View Full Version : Lane Plate Processing

23-Feb-2019, 20:46
OK, I've been doing FP4+ and HP5 processing in the Stearman tank for the past two months without a single screw up. I need to start processing the Lane plates now.:o I bought a set of three plastic trays with ridged bottom, DO have a red safe light, have been using HC-110, have tf4 fixer AND Kodak fixer with hardener. Also have a bottle of Kodak Photoflo I use in final rinse with distilled water. Now for the questions.

Reading the back of the box most of it makes sense to me now. However there are some things I don't know about and haven't been doing with the film:

1. After developing I just use a water stop bath for ~3 minutes. The Lane instructions call for an "acid stop bath." What's that? Can I just pour in vinegar, or is it a special solution I don't have? I'm guessing water stop bath won't work for plates?

2. After the stop bath do I just use tf4 for 4-5 minutes? I do that with the film and it seems to be working fine.

3. It next calls for "hypo clearing wash 4 minutes". What's that? The tf4 isn't a hypo?

4. 10 minute clearing wash if hypo used. Is my Kodak Photoflo a hypo? So if I use 4-6 drops of that in the water it's considered a hypo?

To complicate things I have several batches of plates I'm using up. My exposed plates are mostly from batch #14 exposed at
iSO 1. I haven't yet got into my box of batch #24 ISO 2. So, how do I process the different boxes? The simple answer would be for me to send the earlier plates in to Blue Moon to process, with a note, and start doing my own with batch #24. However, I do think I'm now up to doing them all. I just kinda sorta know what I'm doing which is a big improvement over where I was at the start of the year.:D

Kent in SD

24-Feb-2019, 00:52
1: stop bath can indeed be water with some vinegar. A useful concentration would be between 1% and 2% acetic acid, which means that you could use cleaning vinegar to water in a ratio of 1 + 4 to about 1+7.

2. Yes, should work fine.

3. Hypo clear is a product that helps wash out fixer. You can buy it, or you can mix it yourself from sodium sulfite and sodium bisulfite; Google for formulas.

4. Photoflo is not a hypo clearing agent. You could use photoflo in the final rinse, but use plain water for the wash after the hypo clear and before the photoflo rinse.

Christopher Barrett
24-Feb-2019, 07:22
Jason's instructions call for a hardening fixer, which TF-4 is not. I'd fix with your Kodak Hardening Fixer.


William Whitaker
24-Feb-2019, 07:42
I can see your confusion. "Hypo clearing wash" is not a clearing wash that has hypo in it. It's a wash to clear out the hypo. Another victim of semantics! The English language is very poor at showing how words are associated within a sentence or a phrase.

Hypo clearing wash is very often referred to as "HCA" which stands for hypo clearing agent, not that the word "agent" makes any difference whatsoever.(I think HCA was a Kodak product, but not sure.) Hypo refers to sodium thiosulfate as it was once erroneously sodium hyposulfate. The misnomer stuck and to this day we colloquially refer to fixer as "hypo".

The whole point of using a hypo clearing agent is because the sodium thiosulfate compounds get into the paper fibers of a print and are difficult to wash out. With film it's not as big an issue because the film substrate is not permeable and the hypo doesn't penetrate or get hung up in it. So realistically, the need for a hypo clearing agent (with film) is over rated. Glass plates also are not going to allow the hypo to penetrate, so again a step you probably do not need. Further, if you use Kodak Hardening Fixer (which, as noted above, is what Jason recommends), that is ammonium thiosulfate and HCA would be less effective with that anyway.

But you're using TF-4 fixer. I dont know what's in TF-4 fixer. But read the label thoroughly because you might want to re-think your stop bath. With TF-4 I use a water stop bath and not an acid stop bath. I've not seen the need for it and by using a water stop bath, it doesn't contaminate the fixer (which I then re-use).

And, as noted above, Photoflo is not a hypo or a fixer at all. It is a compound with a very long molecule that aids in water draining from the surface of the film, thus reducing the need to spot prints later.

I myself have some Lane dry plates I need to process, so I'll be discovering the best techniques with these right alongside you. Good luck!

Daniel Unkefer
24-Feb-2019, 08:07
I found that my first attempt yielded very very thin results. I attribute this to: 1) not using strong enough developer, I used dilution "H" HC110 for fifteen minutes. Dilution H is twice as diluted as B. 2) darkroom too cold; 14 C ambient temp, according to Ilford temp adjustment chart, should have used 25 minutes! Finally found this info after the fact. 25 minutes is too long for development in a tray! Just a static test subject (a statue in full sun). Will repeat, next time using dilution "B" which is what Jason recommends. So we will see. It was a lot of fun to develop the plates, under one red safelight. I used a plastic kitchen spatula to move them from tray to tray. Good to be back in the darkroom.

I've loaded up five of the RADA 6.5x9cm holders with Jason's dry plates, ready to go out again. I'll repeat the initial tests, only when the light is pure bright sun. 1/2" at f11 has worked well for other folks, so we will see. And I will use 1:31 HC110 concentrate. I will also overexpose a stop just to see how it reacts. I'm also testing Foma Retropan 120 at the same time, and shoot some 120 FP4+ also. So I always come back with something. I'm not going to start my shoot my stock of 9x12cm until I have some good results in the smaller format. I'm also inquiring about the SP445 developing tank, now Tim now has holders (4x5 and 9x12) for Jason's plates. Might get more even development, Jason's test look really smooth and even. Even the edges.

Anyone here using the Sp445 for Jason's plates? Anyone developing 9x12?

Randy Moe
24-Feb-2019, 08:16
Some use one drop of liquid hand dishwashing soap in place of Photo Flo in a liter of water. Dawn

I believe the necessity of Photo Flo depends upon your water characteristics.

Photo Flo is purposed to enhance water runoff and improve 'sheeting' which lessens water drop spotting while drying.

I haven't needed either solution using Chicago tap and my downstate water which are both lake water, not well water.

So I don't use it however I have a big bottle of it.



24-Feb-2019, 08:51
Yes, I do have Kodak fixer with hardener. Will use that with the early batches but Jason has said the batches after #17 don't need it, can use tf4. I will try the vinegar formula for bath since I already have it around. I do have the plate holders for my Stearman tank but am holding off using it to start with. I think it might be better if I tray process so I can see the image come up and stop it when it looks good. I've also heard the emulsions on the early batches were a bit fragile. I process film in my kitchen with the SP-445 and plan on processing the plates in an upstairs bathroom. Ambient temp should be around 73 F.


Kent in SD

Nodda Duma
24-Feb-2019, 15:15
Dan, I use the SP-445 almoat exclusively for developing 4x5 and 9x12. It works very well and I highly recommend it.

If you are tray developing, don’t pull the plate from the developer until it looks very dark (until you see details in the shadows), otherwise it will be too thin.

Kent, you don’t necessarily need hypo clearing wash, instead just double your rinse time. In fact I don’t use it myself. You also don’t strictly need hardening fixe, but you must maintain strict control of your temperatures for batch 14. I’d suggest trying to develop the latter batch starting out...it will be more forgiving.

Good luck. Remember, it’s not magic and they were able to make nice plates under the far worse conditions that existed in the 1880s. :)


Keith Fleming
24-Feb-2019, 18:38
I agree with Randy on the use of hand dishwashing detergent as a Photo Flo replacement. It has worked well for me for many years. However, there is one caveat. About 50 years ago, when developing 35 mm film in the kitchen, I used what was close at hand--a blue-colored liquid dishwashing detergent. I wound up with blue-toned negatives from the dye in the detergent. Since then I have used only liquid dishwashing detergent that has on the label "free and clear" of dyes. One plastic bottle of the stuff will last for decades.


Peter Gomena
1-Mar-2019, 17:46
In testing the Lane plates in our lab, we found that not using a hardening fixer will allow a stream of running water to wash the emulsion off the plate!

1-Mar-2019, 20:28
In testing the Lane plates in our lab, we found that not using a hardening fixer will allow a stream of running water to wash the emulsion off the plate!

Is that mostly with the early emulsions (pre-#17,) or with the newer ones too?

Kent in SD

Peter Gomena
4-Mar-2019, 16:08
This was the original emulsion. This happened a year or so ago.

Daniel Unkefer
8-Mar-2019, 12:54
I got my SP445 tank and 9x12 Lane Plate inserts yesterday :)

My really good news for today, is that I can drop four 4.5x6cm glass plates into Tim's 9x12 J Lane SP445 process racks. This fit my Plaubel Makinas and Makiflexes, in both sizes that I shoot. See my Avatar. I've tried loading and inverting the tanks for a good bit. The smaller plates do not shift around or break.

Most excellent news! I should show this to Tim........... :cool::cool::cool: