LPD: worknotes

If you print little (less than 500 prints/yr), or infrequently, LPD may not be worth the cost or effort. Dektol is a good product that has served the clients of most of the worlds greatest printers.

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Ethol LPD dilutions

dilution paper tone

LPD — lasting paper developer. LPD is sold in two forms: powder or liquid. I have always used the powder, mixing it to stock and using, mostly, with replenishment. The stock seems to last for years, while the working dilution can be used for days or weeks with replenishment. This is the developer to use if you want something that you can put hundreds of prints through without change in density or image tone.

It also is a developer that readily adjusts paper tones. Not as much as changing emulsion, but you can certainly tune for tone. Once you get what you want, you can keep printing through the entire box of paper.

The above chart is based upon the POWDER form of LPD. Recently, I bought the liquid form – mainly as confirmation that it would satisfy a friend who is afraid of powder chemistry in her house. It works, and works well. With my first set of tests completed, I’d say it could be used instead of the powder form. I don’t have any way of estimating how long the liquid in a bottle will last as compared to the powder in a can. Instinct says the powder will store longer. But then, instinct isn’t knowledge.

Between Forms: The liquid is more concentrated, meaning that a 1+4 mixture for the powder form should become a 1+8 mixture if starting with the liquid LPD.

Reminder: LPD (like dektol) contains hyroquinone, meaning that developer activity slows quickly, and noticibly below 68degrees. Try to keep your print developer at 70 degrees or better.

If you don’t print much, then you don’t need LPD. Use good ole Dektol. Or maybe a liquid developer made by your paper maker: Ilford, Adox, Foma.IMG_1019 IMG_1018


Any replenishing is an effort to maintain a process in a balance, usually to save some effort or expense. Since LPD is stable and long lasting replenishing seems almost a wasted effort, yet I do replenish. I have a bottle of ‘muddy river’ that is over 5 years old. My replenishment practice is based upon maintaining a level in the tray, draining prints to the drip point, and adding refresher solution made from fresh LPD. I also keep tight fitting lids on my trays, covering them even during a session when not using that chemical (developer/stop/fix) This comes from my early years as a dye transfer printer.

Ethol Direction Sheet

lpd replensihemnt
replenishing LPD

Originally (1975) Ethol attached a paper to the cans, it was Bulletin 8K. Not anymore. If you need numbers, approximately 30 prints (8×10) (15 11x14s) need 300ml of replenisher. The replenisher is made from the original stock mixture. When making the stock solution divide into 2 separate gallon jugs – one is ‘work’ the other is ‘replenisher’ — since I use LPD at 1:1 working strength I mix the ‘R’ jug 1:1. Just since buying the liquid LPD, I am using it as my replenisher, so mix my ‘R’ at 1:2 for replenishing my working tray.

gone in a month

In a typical session I make between 30 -50 11×14’s … I print a lot.

This is my ordinary printing volume. A reason for using LPD

My Procedure

The developer tray is oversize- 10×12 and 5 inch deep. I put 2 liters of LPD into this tray. It has a tight seal lid which is in place when I’m not souping the paper. Generally, I soup one print at a time.

At the end of the developer time, I drain the print till it drips. Then stop bath, and fix. I have timers for developer, for fix, and wash. 3 separate timers. I wash in 3 separate trays made from plastic tubs. Intake water is through jets of water; water flows by pressure siphon from the bottom of the tanks.

I know how many prints have been processed, because I put 25 sheets of paper into a safety bag (labeled) and in a paper safe (also labeled). Also, as the prints are finished washing, they are dried. Pretty easy to count the stack on the drying racks or table. After 15 (11×14)s have been through I replenish by 200ml (sometimes more)

At the end of a print day, I pour the developer into a 4 liter clear plastic measuring tank; bringing the level of developer up to the original 2 liter mark by adding replenisher. The amount used is marked on my wet-room blackboard.