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Alan9940
18-Nov-2018, 10:22
Seeking advice on effective agitation technique with tanks/hangers to achieve even development in really tough areas like clear blue sky. I tried several ideas on my own, but the closet agitation technique I've settled on so far is:

1) lift left to about a 45 degree angle, hold for a few seconds, and then back into developer.
2) lift right to about 45 degree angle, hold for a few seconds, and then back into developer.
3) lift straight up, then back into developer.
4) lift about an inch, then drop to remove any air bubbles.

This is what I call one agitation cycle which takes about 15 secs to complete. When developing, I agitate for the first minute (4 agitation cycles), followed by one agitation cycle each minute thereafter.

As I said, this technique is the best I've found so far, but I can still see slight mottling in the lighter gray of clear blue, sunny southwest skies. I've read that more vigorous agitation will provide more even development, but I've tried that, too, and my experience has not been successful when doing more frequent agitation and/or more vigorous agitation.

If it makes any difference, I'm using 2L and 5L tanks (made by Vinny Walsh) with 8x10 holders or 4-up 4x5 holders.

Any advice/guidance would be very much appreciated.

LabRat
18-Nov-2018, 13:43
That is the proper method... I use it with 1.5 ltr tanks with 1 up 4X5 hangers, and it works fine... I haven't used bigger tanks with multi hangers or larger films in a long time, but it did work ok without burst processing...

Your dev dilution might be too low, so try a greater dilution, as byproducts of developed areas will be less dense, so your agitation will clear those areas better, as the "clouds" there would be slightly less dense...

Steve K

Alan9940
18-Nov-2018, 14:04
Hi Steve,

Thanks for the reply!

You could be right about the developer dilution, since I'm using Rodinal at 1:100. Any idea of what percentage to cut development time, if I try 1:50 vs 1:100?

Alan

Leigh
18-Nov-2018, 16:06
You could be right about the developer dilution, since I'm using Rodinal at 1:100.
Any idea of what percentage to cut development time, if I try 1:50 vs 1:100?Hi Alan,

The Massive Development Chart tells you everything you want to know:
https://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php?Film=%25Ilford+FP4%25&Developer=Rodinal&mdc=Search&TempUnits=C&TimeUnits=D

You have to specify the film and the developer. For Rodinal, it shows all common dilutions.

To address your original question...
I use your step #4 by itself, usually with a bit of tilt. My developers are Rodinal, Acufine, and DiaFine.
I've never encountered a problem in over 60 years of doing it this way.

- Leigh

LabRat
18-Nov-2018, 16:45
You want a more dilute developer, as this will slow down the activity...

Like Leigh sez, check the chart to find a more dilute version with a longer development time you are comfortable with and try that...

Also, your moves in and out of the dev should be as smooth as possible, so don't over agitate them...

Check back with us, when you solve it...

Good luck!!!

Steve K

Leigh
18-Nov-2018, 17:08
You want a more dilute developer, as this will slow down the activity...Steve,

He wants to reduce the development time, not extend it.

- Leigh

LabRat
18-Nov-2018, 20:57
Sorry, I thought he was concerned about the uneven development...

Steve K

Alan9940
19-Nov-2018, 08:46
@LabRat - you are correct, I am concerned with uneven development; desperately trying to arrive at a technique that works for me.

@Leigh - I am aware of the MDC and always use that as a jumping off point. Over the years, though, I've found that my own personal development times can differ quite significantly from those on the chart. Therefore, if I have a good development time for Rodinal at 1:100 that's quite different from the time listed on MDC, is there any easy way to guess what the time would be at 1:50 dilution? I doubt that it's simply half the time because the developer strength is 2x?

Regarding your agitation technique (my #4), what tanks are you using? I ask because the ones I have (made by Vinny Walsh) are pretty tight and wouldn't allow much tilt without raising the hanger quite high out of the developer. Though I've never seen an old Kodak rubber tank for 8x10, they were big enough to allow a frame basket containing holders to be dropped in together. Therefore, I'm guessing the distance from the side of the holder to the side of the tank is quite a bit more than what I have.

Leigh
19-Nov-2018, 09:05
Hi Alan,

You can use the delta between 1:50 and 1:100 times on MDC as a factor for your 1:50 v. 1:100.

My 8x10 tanks are Kodak or "other". I never paid attention. They are large enough to allow tilting.

- Leigh

LabRat
19-Nov-2018, 15:31
My tanks are a fairly tight fit with the basket, but can practice it in the light where you lift it almost all the way out, then tilt 45deg...

Allow the rack to evenly move into/out of solution, but not so fast it pumps through... Allow it to sink on its own being slightly eased down or you can get surge effects...

Steve K

jnantz
19-Nov-2018, 16:44
hi steve
i haven't used hangers and tanks in ages
but i remember lowering the film+hangers in slowly at an angle
so i wouldn't get surge marks,
then the 45 to the right and left 8 times ( 2 pairs )
then 1once left+1once right each minute

one of the great things about using a deep tank is always having about 1/3 tank of
seasoned developer in the tank to mellow out the rest ... can't say how many times
i heard how contrasty and terrible dk50 was .. with a seasoned tank it was anything but ..

Greg Davis
20-Nov-2018, 07:11
I made this video to demonstrate agitation with different types of film and tanks for student reference. Sheet film is near the end, if it helps.


https://youtu.be/CLf271GhK1M

Alan9940
20-Nov-2018, 21:19
Thanks Greg, I saw your video already. Nice job, but my current agitation technique is the same as what you show in the video. However, I get a small bit of mottling in areas such as clear blue sky. I'm sure no one would even notice in high frequency image areas, but those smooth grays are tough!

LabRat
20-Nov-2018, 21:32
Try a different developer, as some types work better/worse in some development tanks, so maybe a difference...


Steve K

Alan9940
21-Nov-2018, 06:58
Try a different developer, as some types work better/worse in some development tanks, so maybe a difference...


Steve K

I have used Pyrocat-HD and a minimal agitation technique with success...I may just relegate the tank/hanger setup for that process only. Thanks everyone for all the suggestions.

consummate_fritterer
21-Nov-2018, 17:53
It's been a million years since I've developed sheet film but my method was almost identical to the OP's. However, I didn't agitate continuously the first minute, I didn't keep the film out of the developer for more than a second or two each direction, agitation cycles were every sixty seconds, I used fairly dilute Rodinal, and when development time exceeded ten minutes I decreased agitation frequency to every one hundred twenty seconds, after the first five minutes.