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Thread: Print Dev. Dilution Limits/Time Adjustments?

  1. #1

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    Print Dev. Dilution Limits/Time Adjustments?

    Thought I'd had this licked - 30 x 40 print had previously worked after going with a five minute pre-soak. So...just tried another using same procedure and...I see an "island of unevenness" on one side of the print.

    Problem is visible in even-toned sky area...and my guess is that, although I did my best to pour developer quickly/evenly, I just was not quick/even enough.

    My thought is that I should further dilute my print developer and then increase developer time.

    I'm using Moersch 4812 Developer at its specified maximum dilution, which is 1/14. This developer has a great d-max...so my guess is that it can stand a bit more dilution without undue compromise.

    I know others have had success in tackling evenness issues in large prints...by further diluting print developers...and I need to pick a few brains to see what has worked for others, in terms of how much more to dilute, and how much to then compensate...time wise. Thanks!

  2. #2
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Print Dev. Dilution Limits/Time Adjustments?

    I go an exact opposite direction when I am making large prints... I use Developer at recommended dilution... Ilford Multigrade 1:4 .. But I make tons of chemicals and I am very fast in putting the paper into the chems and getting agitation over the whole print.... otherwise uneveness...


    I never pre soak the paper , when printing murals I do a lot at a time and IMHO its all about getting the chems fast and even to the paper.

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    tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: Print Dev. Dilution Limits/Time Adjustments?

    I have never developer paper larger than 20x24 but I never presoak RA-4 or B&W. I follow the Jobo instructions for RA-4 and bring the tank containing the dry paper by rotating it for 5 minutes at the processing temperature before beginning the process steps. Jobo recommends a 30 second pre-soak for B&W but I always use trays and just plop the paper down in the developer without a presoak. For a very large print like the ones you are talking about, I would consider removing the paper beginning at the same end that you inserted it which should balance out the developing time but I don't think that would make any difference since there is a one or 2 second time differential from end to end.

    Thomas

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    Re: Print Dev. Dilution Limits/Time Adjustments?

    Further thought...is the pre-soak interfering with development?

    When I develop 20x30's I do not pre-soak. I'm still dealing with paper which is slightly pre-curled as I cut from a large roll, so I need to exercise some care in getting the dry sheet into the developer. Takes a bit of time...but things end up nice and even.

    A 30x40 sheet, on the other hand, has already been flattened by pre-soaking - and I'm pouring developer over this, which goes very quickly...more quickly, in terms of wetted surface area per unit of time, than with a non pre-soaked 20x30. Furthermore, once the developer is poured I begin to rock the tray right away - getting things moving around nicely in short order.

    I gave my very first 30x40 a two minute pre-soak...just enough to get things flat - and got both lines/areas and islands of variable density. I gave the second trial a five minute pre-soak - and things looked fine...but that photograph featured lots of textural details which can tend to mask problems. Today's 30x40 test involved a photo with with a large area of upper mid-tone sky - and while the "defect" is a bit less intrusive than that in the previous print - its still visible.

    Given the above...perhaps it would be best to avoid a pre-soak altogether? Spending a bit extra for precut (flat) 30x40 sheets might be the ticket here. Or...perhaps a much longer presoak...on the order of ten minutes, might work - but I remain a bit leery of this, as I have a sense that water infiltration into fb paper might still be uneven over longer times.

  5. #5
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Print Dev. Dilution Limits/Time Adjustments?

    the soaking of the paper is not needed..... I like the idea of cut sheet , your life would be easier... also I use upwards of 40 litres of dev to make sure I do not get these problems even with roll paper... over time it gets much easier..
    If you can find pre cut 30 x40 I would absolutely go for it..

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    Re: Print Dev. Dilution Limits/Time Adjustments?

    John, I posted about this before, and I understand that you are trying to uncurl DWFB, but I think you are asking for trouble with pre-soaking DWFB, as paper will hold different levels of moisture even when wet, and can interfere with the diffusion of dev, esp with a very large print...

    Bob's right, better to find cut sheets...

    Steve K

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    Re: Print Dev. Dilution Limits/Time Adjustments?

    What are you processing your paper in, paper manufacturer, and is it FB or RC? I've processed up to 40x60 FB with good old Dektol in plastic gutters, one for each chemical with excellent and consistent results. I'll be glad to give you more feedback with more information. Been doing this for 30 years. Hope I can help.

  8. #8

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    Re: Print Dev. Dilution Limits/Time Adjustments?

    Years ago I did mural prints on troughs (both rc and fb) with students - so I know the drill for that.

    What I'm doing here is designing/building/cobbling together a system which lets me to do large prints in a manner which allows for good logistics in my own darkroom. In short - I've built a single, 34 x 48 inch plywood/epoxy tray, which is slightly tapered at one end...which also features a gasketed dumping gate on the right, slightly tapered end. The tray is elevated in my sink - and chemicals are then poured in from the left side, freshly emptied chem container is placed under the dump gate on right, tray is then agitated by rocking, then tray is lifted on left end to dump out on right via opened dump gate, into open container. (I'll post some photos of this sometime to help explain). Works like a charm! At any rate...I'm using two gallons of each solution - which covers everything quite well and facilitates tray rocking giving good agitation.

    Advantages, aside from space saving, is that I avoid having huge trays of open chemistry sitting for hours - chems are stored in covered two-gallon deep trays, which are compact although large enough to process my test strips prior to doing a large print. After large print is processed as described above, the same tray becomes a wash tray - allowing for water - clearing bath - water cycles (and KRST if desired). Plus, the epoxy finish is glass-smooth, which means that I use the very same tray as a squeegee board. All of this also translates to minimal paper handling, minimizing chances of creasing (very important!). Only real disadvantage is that I can only do one print at a time - although this might change by adding a holding tank at some point (knowing this would necessitate a complete flush of fixer prior to dev. of next print). As things are now...I could still envision processing/washing four or five different 30x40's on a given day.

    Problem has been the strong paper curl of exposed sheets as they go into tray - necessitating a pre-soak to flatten prior to introducing developer. Problem here is that paper does not seem to like a pre-soak...giving uneven results. I suppose that I could invent some type of in-tray hold down system - to keep paper flat enough during initial pour...but I see problems with this. I've also thought about trying to reverse-curl each sheet of paper prior to use...and will likely try this with what remains on my current roll. Best answer would be purchasing paper in (30x40) sheets - but availability of this is limited...although it looks like B+H and/or Adorama has some stock with a wait time. More cost per surface area than rolls - but likely very worthwhile in terms of logistics, work-flow, and consistency of results.

  9. #9

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    Re: Print Dev. Dilution Limits/Time Adjustments?

    You write you are dumping in the chemistry from the left. Any relation to where the mottling shows up?
    After the pre-soak and dump why not pour the developer directly on the print in the center rather than from one side?
    I tend to procrastinate on stuff. One of these days I'll do something about it.

  10. #10

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    Re: Print Dev. Dilution Limits/Time Adjustments?

    To clarify...chem tanks are arranged in order to the left of the tray - actual dump is spread around paper a evenly as possible and takes about three seconds. Chem tanks are about 14 in. wide...and allow for a quick, broad pour.

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