View Full Version : Opinions on these 4x5 development tubes

13-Apr-2009, 18:37
Has anyone used these tubes for 4x5 film development? Opinions?

I came across a couple of these recently. Seem useful for my very low volume 4x5 b/w requirements. Holds 40ml (approx 1.25 oz) of chemicals. No ridges on inside of tube, though there is some texture on the inside that I hope would not result in scratches. I'd have to roll these manually so would be difficult to keep in constant motion.

Also, would take maybe 6 seconds to concurrently drain developer and add stopbath, then roll to cover the negative with stopbath. So I'd want reasonably long development times. Though, in theory, only 2-4 seconds would represent uneven development (time for a complete "roll" when developer is added and when stop bath is added).

Another issue is whether 40 ml will have enough developer capacity to develop a 4x5 negative. For example, BTZS tubes use 60 ml.

I want to use HC-110 primarily and generally dilution B (so 40ml of dilution B, about 1.3 ml of concentrate, to develop each negative). If I extrapolate Kodak's numbers for HC-110 capacity (20 8x10 sheets per gallon; tank development) that suggests 1.6 oz to develop a 4x5 negative. So I'm a bit under at 1.25 oz. But I would obviously use "one shot". Unfortunately, dilution A would result in development times that I think would be too short.

D-76 full strength requires 2 oz (again extrapolating from Kodak's numbers) so even more of an issue. Not sure about other developers (Pyrocat-HD perhaps).

13-Apr-2009, 21:34
Yes, I have used one of these to process c. 200 sheets of 4x5 film. It was included as part of a cibachrome "starter kit" and intended for use in processing small ciba prints.

Once loaded I simply rolled it back and forth in a 8x10 tray with water at 20 degrees C.

It works well for 4x5 sheets provided you are careful about developer capacity issues (but you are aware of that). I used it with rodinal 1+50. The negs were possibly a bit flat (developer exhaustion?) but nothing I couldn't cope with (most negs print using grade 2 or 3 paper). If this is a concern then things to experiment with would include double loading the developer (ie filling the reservoir twice) and/or draining and refilling the developer at the 50% of process time mark. I used the former but never bothered with the latter. As long as you are consistent then you should be able to work around the outcomes.

I never noticed drain/fill times as causing me problems. Likewise I have never had a problem with scratches. Sometimes the anti-halation layer would not come off the back of the film (where it pushes against the tube wall), but it comes off in the wash so no big deal.

I have only recently retired the tube partly because:

a) the top cap (with the fluid reservoir) was starting to get loose - its only held on by friction and I actually had it come off in the tray once or twice.
b) the end drain-hole started to leak light.

Neither of these issues are insurmountable (I have work-arounds for both, meaning the tube is still usable) but they prompted me to seek an alternative and I now use a Jobo 2551/2509N combination that also addressed my other main complaint: with the volumes I was shooting I got bored processing only one sheet at a time...

If you are looking to process only a few sheets at a time then I would not hesitate to recommend the tube (subject to the developer capacity matter).

Hope this helps

Joseph O'Neil
14-Apr-2009, 05:25
I've used these tubes in the past. They are fine if you just want to do one or two sheets at a time. Currently I use a Jobo on a motorized base.

I used one shot developer (any developer), weaker solution, and longer time. Worked fine,b ut it did seem to me a bit tedious after a while


14-Apr-2009, 16:06
Thanks for the information. Should be able to give them a try in a week or 2.