View Full Version : Trying to find information on processing large format

Travis Glodt
2-May-2002, 23:28
I am a photography student still relatively fresh into my major. I am intereste d in working with large format, which I know very little about. I would prefer to process the film my self to save money and have the ability to control aspect s of development as well as gain experience. I am interested only in working wi th Black and White. I have conducted an extensive search of the internet, and h ave been unable to locate any information about processing procedures. I have p rocessed 35mm black and white for years, and am wandering how comprable the proc ess is, what is required, where to acquire the processing equipment, and where to locate information and detailed instructions that include chemical requiremen ts, processing times and temps, etc... Any help would be greatly appreciated

Thank you, Travis Glodt

John Kasaian
3-May-2002, 00:16
Travis, FWIW,I tray process my large format film. Detailed instructions can be found in most books on using view cameras. I like the instructions presented by Steve Simmons in "Using The View Camera"which also explains developing in tanks using hangers . You can contact JOBO for information on their rotary processing machines, and the Large Format Home Page has a new article on processing film in the Unicolor drum. If you've got trays, graduates, thermometer, and a timer, you can develope sheet film. Good Luck!

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
3-May-2002, 00:59

There is a detailed description (and how to) of different processing methods in Gordon Hutchings' "Book of Pyro" (Bitter Dog Press, 1992). Fred Picker's "Zone VI Workshop" (Amphoto, 1974) has a description of tray processing. However, tray processing is just the tip of the LF ice-cap. You are best off buying (as mentioned above) Simmons' book--or there are a few others on the market, or taking a class.

Rob Pietri
3-May-2002, 03:32
I went from trays to HP Combi Tanks for B&W film. The tanks give far more even development then trays. Shuffleing sheet film in trays, if not done just right, can cause scratches on the film. I find the Combi tanks work much like 35mm tanks. I use a tank for each step from presoak to fotoflo. Do not try to pour chemestry in the spouts on the tops of each tank. It is way too slow.

Having a tank for each step allows you to have chemestry ready so you can plunge the film holder right into the solutions. Then snap on the lids and agitate much like a 35mm tank. Invert the tank so the axis is through the wide part of the tank and the narrow side turns end over end.

Calumet.com sells the line. It's worth a look.

Doug Paramore
3-May-2002, 08:28
Travis: There are tons of info on processing LF in the archives of this forum. I have used about all the methods at one time or another and settled on drum processing as being the most consistant with the highest quality. There are those who swear by other methods, so find what works best for you. If you are just getting started, I would tray develop a couple of sheets at a time until you get the hang of it. Just be careful handling the wet negs in the soup, as they are easily scratched when wet.


Don Wilkes
3-May-2002, 12:57
For quite a while, I've been processing 4x5 sheets in my old Unicolor 8x10 drum, with great success. Generally, I only have a couple of sheets to do at a time, so its maximum 4-sheet capacity is not a problem.

Last week, I finally got a chance to try out a Simmaroller a friend found for me for free. As it has an eccentric roller wheel but does not reverse its direction, I was mildly concerned about possible streaking, but the large sky area in my test neg passed with flying colours! {um, so to speak...]

And -- the best part -- it just rolls along with no attention necessary on my part! After all these years of processing negs, it was a startling novelty to be able to go fetch a cold one from the beer fridge while the FP4 souped itself...

Dave Erb
3-May-2002, 13:53
Travis -

I second Rob Pietri's recommendation of the Combi-Plan tank. I have used it almost exclusively since getting started in LF and have few regrets. Unlike RP, I only use one tank and so have to change chemistry in the dark...not the most convenient but easily adapted to with a bit of practice. Do not pour chemistry into the tank with film in it. The system is relatively inexpenisve $60-70 (B&H?).

Good Luck.

Dave Erb