View Full Version : Uneven Development

Jerry Flynn
5-Jul-2006, 12:39
I searched on this topic and did not find exactly the answer I was looking for, so here is my problem:

I am shooting 8X10 Ilford FP4+ and developing it in PMK @ 70 degrees F for 9 min in 11X14 trays.

I presoak for two minutes, shuffling the film to make sure it is all fully soaked. My most recent batch was three sheets of film.

I develop in two liters of solution by agitating continuously for thirty seconds and then at fifteen second intervals by shuffling through the stack once. I rotate the stack 90 degrees with each shuffle.

The result is good overall density and contrast, but a slight mottling in the clear blue sky area. It is slight - not terribly blotchy - but not the creamy smoothness I want.

Any PMK users out there who have solved this problem? Incidentally, I'd just as soon avoid buying a lot of additional stuff, such as a Jobo system, etc.

Jay DeFehr
5-Jul-2006, 13:26
Hi Jerry,

I don't use PMK, but if I was getting mottling, I would look at my agitation technique. You might consider going to continuous shuffling, brush development, and/or increasing the ratio of A:B in your working solution. Good luck.


Amund BLix Aaeng
5-Jul-2006, 13:30
I shuffle continously when tray developing with PMK and don`t have any problems at all.. Btw, you don`t need to use two liters for three sheets, one liter is enough.

Glenn Thoreson
5-Jul-2006, 15:44
I use constant agitation with PMK.

bruce terry
5-Jul-2006, 17:56
Jerry - so here we all go again with many different successful routines. Me, I do one-at-a-time, 8x10 face up in a 11.5 x 14.5 smooth-bottomed tray, timing similar to yours: presoak 2-4 minutes at water temp (close to developer temp), PMK 1-2-100 / 1 ltr mixed just prior to dark, agitation by brisk side-lift rotation first minute, the 15 sec intervals thereafter (10 seconds seems fine too). (I have smooth naked skies w/BGR200 or HP5+. Water stop and alkaline fixer are within about 2 of developer at start....a thought....are all your temps fairly close to each other? Or maybe try single sheets to isolate your problem?

ronald moravec
6-Jul-2006, 04:11
Gordon Hutching described a technique in his book on PMK.

Single sheet, emulsion up, insert dry. Use one sheet of 4x5 in an 8x10 tray with a liter of PMK.

Agitation is by lifting the consecutive edges of the tank one inch and lowering it fast to really get the solution moving FAST. The film is supposed to move around, twist, and clack against the edges. "You will be rewarded with perfect negs" to quote G H. He is right. This also works with D76 and HC110.

The problem with PMK is all open tank systems cause the developer to oxidise very fast. One run is all you can get.

Using a closed tank will give 30% shorter times as the developer remains fresh through the whole time.

I now develope in closed tanks such as a Nikor ( including a 4x5 ) and the developer comes out looking fresh just like it goes in. 12 sheets in a Nikor 4x5 works fine. The plan is to lower the loaded reel into a tank of developer in the dark, remove and replace one time as the first agitation. Now add the cap and lid. You may pour the developer out and add TF4 fix thru the cap.

This is the best loading procedure with any Nikor tank incliding roll film. Do not pour developer in thru the cap. Out is ok.

TF4 is the best fix as you need not resoak in developer to restain the neg.

Mark Sampson
6-Jul-2006, 08:31
For even development, I think you're right at the minimum amount of developer. I use 2L of PMK to develop up to 10 4x5 sheets. In a tray, you want a greater volume of solution. It's not a question of how little you can use- that's a false economy. I'd try again with 3L or even 4.

Brian Ellis
6-Jul-2006, 09:13
I was thinking the same thing as Mark. It's been a long time since I used PMK in a tray but when I did I used the same size trays as you use and scratched . . . oops, I mean processed . . . 2-4 negatives at a time. I don't remember exactly how much PMK I used but I'm sure it was more than 2 liters.

steve simmons
6-Jul-2006, 10:04
I use 1200 cc of PMK in a tray for either 6 4x5 or 6 5x7 negs. The key is emulsion side down. My tray processing procedure is described in an article on the View Camera web site in the Free Articles section. No scratches and always even development.

steve simmons

Jerry Flynn
6-Jul-2006, 10:44
Thanks, everyone, for all the suggestions. It appears that the consensus is that continuous agitation is the ticket. That will be my first step. If that does not solve the problem, I'll look at volume of solutions.

Thanks again.

Michael Newberry
6-Jul-2006, 15:12
I would agree with what's been said about constant agitation. I standardized my times on using constant shuffling through the deck and I have never seen uneven development.