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Photographers' Formulary Amidol Developer is regarded as one of the finest developers available. It produces rich, strong, black tones which are slightly cool.
Although Amidol is an excellent developer, it has a number of drawbacks. It is toxic and expensive. It does not keep well in solution. (Its useful life is about 2-3 hours.) And because Amidol stains everything it comes into contact with, it is not pleasant to work with. Formulary Amidol Paper Developer is very similar to Formulary Edward Weston's Paper Developer (Catalog number 02- 0010).
Weston's Amidol developer contains citric acid and more restrainer (potassium bromide) than does Formulary Amidol Paper Developer. The additional restrainer in Weston's Amidol Developer results in prints with greater contrast. Because Formulary Amidol Paper Developer is not acidic, it is a more vigorous developer than is Weston's Amidol.
Amidol is a poison and must be used with caution; the use of tongs or disposable rubber gloves is recommended when working with Amidol solutions.
Amidol is ideal for use with bromide papers where it produces a pleasing tonal range
Can be used at high dilution and maintain neutral print color
A rapidly working developer requiring only sulfite as an accelerator. Primarily used for printing, but occasionally for negatives. Oxidizes rapidly and keeps poorly
Amidol is very soluble in water or sulfite though it deteriorates rapidly in solution. The keeping properties of amidol in solution can be improved by the addition of a weak acid, such as lactic acid. Amidol is energized by sodium sulfite alone, without the necessity of adding any alkali.