View Full Version : Tray processing - weird result (O_o)

6-Jan-2009, 01:21
I have developed all my LF negatives at tray, using shuffle method.

But yesterday when I developed some test negatives, I got really weird results (see attachment).

What are your opinions, are these caused by uneven development or what?
The finger prints are probably caused by really old (exp. date years ago) surgeons gloves. But can all other marks also be caused by these gloves?

Normally I have used gloves from newer packet, but just got pile of expired gloves from dentist and used these.

More on tray processing: The usually most suggested method is shuffling. But how is agitation by raising the edge of tray - like I do with paper prints? Ofcourse it limits number of negatives to one, but does it have some other drawbacks. Such as unrepeatable developing?

Louie Powell
6-Jan-2009, 04:58
Well, I see fingerprints (you really should try to limit touching the film to the edges, even with gloves) and I see scratches. Scratches are not a surprise with shuffle-processed film.

I use a slosher - this is an insert that fits into an 11x14inch tray and that holds six sheets of film, each in a separate compartment. Agitation is by rocking the slosher in the tray, and film is loaded into the slosher with the emulsion side up. The result is the the individual sheets never come in contact with each other, nor do my fingers actually touch the film after loading it into the slosher.

In my experience, if you don't want to invest in an expensive Jobo processor, a slosher is the best way to process sheet film.

6-Jan-2009, 05:00
That is a pretty nightmarish looking piece of film. I can see the impressions of the finger tips in gloves as well. I am guessing it is all handling marks but I never had that much damage.

If you are processing 4x5 in trays I have a tray suggestion. Go to the grocery store and buy a glass bread loaf baking pan. It is the size of a loaf of bread (actually a bit smaller) and is made of glass and usually made by pyrex. That bread pan is the perfect size to pour a liter of developer in. The 4x5 negs will not go all the way to the bottom due to the fact that the pan is tapered and becomes a little too narrow at the bottom.So your stack of film stays together nicely in a stack with about a half inch of space under them.

It is very easy to do the typical shuffle for agitation. You (without wearing the surgical gloves) can gently lift the stack of film and with one finger slide out the bottom sheet and then put it on the top of the stack. then keep sliding the next sheet off the bottom and put it on the top. It is very easy to do and you can lift the sheet of film clear out of the developer and lay it flat on top the stack in the tray without scratching.

It is much easier to do than to explain in writing. I can process about 15 sheets maximum at a time due to the time it takes to shuffle through the whole stack. You will find when doing it that you get a sense of the film and solution in the dark and develop your own little techniques with handling. I can process a lot of film and get it evenly developed without scratching it.

Gene McCluney
6-Jan-2009, 11:49
You don't say what film you are developing, as some film is more prone to pressure marks and other types of flaws from handling. No, I don't know which films are more prone. I do know that "some" films like the Efke sheet films are very soft and will develop flaws if handled while processing. Most people develop those in drums, or sheet-film hangers in deep tanks to avoid touching the film at all until it is dry.

6-Jan-2009, 12:19
Hi, the film is Fuji Neopan Across and developer is Pyrocat HD diluted at 1:1:100.

I have done shuffle developing on trays before without problems. Only this time, all my negatives were ruined. Fortynately they were all test negatives for finding out proper developing times.

Slosher sounds good. I have to dig out more about the use of sloshers. Thanks Louie.

I have never thought that touching the film (emulsion) would be bad. Practically every book and web site that tells something about tray developing with shuffling does not suggest touching edges only.

Perhaps it's my gloves. Or even fingerprints when I have loaded negatives to the film holders before exposure. Have to do more trials so that I can see if this happens again.

Before that, I don't dare to develop any important negative in the tray. Or, perhaps one sheet at time. Then I could easily touch only to edges, but agitation of single sheet. That's something what I am not familiar with.

One thing is Pyrocat-HD. I don't know how dangerous it is in reality, but at least it stains everything like all other catechol based developers. Even fingers. So I think that it's best to wear some kind of gloves.

EDIT: Actually this whole thing has lead me to thinking why is tray development so widely taught on the books. Is there some advantages in the tray development when compared to other alternatives (hangers, tubes, ..)? Only two things comes to my mind: You can do stand developing and you can use minimal agitation.

Robbie Shymanski
6-Jan-2009, 12:37
Suggestion when using rubber gloves.

Make sure that the gloves fit tight. A "medium" surgical glove fits my hands snug. I have a better fine grip with my fingers. As a result there is less contact between the rubber of the glove and film. Sometimes there are talcum powders on the gloves, it's a good idea to make sure the gloves are free of possible contaminates before you dip them in the soup. Just give them a wash in water after you put them on.

Also when shuffling film sheets, you should only be touching the base side or the edge of the film.

And once you do this 100 times, they'll be perfect.

Ken Lee
6-Jan-2009, 13:47
Even after years of practice, I have found it very helpful to see everything in the darkroom, while developing film, using an infra red viewing device (http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/tech.html#Monocular).

7-Jan-2009, 10:45
Hi jvuokko,

One should never use latex surgical gloves in photography as they coated with talcum (talcum makes them easy to wear, it also dries some moisture).

Instead use vinyl gloves. Vinyl is typically transparent and has no color, whereas latex/rubber is typically light brownish and more opaque. Examination vinyl gloves fit as well as surgical gloves, ask local pharmacy.

Kevin Crisp
7-Jan-2009, 21:20
Why trays? Everybody has them. They are cheap. They are simple. They work. Edge problems as with tanks are not an issue. No "tube" development issues and questions. I can stand being in the dark for 7 minutes at a time.

I also avoid shuffle development unless I am in a big hurry with something I don't care much about. And I try to avoid being in that situation. I also turned a tray into a slosher (one for 4X5 and one for 5X7) and do two sheets at a time and have no scratches or other problems. I don't wear gloves but then I don't use pyro often.

Andrew O'Neill
7-Jan-2009, 21:57
No "tube" development issues and questions

Like what? I've been using tubes for 10 years and never had issues.

Kevin Crisp
8-Jan-2009, 10:28
Search JOBO or BTZS on this forum. I'm not being critical of people who prefer to develop their film that way. I have just noticed as a barely interested observer that their use seems to give rise to lots of issues and questions. Not that there is anything wrong with that. And every issue or problem seems to have a solution.

I think part of my complete satisfaction with tray development stems from the fact that I don't shoot the volume of film that some other people do. If I really get organized about it and push things along with my two sheets at a time in a slosher tray I process about 15 sheets per hour. That is plenty for me. I only have so much space to hang up film to dry anyway.

8-Jan-2009, 12:22
I think that talcum is the key here!

I am not sure why this have happened earlier, but it is possible that gloves that I have used just happened to be cleaner or didn't leave talcum as easily as these gloves that has 'use before date' long time ago (perhaps 6 years ago).

Thanks for the vinyl tip!

11-Jan-2009, 23:52
I have a tank similar to the ones used for 35mm & 120, but it's much larger.
It holds one litre of chem and has a spiral cage which holds twelve 4x5 negs.
I use the same agitation as other small tank methods and get negs that are
perfect edge to edge. I've also done trays and made my own dev tube which
holds only one neg but is also a daylight tank. The other method I use is a two
neg panel which I use in trays and agitate them by rocking/slosh, but this last
panel method must be done in total darkness. I just thought it wouldn't hurt to
look some other methods.

12-Jan-2009, 00:02
I made a development tube that was light tight and cost about $3 to
make. The tube doesn't leak and can be used in daylight provided you've
loaded the neg into the tube in darkroom the night before. These are so
easy to make use and clean up. That's what I use when I've only got one
neg to do. Oh and it only uses 350mm of chem....I don't think you even
get a print wet in trays with that amount of chem.

12-Jan-2009, 01:46
I use also Paterson orbital and have tube (which still lacks of motorized agitator), but still I would like to use plain old tray processing.

But if there are no other advantages expect that you can easily develop several sheets with different developing times at same time, then there is no much use for tray developing.

17-Jan-2009, 06:24
Found out something more.

I just developed old negative, loaded during summer.
Development was done using Paterson Orbital and... There was similar marks. Especially fingerprints..

So it is possible that gloves have some effect, but main cause seems to be my fingers at hot changing bag. Have to really avoid of touching the negative except sides when loading film holders :eek:

The quickloads does not have any marks :)