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p-Phenylenediamine is the classic superfine-grain film developer. However besides the cautions listed, it requires strong overexposure of the film and a very long developing time, often twenty minutes or more, and even than the contrast of the resulting negatives is rather low.
As a result there have been efforts to replace p-phenylenediamine with other agents. One of the more successful is Windisch Superfine-Grain Developer that uses o-Phenylenediamine. This agent also has weak developing properties, but works as a good solvent for silver halide.
Photographers' Formulary 10-0890 10G Specs
Para-phenyelenediamene Para-diaminobenzene 1,4-diaminobenzene P-aminoaniline 4-aminoaniline Ursol D P-benzenediamine 1,4-benzenediamine C.I. oxidation base 10 Developer 13 Durafur black R Fouramine D Fur black R Fur yellow Para Ppd Renal pf Tertral D PPD Numerous other non-systematic names
White to slightly reddish crystals in photogrades
Very low energy developer; produces negatives of minimum graininess. Often used in combination with glycin and/or metol.
Cautions: Toxic and stains hands, clothing, and other things on prolonged contact. The free base of Para-phenyelenediamene and its water soluble salts may cause eczema or other skin irritations. Always wear a good dust mask when working with the powder and gloves when working with the powder or solutions.