Making Kodak D-19 from scratch with Original Recipe


In this week’s Blog I am showing you how to make Kodak D-19 Developer from scratch including all the steps and recipes. Developing film at home is always a special pleasure if you have the right equipment. Kodak D-19 is really hard to get these days specially now during the lockdown when everything has to be bought online. I always like to make my own stuff as you learn so much along the way. Kodak D-19 is actually made out of only a few ingredients and it’s not hard to make so let’s start.

Kodak D-19 is a very high contrast and fast acting industrial developer. Back in the days it was mostly used to develop x-ray materials. Today it’s used for developing aero films, high resolution plates and even holograms, but it also works great with films like Kodak tri-x, Fomapan R100, infrared films…

Why would I like to try it out?

Like I said it’s a high contrast developer which should be perfect for developing Glass Dry Plates as it produces high density negative that can be later used for direct contact printing with alternative processes like cyanotypes, salt print… It should also work great as a first developer when reverse developing to direct positive but I still have to give it a try. 

All chemicals are dangerous and must be treated accordingly. Please read the warning labels on each one of them before you start!

Ingredients/chemicals you need:

  • 500ml of Hot Distilled Water
  • 2,2gm of Metol 
  • 96gm of Sodium Sulfite, anhydrous
  • 8,8gm of Hydroquinone
  • 48g of Sodium Carbonate, monohydrated
  • 5gm of Potassium Bromide
  • Distilled water to make 1 litre of the solution

*Chemicals need to be mixed in the same order as listed here!

  1. Start by taking care of your safety and put some gloves on.

  2. Proceed by weighing all the chemicals so you can just add one after another later on.

  3. Prepare the 500ml of distilled water heated up to around 52°C (125°F). In order for the developer to react properly it’s very important what kind of water you use. So I recommend you to use distilled water as tap waters around the world are very different and can have lots of added ingredients you definitely don’t want to have in your developer.

  4. Start adding the chemicals one by one. Every chemical needs to dissolve completely before you add the next one. Also make sure to stick to the same order as listed above because for instance if you add Metol at the end it just wont dissolve anymore. If you can I recommend you to use a magnetic stirrer & you will thank me later.

  5. When you have added and dissolved all the ingredients you can add more distilled water to make 1l of the solution.

  6. Last step you need to do is to pour the stock solution into a container and store it in the fridge until needed. If stored properly this solution will last you a few months.

This D-19 developer you just made is usually used as stock solution or in 1:1 ratio with water.

I tested this Kodak D-19 developer and developer my Standard ISO 2 Glass Dry Plate that was shot on a frozen lake. I really wanted to emphasize the crack and contrast that is created between the edge of the ice and the water so this d-19 developer was a perfect match. I used a stock solution and developed for 4 minutes.

I also made a VIDEO tutorial on how to make the Kodak D-19 developer from scratch 🙂

Making Kodak D-19 high contrast Developer from scratch | Developing Black and white Film at Home

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