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FX-55 Crawley’s Ascorbic Developer

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Photograph developed with 510-pyro

27 May 2022

An unusual but excellent vitamin C developer!

Part A of the developer is the usual liquid stock solution but contains no developing agents and should last pretty well indefinitely, at least for a few years. 

Part B is made of the developing agents sodium ascorbate and phenidone in dry form.

Once the working solution has been made, Crawley says it keeps for about 36 hours.

Before use, dilute some the below Part A 1+9 with water to make 1 Ltr of working solution. Then add and dissolve the dry chemicals of Part B below to the 1 Ltr of working solution.

I happily make 500ml working developer by diluting 50ml Part A and make up to 500ml with water. Then adding 0.7g sodium ascorbate powder (my scale doesn't measure more accurately than 0.1g) and 5ml of a 1% phenidone solution (in propylene glycol). I use a syringe to measure the 5ml which is very accurate.

FX-55 is an excellent developer with a broad tonal range. It is sharp and fine grained with none of the mushiness of high sulphite developers like D76. It's also a lot safer when you want to keep away from metol, hydroquinone and pyro.

FX-55 Part A Stock

This is a long lasting concentrated stock. It is to be diluted 1+9 with water to make a working solution (a 10% working solution from stock). To this working solution we add the dry chemicals below.

Warm water 700 ml
Potassium carbonate 20g
Sodium bicarbonate 1.5g
Sodium sulphite Anhyd. 25g
Sodium metabisulphite 12g
Water to make 1 ltr

FX-55 Part B

To be added and dissolved just before use to the 1 Ltr of 10% working solution of Part A above.

Sodium ascorbate 1.3g
Phenidone 0.1g
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Acros at 80ISO developed in FX-55 6 mins 24degC - very slightly over developed. Use 5:30 as below. Nevertheless, the clouds have been rendered very faithfully showing an element of developer compensation.

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The grain from the picture above. This is a tiny section just above the tall tree. You can see the stunning detail that this combination has captured, the micro-contrast is excellent.

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This picture shows the very clean and sharp Acros macro-contrast and lovely pictorial gradation with FX-55. You can see clearly that this film/developer combination has really held the sky beautifully (no filter used). The developer gives a speed for Acros of 80ASA. This roll was developed for 5:30 at 24degC - agitation 30 seconds followed by 10 seconds each minute.
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FX-55 with Ilford IR film SFX

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