Using ANSCO 130 with Benzotriazole

Craig Schroeder

Following a comment on APUG by Evan Clarke, I tried his idea of substituting benzotriazole for the bromide in Ansco 130 as the restrainer.  If you haven't used it, benzotriazole can be a bit difficult to put into suspension.  As an easy work-around, I've been using it in 1% and 10% solutions in 99% alcohol.  I happen to have a pipette that makes it easy to hit the mark accurately for use at 10% but for use with a beaker, a 1% solution would be easier to manage.  Right or wrong, I'm a bit nervous about introducing too much alcohol into my soups so have stuck with the pipette method.  I keep my modified 130 in 1.75L used liquor bottles and this has worked successfully for me.

Ansco-13- modified
Water 750ml (at 125f)
Metol 2.2g
Sod. Sulfite 50g
Hydroquinone 11g
Sod. Carbonate 80g
Benzotriazole1% 15ml
Glycin 11g
Water to make 1ltr


I use a reloading balance for smaller quantities so the above paste from my spreadsheet also includes the numbers in grains.  I happened to have a glass 1800cc beaker and have a 1.75X recipe that works out just right for my liquor bottle receptacle.  Creating new receptacles can prove an interesting hobby in itself.

If you're already an Ansco 130 user, you know of its positive attributes.  I had bought a large quantity of Ilford WT FB matte surface (actually the matte surface wasn't clear in the listed materials that I was buying).  The paper had always seemed dead and lifeless when I attempted to use it [with other developers] and I quickly gave up on it.  

When I first discovered 130 and saw the tones it could produce, I decided to give the WT a revisit with it.  This paper really came alive with the 130.  After reading of Evan's experiences with the alternate restrainer, I gave it a try.  It took the combination one step further and gave a very deep, almost velvet surface to the deepest blacks.  This added a nice punch to the images while retaining that great mid tone/skin tone spread that 130 is known for.  Perhaps it's sacrilegious to classic 130 users to play games with their worshiped soup, but I would encourage a test with your materials and see if you like the look.

I want to thank Craig for submitting this article to Pictorial Planet. It's a very  interesting alternate formula for ANSCO-130 that Craig has tested and feels has definite benefits. As Craig says, 130 is a marvelous paper developer and this alternate formula improves on that superb tonal range.  Thank you Craig for taking the time to write this. For anyone wanting to make a 1% solution, just dissolve 1g benzotriazole in 95ml 99% alcohol and make up to 100ml.

John Finch