For some time, I’ve been meaning to test home-brewed D-85 two-solution developer as an alternative for lith printing.
This is the first print, made from a 35mm negative, on Fotospeed lith paper.
The D-85 formula (available here) contains paraformaldehyde, an unpleasant chemical that gives off a strong odour of formaldehyde when in solution. Good darkroom ventilation is essential, particularly when – as is the case here – you are processing at a higher temperature.
This print was developed at a dilution of 1 part solution A + 4 parts solution B + 10 parts water at 32.5 deg. C. Development time was 10 minutes, with continuous agitation. The image started to appear at 5 minutes and the ‘snatch point’ was not critical, infectious development happening quite slowly.
The developer at this dilution exhausted very quickly. After two test strips and this 8×10 print, the next print had no visible image after 8 minutes. I topped up the developer with a further 1 part of solution A and continued development. This second print required 11 minutes in total, although the tonality was slightly different and the overall image darker than this, the first print. Replenishment with 0.5 parts of solution A may be a better option.
As I have found with this paper previously usng LD-20 developer, the lith effect is subtle and the image colour unexceptional. The paper is also semi-matt, a surface that I’m not keen on and which doesn’t scan well, due to its granular texture. The scan you see here looks better than the print. The colour of the enlarged image closely matches the original print though.
Further tests will be done next using Fomatone MG Classic 131 glossy paper.