17. januar 2016

How to clean and re-grease two Jupiter-8's

Last entry was about how you can fix and adjust the focus (collimation) of your Jupiter-lenses, to work with M-mount cameras (like Leica and Bessa rxm and rxa). http://helino-photo.blogspot.no/2015/12/jupiter-8-vs-jupiter-8-vs-carl-zeiss.html

Here's an attempt to make a tutorial on how to disassemble, clean and re-grease two versions of the Jupiter-8 50mm F2.

Jupiter-8 1963 to the left, 1955 to the right.
Both lenses are adapted to M-mount via attached adapter-rings.

Most often when you buy the old Soviet lenses, you can experience that the focus-ring is stiff or irregular when turning. The reason for this, is old, dried up grease inside the focus-helicoid.
To fix this, you need to disassemble the lens, clean out the focus mechanism and re-grease, before assembling the lens again.


I have two lenses, one from 1963 and one from 1955.
- Well, I actually have yet another one, a black one from the seventies or so, but it's not a part of this tutorial.

There are several variations of the silver Jupiter-8's, and I seem to have one simple and one complex type, regarding the helicoid. You can perhaps locate your variant here: http://www.pentax-manuals.com/repairs/j8service.pdf

This tutorial is basically similar to the above link, in my own words, maybe it can be used as a substitute or addition to the above excellent article.


  • Jewelers screwdriver set since the screws are tiny.
  • A good, silicone or lithium-based grease.
    • Should not be too thick, or your focus will be smooth, but very stiff and probably not usable in the cold, as viscosity tend to change when you get below -7 to -8 degrees in the winter. 
    • You cannot use oil, WD-40 or similar, use grease.
  •  Electronic cleaner spray. 
    • I've found that this is the best to use to loosen old grease, it evaporates and leaves no residue. You can also use purified gasoline or maybe even some kind of spirit-based cleaner.
  • A stationary loupe/magnifying-glass which will enable you to work with both hands.
    • Some of the screws on the lens are so small you'll need a magnifier to get stuff together properly without breaking the screws.
  • A cloth to work on, use a t-shirt with some kind of bright color. It prevents parts and screws to roll and bounce away. It's also easy to spot any screws that fall off when you work and you can wipe your screwdrivers on it, if it (when it) gets all dirty from the old yak-fat :)
  • An old tooth-brush that you can use to clean out the fine threads on the rings.
  • Mobile phone to take photos of the process-steps


  • When making a mark, try to use a screwdriver and not a pen/cd-marker.
    • When you clean and re-grease later and then fiddle to get it back together again, you will rub off the marks. 
    • Make the marks at places, so that they are not visible when the lens is assembled.

Jupiter-8 1963 edition, simple focus helicoid

This version is actually pretty straight forward.
The reason for this, is that my lens at least, have the three screws on each ring placed, so that they do not form a triangle with equal sides.

This makes sure that there is only one correct way to put the lens back together again.

Start by splitting the lens (twist the top part, lens part, counter-clockwise and the helicoid clockwise):

Split the lens, the top part should be screwed counter clockwise, and the bottom part clockwise.
If it's really stuck, use gloves or a cloth for better grip, they should come apart eventually.

When taking the focus-unit apart, I usually start by setting the lens at infinity. On my lenses, there is a real "stop" at infinity, while the close focus are usually not a dead stop, but a sort of a jam.

I usually set the lens to infinity before disassembling.
The reason for this, is that my lenses tend to have the correct marker for infinity
while close-focus is more variable (somewhere below 1 meter).

Not always obvious, but sometimes the screws are not aligned to form an equal sided triangle.

You'll normally find 3 screws for every ring, often they are placed, so that they
make up a triangle with one shorter side and two longer sides.
This helps when assembling the lens, but be aware that this is not always the case.
(take pictures and mark the lens with your screwdriver at certain points if you are unsure)
Work your way down the layers, starting with the focus-ring.
Take photos as you go and make sure those screws don't get lost!
The rear ring is removed, notice the screw, stopping the movements for close focus.
This screw needs to be removed as a last step of disassembly.

Focus ring is already removed, the ring indicated here, holds the aperture/distance relationship markers.
Note that all screws should be able to go all the way in without a hitch, if you experience issues when re-assembling, you have misaligned something.

I found that the most important thing here, is to make sure to note now the silver ring sits when at infinity.
On my lens, it is flush to the lip of the black inner tube as it hits the infinity screw. The ring can be set at at least 2 different positions (possibly more), so make sure you put it in the right way.
The final part of the helicoid, make sure you know how it looks when it is screwed all the way in (infinity)
The silver-ting should be flush to the lip on the back-part of the black tube, as shown.
Remove the ring indicated by 4) and you are ready to start cleaning and re-grease everything.

Now you can start cleaning. Use paper and cleaner to get all the obvious grease off, then use the tooth-brush with cleaning agent to clean out the threads for the rings.
Make sure everything is clean, or you will experience that your lens is still irregular and not smooth as butter.
If you are sloppy here, you may have to do the whole procedure again.
All parts, screws are collected so that they are inside the ring they belong to.
(They can be different in length and size).

Jupiter-8, 1955 edition, complex helicoid.

The 1955 (early to mid 50's) is supposed to be the better Jupiters, or, atleast the ones with less faults and maybe better glass. So I bought this one from eBay before Christmas. I also wanted the notched focus ring, as I find it more practical than a naked ring you twist.

This one is a bit of a challenge to clean and grease though.


There are more rings to take off and you need to mark the parts more, to be able to get everything back together again correctly.

It's not extremely hard, but I think I used like 1,5 hours getting only the three rings back together correctly the first time I tried. (second time, I spent "only" 30 minutes on that part =D ).

It's tricky to get the three rings together correctly.
I refer to them as "the black tube" and the two silver rings, for convenience.

Again, take your time, take photos during the process and make sure to mark (especially the final rings) properly and you will be able to get it back together again.

As always, you start by twisting the lens apart.

I've found that the focus limit screw also act as a focus-break, so if you tighten it too much, your lens will be hard to focus with. You need to tinker with it to set it correctly.

The relationship between the rings can be hard to explain, but I can explain the purpose of the design:
This is a (complex) way to transfer the circular movements of focusing, to a straight (lateral) movement of the focus unit (the black tube).

This is whats preventing the front of your lens to rotate when you focus, but rather move in and out.

Basically it works like this:
The focus ring, with knob, is fastened to ring 2.
As this one turns, it screws itself in and out on the black tube, simple, it's a "screw" after all.
It is threaded inverted though, so you screw the opposite way you would a normal screw, to screw it on or off the black tube.


Ring 1 is the magic part here.
This is a normal ring and is screwed onto ring 2, but it also has a notch or groove on the inside. This notch needs to fit over the stop screw.

When you screw ring 1 onto ring 2, it jams when it gets as far as the stop-screw. So to get it further in, it will need to be in a position where the groove/notch is over the stop screw (mine goes just past the stop-screw before it stops, when correctly inserted and I need to rotate it back 1/6'th of a turn to place the notch directly in line with the stop-screw). Then ring 1 needs the help of ring number 2 to get all the way in. To do this, you switch your hands over, hold both the black tube and ring number 1 stationary, and then turn ring 2.

Ring 2 will then (as screws do) move towards the lip of the black tube, but at the same time it screws ring 1 onto itself, in other words, ring 1 is "pulled" onto the black tube by the turning of ring 2, while being otherwise stationary (not rotating), held in place by the stop-screw in the notch/groove.
- You'll need to jiggle a little to get the stop-screw into the groove. :)

When you get to this step, observe, mark generously (but try to avoid confusing yourself) and then twist ring 2 to see what happens. When you screw it out, it goes out, but "pushes" ring 1 away from itself.

The problem with re-assembly, is that ring 1 can be screwed on 8 different ways (I think), it's fiddly to align it properly with the stop screw and ring 2 can be tough to move (with added grease, even more so).

Ring 2 can be threaded at least 2 different ways as well, so it has a relationship both to ring 1 as well as the black tube and should be marked accordingly.

With ring 2 having minimum 2 different ways to be put on, and ring 1 having 8, you have a minimum of 15 wrong ways and only one right way the rings can go in with this lens. If you get ring 2 on correctly, you have 7 wrongs and one right way, where some of the wrong ways looks fine.
That's why you should mark the rings as you disassemble it, so you can confirm that you found the correct way. ^^

Also, on my lens. When the two silver rings are correct, they have a slight gap to the lip of the black tube, it is easy to believe that they should be all the way in (which is also possible), but in my case, they are not supposed to be all the way in when correctly assembled. (just to add to the confusion).

Hope it helped.

There are videos out there which show how to disassemble Jupiter-8 lenses, but there are, off-course not any videos explaining the complex type in detail. :)

Lens-elements, disassemble and cleaning:

Good luck and have fun ^_^

6. desember 2015

Jupiter-8 vs Jupiter-8 (vs Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm F2 ZM ) on a Leica M6

Three weeks ago, I decided to enter the Leica-field.
Since I have no interest in, or money for, the digital Leica's, I opted for the Leica M6 classic. The M6 has a battery-operated light-meter, but will continue to shoot without batteries.

I wanted the more vintage looking one in silver and black and coupled it with the impressive, and affordable Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm F2.0 ZM silver edition. This lens, compared to the (much) more expensive Leica lenses, is a real gem indeed.

My Leica is from 1996 and the planar lens is from 2006 (or newer, no idea how to interpret the serial, anyone??). Both were bought from eBay, from sellers in Japan. Both looks brand new (came in original boxes) and works wonderfully.

Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss planar F2.0 ZM

I got two Jupiter-8 50mm f2.0 lenses earlier this year as well, initially bought to play around with on my Zorki's.

However, they never really focused well on any of my Zorki-cameras, the reason for this is that they actually need to be adjusted for the camera they are supposed to be used on, Russian or otherwise.

Since I recently bought a Bessa R3M and right after that, a Leica M6, I decided that I would use my Jupiter-lenses on them, trough a M39 (screw mount) to M mount adapter.

M39 to M-mount adapter-ring.

Jupiter-8 lenses compared with Carl Zeiss planar f2.0 ZM

The difference between the Jupiter-8's and the modern planar is striking. The Jupiters are almost cute, since they are so small and compact, compared to the rather big planar lens. 

From left to right: Jupiter-8 silver, Jupiter-8 black, Carl Zeiss Planar F2 ZM

From left to right: Jupiter-8 silver, Jupiter-8 black, Carl Zeiss Planar F2 ZM
(Yes, I've polished the silver Jupiter, amazing what a little silver and metal polish can do to a rather scrappy looking lens body)

As one can observe, the Jupiter-8's are smaller in most aspects, compared to the Zeiss; They are a little shorter, and the barrel circumference are also smaller than the modern lens.

Anyway, after getting said adapter (not a Chinese one), bought fairly cheaply from eBay, I mounted the Jupiter-8 lenses on my Leica M6, to see how they fared there.

Leica M6 with Jupiter-8 silver

Leica M6 with Jupiter-8 black
 Sorry for the rather crappy shots in color, my iPhone is really starting to show it's age ^^

I used the silver lens as focus point for my black lens and vice versa, easier to distinguish what lens I shot with, after development of the film ^_^

- Click the photos to see larger versions

Silver Jupiter-8:

At f2.0, this lens showed significant "dreamy bokeh" at f2.0, as well as major back-focus, back-focus not really improved at F2.8, but the dreaminess is gone.

Black Jupiter-8:

At f2.0, this lens also showed significant "dreamy bokeh" (more than the older, silver lens), as well as back-focus to the same degree as the silver-version.

Carl Zeiss planar 50mm F2.0 ZM reference:

Superb lens IMO, usable at all apertures, sharp and nice controlled bokeh.

- Both Jupiter-8 lenses showed significant haze/dreamy Bokeh at f2.0.

- At f2.8, both Jupiter-8's are sharp, no more dreamy Bokeh, though both lenses were off (back-focusing) by around 10 cm on close-up minimum focusing distance (approximately 1 meter).

The Carl Zeiss is way better, but it is off course of a different design (Planar vs the Sonnar-design the Jupiters-8's have) and the Zeiss is also made 40 years after the black Jupiter-8. :)

Research and adjustment

There is a lot of information about various adjustments that can be done to the Jupiter-8 lenses (and other USSR-era lenses).

First you need to establish what kind of problem you have.
Both my lenses had back-focus at close up distances, infinity was ok.

Some lenses may be off in both ends, or fine up-close and bad at infinity, others may be adjusted to focus closer than 1 meter, others may simply be duds that cannot be corrected etc etc, all this affects what you need to read up on.

There is one name that keeps popping up when it comes to adjusting the Jupiter-lenses, and that is Brian Sweeney. This guy really knows his stuff, he has a lot of archived posts at Rangefinderforum and on Photo.net. Not sure if he is active on these forums these days, but I was able to find all the information I was after, by reading his helpful replies to people 10 years ago. ^^

Like this:

Trough google, one should be able to find a whole heap of information from this guy, he knows his stuff. He has explained what the problem with Jupiter and other lenses are, compared to Leica here:


There has been made a compilation of great 'Sweeney-information' here: http://aperturepriority.co.nz/2013/02/06/jupiter-3-f1-5-information-update/

Most of this concerns the Jupiter-3, however, much of it can be applied to Jupiter-8 as well.

Anyhow, my lenses needed "re-shimming", this means that one has to screw the lens apart and add more shims, so that the lens-elements are moved further away from the focus helical unit.

From Sweeny's notes, he mention that his experience was that most lenses needed one added shim, around 0.1mm to 0.15mm thick.
I don't have any shims, but I've also read that they often used paper-shims in the USSR.

So I made one shim out of paper, 0.1mm thick, measured after an already existing shim, located inside my lenses. This is fiddly, to be honest, so use an exacta-knife to trace out the new shims. (and be patient).

Some make shims from aluminum-foil, not sure how less fiddly that will be. :)

For actual disassembling of my lenses, I used this:

Basically, to open the lens, grab the aperture ring and the focus ring and twist until the units come loose from each other.

After screwing the lens apart, one should be able to see any shims already in place.
Use existing shims as blueprints for new ones (paper or aluminum-foil)
Snipped from http://www.pentax-manuals.com/repairs/j8service.pdf

After trying out my shim, take test-photos, develop and scan and inspect, I found that my silver-lens was still back-focusing. Actually, I had "halved" the focus error, more or less.

So I made another paper-shim, adding a total of 0.2mm to the distance between the lens unit and focus unit of the lens.

I then retried my setup, and wow....perfectly accurate focus! \o/

I made another two shims to my black Jupiter-8 as well, since the back-focus error on both lenses were exactly the same.

Post-correction note:

After performing a re-shim procedure, your aperture ring will no longer line up (naturally, as you no longer screw the lens as far in as before). 

To correct a misaligned focus-ring, you will need to loosen 3 microscopic screws on the aperture ring, done under a magnifier and using the smallest possible screwdriver you can get your hands on.

Most likely, if you forget to make new holes for the screws before screwing them in again, you will break the small screws when tightening, because they really cannot handle much of anything. I broke 3 of the 6 screws on my two lenses, but I did manage to get the aperture ring to stay.
Again, according to Sweeney:. "The best way to make tap holes is to use a hand drill with a triple-zero drill bit. The metal is fairly soft, it is aluminum. The idea is to make a hole for the end of the set screws to fit into"

Just be careful.

Screw for the aperture ring, can be observed to the right of "2" on the aperture ting on the leftmost lens.
There are a total of three such screws that need to be loosened to be able to re-align the aperture ring.

Regarding infinity focus or focusing at intermediate distance after re-shimming, Sweeney say that you can take advantage of the Sonnar-design's inherit focus-shift, as well as depth of field masking when you stop down your lens.

So basically, use f2-2.8 close up, 4f and smaller for longer distances and you should be fine across the range.

After adjustment:

Silver Jupiter-8:

Black Jupiter-8:


Practical results:

Leica M6 with Jupiter-8 silver, 1/30s @ f2.8
Fuji Acros 100 in HC-110B, 5 minutes
This particular shot has some flare from the flash behind the subject, made the shot really vintage looking :)

Leica M6 with Jupiter-8 black, 1/30s @ f2.8
Fuji Acros 100 in HC-110B, 5 minutes

Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss planar F2 ZM, 1/30s @ f2.8
Fuji Acros 100 in HC-110B, 5 minutes


I know the Leica purists may dislike the idea of using Jupiter lenses on a Leica M6. (some even have chronically OCD about using a quality lens as the Carl Zeiss on a Leica).

I say, who the hell cares?

The Jupiter lenses have their own character and yields shots that are completely different from the summi* lenses and whatnot. The Carl Zeiss planar yields sharpness and quality that rivals most Leica 50's, except for the $7 000 Leica APO-Summicron ASPH and the $3500 f1.5 Summilux ASPH.

For fun and geeking around, have a go at a $40 Jupiter-8 and see what you can manage to get, with an adapter.

It will mount on most cameras following the Leica standard. ^^

25. mai 2015

FSU cameras, Zorki

Zorki-1d in it's leather case
A legendary Soviet camera, the Zorki.

This 35mm camera was a further development from the Fed, which, again, was a copy of the Leica II during the 30's. Read more on wikipedia :)

Another good source on Zorki and other cameras is sovietcams.com and be sure to check out the Fed and Zorki survival site AND also the very informative ZORKIKAT (how not to destroy your Fed and Zorki )

I bought mine quite cheaply from eBay, from ua-artprojectcom. The camera came with the collapsible Industar-22 50mm f3.5, in the original leather case and had been CLA'd and tested by the seller.

The camera cost $75

The cosmetic condition was very nice indeed, a little wear here and there, but over-all a very nice looking gadget of a camera.
Very solid too, all metal (even the "leatherette" is metal ^^), quite heavy and sturdy.

I have a Zorki 1d, I think it was made in 1950-56, but you can never be sure with the Zorkis, due to variances in production lines, serial-no policies (first numbers not necessarily indicating production year), and serial-number deliveries etc, basically it's a real mess and a crap-shoot, so it's made "some time during the 50's".....probably....!

There are subtle variances in design that can help classify the models, but even here, you may find yourself with a Zorki with various parts, belonging to no specific class...so..yeah! :)

I wanted the latest first revision, with the original copied Leica speeds (the final version of the 1, the "1E" has the familiar modern shutter-speeds on it). This one has the original, weird shutter-speed steps. ^^

Shutter-speed selector, shutter release, film-winding mechanism and the release knob, to prepare for film rewind.
The speeds are close enough to the speeds I am familiar with anyway (1/15s, 1/30s, 1/60s, 1/125s, 1/250s etc) and film is lenient, so it's definitely not a big deal.

No, it definitely does NOT have a light-meter (are you mental? =D )

Here's a few more shots of my particular camera which shows the lens and camera from various angles.

Original cover for the lens, it has a little bump on it, but looks very nice and finish off the camera

The knob closest to the camera is pulled up and then you screw it to wind the film back.
Do NOT forget to set the rewind release knob to "B" before you do, or you may snap off your film!

Back-view with serial-number showing. Rangefinder focusing window to the left, composition-window to the right.

Sweet looking Zorki

Bottom loading camera. You unscrew the knob on the right and lift off the bottom lid to load and unload film.

And the original?

The original Leica II....the resemblance is just.....just...oh you cheeky Russkies! =)
Photo shamefully borrowed from http://collectiblend.com/Cameras/Leitz/Leica-II-%28Mod-D%29-%28chrome%29.html

In the hand and in use

The camera is quite small, it fits very easily in my hand, although my hands are of the larger kind. :)
There are no luxury-items like a strap or mounts for straps, carry in your hand or in the leather-casing.

Not a very large camera, thin too.

My camera doesn't like the cold very much. I've experienced shutter-lag/sticky shutter when out and about in a very comfortable -4 degrees during winter, so I suppose it is best used as a summer-camera. :)

Very important: You need to set the shutter speed _after_ you've wound up the shutter _only_, or else you can and will mess up the camera and possibly break the whole thing, rendering it useless.
When you've fired off a shot, the shutter-speed selector winds back and ends on some gibberish value, the true shutter-speed value can only be observed when the shutter is cocked.

It is by no means a quiet camera, it snaps pretty bossy and surprisingly loud each time you take a photo, adding to the cheap feel. :)

The rangefinder is surprisingly easy to use for such an old camera. You use the left most window (rangefinder-window) to focus and then the right window to compose your shot. (usually I just use the rangefinder-window for everything, as it is quicker, especially for people).

The Industar-22 lens I have is also very quick to focus with, smooth and well built and looks really cool with it's collapsible design. To use, you pull out the lens and twist 1/4 of a round, so it doesn't fall back on itself when you press the front towards the camera.

The aperture-adjustment ring on mine is a little flimsy (feels that it isn't quite engaged), but it does work very well, so I suppose it's by design or whatever :)

Loading the camera is done in the old Leica way, from the bottom. You also need to cut the film-leader, so that the thinnest part of the leader, is extended to about the same length as the camera.

Be careful so you don't leave any jaggies when cutting the leader, as this may jam and be stuck inside your camera, and make sure you round off your cut _between_ the holes in the film edge..

What about the results?

A lot of talk, but how are the results from this camera?

I haven't shot miles of film with the camera yet, but I am very impressed with the Industar-22

Zorki-1d with Industar-22 50mm, Kodak Tri-X, HC-110 B 6 minutes
Quite close-up, shot with Tri-X, wide open.

Zorki-1d with Industar-22 50mm Fuji Acros 100, HC-monobath, 15 minutes
Shoot data: 1/200s @ F4

Zorki-1d with Industar-22 50mm Fuji Acros 100, HC-monobath, 15 minutes
Shoot data: 1/200s @ F4

Zorki-1d with Industar-22 50mm Fuji Acros 100, HC-monobath, 15 minutes
Shoot data: 1/200s @ F4

The portrait shots are incidentally developed using the monobath I was talking about in my last blog-entry, Acros still looks quite lovely in that developer I must say.

The sharpness of this lens at F4 is pretty impressive, especially close up, the proof is in the pudding in the portrait shots, they were all shot a measly 1/2 stop below wide open!
Heck, it's even sharper than my silver Jupiter-8, which is a Sonnar copied design, but I may have a dud there (bought from a seller in Moscow).

I have a black Jupiter-8 too, for my Zorki-4K (looks just like the lens and camera in the picture on that link, more on that in a later blog) which was also bought from ua-artprojectcom, which is better. :)

The camera is FUN and it does indeed produce lovely results, the standard Industar-22 is really a good performer on my camera.

ua-artprojectcom really did a great job with their CLA, I can really recommend him, everything I've bought from him is top notch.

Not bad at all for $75 ^_^

11. mai 2015

Monobath-processing with Kodak HC-110 :)


First a disclaimer: This is in no way, shape or form an attempt to be a scientific report, I am simply going to tell you what I did and how I interpreted the results. For accurate, scientific results, one should use the proper material and processes. (which I don't do at all ;) )

I recently saw a video by Ted Forbes, where he did a review on R3 monobath.

What is a monobath?

Well, for those old enough, it's the same process that makes polaroid-photos develop, stop and fix themselves after shooting. For those that are too young for this...it's magic! :)

For black and white processing it means: A single bath that covers the three stages of black and white development (dev - stop - fix). It really doesn't stop anything, it fixes as it developes....... ^^

This has been researched for decades in the past, with interesting results.
Truth be told though, a magic bullet has never been found, because they experienced speed-loss, development artifacts, grain issues and many other things along the way.

Also, the liquid gets REALLY muddy after just 2-3 runs, as the fixer rinse out the silver and whatnot, I suppose it may or may not affect the shots after a while.

Also, as one know, if you are using black and white film, and you use several different films in the same developer, they have different times at which they are developed. Thus a developer react differently with various films.

The same is true for a monobath, thus, you must tailor the monobath to the particular film you are using and from that follows, that monobaths, although successful with one film, may not be usable with another film.
- Modern T-grain films may also have issues with monobaths.

......So it was never a commercial success.

Anyway, the R3 process is tailored to suit several films, and it seem to do various films pretty well take a look if you live in the US.

In Ted's vlog on youtube, he mentioned that you can make it yourself, and one Mr. Donald Qualls posted an interesting find over at photo.net in 2004, where he had made a monobath with ammonia, which developed Tri-X pretty well.

He also posted the recipe ^^

Orginal at 75F to make 256ml, by Donald Qualls Oct. 2004
50ml household clear ammonia
15 ml of HC-110 syrup Dilution A (1:15)
10 ml Ilford Rapid Fixer concentrate
ca 180ml Water to make up 256 ml  

I wanted to make 1500ml, to fit in a large bottle of Coke that I have, so I multiplied up the amounts and used:

300 ml household clear ammonia 
90 ml of HC-110 syrup straight from the bottle.
60 ml Ilford Rapid fixer concentrate
Water to 1500ml

My bottle of ammonia is a no-name brand called "First price" and says 5-10% on it.
I read somewhere it means "5% of solution", "10% of weight". 

Anyway, the original recipe state to use 5% household ammonia and you can usually find it in the cleaning section in your general grocery-store.
I mixed the developer and ammonia first, then I put the fixer in and then water, just to make everything more easy for myself, as I didn't want to stir around with too many bottles and cups.

Use a well-ventilated room OR as I did, mix the stuff on the stove below the fan that normally suck cooking-fumes out, the fumes from the ammonia will make you gag for sure and it can hurt your skin, eyes and lungs, so avoid breathing this stuff :)

In the analog geeks group at Facebook, people have already tried out Tri-X and it works as advertised.
But I am a Acros-shooter for the most part and for 400 ISO I use Neopan 400 (and more often these days, Tri-X), so I wanted to see how this monobath would work with Acros and Neopan.

After all, both Neopan and Acros have roughly the same develop-times in HC-110 (you can put both films in the tank and develop them together).

Both also have a very short development time when you look at dilution B.
For the monobath, you effectively use dilution A, which means half the time of B, which again means a development time of around 2 minutes 30 seconds for those films, very similar to the Tri-X times.

I will not get into the details surrounding Neopan 400 here, except to say that with a development time of 15 minutes, the negatives were thin (looked underdeveloped, edge-markings barely visible) and the base-fog on the film was present, but didn't play a great part in scanning. But I would not use this particular recipe for Neopan 400.

- Scanning did work well, but it was clear that the monobath would have have to be adjusted to suit Neopan 400, which isn't viable, considering the film is no longer produced by Fuji.

For Acros however, it was "wow time".
- And that is kind of funny, since I read somewhere that it is a t-grain/cubic hybrid sort of film.

I did a few test-shots around my apartment windows (because it was getting late in the evening), used my Hasselblad 503CW, mirror lockup and remote release (shutter was around 1/30's at F4) and snapped away.

Some shots were +1 over measured exposure, to see how overexposure would look like, didn't have much effect on the final outcome, maybe a little.

The development data was 15 minutes at 25 degrees Celsius. 30 seconds initial agitation (I used the stick in the tank, not inversions of the whole tank, to avoid spillage), then 4-5 rounds with the stick every 5 minutes.

I have not tested the minimum time for development and fix/clear, others can do that, I did 15 minutes to be sure it was clear


Negatives were CLEAR....really clear indeed. Where the Neopan 400 showed a good amount of base-fog, the Acros came out clear as it normally does in conventional developers.

The negatives themselves looked GREAT (although the negative area looked more brown than the typical black).

Here the strip is hanging in the shower to dry:

Here is how the initial scan looks, I have scanned the sheets to preserve shadows and highlights, so anyone can download them and adjust the levels, to see how the edge-markings and base are, compared to the rest of the negative's shadows and highlights. (I always seem to get leaks in the edges of the negatives, no matter what camera and no matter how damn careful I am :/ )

- You can initially click the photos, then right-click and select "view image" in Firefox to see the full resolution example and then right-click again and select "save image" to get it to your computer, if you like. You can also do the same with the single-photos below, they are large exports from Lightroom and should provide a good way to check out details.

The scanner I use is a Epson v750, all negatives are scanned trough clear plastic sleeves, placed directly on the glass in the scanner, at 1200 DPI.

In all honesty, the negatives themselves are very usable and I would guess that they are a breeze to print too (I've worked with some narly negs in my short time in the darkroom, and these look pretty darn good to my eyes).

Grain is nicely controlled too, nothing to worry about, compared to a normal HC-110 development.
Shadow detail IS pretty good, got good control over that when scanning. If anything, the negatives seem to have gotten increased contrast (S-shaped tone-curve) with a slightly rougher look. I think they look quite similar to Acros souped in Rodinal 1:50.

Here are some of the shots, large scans, adjusted with the curves tool. Mostly just set the black and white point to where the base is just visible, no need to bend the curves here.

Worked like a charm this! :)

I would be happy to try it again sometime.

Acros, being a fine-grained, "best-reciprocity-master", all-round goodie 100 ISO film, is a film I use A LOT, probably others too, so good to know that Acros is a happy camper in this recipe.

Neat to know you can finish the film in 10-15 minutes, wash and hang to dry. ^^

My 1500ml bottle is now pretty muddy (after three trial-runs), but it don't seem to affect the quality of the negatives just yet, activity also seems to be good, so I'll keep shooting it and see when it starts to "die" on me. :)

Have fun and feel free to try it out and share your own results ^^