View Full Version : Pyro Tray Developing and Even Skies

Richard K.
7-Apr-2011, 12:47
What do you do to help maximize the evenness of sky areas when tray developing sheet film in PMK? Is this as much of a concern in Pyrocat HD? In HC110? Thanks!! :)

Richard Wasserman
7-Apr-2011, 13:16
I can only speak to Pyrocat HD, which when I tray develop, I use a Slosher type insert, and get very even development. I don't know why PMK would be any different.

7-Apr-2011, 13:17
For 4x5, I develop in a combiplan in normal light.

I'm not really a evangelist or expert for tray developing, though I do it in 8x10 with PMK or Xtol 1+1 or Xtol 1+2.

Doremus Scudder has provided the most useful advice on tray developing here before.

For tray use, I've seen edges get a little extra developed when developing many sheets at a time. If I do 1-2 sheets no problems, but if I do 5-6 I see some edge overdevelopment. I think in my case, it's because I'm sorting through a lot more film and causing more agitation bouncing off the edges of the tray. With a sheet or two, the developer stays more still and you don't get the wave action going. I do 8x10 in an 9x11 tray meant for 8x10 paper. I could do a bigger tray or develop fewer sheets at a time. That's what my options are. I've seen the symptoms to a much lesser extent with xtol. I don't shoot 8x10 in quantity, so I'll just do two sheets at once till I test advice sometime on unimportant negatives.

I've also seen edge uneveness from scanning. My Epson scanner is near a window and I think sometimes ambient light beams in sideways. I should build a dust cover for it that is also lightproof.

Drew Wiley
7-Apr-2011, 13:18
Why would this be a problem? I've never had a PMK issue in trays. My procedure:
slightly oversize stainless dimple-bottomed trays, so the film will fit either horizontal or
vertical per my position at the sink. Each 30-sec shuffle (emulsion up), I rotate the
stack all at the same time 90 degress, so each of the four sides of film takes a turn
being lifted in rotation. Have adequate solution volume. I bring the water to correct
temp, then add Dev A&B just before use.

Michael Kadillak
7-Apr-2011, 13:22
IMHO there is no mystery with any developer or developing technique when it comes to even skies. It all comes down to timely and consistent agitation. If one is using a pyro developer in trays the general standard is to process fewer numbers of sheets per run and using a lower dilution strength that insures a process time in the 8-14 + minute range. Where I would normally process six sheets of a format in a tray I could drop down to three sheets per run particularly where the skies may have large sections of no clouds where any unevenness stands out like a sore thumb.

I use Pyrocat, ABC pyro, rodinal, Harveys 777 and occasionally Xtol. Never took to Wemberleys W2D2 or PMK.

Richard K.
7-Apr-2011, 14:07
Thanks guys!!

Ben Calwell
7-Apr-2011, 14:18
I had trouble with skies when I used those metal sheet film holders that you use to dip and dunk in tanks.
When I switched to tray development more than 30 years ago, surge and uneven skies went away.
I use Pyrex bread pans for 4x5 film. They're sized, width-wise, just right to keep a stack of five or so off the bottom, making it easy to shuffle through from bottom to top.

7-Apr-2011, 18:35
I have not had a problem with skies on 8x10 in trays with regular agitation in WD2D+ and pyrocat-HD. The only time I have had a problem is when I tried to do stand development in a 4x5 tank with pyrocat-hd.