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Jager
16-Apr-2015, 05:15
I'm just kind of idly thinking about large format. Am very experienced with 35mm, medium format, and digital. But no experience at all with LF.

My question is... is it possible to hand develop 4x5 negatives in tanks? If so, is it particularly challenging?

From what I see, it seems most LF practitioners either do tray development or rotary processing. I don't have a darkroom and so trays are out of the question (I develop 35 and 120 in my kitchen, using a changing bag to load the tank). I would consider a Jobo, but that's a fairly expensive leap, in conjunction with the other stuff I would need to dip my toe in LF waters.

The back-end, were I to try this, would be digital. I have a Flextight X1 that can scan 4x5 negatives.

Thanks for any advice...

Jeff

IanG
16-Apr-2015, 05:22
I've been tank developing 5x4 negatives since 1976, it's no different to 35mm or 120. I use older JOBO 2000 series tanks, both mine take two reels each reel holding 6 sheets of film. There's newer Jobo tanks for rotary processing they can also be used for inversion agitation with the right lid.

There's Yankee and HP Combiplan tanks as wee, I just prefer the Jobos, very easy to use.

Ian

DrTang
16-Apr-2015, 07:05
There's newer Jobo tanks for rotary processing they can also be used for inversion agitation with the right lid.


or a cork..which is what I use

jbenedict
16-Apr-2015, 08:22
You don't necessarily need the whole Jobo system to use the tanks. You can use inversion agitation or find a Unicolor/Beseler motorized base to agitate.

There is also the Holy Grail of 4x5 developing, the Nikkor SS Tank but they are hard to find and. I had one and, frankly, it was kind of a pain to use.

fishbulb
16-Apr-2015, 08:28
Yes, there are numerous daylight tanks available for 4x5. (for 5x7 and 8x10 they are difficult to find though) It is not particularly challenging -it is very similar to tank developing 135 or 120 film. What IS challenging is getting adapted to each tank's idiosyncrasies. Whatever you decide on, find the instructions, read them, and obey them. Also do a google search and get some tips from experienced users of the particular tank you choose. Otherwise, you're likely to get streaking from uneven development, regardless of which tank it is. For me, the best development quality (most even and consistent) I've had has been BTZS tubes, but they require some amount of darkroom work to use. Right now the Nikor tank is my tank of choice though, and is a lot faster than the BTZS tubes.

* F&R Corp (Fink and Rosalieve I think) - black plastic, can load 12 negatives vertically at once, can be had on eBay for $20-30, uses about 2 liters of chemistry. Should come with the tank itself, two inner film holders (12 grooves in each), inner lid (about 5x5", thin), outer lid (about 6x6", thick), inner negative holder (plastic U-shaped piece) and sheet feeder (plastic strip with a slit in it). https://www.google.com/search?q=site:largeformatphotography.info+fr+tank

* Yankee 4x5 tank - similar to the F&R tank, also black plastic, loads 12 negatives horizontally, can be had new for $40, used for $20-30, uses about 2 liters of chemistry. See pics here (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/63620-REG/Yankee_YACF45_Cut_Film_Daylight_Developing.html)to know what it should come with. More info: https://www.google.com/search?q=site:largeformatphotography.info+yankee+tank

* HP Combi Plan tank - no longer available, but can be had used for $50-100 or so. Holds up to 12 negatives. Uses about 1 liter of chemistry. In many ways it is a more complicated/sophisticated version of the FR/Yankee design. There are a lot of parts (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0000ALKEH/)so make sure you get them all if you buy used. Also, the plastic ends where the hoses connect can get brittle and crack so an old tank may need these replaced. I have not used this tank myself, but there are a lot of threads about it: https://www.google.com/search?q=site:largeformatphotography.info+hp+combi+plan

* MOD 54 and Patterson tank - see here (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/908261-REG/Paterson_4X5_Sheet_Film_6.html). Will cost you $90, can do 6 sheets at once, uses about 1 liter for the six sheets. The most modern design, and different from the others in that it holds the negatives with little feet instead of long slots. I have not used this system myself, but there are a lot of threads about it: https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Alargeformatphotography.info+mod54

* Nikor Stainless 4x5 tank - not affiliated with Nikon/Nikkor, these stainless steel tanks will set you back $100-200 depending on condition. Can load 12 negatives at once in a spiral, only uses about 1 liter of chemistry, very efficient. A little more challenging to learn how to load, but once you get it down it's no more difficult than the Yankee or the F&R. I find the F&R the easiest to learn how to load, personally. These tanks should come with: tank, lid, cap for lid, inner cylinder with top and bottom plates and four screws on the top plate, and metal strip that goes around the cylinder. The ones on ebay are often missing parts. If the strip is missing you can use a rubber band, but you definitely need the other pieces. They come up on ebay pretty regularly, but it's hard to find a good one.

Requires slow agitation, so longer development times. I have found that the recommended inversion ever 2 minutes works well with about a 10% increase in development time, at least for D76. Some people say 20% longer. The Nikor tank came in two varieties - one with a top opening that has two concentric circles, and one that has a top opening that is split in 1/3 and 2/3 sections. The later style is the concentric circles and is more desirable, as it loads chemicals faster. The earlier style you have to pour a bit slower.

This is my favorite tank of the F&R, Yankee, and Nikor so far, for a couple reasons. I get good even development except for the very edges, I don't have to agitate it as often, it is 2x as efficient with chemistry use, and the inner cylinder can be used to dry the negatives instead of clamping them. To do this, I pull all the negatives almost all the way out of the cylinder, and then set the cylinder (with the negatives spiking out of it like spokes on a wheel) in the drying closet. No more clamp marks! For more info: https://www.google.com/search?q=site:largeformatphotography.info+nikor+tank

EDIT: There are of course, the Jobo tanks but I am not familiar with those at all.

koh303
16-Apr-2015, 08:46
You don't necessarily need the whole Jobo system to use the tanks. You can use inversion agitation or find a Unicolor/Beseler motorized base to agitate.

There is also the Holy Grail of 4x5 developing, the Nikkor SS Tank but they are hard to find and. I had one and, frankly, it was kind of a pain to use.

You can also roll Jobo tanks on any flat surface, or a manual roller base (Jobo #1509). Isent the holy grail of 4X5 processing an Expert tank?

Jmarmck
16-Apr-2015, 09:48
I have the Nikor SS 4x5 as well. It has five parts. The tank, the top, the cap, the reel, and the retaining band that encompasses the real when loaded.
As Adam said, these tanks are efficient. However, they fill and pour much more slowly than the equivalent 120 or 35 reels. I have had uneven development at the edge of some sheet but it is inconsistent.

The reel is adjustable so you can develop from 120 to 4x5 including the 2x3 sheets. The adjustable reel is temperamental. Some 4x5 sheet films are slightly larger. Neopan Acros 100 comes to mind. If you adjust the reel to closely hold TMX 100 then the Acros will bind when loading causing the sheets to touch. It took me quite a while to get the reel set correctly. I am not sure if it is there yet either.

I only load 6 sheets in the reel as the interior side of the sheets tend to touch the next sheet. I am not sure if the adjustable side of the reel is bowed or if it is just the nature of the beast. I can tell you that if there is any resistance when loading, then something is amiss, either miss fed or the reel is incorrectly adjusted.

Regular Rod
16-Apr-2015, 16:29
I'm just kind of idly thinking about large format. Am very experienced with 35mm, medium format, and digital. But no experience at all with LF.

My question is... is it possible to hand develop 4x5 negatives in tanks? If so, is it particularly challenging?

From what I see, it seems most LF practitioners either do tray development or rotary processing. I don't have a darkroom and so trays are out of the question (I develop 35 and 120 in my kitchen, using a changing bag to load the tank). I would consider a Jobo, but that's a fairly expensive leap, in conjunction with the other stuff I would need to dip my toe in LF waters.

The back-end, were I to try this, would be digital. I have a Flextight X1 that can scan 4x5 negatives.

Thanks for any advice...

Jeff

Trays are best. Tanks let you work in the daylight. You can have the best of both worlds. Effectively a daylight "tray" that will process four sheets of 4x5 at once. http://freepdfhosting.com/f640343f29.pdf

RR

Luis-F-S
16-Apr-2015, 19:01
I develop sheet film in 1 Gal Ledall SS tanks sitting in a California Stainless water jacket I had made around 25 years ago. I'm sure Cal Stainless still makes them. I can develop up to 6 8x10 hangers at a time in 1 gal of developer, so 6 8x10 sheets, or 12 5x7 on 2 ups, or 24 4x5 sheets on 4 up hangers or any combination of film sizes. The tanks last forever and the hangers are available used on a regular basis! It's the way Oliver Gagliani who taught me developed film. Tray development is popular because it's cheap since everyone already owns trays. I could never do it without scratching film. L

132521 132522

Vinny also makes similar low volume tanks out of ABS material which are going to be a whole lot cheaper than stainless. He may also be willing to provide a water bath jacket if requested.

vinny
16-Apr-2015, 19:08
The price of jobo drums have gone pretty high lately, especially new. On occasion, you may find a deal on one for $300 or less.
See my signature for a low volume solution to tank/hanger processing which uses as little as 500ml of liquid.

jbenedict
16-Apr-2015, 19:10
You can also roll Jobo tanks on any flat surface, or a manual roller base (Jobo #1509). Isent the holy grail of 4X5 processing an Expert tank?

Holy Grail meaning something people are looking for, can't find and desired. The only Nikor tank I've seen for sale is the one I bought. Granted, I haven't looked too hard after I got mine and didn't like it.

Even today, Expert tanks are pretty easy to find. Without getting into a fight about "best tank", the Expert is very easily loaded and the results can be seen in many places. They are more expensive today than they were 5-10 years ago. Jobo 4x5 tanks which use reels are pretty good and easy to load. I've never loaded mine without the Jobo loading device so I don't know how necessary it is. Don't use it much since I got the Expert.

(I seem to remember that the Nikor tank was marketed by Honeywell. Could be wring. Been years since I have seen the tank.)

fishbulb
16-Apr-2015, 19:49
There are almost always Nikor 4x5 tanks on eBay, at least for the lasts six months or so. It did take me a while to find one with the concentric circle cap style though.

Jager
17-Apr-2015, 04:12
Thank you, gentlemen. This has been very helpful. I'm encouraged that there are apparently a number of ways to daylight-process LF film.

Fishbulb, especial thanks for your long, thoughtful reply with links to other resources.

Jeff

Goldman
17-Apr-2015, 05:35
Hi Jef,
I develop my 4x5 Black and White negatives with Paterson tank for 4 film Developing tank without the reels. You can do two negatives at a time at will take 800ml of solution. I glued two strips of plastic approximately 3mm thick inside the tank on the both sides (from the bottom to the top) which protect the negatives to slide and touch during the process. Donít forget to put the central piece when you load the film. I use Ilford Perceptol developer 1+1 or 1+3 and inverse it 4 times every minutes.
Bill

kenj8246
17-Apr-2015, 06:17
Since no one has mentioned it, there is also the taco method: https://www.flickr.com/photos/digi-film/sets/72157627864733730/ for the Paterson tank. I use it and have no complaints. Uses 750 ml of solution for 4 sheets which is the max you can do in this fashion. You will hear complaints of uneven development and problems with consistent fixing from the 'rubber' bands. Haven't experienced the fixing problems since I switched to the fabric covered pony tail bands. You'll also need to keep an eye on the lid coming loose from vigorous agitation but it works for me.

Luis-F-S
17-Apr-2015, 09:46
I had an inquiry about what agitation to use with open tank and film hangers. What I've always used and was taught is as follows: Presoak the film in plain water for 1-2 minutes and agitate occasionally. Agitate as follows, hanger up, hanger down around 1 second for each motion. Do this twice. Be firm, using a slow motion and allowing the film to drain is what causes streaking. Raise hangers and move to the developer.

Then there are three hanger motions: Raise the hangers to the right and replace (twice); raise the hangers straight up and replace (twice); raise the hangers to the left and replace (twice). I do this continuously for the first minute of development , then for the first 10-15 sec of each minute after the first. After development is complete, move to the stop and agitate continuously for 30 sec, the move to the Fix (if rapid fixer) for 3 minutes and agitate continuously. Then move to the wash.

Good luck!

Randy Moe
17-Apr-2015, 10:48
I cannot recall where, but some suggest not moving film in hangers sideways. At all.

So I don't.

As posted elsewhere, I am having great results using stand, which means stand.

Liquid Artist
17-Apr-2015, 15:12
For 4x5 I use a Paterson super system 4. I load 1 sheet bending it just enough so it fits in. Rotate the tank 180 degrees then load a second sheet.
I did try the Taco method, and all sheets I tried had hairline cracks in the emulsion.

For 5x7 I have an old Ilford Cibachrome Mark II processing drum.
I load the film basically the same way except only 1 sheet at once.
I then pour the developer into the funnel type end. I then roll it on its side and keep on rolling it for the set time.

Michael Kadillak
17-Apr-2015, 18:22
I had an inquiry about what agitation to use with open tank and film hangers. What I've always used and was taught is as follows: Presoak the film in plain water for 1-2 minutes and agitate occasionally. Agitate as follows, hanger up, hanger down around 1 second for each motion. Do this twice. Be firm, using a slow motion and allowing the film to drain is what causes streaking. Raise hangers and move to the developer.

Then there are three hanger motions: Raise the hangers to the right and replace (twice); raise the hangers straight up and replace (twice); raise the hangers to the left and replace (twice). I do this continuously for the first minute of development , then for the first 10-15 sec of each minute after the first. After development is complete, move to the stop and agitate continuously for 30 sec, the move to the Fix (if rapid fixer) for 3 minutes and agitate continuously. Then move to the wash.

Good luck!

Why expend the effort and risk of over agitation (surge marks) and the time in the process when you can use gas burst agitation in tanks with hangers with the flip of a switch? Gas burst was the industry standard in sheet film development for over 40 years (if you had E6 or C41 development for your sheet film at a commercial lab the odds are 95% it was gas burst). Plus you can do stand or semi stand (longer interval between burst) as well as standard agitation in pyro and standard developers. Because of the fact it is mechanical agitation there is no human operator error. Nitrogen costs are minimal when you make the investment in a pressurized tank and if you do it right (according to the Kodak publication), it just flat out works. Gordon Hutchings in his Book of Pyro book claiming that you need customized tanks and hangers to prevent surge marks with gas burst is an unfortunate technical mistake. He just did not do his proper research and the article I wrote in View Camera a few years back spells it all out. I am into results and simple is my mantra.

Randy Moe
17-Apr-2015, 18:46
I will be going into Nitrogen Burst sooner or later. It is very cheap and safe, with standard bottle safety and correct regulators.

I have been studying 1977 Calumet Pro Catalog with all it's gas burst workings.

I suppose our Michigan man made all that Calumet gear, maybe he can do it again...

Luis-F-S
17-Apr-2015, 20:38
As posted elsewhere, I am having great results using stand, which means stand.

Yup, stand (or hopefully sit) in the dark for an hour..........or longer. Whatever cranks your tractor-I'll do it my way. L

Randy Moe
17-Apr-2015, 20:57
Yup, stand (or hopefully sit) in the dark for an hour..........or longer. Whatever cranks your tractor-I'll do it my way. L

I hope so, why would you do it any other way?

Each of us is simply describing our way. There is no correct way. There are wrong ways however. :)

OP asked, "My question is... is it possible to hand develop 4x5 negatives in tanks? If so, is it particularly challenging? "

Perhaps 'Yes' is the answer...

Michael Kadillak
17-Apr-2015, 21:08
Yup, stand (or hopefully sit) in the dark for an hour..........or longer. Whatever cranks your tractor-I'll do it my way. L

Not sure where you are coming from.

You flip a switch in the darkroom and drink coffee in your kitchen for an hour. Timing power switch. By the way the results are worth the effort if you did have to spend 45 minutes to an hour in the darkroom.

Luis-F-S
18-Apr-2015, 12:06
Typically I develop sheet film in open tanks in the dark. Doesn't work as well if I open the door or flip the switch....

Michael Kadillak
18-Apr-2015, 13:38
Depending upon the objectives of the pre visualized negative and the scene I could tray develop with any number of pyro or standard developers, tank develop with burst conventionally or tank burst with stand or semi stand. With stand development I get a heck of a lot more effective film speed with attenuated accutance. With 8x20, 11x14 or 12x20 large PVC tubes work marvelously with highly diluted pyrocat. I am convinced that having more developing options is a good thing.

ShannonG
20-Apr-2015, 19:02
I have allays loaded film onto hangers then submerge them in open tanks of chemistry,agitate ,,(the dip and dunk system),,,all in a pitch black room..works for me, and be creative in the way you agitate,,it makes a difference,,,truly a hand dev. neg.

Luis-F-S
21-Apr-2015, 08:53
I have allays loaded film onto hangers then submerge them in open tanks of chemistry,agitate ,,(the dip and dunk system),,,all in a pitch black room..works for me, and be creative in the way you agitate,,it makes a difference,,,truly a hand dev. neg.

Yup, works like a charm.......L

ShannonG
29-Apr-2015, 07:14
I use open tanks as well.I have 2 sets of tanks big ones and small ones ,i can get 8 in the small tanks 12 in the big tanks using film hangers. Agitating with the dip and dunk method.