View Full Version : More headaches..and shocks!

19-Feb-2007, 07:32
More questions from someone new to processing 4x5 Tmax. Kicking myself, I have just realised that Kodak state on their data sheet that normal Tmax developer should not be used for sheet film..whoops, already did!

so Q1: What's the difference between ordinary Tmax developer and the RS (given that I now know it has a replenisher system).

Q2. My first successful neg (well it was 'ok' compared to the first solarised effort). Would the negative have turned out any better if I had used RS?

Q3. How many sheets of 4x5 would I be able to process with the 5L kit of RS?

Comment now: I am pretty shocked at how expensive this DIY method is! A 5L RS kit here in the uk costs 20 plus postage.

Q4. Has anyone done any calculations as to how much it costs per sheet to develop a 4x5 negative, assuming you use all the chemicals as directed and for the maximum number? (I am trying to work this out myself).

Q5. What's the most economical developer and fixer (but has to be good quality).

Lastly, any tips for cost saving with chemicals appreciated. I'll need them if I am to carry on with DIY processing, else it's back to the digital, god forbid..

Sorry for so many questions, but I am reeling from the associated costs of home processing LF film. And reeling for my stupidity for not checking all this out properly before I started! I am learning fast with the help of you guys, so thanks very much in advance.



19-Feb-2007, 08:06
Kodak data sheets should give you a consertive number of sheets per litre. A replenished setup makes sense if you're running film quite often. Most DIY don't really fit that mode.

No idea of UK chemical prices but odds are you can scratch mix D-76 one shot for not a great deal of money. But if you have the volume usually buying the larger Kodak packages work out to be similar in cost and some times cheaper. If you can find it C-41 fixer can be the cheapest fixer.

The problem with 4x5 is often the equipment used uses high volumes of chemicals. Nice thing about rotary is the low volume of chemicals needed when compared to trays etc.

Haven't done the math lately on how much developer/fixer cost per sheet but it wasn't much last time I did it. Considering I use D-23 which is more expensive to mix then D-76 that's saying something.

Gene McCluney
19-Feb-2007, 08:10
Many people use HC-110 in various dilutions for sheet film. It works very nicely. Here in the states I use Kodak Rapid-Fixer, which is quite economical. You can mix up a standard dilution of HC-110 developer, and reuse it with replenishment for some time, just pouring it back into a bottle for storage. If you are concerned about economy, the replenished developer route is the way to go. Kodak sells the developer and a specific HC-110 developer replenisher. You calculate how much film you developed and then add a measured amount of replenisher each time.

Robert Oliver
19-Feb-2007, 09:21
i've been using kodak developer (non-rs) without problems. Not sure why kodak states this. My negs look good. I too missed the no sheet film clause until I was through with testing. I thought my negs looked good so I kept using it.

Currently I'm experimenting with PyroCat HD, and a metol based developer. So far, rotary and stainless steel hangers are giving me edge effects I don't like. I'm going to try tray processing on my next batch.

Jan Pedersen
19-Feb-2007, 09:23
Steve, You didn't mention which one of the Tmax film you are using but if it is the TMY you might want to give one of the Pyrocat variations a try. You can mix it yourself which then will be a very economical developer. Pyrocat P and MC works wonderfully with the TMY especially using minimal agitation.

19-Feb-2007, 10:18
Re: HC110 mentioned above...

Use it one-shot straight from concentrate. Don't even bother with replenishing. A bottle will of concentrate will last a long time, esp at higher dilutions such as Dil H...plus you'll get great results.

HC110 works well with TMX (see samples of a portfolio in a recent View Camera), however others prefer TMax-RS or some type of pyro. D-76 is also a great developer for TMX...haven't tried that myself yet, though, but John Sexton mentions it in his article elsewhere on this site.

But back to your questions...according to my notes (and I'm not re-checking my figures here but they should be correct), TMax-RS developer at a 1:9 dilution, each 50ml of developer, when mixed with water, should have a capacity of 80 sq inches or 4 sheets of 4x5 film.

Last night I used a mixing method that Kirk Gittings turned me on to, which basically combines the main bottle of RS concentrate with water to make 32 ounces, and then combines the small packet of concentrate with water to make 32 ounces, each in separate bottles labeled Solution A & Solution B. These will store a long time without noticeable deterioration, maybe a year. When you're ready to develop, you use the solutions 1:1:6, with the 6 parts being water. This gives you almost 1:9, which John Sexton has much success with. My negs (roll film, last night) looked absolutely beautiful...

So, ballparking it at 1900ml in 2 quarts, and using approximately 100ml (approx) for each roll film (approx 80 sq in), you could develop 19 rolls or about 80 sheets with one package of TMax-RS, for a total cost of approx 15 cents a sheet or 60 cents per roll, assuming a cost of $12 for a 757ml kit of RS. Sheet capacity will vary depending on whether you use a Jobo (less chemistry) or trays. For trays I'd probably use 200ml developer and 600ml water in an 8x10 tray, for a total of 800ml of liquid in the tray. The capacity would then be about 16 sheets, but I never process that much at once (not yet anyway!), but I would then throw the remainder out after my session.

David Louis
19-Feb-2007, 11:37
To answer Q1:With Tmax sheet films, Tmax RS is the recommended developer over Tmax regular developer because using Tmax regular can cause problems with dichroic fog. This is per Kodak's recommendation. Its ok to use Tmax regular with Tmax roll film, or Tmax sheet film with other non-Tmax developers, or other films with either Tmax developer. The problem is with Tmax sheet film and Tmax regular developer – use RS.

Brian Ellis
19-Feb-2007, 21:30
I don't know whether it's the cheapest or not but D76 diluted 1:1 in BTZS tubes (one sheet per tube) requires only one ounce of stock developer per sheet. That's 64 sheets from a quart of stock solution. I think a quart of powder D76 runs about $3.00 in the U.S. so that would be about 4.6 cents per sheet for developer if my math is right.

John Kasaian
19-Feb-2007, 22:10
I love TMY and use TmaxRS. I don't shoot Tmax 100 so I can't comment on it, but IMHO TmaxRS makes TMY "smoke" ;)
On one of my first outings with TMY with a late '40's Commercial Ektar up front, I was able to read the licence plate of a toyota pick-'em-up 1/8th of a mile away on an 8x10 contact print (with the help of an 8x loupe.)

Neal Wydra
20-Feb-2007, 09:42
Dear Steve,

Assuming that Ilford products are both less expensive and easier to get in the UK than Kodak products, to save on developer cost, try ID-11 diluted 1:1 or LC-29 at the 1:29 dilution (both as a "one-shot). Sheet film is very forgiving of grain. T-max is a great developer but there is no reason you can't make great photos with either of the two suggested above.

Neal Wydra

Eric Rose
20-Feb-2007, 10:22
TMX and PyroCat-HD is a marriage made in heaven. On top of that it's probably the cheapest developer out there if that is a concern. If Pyro isn't your cup of tea, then I would recommend Xtol. Maybe it's just me but I don't really like HC110 combined with T-grain films. Same goes for Delta films. Just MHO.

MIke Sherck
21-Feb-2007, 08:08
I used Tmax developer (the non-RS version) for a couple of years and never had a problem; I have no idea why they say it shouldn't be used in trays with sheet film. It worked all right for me. But I wanted a bit more contrast than it delivered, so I switched to D-76 (stock) a few years back. I like it much better, although it's a bit more bother to use. For Tmax film, D76 must be fresh. D76 which has been sitting around even for a few days yields different results. I mix a gallon at a time from powder and decant it into four one quart bottles, filled to the top and well sealed. The one not quite full is the one I use immediately; in my experience bottles filled to the top and sealed are good for a couple of months at least. D76 is inexpensive and Ilford's version should work the same way, I would assume.