View Full Version : Getting started developing 8x10 (and 4x5)

22-Apr-2017, 17:22

I just bought an 8x10. I'm looking to do my own developing. I also have 4x5, 6x6 and 35mm but initial focus is in 8x10, as I don't know of any local labs that still cater to it.

I don't have a darkroom, but I bought a Harrison Jumbo changing tent for loading film, which I imagine I could use for developing also.

I was wondering what options people recommend. I was contemplating the Jobo Expert 3005.

Is this drum recommended? Alternatives?

Would the chemicals have to be added inside the tent, or is it dark once the lid is closed (but not the stopper isn't in)?

How do you change the chemicals for the different stages of development?

What is the best way to agitate the chemicals? I couldn't find any motorised units on eBay, short of the CPP units.

Will the 3005 fit comfortably in the Jumbo tent ?

Thank you.

22-Apr-2017, 18:02
Without a darkroom, or a room you can make light tight, I believe your viable options are drums. After you load the drums in the Harrison tent you can then do the processing in light. I've never used the Jobo system, I have Unicolor drums for 11x14. I'm sure others can comment on the Jobo. L

22-Apr-2017, 18:40
The Jobo system works in normal room light after you load the tank and secure the lid.

All chemistry pours in and out of the top with no light leaks.
If you use one with a lift, it routes the chemistry in and out.

I used a CPE-2 for several years and hundreds of prints with no problems. Just sold it.

- Leigh

John Kasaian
22-Apr-2017, 20:16
I've used a Unicolor tank for 8x10.
There is a tutorial by Graywolf Phillips on modding a Unicolor for four-up 4x5 sheet film on the Large Format Home Page.
If you get a Unicolor tank (the one for developing prints, not film!) Take care with the gaskets---you don't want leakers.
For roll film Patterson reels and tanks are probably the most commonly available (the reels adjust for 6x6 and 135)
I've used a Nikor tank for 5x7, which comes in handy when staying in rented rooms while traveling.

John Kasaian
22-Apr-2017, 20:29
With the Unicolor, you unload the holder and load your sheet in the tank in darkness. Chemicals are added and changed in normal light. I use three plastic Betty Crocker measuring cups for pouring out the chemicals for adding to the drums. I prefer the "one shot" approach as the Unicolor doesn't take much chemicals.
Rotation is done on a motorized base.
If you want to roll by hand you'll need a piece of wood thick enough to raise the squared "base" on the ends of the tank elevated so it won't bottom out on your counter top.
If you use the motorized base you'll want to put some rubber bands around the tank (the ones Asparagus is bundled in works well) to keep the tank from rolling off the base.

I run the Unicolor in the kitchen, where the cold beer is.
As you can tell, I'm rather cavalier about my processing :o

22-Apr-2017, 21:20
Another option is BTZS tubes; or make your own. Total darkness is needed only for loading film into a tube and when switching to a developer filled cap. Once processing starts, all remaining steps can be completed in subdued room light.

23-Apr-2017, 06:18
Developing in the changing tent - you will end up with a chemistry contaminated tent.
How about after dark in either the bathroom or kitchen? Block any light sources and tray develop the sheet film. Simple and easy to clean up after you are done.

24-Apr-2017, 06:56
For several years I daylight-processed my 8x10s using a changing tent like yours and a CatLabs C81 reel in a Jobo 2500 Tank:

I agitated using a motor base like this one:

I recently started using a Jobo 3025 tank, which is easier to load than the CL-81. The tank is a lot bigger than the 2500 tank, but I can still load it in the tent. It's even bigger than the 3005, I think.

Anyway, I think a changing tent with a tank and motorized base is a great way to process 8x10 film! The only weakness is double-sided X-Ray film, which tends to scratch. I now shoot only single-sided X-ray film, which gives fine results in tanks.

p.s. I use the elegant little SP-445 tank for most of my 4x5. Easy to use, efficient, and easy to travel with:

David Schaller
24-Apr-2017, 10:22
If you have a bathroom you can black out, developing in trays is easy to do on the floor/shower or in the tub. Once fixed, film can be washed in light of course.

24-Apr-2017, 11:17
The BTZS tubes are quite easy and have become my favorite. 8 ounce of developer and fixer does the trick. Once fixed I just use an open wash tray in the sink.

The Jobo CL-81 works nice as well but the equipment costs a bit more to get started.

I still think that trays are the easiest.

John Kasaian
2-May-2017, 20:36
Patterson had a nifty looking orbital processor that handled everything from 4x5 to 8x10. I've never seen one in person but you might want to check it out. If Roger and Frances give it two thumbs up, I'd expect it works admirably well---