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Two23
28-Jan-2019, 20:43
I received all my supplies for processing my own sheets, and two weeks ago I started doing it! I'm using SP-445 tank, HC-110, Photographers' Formulary tf4, distilled water, and Photoflo. Also bought a Gralab 300 timer. I bought a black out curtain over my interior bathroom door and that makes my "dark room" very light tight even in daytime. i load the film in the dark, turn on lights. I look up the developing times on DigitalTruth developing website: https://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php?Film=Ilford+FP4%2B&Developer=Rodinal&mdc=Search&TempUnits=C which even has a temperature conversion function. I fill the tank with distilled water/HC-110 dilution B, immediately start the timer, and do the four inversions every 30 seconds. Empty tank and run ~70 degree tap water through it for about 3 minutes, empty, fill with distilled water and agitate for a minute, empty, refill with tf4 mixed with distilled water, three minutes with agitation 30 seconds out of 60s. Empty into a jug, take off caps and put under running water for about five minutes. Empty tank, refill with distilled water & 5 drops Photoflo. Inversions for a minute, empty. Hang sheets to dry by a corner.

So far I've done five loads (20 sheets) and each seems to have come out well! I started with FP4+ and have also done one batch of HP5 now. It's all much easier than I thought! It's really not hard--just follow the recipe. I'm now thinking of starting tray development for my 4x5 Lane plates. I know they can be done in the tank but if I tray develop I can do the stop bath when they're at their peak. From there the next step will be trying wet plate.:) Doing my own processing has given me a lot of confidence to tackle more. I mostly started doing my own to cut down the nearly two weeks of turn around time, but also to save postage and trips to the post office. The fact it's kind of fun was a surprise!:D Thanks to Prof. Randy Moe of the Tin Can College and all the others who walked me through it. For those thinking about trying, really it's not hard at all. The SP-445 tank is easy to work with too.


Kent in SD

pepeguitarra
28-Jan-2019, 21:27
Good for you. The pics look great too.

Mark Sampson
28-Jan-2019, 22:00
A good start! In B&W, DIY is the way to go. Color? Send it out.

Randy Moe
29-Jan-2019, 01:25
Good for you! Faster cheaper and more reliable than mail order

Tin Can College is the school of hard knocks

99% are graduates...

Look up Tin Can Tourists

Read this https://tincantourists.com/2818-2/

scheinfluger_77
29-Jan-2019, 05:54
There is nothing quite like seeing your first negatives come out of the soup. Not everyone has a 100% positive experience the first time, but it’s still close. (Ask me how i know).

rdeloe
29-Jan-2019, 08:51
I just started using the SP-445 too Kent. It's a terrific tool that wasn't available when I last did 4x5 processing; back then it was open trays in a darkroom. I have no darkroom so the SP-445 makes it possible.

One thing about the SP-445 people need to know is that it will leak all over the place if you skip the step where you squeeze it before putting the caps on! It's in the instructions, so it's my own fault... Tim (the fellow who makes and sells it) even has a video on YouTube called "squeeze play" where he explains the why and the how of it.

Another thing to watch for is you have to make sure the film holders are perfectly dry. I did two batches in one day and the holders were a bit damp. Not only did it make it hard to load the film, but also one negative was destroyed because it was "glued" to the holder in places. I may invest in a second set of holders for times when I want to process 8 sheets in one day.

I'm also using the same film and developer. I compared FP4+ and HP5+ and am very pleased to see that with Dilution H of HC-110 (1:63 at 18 minutes at 20 C) the grain of the HP5+ is very comparable to the FP4+. It made a much flatter negative in Dilution H, but I'm scanning rather than optical printing so the flat negative is actually a plus. I'm also keen to try Xtol with HP5+. Many claim it gives you a very good combination of tone, sharpness and grain.

Needless to say I share your enthusiasm! Enjoy the journey.

Larry Gebhardt
29-Jan-2019, 09:32
Another thing to watch for is you have to make sure the film holders are perfectly dry. I did two batches in one day and the holders were a bit damp. Not only did it make it hard to load the film, but also one negative was destroyed because it was "glued" to the holder in places. I may invest in a second set of holders for times when I want to process 8 sheets in one day.


Never used the SP-445, but on other tanks like the Combi Plan I found a hair dryer on low worked well enough to get the holders dry for quick turn around.

dkonigs
29-Jan-2019, 09:53
The last time I tried this, the only options I could find were "open trays in the dark" or the HP Combi-Plan. I used the latter, which did seem to use a lot of chemicals for few sheets. But at the time, I didn't want to mail out my film and didn't have any good/easy local options for 4x5. Eventually, though, I just switched to a 6x7 roll back for that camera because it was easier to deal with.

(The camera in question was a Crown Graphic, which I got more for the "retro press photographer experience" than for LF by itself, so a 90mm lens and 6x7 back got the job done.)

aaronnate
29-Jan-2019, 10:41
Looks good. Feels good don't it?

Two23
29-Jan-2019, 10:54
1. One thing about the SP-445 people need to know is that it will leak all over the place if you skip the step where you squeeze it before putting the caps on! It's in the instructions, so it's my own fault... Tim (the fellow who makes and sells it) even has a video on YouTube called "squeeze play" where he explains the why and the how of it.

2. Another thing to watch for is you have to make sure the film holders are perfectly dry. I did two batches in one day and the holders were a bit damp. Not only did it make it hard to load the film, but also one negative was destroyed because it was "glued" to the holder in places. I may invest in a second set of holders for times when I want to process 8 sheets in one day.

3. I'm also using the same film and developer. I compared FP4+ and HP5+ and am very pleased to see that with Dilution H of HC-110 (1:63 at 18 minutes at 20 C) the grain of the HP5+ is very comparable to the FP4+. It made a much flatter negative in Dilution H, but I'm scanning rather than optical printing so the flat negative is actually a plus. I'm also keen to try Xtol with HP5+. Many claim it gives you a very good combination of tone, sharpness and grain.

Needless to say I share your enthusiasm! Enjoy the journey.

1. I do have some leaks when using the HC-110, but not the tf4. i do the squeeze thing, but I think I'm filling it too full. There needs to be some air in there to create a vaccuum.

2. I've been doing two batches back to back. Once I have everything set up it just seems more time efficient. I towel dry everything, blow out the holders, then set on top of my floor registers. It's warm dry air and dries them out in a hurry.

3. I did run into a small problem with the HP5. My water temp called for a developing time that was under 5 minutes and the chart gave a warning that might be too short. There was only a 15 second difference so I just ran it that much longer. I think I need to find a different process or dilution for HP5 when the HC-110 dilution B won't work. I might try the dilution H maybe.


Kent in SD

Ulophot
29-Jan-2019, 11:37
[QUOTE=rdeloe;1480817]
Another thing to watch for is you have to make sure the film holders are perfectly dry. I did two batches in one day and the holders were a bit damp. Not only did it make it hard to load the film, but also one negative was destroyed because it was "glued" to the holder in places. I may invest in a second set of holders for times when I want to process 8 sheets in one day. /QUOTE]

I have had no troubl toweling the film holders dry and just blowing any drops of water out of the guides. I oftern run more than one cycle in succession adn find that as long as the holdrs are dry, I don't need to worry about the tank interior, as long as fuliy drained (I wash my film in the 445). Only on one occasion have I had a couple of sheets stick to the holders, and I don't know why it happened. In any case, since the emulsion faces out, the dye backing that formed dark splotches on teh film where it stuck were easily removed in a water soak/rinse with a little gentle finger wiping to help. Only took a few minutes.

Laminarman
29-Jan-2019, 12:47
Isn't it great!?? I did it for a lot of years and stupidly sold everything darkroom related for peanuts. I do a hybrid system now, but sorely miss watching images come up in a tray doing traditional prints. I use the same tank you do, and I do find that you need 450ml, if you fill too much you can't get the vacuum and yes, it leaks. Your images are very nice. If you want to make developing film seem even easier, brew beer from grains by mashing them. Now THAT'S a long, messy, large project. Processing BW film is easy and fun and I've found, since returning, much much better control than a lab. I'm new to 4x5 and can't imagine sending out for those to be developed. The 455 tank is awesome I think. My issue right now is that it's 4567 degrees below zero and I want to take photos! I might have to go grab a bouquet of flowers and do a few still life shots this weekend.

Two23
29-Jan-2019, 12:57
Isn't it great!?? I did it for a lot of years and stupidly sold everything darkroom related for peanuts. I do a hybrid system now, but sorely miss watching images come up in a tray doing traditional prints. I use the same tank you do, and I do find that you need 450ml, if you fill too much you can't get the vacuum and yes, it leaks. Your images are very nice. If you want to make developing film seem even easier, brew beer from grains by mashing them. Now THAT'S a long, messy, large project. Processing BW film is easy and fun and I've found, since returning, much much better control than a lab. I'm new to 4x5 and can't imagine sending out for those to be developed. The 455 tank is awesome I think. My issue right now is that it's 4567 degrees below zero and I want to take photos! I might have to go grab a bouquet of flowers and do a few still life shots this weekend.


Hitting 24 F below zero here (NOT windchill.) I'm going out anyway. I have some serious mountaineering clothing made for climbing K2 and Mt. Everest. Will try using a bit less fluid in the SP-445, just enough to cover the tops of the holders. That should give me enough vacuum when I squeeze it.


Kent in SD

rdeloe
29-Jan-2019, 13:11
I'm definitely going to try the hair dryer trick. Good thought. On low I shouldn't have to worry about warping them.

So far Dilution H (basically just double the time and half the strength of Dilution B) seems to work well with HP5+. It's not a good choice if you like your negatives really contrasty. For my purposes (scanning) it seems a good choice. Note that I shot my HP5+ at ISO 320.

You definitely should not overfill the SP-445. The 475ml maximum amount is important. More and it still leaks because the liquid is above the level of the O-ring. Tim talks about this too in his "squeeze play" video.

Rob

rdeloe
29-Jan-2019, 13:13
Isn't it great!?? I did it for a lot of years and stupidly sold everything darkroom related for peanuts.

At least you got peanuts! I tried to sell it -- no dice. In the end, to keep everything out of the landfill I gave it to a kid who said he'd use it at his camera club. I hope he did because he got a lovely Omega D5 XL with an Ilford cold light head and absolutely everything needed to set up a full darkroom -- except the cabinets!

chassis
29-Jan-2019, 17:33
Looks great Kent!

Willie
29-Jan-2019, 19:31
1. I do have some leaks when using the HC-110, but not the tf4. i do the squeeze thing, but I think I'm filling it too full. There needs to be some air in there to create a vaccuum.

2. I've been doing two batches back to back. Once I have everything set up it just seems more time efficient. I towel dry everything, blow out the holders, then set on top of my floor registers. It's warm dry air and dries them out in a hurry.

3. I did run into a small problem with the HP5. My water temp called for a developing time that was under 5 minutes and the chart gave a warning that might be too short. There was only a 15 second difference so I just ran it that much longer. I think I need to find a different process or dilution for HP5 when the HC-110 dilution B won't work. I might try the dilution H maybe.


Kent in SD

You are shooting a view camera. Any reason you did not correct the verticals in the image of the grain bins and dryer?

John Kasaian
29-Jan-2019, 19:34
Congratulations!

rdeloe
29-Jan-2019, 20:13
If I had to guess I'd say because his fingers were numb and the controls were frozen solid? Also there may or may not have been a Yeti siting in the area. ;)


You are shooting a view camera. Any reason you did not correct the verticals in the image of the grain bins and dryer?

Two23
29-Jan-2019, 21:08
You are shooting a view camera. Any reason you did not correct the verticals in the image of the grain bins and dryer?


On the night shot of the elevator complex at Baltic, SD, I was using a 75mm Nikkor for the first time. I have rise figured out but even backed way off I still ran out of "rise." Had to tilt the camera back some. I could not figure out how to straighten the tubes on the right side of the frame. I used Photoshop some and it did improve a bit. I find I have problems with buildings on the edge of the frames with both Nikkors 90mm and now 75mm. I waited until the sky cleared to take the shot. It was hitting 14 F below. Normally that's not a problem but I only had my medium warm clothes on.


Kent in SD

Pat Kearns
29-Jan-2019, 22:28
It's a great feeling seeing good negatives coming out of the chemicals. If you've never seen a print emerge on the paper in developer then get some paper, developer and make a contact print of one of the negatives. The first word that will roll off your lips is WOW! It is black magic at it's greatest.

Willie
29-Jan-2019, 23:31
On the night shot of the elevator complex at Baltic, SD, I was using a 75mm Nikkor for the first time. I have rise figured out but even backed way off I still ran out of "rise." Had to tilt the camera back some. I could not figure out how to straighten the tubes on the right side of the frame. I used Photoshop some and it did improve a bit. I find I have problems with buildings on the edge of the frames with both Nikkors 90mm and now 75mm. I waited until the sky cleared to take the shot. It was hitting 14 F below. Normally that's not a problem but I only had my medium warm clothes on.


Kent in SD

Understood. You'll get the hang of it with more use. Getting the standards parallel while working with some rise and living with image circles can be fun. In the dark you don't have to worry much about 'dark corners'.