View Full Version : a couple of beginner questions

17-Jun-2015, 02:45
Hi all! I recently got myself a Wista SP and cannot wait to get started shooting. This forum (and the brilliant book Using the View Camera by Steve Simmons) has been a great learning resource but there are still a few things that are not entirely clear to me, so I thought Id ask here.
I plan on shooting Ilford delta 100, tray developing with ilfotec ddx and to begin with just contact printing on Ilford multigrade RC.
My question is, if I tray develop sheets one-by-one, after how many sheets would I need to replace the developing solution? I know it is generally done 6 at once with constant agitation but Im curious. Could I develop, stop, then fix 6 sheets separately using the same developing time (N) in the same developer and maintain consistent results?

Also, regarding contact printing; I will use an old 35mm enlarger as a light source but since I have no electrical sockets in my bathroom (makeshift darkroom) I was thinking of exposing the sheets in one room and then transporting them in a changing bag to the bathroom to develop. Does this sound feasible?


17-Jun-2015, 03:03
1) The need to replace developer is determined by the volume of developer used, area of film/paper used and also time between uses.

2) Not everyone develops 6 at a time. There are no laws mandating how you shuffle paper and film. Find a workflow that's right for you. Focus on one at a time when you're starting. Move up to shuffling if and when you feel the need. Be prepared to scratch a few negatives in the process of changing from one to many until you figure out how to not scratch film with the edges of other negatives in the tray.

3) A spare paper safe works well moving between between exposure and development for some who do not have those facilities in the same space.A changing bag would work if you seal the sleeves (maybe roll and tape/tie between locations). Take care not to damage the emulsion in transit.

17-Jun-2015, 03:09
For regular normal dilution developers you should be able to develop several sheets in that tray during that session... Check the developer instructions... They should have the capacity of the developer listed...

Yes, you can expose your paper in a different location than your processing!!! (Your camera does it all the time!!!) Get an old film or paper box or photo paper envelope to transport your paper to the wet, dark side... (Don't go in there, it's dark!!! Bugs Bunny...)

Steve K

Louie Powell
17-Jun-2015, 04:01
Developer is partially exhausted when you process film; if you process six sheets at a time, and then dispose of the developer, you will get consistent results. But if you process six sheets one sheet at a time in the same developer, you must do something to compensate for the partial exhaustion of the developer. Otherwise, you will find that your negatives will be progressively more undeveloped as you progress through the six sheets. That is, if the first sheet is processed for time N, the next sheet must be processed for time N + dt, sheet three must go for N + kdt, etc. There is no hard formula for how much extension is required at each step because it depends on so many variables - including the volume of developer you are using.

You can certainly do your print exposures in one room and development in another room. The one thing that you do need to be careful of is degradation of latent (exposed but undeveloped) prints. There should be no problem if you are working in one session, but you don't want to expose a bunch of contact prints, and then allow the undeveloped prints to sit for several days before developing them.

17-Jun-2015, 04:23
Ok thanks guys that clears things up a bit. I had a feeling there would be some compensation needed doing things that way and I’ll have a better read of the spec sheet when I buy the developer. To keep things simple starting off I think I’ll just do a very small number of sheets one at a time and just see how they turn out. Then I’ll decide on compensating the next time or maybe try shuffling

Jim Jones
17-Jun-2015, 07:28
When developing one sheet of 4x5 at a time, I use a small amount of developer once (usually diluted) and discard it. An old Ilford manual recommends at least 25ml of developer for one sheet of 4x5 film. Diluted, this is more than enough for 4x5 film in a 5x7 tray. You could probably shuffle 4 or 6 sheets of 4x5 in a 4x5 tray with an ounce of DD-X diluted with 4 ounces of water. 2 or 3 sheets of 4x5 film in a 5x7 tray would be easier to handle. Undiluted developer saves time in the dark, but may waste developer. Be sure your hands are free of stop or fixer before handling film.

A contact printing frame may well be worth the modest cost. Some people improvise them from a pane of glass, a foam or felt faced rigid panel, and two spring clips.