal,250 ml; and Part B, is the 5 grams of Hydroquinone and the 3.0 grams of CD3 Color Developer, mixed with 10 grams of Potassium Metabisulfite, in 250 ml of distilled water.

To use, mix the Rodinal Part A, @ 1:60 and then add 5 to 10 drops of Part B. Stir and allow the solution to settle for 10 minutes before use, at temperatures from 68 to 85 degrees. Other dilution levels can be used as well. I have tried 1:80, with good results. 

Note: I have tested these formula and have obtained from good to excellent results. Yet I have not done exhaustive test with them because I do not have all the equipment or time, to try them out on every available film, camera, or photo paper.

This is where "you" the user come in. Make and try the formula out, and see what wonders you, yourself can create. Post your results or comments, whether good or bad; and become a Pioneer with me on a journey that does not end.

As always, You may leave a comment below or email me at

Thank You


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