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Thread: 4x5 processing darkroom equipment

  1. #1

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    4x5 processing darkroom equipment

    I was wondering what equipment I'd need to begin developing 4x5 color negative film at home? Safety lights, number of trays, ect.
    I'm not sure how different it is from developing 35mm but I'd love to learn.

  2. #2

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    Re: 4x5 processing darkroom equipment

    I suggest YouTube. Search c41 sheet film.

  3. #3

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    Re: 4x5 processing darkroom equipment

    Well does c41 4x5 use the same equipment as c41 35mm and is it the same process?

  4. #4

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    Re: 4x5 processing darkroom equipment

    All c41 processing is the same. The equipment isn't. There are many ways to process sheet film and all of them are demonstrated on youtube. Temperature control (100 degrees F) is critical.
    I don't know of anyone who does it in trays. No safety lights can be on.
    I use a jobo expert drum (on a processer cpp2) as do most others.

    Some folks also use:
    mod54
    jobo 2500 series tanks with 4x5 reels (also on a jobo machine)
    labs use dip/dunk

  5. #5
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: 4x5 processing darkroom equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by vinny View Post
    All c41 processing is the same. The equipment isn't. There are many ways to process sheet film and all of them are demonstrated on youtube. Temperature control (100 degrees F) is critical.
    I don't know of anyone who does it in trays.
    Well, some of us remember the Honeywell Rocking Print Trays. From a previous conversation John Kasaian (I think) knows them, too. Can't find a picture of one, but it is a well-made stainless rocking tray with an edge retainer. Usually used in a heated bath for color 8x10 or smaller media, still good today for large negatives. The tray permits a minimal amount of chemistry. I've three left, but since moving to rotary they are in storage. Pretty things, they are.

  6. #6

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    Re: 4x5 processing darkroom equipment

    For tray developing, instead of using a developer tank would I pour the developer inside the tray and then put my film inside and agitate in that?

  7. #7

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    Re: 4x5 processing darkroom equipment

    Perhaps there should be a sticky somewhere with all the "how to 4X5" and "what is the best 4X5 tank" threads put together?
    This question seems to come up on regular intervals. Perhaps Google drops the LFPF worm every now and again causing these not to show up in the first search page?

    Back on topic:
    As mentioned above- you have to maintain a fairly high temperature. This alone can be done (perhaps) with no special equipment. On the other hand, due the developing time of C41 being so short, using trays will always lead to some uneven results, as some part of the sheet will be in the solution for longer then other parts, and the surface area of the tray is large enough to make maintaining temp more difficult.

    A drum/tank would be your best place to start (with or with out the option to control temp).

    There are any number of 4X5 processing drums/tanks/sloshers solutions available, and you should read at least one previous thread here discussing the merits of each of those. I will look for a link shortly, but if someone has one handy - please post it.

  8. #8

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    Re: 4x5 processing darkroom equipment

    I'm assuming then that using a 4x5 tank is the same as loading a roll of 35mm into a tank? Just put the sheet film into the tank, pour the developer in, and agitate for the required amount of time?

    What throws me off are all the different prices for these tanks. There's some very expensive ones and then there's some which are more affordable.

  9. #9
    2 Bit Hack
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    Re: 4x5 processing darkroom equipment

    I recently read some where, like today, that either Tetenal or Arista C41 temps were recommend to be 86 degrees F. The info stated that 100 degrees F produce uneven development. Not sure if it was a time in bath or a temp stability thing.

    I use a Nikor sheet film processing tank. It looks like an over sized 35mm 2 reel tank. The reel is different in that it is adjustable to various sheet sizes up to 4x5. If you go this route you can save yourself a lot of trouble by making sure the width of the reel is properly adjusted. Once it is set it is easy to load and will hold 12 sheets. Saves time. These tend to be pricey. On an auction site I saw some for $250 or more. If you are lucky you may find one for around $100. Again just be sure you have the reel width adjust properly.

    I do all my processing at the kitchen sink. Cheap and not very professional I know but it is what I have at the moment. I load the film in a closet. I have not moved to silver prints yet. That will involve a darkroom. In lue, I scan my negatives. As for printing color negatives, I am of no help there. But that is another set of chemicals and requires a darkroom.

    Good luck.
    Regards

    Marty

  10. #10

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    Re: 4x5 processing darkroom equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by 4x5fan View Post
    I'm assuming then that using a 4x5 tank is the same as loading a roll of 35mm into a tank? Just put the sheet film into the tank, pour the developer in, and agitate for the required amount of time?
    Yes, that's it. And the same with the other baths (bleach, fix, stabilizer and in-between rinses). I personally use a Mod54, but any 4x5-capable tank can be used, even the taco method. To make temperature control easier and reduce the impact of small time variations, I develop at 25C (77F) using the Rollei Digibase chemicals, which can be used at quite a wide range of temperatures (as long as the temperature is stable within 1C of the chosen temperature). I'm not sure how well the other kits out there perform at lower temperatures than the industry standard of 37.8C/100F. One tank is sufficient for the entire process and the tank plus the bottles of mixed chemicals can be stored in a temperature controlled water bath during development, allowing for easy temperature control. I do this next to my kitchen sink and I just add hot water to the water bath as the temperature drops. Works like a charm and no expensive equipment is necessary.

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