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Diafine - a question (plus I found a UK supplier)
Old 09-02-2005   #1
JamesW
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Diafine - a question (plus I found a UK supplier)

Whilst flicking through the UK magazine Black and White Photography a couple of weeks ago, I saw that Mr Cad were advertising that they had some Diafine in stock. I needed a few other bits and pieces, so I drove up there and picked some up. Alex Falk, the owner, told me that they were the new UK distributor, and that I was buying the last pack they had in stock (though there is more coming!). Just thought that fellow UK RFFers might like to know!

And now a question. I've developed my first roll in this (Neopan at 400), and although I was shooting in flattish light which doesn't seem to be recommended with Diafine, there seem to be some reasonable shots on there.

BUT, I can see on the contact sheet I've made that many, if not most, of the shots have streaks coming from the sprocket holes. Not huge ones, but enough to notice on the contact.

As fas as I can work out from reading about Diafine, this is a result of the agitation I used. But is it too much, or too little agitation which is the cause?

The agitation process I used was one that I think I picked up on here:

Pour in A - bang tank and invert once. 3 min soak, no more agitation.
Pour out A, Pour in B - bang tank and invert once. 3 min soak, invert once half way through.

(I'm using Plastic reels and tank).

Does anybody have any ideas if this is too much or too little, given my results?

BTW - I loved the ease of the Diafine - I've never been so laid back when developing film!
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Old 09-02-2005   #2
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Thanks for the information on a Diafine UK source James.

I've not used Diafine before but have seen streaks from sprocket holes in the past on another persons film whilst at college. If I remember correctly this was due to exhausted fixer. Just refix and wash.
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Old 09-02-2005   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesW
The agitation process I used was one that I think I picked up on here:

Pour in A - bang tank and invert once. 3 min soak, no more agitation.
Pour out A, Pour in B - bang tank and invert once. 3 min soak, invert once half way through.

(I'm using Plastic reels and tank).

Does anybody have any ideas if this is too much or too little, given my results?

BTW - I loved the ease of the Diafine - I've never been so laid back when developing film!

The key words here appear to be "plastic reels". The above agitation protocol is similar to the one I use and I have no problems. But I use stainless steel reels and tanks and from the posts here it has become apparent that with plastic reels, a bit more agitation is necessary. I do not know why this is the case, but it is happening nonetheless.

Double the agitation cycles next time and see what happens. Also keep in mind that agitation "counts" more when done earlier in the "B" solution cycle than later. If you wait until later in the cycle, development is all but complete so agitation then has little effect.

Tom
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Old 09-02-2005   #4
FrankS
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Hi James! I use plastic reels and have not gotten any uneven development with the agitation regime I follow:

Sol'n A - pour in and tap the bottom edge of the tank and swish the reels around with the rotator to remove air bubbles. Then jsut let is sit for 3 minutes because all that's happening is the sol'n soaking in to the emulsion

Sol'n B - pour in and tap the bottom edge of the tank to remove air bubbles, after 1 minute I rotate the reels gently about 360 degrees, repeat gentle 360 degree revolution after 2 minutes, then after 3 minutes I rotate the reels quickly through several complete revolutions, let sit for 1/2 minute more, then pour off

Good Luck on your next roll!
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Old 09-02-2005   #5
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I use both plastic and stainless... Long story, but I have one of each.

With the plastic I MUST MUST invert the container twice as much as the stainless. If I don't, I get streaks, and they are nasty looking. That very idea was suggested to me by someone from these forums, but I've forgotten who. Plastic reals- two-four inversions every 30 seconds, is what I recommend.

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Old 09-02-2005   #6
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I must be strange - I've been following the agitation pattern on the box! I had one roll exhibit the streaks. My understanding (gleaned from here, iirc) is that this is from not enough agitation.

Of course, the trouble with the instructions on the box is, what does 'very gently' look like?
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Old 09-02-2005   #7
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Thanks for your responses guys. Tom - I thought it might have been your agitation scheme that I'd picked up on here, but wasn't sure. Thanks for the advice you've posted here and in the past about Diafine - its been most helpful .

Frank - thanks for that. I'll try again soon. I just need to find the rotating stick that came with my tank, as I normally invert the tank.

Thanks again,
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Old 09-02-2005   #8
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James, you star! Thanks for the heads-up, as I really didn't think there was any in the country.

As for the streaking, I can generally avoid it by turning the tank round at the same time as inverting it, which seems to help the flow by the sprocket holes.
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Old 09-05-2005   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by principe azul

As for the streaking, I can generally avoid it by turning the tank round at the same time as inverting it, which seems to help the flow by the sprocket holes.
This is like what I do (one slow inversion a minute, rolling the tank as I right it again. I think it must help, as volume of film just drove me to try doing five roll batches with the tank completely full; I just did the slow rolling part on the minute. Three batches - no streaks.

Keep trying,

Tom
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Old 09-05-2005   #10
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Oops! Just experienced my first uneven development streaks on just a few frames on one roll of a batch of 5 that I just developed. I need to increase agitation a bit. Instead of the gentle rotation of the reels through 360 degrees once every minute, I'll do it every 30 sec. At least that gives me something to do!
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Old 09-05-2005   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankS
Oops! Just experienced my first uneven development streaks on just a few frames on one roll of a batch of 5 that I just developed. I need to increase agitation a bit. Instead of the gentle rotation of the reels through 360 degrees once every minute, I'll do it every 30 sec. At least that gives me something to do!


One of the people for whom I demonstrated developing in Diafine in person could hardly keep his hands off the tank. I thought I was going to have to get a ruler and rap his knuckles like an elementary school teacher every time he reached for the tank. For someone used to 'normal' developers, sitting there without fiddling around with the tank is very hard to do.

I also thought it was going to cause him a heart attack when the only 'stop watch' timer I had was my old wristwatch and we were just going by the closest minute instead of counting the seconds.

"Where's your stop watch?" - Don't need one

"How long does it take to fill the tank?" - Doesn't matter

"How many seconds to pour?" - Don't care 'cause it doesn't matter

"Where is your thermometer?" - Broke it years ago, don't need one anyway

"Well, what is the developer tempertaure?" - Don't know, don't care, doesn't matter.

etc., etc.

The only salvation to all this is that the entire process only takes 6 minutes so you do not have to listen to all this for very long until they are made believers themselves by seeing the results. For people used to standing around for half an hour or so it is an paradigm experience almost religious in nature.

Olds habits die hard.

Tom
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Old 09-05-2005   #12
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I've had uneven development with a 120 roll in a SS tank when I tried to go with less agitation. Now I just go with what it says on the box. Why not? They invented the stuff.
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Old 09-05-2005   #13
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The agitation need not be vigorous! Easy does it in Sol B; agitate slowly and gently. I've seen this streaking even in other developers when agitation has been too forceful, and the developer comes sluicing through the sprocket holes.
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Old 10-14-2019   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred View Post
Thanks for the information on a Diafine UK source James.

I've not used Diafine before but have seen streaks from sprocket holes in the past on another persons film whilst at college. If I remember correctly this was due to exhausted fixer. Just refix and wash.
Hi guys
I agree, the problem is the fixer! When developing with Diafine, you will need about two minutes extra-fixing. I don‘t have any idea why, but that‘s my experience from about ten years I’m using this developer.
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Old 10-14-2019   #15
Jake Mongey
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I believe Nik N Trick in folkestone are testing a bellini Diafine solution if I remember correctly
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Diafine Revisited
Old 10-15-2019   #16
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Diafine Revisited

First, let me say at while you can underfix film in development, there is nothing in or about Diafine which would make a film prone to requiring longer fixing than normal. Moreover, I seriously doubt fixation has anything to do with your streaking. Diafine is a two bath developer, meaning that the film soaks up the first bath which holds the developing agent(s) but lacks the chemicals which activate the development process. Diafine recommends a 3 minute soak in Bath A because that's the safe about of time for the film to soak up as much developer as it can. Without rinsing the film, you replace Bath A with Bath B, which holds the activating agent(s). Development begins and continues until all of the soaked up developing agent from A has been consumed in Bath B, then development stops for lack of further developing agent. (Incidentally, this makes all two bath developers highly compensating.) So, apart from making sure that you have no air bubbles stuck too your film in the first bath (would inhibit soaking up developer), agitation in the first bath means nothing. Agitation in the second bath is required only to insure that all of the soaked up developer has been processed. If part of a film area is relatively underdeveloped, it will eventually catch up and be processed properly, so long as there is enough time to do so. Diafine recommends 3 minutes in Bath B because they think that is enough to insure that all of the Bath A in the film has been processed. So, you can get sprocket streaking with Diafine by under development, but not by over development. Increase your agitation and/or increase your development time and your problem should go away. Of course, once you fix the film, you're stuck with the result.
IMO Diafine is a poor choice of developer today. Diafine was designed to work with the relatively thicker emulsions of the 1960s. Today, most films are thinner emulsions and do not soak up nearly as much developer Bath A as intended, so problems with simple lack of adequate development may occur, no matter how long you process in Baths A or B. I tried Diafine in the early 1970s with old Plus-X. I found it to be fairly grainy and and yield mushy grain structure. I haven't used it since. It was also one of the most expensive developers on the market then.
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Old 10-15-2019   #17
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Diafine seems to work very well with some films. I think it does well with Tri-X and Acros. Not the best for other films.

I use stainless steel reels and aggitate once every minute, two slow inversions. I believe on the instructions they suggest three inversions; I found that I get finer grain and a more exaggerated compensating effect by reducing aggitation, but I tend to extend the time a bit to get full development.

In effect I'm trying to exaggerate the compensating effect by making my development more like "stand" development.

I really like my results. I develop for a rich midrange. Diafine is a very strong and aggressive developer, and generally this promotes fine grain, especially when aggitation is gentle and controlled.

As an analogy a stock solution of developer with a shorter time will have smaller grain; diluted development has a longer time, but will display larger grain.

Remember that development really is only with the "Part-B" and that minimal development happens during the "Part-A" soak. Three minutes is a very-very short development time.

The key to great results with Diafine is understanding how to exploit the profound compensating effect. Under low contrast lighting add exposure. Also understand that the highlights effectively are processed as if "stand" developed: the Part "A" gets exhausted and development ceases. When in doubt add exposure (overexpose).

So you don't overdevelop or blow the highlights ever, you organically get enhanced shadow detail that is an inherent artifact of Diafine, and if you expose correctly the development provides a vast midrange. Understand the first two are a given: so again exposure and development is really limited to only the midrange. Said simply and differently expose for the mids, everything else is set (limited) as far as control.

My negatives look like HDR but is done with film. Less words: HDR film. Acros has no reciprocy failure. I have night shots that display vast midrange and are not just black and white.

Cal
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #18
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Hi,
I have not used Diafine for some time but seem to remember that agitation is important and, while useful, was not ideal for all photos. Al the best with your experiments. Here is one of mine: M6, 35 mm, Tri-X, Diafine:
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