View Full Version : 8x10 negatives in paterson system tanks

Luca Merlo
9-Jul-2005, 04:32
I own three Paterson System 4 tanks that I use for my 35 mm and 120 films. I would like to know if has anyone tried to develop 8x10 films in these tanks and how were the results. Note that these tanks can accomodate 3 x 120 reels or, alternatively, 5 x 35 mm reels.

Brian Ellis
9-Jul-2005, 07:06
I haven't used these particular tanks for that purpose . I do own the 120 tank but I've never tried to us it with sheet film. My guess is that it could be used to process 8x10 film but there are some potential problems. First, the film likely will stick to the sides of the tubes since they weren't designed to take sheet film and it may be difficult or even impossible to get the film out of the tube quickly enough to keep your development times constant.

Also, since the base side of the film will stick to the tube you'll probably have a lot of anti-halation dye remaining on the film after the developing step. That shouldn't be a major problem, the dye should come off in the fix and wash, but it's something to be aware of.

Finally, I'm not sure you can do more than one sheet at a time. Apart from whether the tank will hold more than one sheet, most tube type processors designed for sheet film have spacers of some sort to keep the sheets separate when processing several sheets which of course your tank doesn't have. So you may be limited to a sheet at a time which would be very inconvenient given the need to wash and dry the tank after each sheet plus the processing time involved if you can only do a sheet at a time.

The best solution IMHO for processing 8x10 film if you can afford it is either a Jobo Expert drum or the BTZS tubes. The Jobo 3010 (or maybe it's 3005) drum allows you to process 4 or 5 sheets of 8x10 film at a time. Unfortunately it costs about $250 new. The BTZS 8x10 tubes are also expensive and they aren't being made any more so you have to find them used. That can be done but it requires patience and you're probably still going to pay something like $30-$50 per tube. There's also the Unicolor and Beseler paper drums that work with film. The 11x14 Unicolor drum holds two sheets at a time. They can be bought used on ebay for very little and if I were you I'd do that if the only alternative is using your Paterson tanks. I just bought an 11x14 tube on ebay for $12 but I haven't tried it yet. And of course there's trays. They're good if you like standing in the dark for 10 or 15 minutes inhaling chemical fumes and trying to shuffle a stack of film without scratching any of it. Ugh.

William Blunt
9-Jul-2005, 07:21
Brian mentioned BTZS tubes, which I use. J&C sells a similar divice that is priced much lower, I haven't used them but have read good reports on them.
Wm Blunt

ronald moravec
9-Jul-2005, 08:13
Order of preference is Jobo, hangars and deep tanks, and trays.

You may develope single sheets in a tray and not shuffle film. use more than one tray for developing so you can do multiple sheets at once. You will need 11x14 tray or 8x10 and raise two adjacent sides each agitation cycle. The negs will be as perfect as yo can do with any other method. The trick is the large tray and let the film move around and rotate.

Luca Merlo
9-Jul-2005, 08:24
Thank you very nuch to all of you. I forgot to mention that I shall process the fill in the light so the tubes and the tray processing are not feasible. it remains therefore the JOBO tank that process 5 negatives at the time but I wonder if it can be used manually without a machine. If this is the case, the negatives can be washed in the tank ?

Jay DeFehr
9-Jul-2005, 13:18

what you propose will work just fine. The film won't stick to the tank, won't leave antihalation dye on the film, and you won't have to worry about removing the film from the tank quickly, because you can go through the entire process (develop/stop/fix/etc.) in the tank, and unload at your leisure. I've developed many, many sheets of 3x4 and 4x5 film in the smaller Patterson tanks by this method with consistently excellent results. If you intend to use intermittent agitation, be sure to use enough solution to completely cover your film between agitation cycles, but for continuous agitation, you just need to use enough stock solution to develop your film completely and evenly (use a dummy sheet to test for fit and solution level). For 8x10 sheets, I'd recommend a minimum of 500ml of solution for continuous agitation. Be sure to place the center column/filler tube, as it is part of the light trap, and ensures even, bottom-up filling. These Patterson tanks fill faster and more evenly than any other daylight tanks on the market, and are an excellent choice for your application. If you want to do more than one sheet at a time, you can buy more tanks, they can be found very cheap used, are not expensive new, come with spare reels, and can be used for roll film processing as well. Good luck.


Brian Ellis
9-Jul-2005, 13:33
BTZS tubes and Unicolor/Beseler drums can be used in the light (once the film is in them and they're capped of course). I haven't used the Jobo Expert drum but I don't believe it's any different from the tubes and Unicolor/Beseler drums in that respect. I've been told that the Jobo drum can be hand-rolled (i.e. you don't need the Jobo machine). If you get the Unicolor or Beseler drum you also can get a motorized roller for them on ebay for about $15 .

I wouldn't suggest washing film in any of these drums, tanks, or tubes. There are various ways of washing film. You probably can find a used film washers on ebay for very little or you can do it by hand (filling a tray with water and emptying it a bunch of times) if you don't have a big volume or you can buy a Kodak tray siphon or there are probably a bunch of other ways too.

Luca Merlo
9-Jul-2005, 15:18
Once again, an italian Grazie (thank you) to all of you for your valuable proposals. The impression I had measuring my tank, confirmed here by Jay, that the Paterson 4 system tanks (and superior models) that work finely with film rolls, can also work very well with sheet films up to 8x10 was correct. I will try the system soon and I will keep you posted.