Uncategorized

ORWO A-03 black and white film developer

Let me share my experience with ORWO A-03 — this is a black and white negative film developer.

ORWO A-03 500 ml. pack

Looking for its recipe in my old photo handbooks and internet forums I found scarce information.

This is a phenidonehydroquinone based developer. It has been designed for professional labs tank development, thus packages for 5, 10 and even 35 liters were marketed. It is considered gamma-constant developer, which basically means that the lab may process in its tanks all sorts of films with the same development time and temperature — very convenient when you have big load of films. Here is a link to the development instructions by The Massive Dev Chart.

You may notice that this recipe is referred to also as Calbe A-03 and Argenti A-03

Of course the convenience comes at a price — results were printable, but not to compare to high standards for professional images. As it became popular with amateur enthusiasts, ORWO made 500 ml. retail packs.

ORWO A-03 developing instructions

You see, DIN 15 (ISO 25) to DIN 30 (ISO 800) are prescribed with the same time of development.

I was using this developer for a few years before tried to find its recipe. Although in this forum the designation of the developer is mistaken with one for color processes, to me it looks like a correct formula:

ORWO A-03 developer:

Calgon ………………………………… 2.0 gr.
Sodium Sulfite …………………… 25.0 gr.
Phenidone …………………………… 0.2 gr.
Hydroquinone …………………….. 4.0 gr.
Sodium Carbonate …………….. 18.5 gr.
Potassium Bromide …………….. 2.0 gr.
Water to make 1.0 L.
pH 10.1 +/- 0.1

ORWO A-03 replenisher:

Calgon ………………………………… 2.0 gr.
Sodium Sulfite …………………… 30.0 gr.
Phenidone …………………………… 0.25 gr.
Hydroquinone …………………….. 6.0 gr.
Sodium Carbonate …………….. 20.0 gr.

So let’s look at some examples from my experience with this developer.

1. ORWO NP-22 135 film

Shot as: ISO 125. Developer: 9 min. at 20° C

ORWO NP-22 at ISO 125

As the film has long expired but I shot it at box speed I have pushed it slightly (9 min.).

2. ORWO NP-22 120 film

Shot as: ISO 100. Developer: 8 min. at 20° C

ORWO NP-22 shot as ISO 100

3. ORWO NP-22 6.5×9 cut sheet film

Shot as: ISO 125. Developer: 10 min. at 20° C

ORWO NP-22 cut sheet film 6.5×9, shot as ISO 100

My development tank for 6.5×9 cut sheet film does not hold well the film, so agitation was not very aggressive and I decided to prolong the time to compensate for this.

4. AGFA APX 100 cut sheet film 6.5×9

Shot as: ISO 100. Developer: 6:30 min. at 20° C

AGFA APX 100, shot as ISO 100

5. Kodak TRI-X PAN 400

Shot as: ISO 100. Developer: 6:15 min. at 20° C

Kodak TRI X Pan 400

I decided to pull this ISO 400 2 stops and develop it for 6:15 min. However, later on considering its age (expiration date: 1973) it looked to me like I haven’t actually pulled it…

6. AGFA Isopan FF

Shot as: ISO 8. Developer: 6:00 min. at 20° C

AGFA Isopan FF

I had no idea about the expiration date of this film or about its condition — it came to me in a large canister with no information. Had a bracketing test with ORWO A-03 to come to this ISO 8 remaining sensitivity.

7. ORWO DK-5

Shot as: ISO 12. Developer: 1+5, 60 min. stand at 20° C

ORWO DK-5

ORWO DK-5 is a technical film used in the past to store documents. It has very high gamma value and is expected to express very small amount of gray tones. I had number of tests to try to soften this film. In this example I used ORWO A-03 1+5 for 60 minutes stand development. I forgot to mention above that A-03 is dilutable, at least to my experience.

8. Fomapan Profiline Action 400

Shot as: ISO 400. Developer: 10 min. at 20° C

Fomapan Profiline Action 400

Here are some links with more information and discussions about ORWO A-03:

Toivonen Photography

grossformatfotografie.de

 

One Comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *