View Full Version : Is this uneven development?

23-Feb-2011, 01:57
I just started developing my 4x5s in trays. When making contact prints or having them scanned 2 show this odd darker area throughout the middle. I can't really see it on the negative so I am not sure how it's so obvious in the scan. Is it uneven development or something else? New to 4x5. Scanner is 4990. Camera is a Crown Graphic Special with 105 or 135 lens. It's pretty easy to get rid of in CS5 but if I am doing something wrong I'd like to correct it!

The first one shows it. That was the first scan with the scanner. I was able to correct it a bit by adjusting some of the settings for the 2nd scan. But I still needed to work on it in CS5 (just corrected this one quick). I don't think the third shows it but maybe it's just not as apparent?


Any help is appreciated.

Doremus Scudder
23-Feb-2011, 02:16
It sure looks like uneven development to me.

If you are new to tray processing here are a few pointers:

First, use a generous amount of developer. I use deep 5x7 trays for 4x5 film and use a minimum of 500ml of developer. Some insist on 8x10 trays and a liter of solution.

Second, when you agitate your negative, be careful not to push it down into the developer too fast. This causes swirling of the solution at the edges of the film and causes areas of increased density. This, I believe, is your problem. The increased density is most apparent in areas of higher density, like the snowy areas in your first two examples.

I am an advocate of tray processing, but, as I am wont to say, the simplest tools require the greatest skill. You can solve this problem with a little practice. Mostly, you need to refine your agitation technique so that you avoid this problem.

Instead of writing a lot more at this time, I would ask you to search here and on APUG for more info about tray developing. I, and others, have written pretty extensively about technique. (You could do a search on my name here and at APUG for my posts on the subject if you wished).


Doremus Scudder

23-Feb-2011, 02:25
I think you described the problem, or at least two problems! I don't use enough developer and my agitation technique sounds bad! I don't develop many negatives at one time but developer is pretty cheap. I too use 5x7 trays. I'll be sure to search around.

Thank you for the quick response.

23-Feb-2011, 16:26
Searching around and reading up but I have one question. I develop one negative at a time. For agitation I just pull the negative out and then put it back in? If I let the negative float while not agitating it won't rest on the bottom and develop unevenly will it? Or should I use more more developer so it's deeper and hold the negative by the very edges and submersed?

Jan Pedersen
23-Feb-2011, 16:39
Make sure that you have the emulsion side up in the tray (the side of the negative facing the lens)
It will not matter if the negative rest in the tray since the image form on the emulsion side facing up.
I don't tray develop much but get even developement if i lift one corner of the tray and rotate slowly around all four corners. There's no need to touch the negative until you need to lift it out for the stop.

Ken Lee
23-Feb-2011, 16:52
With tray development, you can develop several sheets at a time. I routinely develop 20 or more at a time. This saves time. I'll wait until I have shot enough photos, and then do a development session.

When developing a number of sheets, you shuffle them from the bottom to the top, over and over. You speed up or slow down the process, to control how much agitation you get.

Another helpful approach is to flip the emulsion side each time: now it's up, next time it's down. Over and over.

Performing development by inspection with an infra red viewing device, it's easiest to judge development by inspecting the non-emulsion side.

You might it helpful to use deep but narrow trays - which are not really "photo trays" but plastic containers. They are much cheaper, and allow for less oxidation than photo trays. See Plastic Containers for Sheet Film Development (http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/devtray.html) for more information.

Lachlan 717
23-Feb-2011, 16:53
I don't think that the shot of the Wind Farm is a development issue; I think it is polariser banding.

Jan Pedersen
23-Feb-2011, 16:56
I would never be brave enough to process more than one negative at a time :o

23-Feb-2011, 17:39
Thank you for the help!

About the wind farm shot: I think it was just the quick and dirty way I got rid of dust. I used a red filter on the photo. But it does have a bit of that wide-angle lens polarizer look.

John Berry
25-Feb-2011, 10:45
It sure looks like uneven development to me.

If you are new to tray processing here are a few pointers:
Some insist on 8x10 trays and a liter of solution.

I present your own negatives as evidence. I saw a 4x5 developed in a 5x7 tray as quick as the shutter that took it. I think the word DEEP in Doremus post might be what enables him to get under the wave action that is overdeveloping your edges. I recommend an 8x10 FLAT bottom tray. This allows the neg to drift continiously to fresh developer. Gently lift one corner an inch and set it down. I'm not trying to move developer, I'm gently gliding the neg around the tray.