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Thread: Two questions about film development

  1. #1

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    Two questions about film development

    First one, I would like to start processing my Tmax100 negatives with the 1:9 dilution in Tmax RS developer, as a one shot developer. I use small tanks with hangers for my 4x5 sheets. I looked at the Kodak site and they only recommend the 1:9 dilution at 75 degrees for something like 12 minutes. Does anyone have any experience with this combination and dilution? Can you process it at a temp lower than 75?

    Second Question: I shoot Tri-x 320 as well and process it (4x5) in tanks with hangers in D-76. Does anyone have any experience with replenishing D-76, or should I just use one-shot developer? I have to use a half gallon of developer for 6 sheets of film for one shot. Seems like a waste. Anyone have any experience with this combo? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Two questions about film development

    Kodak D-76 technical publication. What you have to calculate for is not using D76 as a one-shot, but using it to its capacity. The capacity of D76 for one gallon is 16 8x10 sheets, with an increase in development time. This means that a half-gallon of D76 would be used to develop 32 sheets of 4x5 film.

    There is a section on D-76R, the replenisher. I haven't used the replenisher myself, but the directions look pretty simple.
    "It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans

  3. #3

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    Two questions about film development

    When T-Max first came out, there was a lot of controversy. Some people hated it, a few loved it.

    I was one of those who tried it for a while, and then gave up in disgust. So I’m afraid I can’t help with your first question.

    Regarding the second question, I have had experience in various studio labs with both methods of working.

    In general, replenishment is useful for commercial labs which have a large daily workflow. Re-mixing and tempering a 3-1/2 gallon tank for each run is expensive and very time-consuming.

    For small quantities, one-shot technique is faster. If your volume is low, it works better with other factors such as limited chemical shelf life. More than once, I have seen a whole batch of film lost in a tank of developer which had been replenished for months without being changed.

    And I believe the results are much more accurate. The proper amount of replenisher required is determined not by the number of sheets exposed, but by the amount of silver developed. Subject matter and exposure play a role. This is usually calculated using the S.W.A.G. method, so popular when I served in the military. (Scientific wild-ass guess)

    Regarding dilution and cost: As discussed in an earlier thread, D-76 diluted 1:3 gives excellent results with Tri-X, even though Kodak does not recommend it.

    D-76 and ID-11 are “similar” excellent developers. All things considered, I would recommend using them one-shot.

  4. #4

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    Two questions about film development

    Half a gallon for six sheets does indeed seem a waste. You might look into getting a few 4x5 BTZS tubes or making your own tubes to replace your tanks. 4x5 tubes only require one ounce of D76 1-1 (two ounces of working solution) per sheet so once you recouped the initial outlay (which is very small if you make your own tubes) you'd be saving money and wouldn't need to fool around with replenishing. There's a set of six BTZS tubes with caps and tray on ebay now. There have been discussions here before about making your own that a search should turn up, it isn't difficult.
    Brian Ellis
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  5. #5

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    Two questions about film development

    Just one more thing: Be very careful when diluting any developer for any reason that you have enough active ingredient to do the job.

    A lot of people routinely get into big doo-doo attempting heroic dilutions of Rodinal, for this exact reason.

    I will often run one roll of 35mm in a quart stainless tank (full of solution) with three empty spacer reels to achieve this minimum of stock developer with the weak dilution I have chosen.

    In the case of D76 at 1:3, the 8 ounce per roll minimum called for in the tech sheet Brian Miller cited will be achieved, using 24 ounces of water to fill the quart tank (containing only one roll).

    Make sure you therefore have 2 ounces of (full strength) D76 per sheet of 4x5 to meet Kodak’s stated minimum in any tube set-up. Using less will require testing to insure you can safely get away with disobeying your Great Yellow Father. ;0)

  6. #6

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    Two questions about film development

    Brian, try the tube processing with those already mentioned or Unicolor & Bessler tubes with a motorized base. Less chemicals are used than tank developing. As mentioned do use enough developer for the square inches of film being developed. As for one-shot or replenishing, I've always used my developer as a one-shot method. I don't want to risk my negatives to under developing them due to a weak solution.

  7. #7

    Two questions about film development

    Yes I have used it at lower than 75 ºF and it works, specially for contraction but it gives you times that are too long for normal or expanded developing. One of the reason that I liked the 75 ºF temp was that it was easier to mantain, at least in Houston, than the 68 or 70 temps. If you plan on using it at 68 ºF then be prepared to develop for 16 to 20 minutes.

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