Friday, 31 January 2014

Easy lith 200 try out.

Easy lith 200
For the best part of a year I have been looking at a couple of bottles of Moesch easy Lith 200. It is there by mistake, having turned up in an order I placed and could not be bothered to send it back. After looking at the instructions again I decided to give it a go. How difficult could it be, after all it does say easy lith!? It is time to put 'easy' to the test.

What the instructions say:

The lith developer comes in two bottles marked A and B. the former has Hydrochinon and the latter Potassium Carbonate.

A and B can be diluted from 1+15 to 1+50 or any combination of the two. For example 1+25 = 40 ml of developer to 1000 ml of water. (20 ml A +20 ml B +1000 ml of water)

You should over expose your prints by 1 to 4 stops. The amount of over exposure and the strength of the developer influences the interaction between the two, e.g. with a small over exposure you should use a stronger developer of say 1 to 15 dilution, with a larger over exposure you should use a weaker developer of say 1 to 50 dilution.

Reaction when you add part A and B together
The image printed is dependent on the paper and exposure used i.e. lots of light plus weaker developer equals longer development time and greater colour.

If you are using variable contrast papers (VC) you should use white light as contrast is controlled by a combination of exposure and development time.

Short exposure equals higher contrast, underdeveloped middle tones and minimal colour.
Long exposure equals softer and colourful high lights.

It does not matter what combination of exposure or dilution you use it can take between four to twelve minutes for the image to appear whether RC or FB paper is being used. When in the developer it is recommended that the print is agitated continuously and that the emulsion side should not come into contact with the surface of the tray as it will damage it.

The water added in this case was at 26 degrees.
as you can see the milkiness disappears
The development time will extend from print to print as oxidation and bi products build up this can be compensated for by adding fresh developer to regenerate the working solution.

You can vary the relationship between part A and B. Different affects will be achieved by doing this. More part A equals more colour and harder prints but runs out of steam more quickly. More part B equals a softer print that appears more quickly relatively speaking and will produce more prints before it is exhausted.

It is suggested that by increasing the temperature of the developer to around 26 to 28 degrees centigrade it will reduce development times by 30 to 40% but by doing this it will soften the gelatin making it easier to damage.

The instructions above are not verbatim as they are translated from German but contain all the most important bits.

Some thing’s to think about before you start:

Oxidized lith developer after 24 hours
I would suggest where possible that if you are going to use the developer at the increased temperature of 26 degrees +, that it is done separately to the stop and fix which would normally be used at 20 degrees. This is really aimed at those of us who mainly use a slot processor for printing. By doing this you decrease the amount of fumes given off making the air more breathable. It also allows you to cool down the paper when it is moved to the stop therefore hardening the gelatin layer decreasing it's susceptibility to damage as you move it from bath to bath.

Collapsible bottle.
I added part A and B together when I mixed it up for the first time which I think was a mistake, it would be a better idea to dilute A and B separately as one exhausts more quickly than the other. The instructions do not state either way as to mixing the pair together.

It also states that the developer oxidizes quickly when used in a tray and that you should only mix enough for the session and when finished throw it all away. I found that if you pour the unused developer into collapsible bottles it will stay fresh for at least 48 hours. A slot processor slows the oxidation down but not to the extent that it will keep over night.

Because this post is getting a bit long my results will be posted separately. 

Results link