View Full Version : Patterson tank processing problems.

John Mauser
18-Jul-2005, 13:36
I just developed my first 4 sheets of 4x5 b&w film using the patterson method. I taco rolled 4 sheets of film and rubber banded them emulsion in. I kept the sheets in the patterson tank for the dev, stop, and fix. I put the sheets in a tray for the wash, fix remover, final wash and photo flo. One had a line scratch across it, one had some scuff marks on the corner and one had a brown chemical stain in the corner. Any advice on a safer way to use the patterson, maybe try two sheets instead of cramming 4 in? Keep the film in the patterson for the whole process? I'm using a college darkroom and they have a jobo processer but I don't know how to use it. And since I'm auditing the class just to use the darkroom, I don't know if I can get anyone to show me how to use it. I can see if one of the professors will spend some one on one with me and the jobo if you think that it's worth it. I really prefer using the patterson tank if I can get past the scratches. Thanks in advance for any advice.

Craig Wactor
18-Jul-2005, 14:50
rubber band? I thought you could just let the base sit up against the tube. I never tried Patterson tanks for 4x5 though.

ronald moravec
18-Jul-2005, 14:51
Some people never learn. Using a racing bike for off road is misuse of equipment.

Why not ask us how to use the Jobo? We need to know if it has the lift, what speeds it has, and what kind of film containers are available.

I can process 4x5 in a Nikor tank, on film hangars, expert drum, trays, and Jobo tanks used as inversion tanks.

John Mauser
18-Jul-2005, 16:02
"Some people never learn." That's the first rude thing I've had anybody say to me on this board. My first statement said that this was the first 4 sheets of 4x5 film I had ever processed. I've always used patterson tanks for 35mm and 120...so I read a couple articles about how people successfully used pattersons for 4x5 and tried it. I asked for someone who has used this method to help me out. And what does offroad and racebikes have to do with film development? I can't see how a Patterson is any worse than letting film shuffle in a tray and scratch.
I also said that I would ask that a proffessor to show me how to use the jobo if you guys thought it was better...I'd rather ask someone in person than ask you how to operate it over a messageboard. I'm sorry for this rant, but I didn't think I deserved that response.
Does anyone use the patterson tanks???

Paul Butzi
18-Jul-2005, 16:19
Learning how to use the Jobo would be well worth the effort, especially if it has Expert series sheet film drums available.

If I were you, I'd go that route.

John Mauser
18-Jul-2005, 16:26
I think you're right. I plan on spending more time with 4x5 than the other formats, so I'll talk to one of the professors about it tomorrow.

Nigel Smith
18-Jul-2005, 18:14
the Jobo is most likely the way to go, but if you can't get any help, or while you arrange it, try 2 sheets as tacos. The rubber bands I have and use only allow two to go into the tank (I haven't got around to sourcing a suitable sized one to get 4 in the tank). The nature of the rubber band stops the sheets from crossing and thus scratching so if you're getting scratches then maybe you need to revise your other parts of the process like agitation (I use gentle inversions) and loading the suckers (bit tricky to get into the tank with the centre column in place). Make sure you use enough fluids to cover the sheets, I use 900ml which is a bit more than required but I prefer to err on the safe side. If I'm going to process another two sheets straight away, I'll save the developer in a jug and process them. I'll actually do 6 negs with one 900ml amount of developer but only if i do them in sequence (I actually use two tanks so I start the next one while the other is washing). Washing in a tray isn't a bad idea as the rubber bands can leave (film dependant I've come to the conclusion) some of the anti-halaetion backing even though I move them (up ordown on the sheet of film to expose that area) after the fix rinse. I think the HCA rinse helps but I've yet to try that.

Jay DeFehr
18-Jul-2005, 18:41
Hi John.

I would recommend starting with one sheet of film/no rubber band, until you get the hang of this processing method. If you're getting stains and/or scratches with a single sheet, you'll know it's either your chemicals, or your handling. Once you get your process down with one sheet, you can add one or two more sheets as you feel comfortable. When you use the rubber bands, use thin ones, and be sure that the film looks like a U and not an O when the rubber band is secured. It is also useful to keep in mind that the scratches and defects you've encountered are more likely to have occurred in the transfer to, or processing in the tray than in the tank. I have processed hundreds of sheets of film by this method without defects of any kind. If you're more comfortable completing the processing steps in a tray, I recommend that you process one sheet at a time in the tray, while the others soak in the tank. If I cn be of any help, please don't hesitate to contact me.


John Mauser
18-Jul-2005, 19:40
Nigel and Jay,
Thanks a million for your answers, they helped a lot. I just wonder if I messed up the negs in loading or in the tray or if it was my agitation. What method of gentle agitation would you recommend? I'm still going to ask about the jobo but I also really like the daylight tank if I can figure out what I'm doing wrong. I also plan to try only 2 sheets next time. THey seemed really packed with 4 and I wonder if that was the problem. Another thing,... I folded the negs so that they were 4" tall when standing in the tank. This seemed to be a tight fit as the funnel top pushed directly down on the negs when it was tightened on...is that normal?

Jay DeFehr
18-Jul-2005, 20:31
Hi John.

Yes, it's normal for the funnel/filler of the smaller Patterson tanks to contact the film near the center, which is why it's important to leave the film open in a U-shape, so that it doesn't overlap itself. I mostly use continuous agitation with a minimum of 250ml of developer. I use my own staining developers, and agitate by continuous inversion in a daisy pattern. Patterson makes a larger tank:


which can accomodate 3 35mm reels, is much more spacious, and ideal for using very dilute developers. This tank will not crowd your 4x5 film like the smaller tanks will. I use the smaller tanks for 3x4, and the larger ones for 4x5 or 5x7, and still larger ones for 8x10. Good luck.


Brian Ellis
18-Jul-2005, 22:31
You might want to consider the BTZS tubes (www.theviewcamerastore.com) in addition to investigating a Jobo system. Jobos are very expensive new and fairly expensive even used on ebay, take up a lot of space, and most importantly don't allow you to use different development times in a single run. So if you have a few sheets that require say three different times you have to make three separate runs. The BTZS tubes are relatively inexpensive (very inexpensive if you make your own which isn't difficult to do with 4x5 tubes), take up little room, and allow you to process for different times in a single run. They also use very little chemistry (I use 1 ounce of D76 diluted 1-1 per tube) and can be used in daylight once the film is in the tubes. The principal advantage of the Jobo system is the fact that you can process up to 10 sheets at a time. I do six at a time with the BTZS tubes. Some people also think you have better consistency with the motorized Jobo system. That may be true but I'm careful to rotate the tubes the same way every time and seem to have good consistency.

Ron Marshall
19-Jul-2005, 07:28
Hi John,

I hand roll the Jobo 3010 on the Jobo roller base ($20) for b/w, (up to ten sheets 4x5). I always get even and consistent development. It is simple and quick to load/unload, and uses as little as 330ml of chemistry (50ml per sheet, 330ml minimum, more of course if using more dilute developers)

email me if you would like any further info.

Good luck

Scott Kathe
16-Aug-2005, 14:57
Hi John,

I've been busy at work and on vacation for a while and missed your post. I've had the exact same issue with the 'taco' method. I also get scratches in the corner of a negative, usually at least one out of the four I develop at a time. I used the tray method for the last set of negatives I developed and not a single scratch.