Wolfgang Moersch Photochemie
Am Heideberg 48
50354 Hürth

Tel.: +49-2233-943137
Fax.: +49-2233-943138


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Two bath development with Lith + conventional developer
If a more subtle colouring is desired than with polychrome technique or if lith is only used as first bath to increase flat shadows in the negative, any positive developer can be used as second developer. Here it makes sense to use a slow working formulation.

SE20C Catechol on neutral tone paper

In Germany, vario-contrast bromide-silver paper (Varykon) of Fotokemika was distributed by MACO (Multibrom) and Fotoimpex (ADOX Fine Print Classic) in recent years. This paper liths with a sharp edge, deep blacks and an unspectacular colour. Here, in two bath development with an overexposure of 1 to 2 stops, lith developer is used only to develop the shadows. All other tone values are developed in diluted conventional developer. A good choice for this purpose is Catechol, which is strong and works slowly. The dilution depends on the amount of light given and can vary between 1+20 and 1+80. If you give a lot of overexposure to the print, you also have to dilute the lith developer more. Alternatively you can use Lith D or bromide to slow it down.

SE2 Warm on neutral tone paper

This developer reacts a lot more quickly. As above the paper was ADOX Fine Print Classic. Giving it about as much light as in the combination above, you have to dilute this developer a lot more in order to allow a slow development to delicate mid tones and highlights. The reason for this extreme difference lies in the formulation of the developer, which uses a higher dosage of an accelerator for development. Using this developer combination, the image tone will be less colourful. The print was toned in MT2 Carbon Toner 1+20 for 2 minutes.

© A.S.C.

SE20C Catechol on warmtone paper

Warmtone emulsions like Select/Forte/Bergger react with a lot of colour to the combination of Lith and Catechol, when overexposed a lot. If the second developer is highly diluted, densities in the mid tones will only increase slightly. Lith 1+8 and Catechol 1+50

© Heike Stark

SE30 Meritol on warmtone paper

Using Lith+Meritol on Select VC results in yellowish highlights, slightly red mid tones and green shadows. In selenium toner 1+20 these shadows increase in density within 30 seconds and show a cool magenta tone with maximum black after 60 seconds. If toning is envisioned, the print must not contain deep blacks, as they would grow too dense and loose detail in the toner.

© A.S.C.

SE1 Sepia on Agfa MCC

The emulsion of Agfa MCC went through a couple of changes over the years. Sometimes the result was a deprivation of its "lith-ability". The last charge can be used for this technique though. Start the development in lith developer with increased content of bromide (Lith D) until the shadows are clearly visible without showing full density. Then develop as usual in diluted second developer (1+50 to 1+200). You don't necessarily have to reach maximum black with the second developer, if you want to tone in selenium or carbon afterwards. With carbon toner a dilution of 1+40 is sufficient to increase the density of the shadows after only a short time. The initially green tint of the shadows turns redder with increasing time of toning and ends up in a cool magenta after a couple of minutes. In the photo above toning was stopped after 2½ minutes, to keep the greenish cast in the transitions to the yellow highlights.

SE6 Blue on Select VC

SE6 Blue is my strongest concentrate and has to be diluted up to 1+300 after lith. Alternatively, you can add Finisher Blue to retard a dilution of 1+30 to 1+50. Despite overexposure for the first developer, this can result in a cooler image tone.

© Peter Ginter


The VGT kit with its components allows us to prepare developer solutions for any given purpose. If you desire deep shadows and a "conventional" progression of tone values with a red-brown cast, the second developer has to be more active than the lith developer. However, it also has to be working hard and slowly to allow it to translate the required amount of light to a straight lined ascent in tone values. For that reason the developer is mixed only with A (hard) and C (alkali) substances. The small amount of another developing substance, which would normally be added, is omitted.

© Stefan Steinbrecher


If no suitable warmtone developer is available, yellow-brown to red-brown image tones can be created with the negative developer Tanol. As is known, in the absence of sulphite pyrocatechol develops to a brown tone. The concentration of sulphite in Tanol is low, so that this combination works at least with warmtone papers. Using neutral tone emulsions like Agfa MCC, brownish hues can be provoked by adding ammonium salt. Due to excessive oxidation, you have to use fresh developer after only 2 or 3 prints. If you put the two components of the developer into separate dishes, you can use them a lot longer. The alkalinity of the print coming from the lith developer absolutely has to be neutralized with stop bath. (Compare variations in part 2)