View Full Version : First time tray development

27-Sep-2006, 17:01
Hi all...

Just got out of the darkroom trying tray dev for the first time. Just experimented with 2 sheets of Tri-X in HC110 Dilution H, 74 degrees, 5 minutes (approx) with 2 min presoak.

They were both reciprocity adjusted exposures, probably not the best to judge a first-time experience with as far as benchmarks go, but still very worthwhile.

Negs look great and are drying now...

The only problems were:

1) Trying to feel for the film in the trays with a glove on PLUS the fact that the film seems to migrate through the 8x10 tray. I used "shuffle" agitation, but probably agitated and fumbled a bit more due to my inexperience.

2) My kitchen timer malfunctioned due to fumbling in the dark, but when I realized that, I think I was able to prejudge the time very well.

All in all, negs look good, possibly a bit more contrasty than my usual job with medium format tank work, possibly due to the agitation or gradually higher dev temps from fingers in the tray during agitation.

Looking forward to scanning them. I'll try to post a link after I do that.

Would love any comments and/or suggestions...



Ron Marshall
27-Sep-2006, 17:50
Tri-x in HC-110 should be forgiving of a little variation in development time.

Ralph Barker
27-Sep-2006, 18:22
FWIW, I use my left hand to keep the 4x5 stack organized into the lower left corner of the 8x10 tray. The right hand picks the sheet from the bottom of the stack, after the left hand lifts it a bit.

Andrew O'Neill
27-Sep-2006, 18:44
I hate sticking my fingers in developer even if I'm wearing gloves because your body heat increases developer temperature.

27-Sep-2006, 22:02
You may want to try Nitrile gloves. Also push the negs to the corners, or try a smaller tray, like 5 x 7. ARe you going to try development by inspection?

Bruce Barlow
28-Sep-2006, 04:51
Think about getting a long scrap of wood - 3/4 by 3/4 (or similar) and as long as your row of trays, and put it under the back of them (farthest away from you). That way, the trays are slightly tilted towards you and the negs choose to obey the law of gravity and settle at the bottom of the tray near you. It makes them much easier to handle. I have a scrap I've used for 20+ years that just lives against the back edge of my sink. always ready to use.

Also, I don't wear gloves with HC-110, which radically improves my dexterity. For the quantitiy of negatives that I develop, I'm unlikely to be heavily poisoned before I'm in the ground for other reasons. Otherwise, I've noticed no ill effects...although my wife tells me I drool a lot...

Ben Calwell
28-Sep-2006, 05:00
Another option, which I've used for years with 4x5 film, is to use those glass Pyrex bread pans available at most grocery supermarkets.
They are deep and narrow enough so that a stack of film won't wander around. I shuffle them emulsion face down.

28-Sep-2006, 22:40
Hi all...

Thanks for the comments, tips and suggestions. They're all great ideas!

I scanned the negs today and you can find them here:

Garlic & bottles (http://www.flickr.com/photos/viapiano/255394810/in/set-72157594181176569/)

Coffee pot (http://www.flickr.com/photos/viapiano/255394775/in/set-72157594181176569/)

And, just for the heck of it, here's a Polaroid 55 from a few weeks ago:

In the garden (http://www.flickr.com/photos/viapiano/254677447/in/set-72157594181176569/)

Overall, for a first time experience, I was very satisfied with tray development and I know that with more experience I can cut down on the little nicks in the emulsion.

steve simmons
2-Oct-2006, 08:06
My procedure for tray development is described in an article on the View Camera web page. Go to Free Articles. I have done it this way for 26 years and scratched maybe one neg.

steve simmons