View Full Version : Developing 4x5 film

Pat Bunn
10-Jul-2004, 19:21
I have some stainless 1 1/2 " tubing with .038" wall thickness. I plan to cut three 6"" lengths. These will fit nicely in a 7" tall stainless film tank. My plan is to insert an undeveloped 4x5 sheet of film inside each tube with the emulsion side in and develop as if the tank had reels inside. I may have to build a spacer to hold the tubes securely and allow flow through. Any reason this is a bad idea? I think I have heard of this being done with plastic tubing.

Steve Feldman
10-Jul-2004, 19:41
Hi Pat,

I'm seeing what you're proposing in my minds' eye. I'm thinking you won't have enough developer flow through for even processing. Other than trays, another system similar to your idea is the BTZS tubes. Not cheap, but they do work. Jobo, on the high $$$ end, work fine. But for the best bang-for-your-buck, look into the Unirolor 8x10 paper tank and motor base. It'll hold 1, 2, 3, or 4 sheets of 4x5 film (2 - 5x7 or 1 - 8x10). It's been my method for many years. I call it "The McDonald's approach - Fast - Cheap - and Easy". Never a poorly processed neg yet. Crappy photographs - yes. Crappy processing - no.

Your mileage may vary.

Ralph Barker
10-Jul-2004, 19:42
Hmmmm. Interesting idea. You might try cutting the tubes shorter, and just put a 35mm reel at the bottom. You may run into problems with the anti-halation coating on the base side of the film, which may require separate fixing/washing to remove, but again, interesting idea.

Personally, I'd be a little concerned abour the radius being a little tight, and the potential of scuffing the base when inserting the film. But, I'm one of those tray-processing guys.

10-Jul-2004, 20:02
What you are proposing will work fine. I develop most of my 5X7 film using a similar arrangment, though I am using PVC tubes and placing them in a 11X14 Beseler drum, placed upright. This allows me to develop about seven sheets of 5X7 film at a time. What I do is fill the drum with the developer, then just plop the tubes with the film inside when ready. I do recommend that you presoak the film before you begin development, either before you put it in the tubes, or you can also do it in the tubes just taking care to pull the film in and out of the tubes a few times as soon as you put it in the water so that the back will wet out.

mike rosenlof
14-Jul-2004, 09:54
This should work as long as the chemicals can get in and out of the tubes easily. An empty 35mm reel at the bottom sounds like a good idea.

I put 4x5 films into 1.5 inch plastic tubes and spin them in trays with about 1/2 inch of liquid.

You will have to do something to get rid of the antihalation backing, this will be more or less work depending on your film. TMX is especially stubborn on this. I use two fix baths, the first is in a tray with the tubes, the second fix bath is in individual little sandwich size (more or less) Rubbermaid type (but a different, unknown brand) box that fits 4x5 really nicely. After I dump the second fix, I wash just a bit, then treat the films with the used developer. About 5 minutes in the old dev seems to remove the AH backing from TMX nicely. Ilford films do not seem to have to go through this step, but I like TMX.