|Tri-X processed in R3|
This is the page for information, tips, links and results of New55's R5 and R3 Monobath Developer. Please help support New55 by buying and using R5! R5 replaces R3 with a more agitation friendly formula for more even development. Your purchase goes to the continued development of instant film and other interesting new photographic tools and materials.
Click here to buy R5 Monobath Developer in a ready-to-use bottle.
Click here for some great examples of black and white films processed in R3
Introduction to R5 Monobath
1. no dilution needed
2. warm to 80f/27C
3. load film in complete darkness
4. warm your film and film holder, and add R5, agitate for 30 seconds and occasionally for 6 minutes
5. pour used R3 back into bottle
5. wash film for at least 10 minutes and hang to dry
Q: What is R5 Monobath?
A: R5 is a ready-to-use black and white film developer that allows anyone to process their own black and white film in about 6 minutes, using just one solution.
Q: What is a monobath?
A: A monobath is a developer that does the developing and fixing process in one step.
Q: Why use a monobath?
A: Because it is easy! It is also fast. And, R5 produces a unique look that can be very appealing.
Q: What precautions should I take?
A: We recommend you wear ordinary rubber gloves if you think you might want to handle films or containers wet with R5. Otherwise you should not get your nose close to the ammonia, which is irritating. Obviously, do not ingest R5, and if you do, call a doctor.
Temperature, and Time
Q: At what temperature should R5 be used?
A: 80F is the standard temperature. R5 must be warm. That's 27 degrees Celsius. Your tank and film must also be warm! If you cool R5 when filling, you will get streaks.
Q: How long does processing take?
A: About 6 minutes.
Films that work with R5
Q: What films can I process?
A: Most black and white films, probably. We have tested it with Efke, Ilford, Kodak and New55's Atomic X films, and achieved good to excellent results with all. An exception is Ilford ISO 3200 high speed film, which is intended for push processing. If you expose for ISO 800, R3 works fine.
|Ilford Pan-F processed in R3|
Is R5 a universal monobath?
Yes, with a very few exceptions, as mentioned above.
Household ammonia smell
Q: Why does R5 use ammonia? Doesn't it smell horrible?
A: No not really. The ammonia is less concentrated than household ammonia but you still don't want to stick your nose in it. The ammonia controls the pH of the solution and that makes it work fast and controls the balance between the developer and the fixer. The use of ammonia compounds to develop films was not accepted until several years of successful R5 use proved it worked.
Q: How can I keep ammonia smell to a minimum?
A: Easy. Process in a closed container. In a tray, cover it. I use sandwich containers made by Glad which have a lid that snaps on. I put about a half inch of R5 in the bottom and loosely cover it before going into the dark bag. Once the film is in, snap the lid and you'll have no smell at all.
Archival qualities of monobaths
Q: Will R5 produce an archival negative?
A: As long as the negative is washed well then it should last a long time.
Color casts and base fog
Q: My Tri-X processed in R3 was a funny color. It scanned well though.
A: Yes, Tri-X at first has a brownish tint, but this goes away after a while. R5 is the same.
Q: I see base fog in some of my negatives
A: The presence of a small amount of base fog is a characteristic of monobaths and instant films, too. Scanners have little trouble with this, by the way.
Capacity of R5 for continued use
Q: Can I use R5 again?
A: Yes, depending on how much film you process, you can reuse R5. Stop reuse when you start to see degradation of the negative. It comes on slowly.
Processing kinetics, and push processing
Q: Why can't I process the film at room temperature?
A: R5 requires that it be warm! This allows the develop and fix process to produce a properly developed negative. If the solution is colder than recommended, you will pull the development and lose speed. If the temperature is hotter than recommended, it can be used to push process and increase speed. This can be very handy at times!
Q: Do I have to hold the temperature exactly?
A: No. It isn't very critical, but do try to keep it to 80 or aboce while you use it.
Q: Can I process sheet films in a tray?
A: Yes, use a cover to hold the temperature, and keep the ammonia smell to a minimum. Plastic sandwich containers work exceptionally well and need very little R5 to cover sheet film. Start off warmer because trays cool quickly
|EFKE 25 4x5, tray processed|
Q: Can I process in a dark bag/changing bag?
A: Definitely! This is what I do all the time. The sandwich container and my sheet film holder take up little space, the the sandwich container is left a bit loose until the film is put in. Then I snap it shut.
Processing roll films
Q:What about rollfilm?
A: You can use a daylight processing tank with a reel. Be sure to use enough solution to cover the negative.
Q: Should I agitate the film?
A: Yes, gently agitate WARM film for 30 seconds or so.
Q: I use a roller tank. How about that?
A: Sure, go for it. You should be fine, but remember to keep the solution warm, and the film covered.
Shelf life of tightly capped unopened R5
Q: How long will R5 keep?
A: Unopened R5 should keep for at least a year, which is a long time. It may even keep longer than
Q: I saw the fantastic and superb photography you and your crew did with R3. What scanner did you use?
A: This is the kind of question I wish I actually would get, but is just a self serving fantasy. It is an Epson V750 Pro. I think the results are actually quite nice. R5 scans look similar.
Historic fact about monobaths
Q: I read that if monobath were any good, everybody would already be using them.
A: They have been, since instant photography began. Instant photographs all depend on a monobath.
Anonymous yet invaluable advice from a reader:
The "Tupperware" sandwich box was a great starting point but temperature control was a bit of an issue. I've found that certainly you need to be in the 75-80 degree range but the falloff in temp, especially since there's such a small amount of solution being used was fairly quick. I also found the sandwich boxes were somewhat translucent and I wanted to be able to load them in a changing bag and let the film develop in daylight.
I found that by spraying the Tupperware with one of the "spray on rubber" products solved 2 problems. The rubberized coating acts as a great insulator and with a 10 minute development time I lose between .5 -1 degree. The second is that it makes the boxes light tight. I've sprayed 2 light coats over the box (with the lid on) and used a razor blade to cut along the top's seam which gives me a pretty much perfect light tight seal.
I also found that by straining the solution through a coffee filter after use removes almost all of the solids and I'm getting 9 or 10 uses from each batch (so basically 3 batches 1/2 inch deep in the box will handle a 25 sheet box of film.
I'm praying that the New55 project is a success but in the short term, using the posted formula and a few of the boxes I've made up gives me a 10 minute solution for test exposures - actually, the negs are of such good quality I can and do use them for either projection printing or scans.
Hope this helps someone.