Kodak D166 developer, solution for smoky vintage analog photographic papers

Making own developer, wow! From chemical ingredients, precisely weighing it out, mixing and keeping proper water temp... then excitement in dark room... will it work or not? will it? it does! I did it! Magic! 

So let's do it! 

Kodak D166 Formula

Formula according to official Kodak Chemicals Formulae Handbook from 1949:

English source that I've found has similar to above but half weight of ingredients than polish source. I've checked both and both works - difference is with a speed of development - polish formula (diluted 1:3) are little bit slower than english one, but both are fine.

Polski English

woda 52*C - 750ml
metol - 1,15 g
siarczyn sodu bezw. - 25,0 g
hydrochinon - 8,5 g
węglan potasu bezw. - 25,0 g
bromek potasu - 12,5 g
woda do 1000 ml

stosować w rozcieńczeniu 1:3

Water @ 125 F 750 ml
Elon 0.6 g
Sod. Sulphite 12.5 g
Hydroquinone 4.2 g
Sod. Carbonate 12.5 g
Pot. Bromide 6.2 g
Cool water to make 1.0 L
1:3 dilution


Kodak D166 ingredients 

Wondering how to get elon or sodium carbonate? Try Ebay or similar store, more likely you will find one place where you could collect all ingredients together. If you don't, check my collection of dark room equipment for Kodak D166 developer - warm tone paper developer, specialist for smoky paper

Preparing Kodak D166 developer

Kodak D166 developer, warmtome, reducing old paper smoke
Kodak D166 developer, warmtome, reducing old paper smoke
Kodak D166 developer, warmtome, reducing old paper smoke 


I mix ingredients in order as in formula, from right to left on a picture above. Every ingredient has to be resolved completely before adding next one. 

Developer is little but cloudy right after making it, but after few hours become transparent. 

I can offer you a hand if you are not interested in making D166 developer yourself, you can order it from me here: Kodak D166 developer - warm tone paper developer, specialist for smoky paper

Storing Kodak D166 analog developer

I stored D166 stock (no dilution) in light-proof bottle, without access to air (oxygen kills developer) for about two weeks and then used it (diluting 1:3) without noticing spoilage. Developer that was used during a very long printing session (about 12h in litter box) then poured back into a bottle (no light, no oxygen) - was useless for a next time. I think D166 when exposed to light and oxygen, breaks down much quicker than W14, so I'm not using it longer than for two, max three sessions, in total maximum 12h in litter box.

According to Kodak Chemicals Formulae Handbook expiration time for unused, not diluted developer is 3 month if stored in full, closed bottle or 1 month after opening (exposed for oxygen).

Good way to extend expiration time is to use a lighter gas injected into bottle to replace oxygen in it. 

Kodak D166 usage

Portiga Rapid Vintage Analogue Photographic Papers by Agfa

As displayed on above picture, reducing smoke is visible. Not exposed background is not grey, but white. Print at overall is not so cloudy, showing much more picture details (clouds and trees). 

Also please be aware that this is a warm-tone developer, it isn't clearly visible on picture above (iPhone pixel sux!), but you will be surprised how nice it looks! I did. 

Developer is much more slower than any I've used before (W14, Eukobrom).

Paper exposing time for D166 isn't much different to W14, maybe a bit more longer. It should be checked on every frame you wish to print.

Developing time - sometimes is much longer than classic recipes for 1,5 min. Sometimes after even 2 min there is no any sign of image. Don't worry. It works very slowly, but will be fine. Just be patient. There are prints that I develop even 5-6 minutes. Be careful - increasing exposing time to reduce developing time, in a case of old vintage photographic papers are not always good idea. Old papers have had kind of stains, you need developing time to align tones together, so if you will expose paper too much, your developing time will be too short to align all tones. Sometimes it gives very nice effect, try yourself! I think I will make a post about it someday, so stay tuned and good luck!  



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