View Full Version : 8x10 negative developing

5-May-2007, 10:48
I will soon strated developing 8x10 negatives. Although I have a Jobo tank, I would like to start tray developing :rolleyes: . I am a bit confused how many trays I will need for "mass" developing of 20-30 negatives in one session. Note that I am planning to have a Paterson washer so I will nee suggestions only for the pre-washing, developing, stopping and fixing. Plus I would like to know the size of the trys and the liquid content I shall use.

N Dhananjay
5-May-2007, 10:54
The typical method involves shuffling 6-8 sheets in each solution. The exact number you would use depends on how smoothly and quickly you shuffle through the negatives. You typically want about a 45 second cycle to provide a good agitation-rest cycle. 4 trays (for pre-soak, developer, stop and fix) is typical. It is usually a good idea to use trays one size larger than the negative - so for 8x10 film, you would use an 11x14 tray - although I would say this is crucial mostly in the developer. Cheers, DJ

5-May-2007, 11:02
To answer your question, 1 tray for each bath (presoak, dev, stop, fix, ect) I would use 11x14 or 12x16, about 2.5-3 liters of solution per tray.

There is a learning curve for tray development, and it would be foolish to expect 20-30 acceptable negs out of a session without working out some bugs in the process.
You make take to it easily. I finally got sick of scratched negs and uneven development, preferring tanks and hangers for larger runs of film.

steve simmons
5-May-2007, 11:11
On the View Camera site in the Free Articles section there is a play by play description of how I develop sheet film.

I do 6-8 sheets at a time.

steve simmons

Gene McCluney
5-May-2007, 11:12
I think your desire to process 20-30 sheets at one time in a tray is entirely optimistic, and unrealistic, if you want scratch free negatives.

Mike Davis
5-May-2007, 11:18
Start with 4-6 sheets. You will thank yourself when you finish.

5-May-2007, 11:24
Many thanks to all of you. You are so fast that you have not even let me finish my coffee ......

Best regards from Italy

Donald Qualls
5-May-2007, 14:17
An alternate option, if you're using a developer that's reasonably quick (D-76 stock solution, HC-110 Dilution B, or similar) is to develop a single negative at a time, and let them collect in a tray of plain water after fixing is completed (or transfer them to your washer as they come out of the fixer). With conventional grain (that is, not T-Max, Delta, etc.), and rapid fixer, you should be able to process a negative in 3-6 minutes (depending on film and temperature) in developer, 15-30 seconds in stop bath, and 3 minutes in rapid fixer; that means each negative goes from presoak (where they can stay for a longish time without harm) to washer in under ten minutes.

That would make 30 negatives about a five hour session in total darkness, though it will also virtually eliminate scratched negatives resulting from dragging emulsion over the corner of the next negative as you shuffle a stack. I found (after a suggestion that I think I read here) that it's easier to avoid scratches if you develop emulsion down, providing your tray's inner surface is smooth enough not to cause scratches; that will help a lot.

Honestly, if you're going to process as many as 30 negatives in a session (which would be very unusual for the average 8x10 shooter, I might add -- 6-12 would be a more normal day's consumption), you might want to consider hangers and deep tanks, *especially* if you'll process that many frequently enough to use replenishment and take advantage of the floating lids, leave the tanks filled, etc. Used often enough to keep everything stable, there is no method that produces better consistency than a well managed replenishment line; hangers don't scratch (unless you do the damage while loading the film into the hanger -- like most darkroom techniques, if you already get around well by feel, it won't be any big deal to learn the handling methods), and a standard deep tank will take something like two dozen hangers in a batch, allowing you to go from presoak to washer in 15 minutes (after spending an hour unloading holders and loading hangers, that is) for any batch of film up to the capacity of the tank.

Peter Lewin
5-May-2007, 14:34
Given the number of negatives you're talking about, you need to consider your "session." Aside from the fact that 4-6 8x10 negatives at a time may well be your "scratch free" limit, you may have to replace chemicals inbetween batches. Check your developer both for oxidation rate and the number of square inches you can develop per liter. For example, I use PMK, and it oxidizes quickly in an open tray, I wouldn't trust it to do a second batch of negatives, as opposed to fresh developer in the tray. Most pyro developers are also so dilute that you would quickly exceed the square inches per liter limits. I suspect that with tray processing and your volume of negatives, you will end up doing multiple 15-20 minute sessions in the dark, with "replenishing breaks" inbetween sessions.

Brian C. Miller
5-May-2007, 17:55
I am a bit confused how many trays I will need for "mass" developing of 20-30 negatives in one session.
If the tray looks exactly like a tank and has a nitrogen burst setup, you'll be fine.

Otherwise just go with the Jobo drum and be very happy! :)

Jorge Gasteazoro
5-May-2007, 20:50
I dont understand, you are going to take the time and effort to set up your camera, meter carefully, take a shot that you might no be able to take ever again, and then you want to develop them all right away?.......I think you are ready to go digital... :)

7-May-2007, 06:48
You've received some good information here and I will just add how I do it. I prefer to process in trays and I agree with everyone here who says to only process 4-6 sheets at a time. In fact, you would probably be better off sticking to 4 with 8x10 film especially since your question implies that you haven't done this before. I use 6 11x14" trays (presoak, developer, stop, fix, hypo clear, wetting agent (Photo Flo in distilled water). I mix developer with distilled water. However, if I have just gotten back from a long trip and have a lot of 8x10" negatives or even a large amount of 4x5" negatives, I often develop in deep tanks with hangers. You can do many sheets in deep tanks and it goes much faster. It's also easier to control the process and agitation is easier. Unlike many people, I have never experienced a problem with uneven development in deep tanks. I would use them all the time but I often go for a month or more without developing a single sheet and deep tanks are most efficient when you process film regularly and replenish. If I developed film a couple times a week or more, I would use deep tanks. I do not like drum processors for b&w film.

I wash my 8x10" film in a deep tank because it won't fit in my Gravity Works film washer.

I woudn't even think of trying to tray process 20 or 30 sheets at a time. At most, I may process 8 sheets of 4x5" film but I prefer to limit it to 6 sheets per batch.

I always try to use agitation that goes through the stack once per every 30 seconds no matter how many sheets I process. Consistency is the key with film processing.

As for scratches... there is at least one way to almost totally avoid that when tray processing. I can't remember the last sheet of film that I scratched but it had to be many years ago. It's difficult to explain the fine points of the agitation method I use, however. I should make a little video in daylight, I guess. Perhaps I am at an advantage because, when I was younger, I was a very good amateur card magician and I have a knack for handing things like that, I guess. In fact, the technique I use resembles a card "sleight" even though I never consciously did it that way. I would like to see exactly how people who tend to scratch their film do their agitation.

I prefer one-shot development for all films but I do replenish HC110-B when I develop in deep tanks.

As with all film, I give it a brief wash after fixing and then treat it in Hypo Clear followed by another wash and finally a treatment in distilled water and a wetting agent.

I prefer to dry my film in a drying cabinet. Ansel Adams preferred to just hang up without heat but his environment must have been more dust free than mine. In my opinion, a drying cabinet is the way to go because ... 1) Air is filtered before entering it and... 2) the faster film dries (within reason) the less chance it has of getting dust in the emulsion. I keep the heat at a moderate level and I added extra filtration to the input vent including a hepa grade filter. I have a dusty old house but I almost never have a dust problem even when printing. Common sense precautions are all that are necessary.

I know that that's more than you asked for but I'm killing time waiting for an important phone call right now.

7-May-2007, 12:26
One-shot developer (PMK, HC-110, or whatever) in a deep tank is a great way to go; it may be worth pointing out that there exist one-quart tanks for 4x5 and one-gallon tanks for 8x10. With six or so sheets of film, there a comfortable margin of error on the amount of developing agent present. One thing to remember with the low-concenration developers is that consistency in development requires a fixed number of sheets per unit volume, whether in trays or tanks.

The principal drawback for beginner is likely to the cost of the tanks; hangers are cheap and easy to come by, but the small tanks aren't. They do last forever, though.

7-May-2007, 13:55
You can always try my handy-dandy non-patented super-duper no-scratch techique of tray development.

Details here: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=20072

Michael Kadillak
7-May-2007, 14:41
Check out the next View Camera and the article on Gaseous Burst development that I recently completed. If you want to develop 8x10 negatives with the most one dimensional system available, it does not get any easier than flipping a switch. No motors, pumps, gears or tank lids to deal with and the maintenance is virtually nill. With natural concerns about the longevity of JOBO along with their parts and service, evaluating alternatives is both prudent and sensible. I would say that the results are on par with the produced consistency of the JOBO system. The advantage in a gas burst system is having the capability of pulling individual hangers at various development times with DBI to optimize the time you need to allocate to the darkroom. At the end of the day it is simply about results. As it relates to actual sheet film development procedures, there are many ways to get the job done. Each of us has to decide what works best for us. Before I conducted this testing, I was surprised that gaseous burst development was only casually mentioned at best considering how successfully it has been used to produce professional results for many years. In fact, much of the E6 run today is likely still gaseous burst because it simply works.


Doremus Scudder
8-May-2007, 05:03
I assume that you are not planning on developing large numbers of negatives at one time in a tray, but plan on doing smaller batches in a longer session. I would recommend that you start out with 2-4 negatives at a time in a tray one size larger than the negatives, and shuffle through the stack every 30 seconds. With 3 negs that would be one flop every 10 seconds; a comfortable interval. After you are used to the routine, you can do more negatives in a batch if you feel you are able to.

My personal routine, using PMK, is to develop up to 6 negatives at a time in a tray. I shuffle through the stack once every 30 seconds for the first half of the developing time and once every minute for the second half of the developing time. The relatively greater agitation at the beginning keeps the PMK negs from showing signs of uneven development; less agitation for the last half helps to promote edge effects, etc.

I have recently switched to developing my negatives face-down instead of face up. I find (as Steve Simmons states on his web site) that this reduces the risk of scratches significantly (In my case, to almost zero). The only opportunity for scratches with the negatives face down is scratching them on the bottom of the tray. Make sure your trays have smooth bottoms that will not damage your negs if you decide to develop them face down.

I have one or more trays for pre-soak (or SLIMT baths) if I need, one for developer, one for stop and two for the fix (I use a two-bath fix for negatives). I also have one tray for a holding tray and a tray for a distilled water/photo-flo bath after the wash. That can be up to 9 or 10 trays: a lot, but really convenient if you have room.

If you do not plan on developing negatives for different times together, you can get by with one pre-soak tray, thereby reducing the number of trays. A one-bath fix eliminates one more tray if you don't have enough room.

I usually fill my washer (for me, 12 negs) and then keep on developing while they are washing. I collect the negs in the holding tray. When the wash is done, I transfer the negs to the distilled water/photo-flo tray, agitate them and hang them up. I then fill the washer with the negs from the holding tray and go back to developing. I have done up to 100 negatives in a session, but prefer to do fewer, since my concentration flags after 30 or so.

Best regards,

Doremus Scudder

8-May-2007, 12:44
Thanks to all of you for your answers. I was definitely meaning that I wanted to process 20-30 8x10 in a developing session and obiously not in a "shot" by dipping them altogether in a tray. Although I find Jobo tanks extremely convenient when developing 4x5 negatives (I process normally 2 tanks with 18 sheets each), I find that the 8x10 tank that holds that I have can only accomodate 5 sheets of 8x10 and this will be insufficient for my needs.

Ciao and Best regards from Italy

10-May-2007, 04:38
Jobo used to make an expert drum to process 5 sheets at a time. I did a lot of E6 in a Jobo Autolab and I liked the way it worked. With B and W howewer The Jobo produced a more grainy result than Dip and Dunk. Shuffling wet film in a tray is a recipe for scratches snd trying to process too many at once may cause streaking.