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Thread: Determining costs of different developments

  1. #1

    Determining costs of different developments

    After taking a view camera class this summer I just bought a 4x5 field camera and want to develop my film at home. I'm trying to figure out what my best options are, without spending a ton. I could tray process B&W film, but (a) may not have that much room in a fully dark room and (b) really prefer to shoot color. A Jobo is too expensive, so I thought perhaps I'd use a Mod54, which would solve the space issue (I have a small, dark room I could load it in). I'd like to shoot color transparency film, but am concerned about the price of the developer kit. Lastly, color negative film is an option, but I'm not sure it solves that much over transparency film. So...

    1) The Mod54 says to use 1 liter of chemicals...is that required even if developing less than the 6 sheets?
    2) If I make 1 liter of chemicals, how many times can I reuse that? And how long will it last?
    3) Are there options for color negative film that would last longer once mixed?

    My main concern is spending a bunch on the kit (Arista or Tetenal) and not getting enough shelf life or uses out of it. Realistically I'll only be able to shoot 3 or 4 sheets a week.

    Any help or suggestions is very much appreciated. Thanks!

    David

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    California
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    Re: Determining costs of different developments

    Save a lot of money for film! Look for a Unicolor or Beseler color drum and a Uniroller, or similar. These should cost you no more than about $50. You can process 4 sheets of 4x5 in the drum and get nice smooth results. 100 ml of developer per sheet,but a minimum of 200 in the drum. I have a Jobo and keep this roller and drums for those times when i am processing small film.I use the Jobo for 5x7, 8x10 and 7x17. I also like trays the most but you say you don't have room for them. By the way, with practice in the light you can quickly learn to process film in a single tray. It just takes organization of the containers of chemistry and of course after 30-45 seconds in the fixer you can turn on the light.

    Good luck and welcome to the club.

    Jim

  3. #3

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    Re: Determining costs of different developments

    More answers to your questions.
    More consistent results are obtained when using developers as single shot.
    You can use,as I have done for over 70 years, plain water for the stop bath. There are advantages which I will not go into here.
    Fixer can be re-used.The technical data should state how many square inches of film it is good for. OR you can snip off a piece of 35mm film and throw it into a small amount of fixer. If it clears in 1-3 minutes, it is still usable but fixing times will be increased.
    Hypo clear is easily made with a tablespoon of sodium sulfite in a liter of water. Use it for a session and throw it away.
    Color chemicals are more sensitive to ge and proper storage. If I was using kits, I would save up film until I had enough to use up the chemistry in a single session.

    Others will have different answers, but these are thoughts about my methods which Ihave used and taught for a very long time.

  4. #4

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    Dunedin,Otago,New Zealand
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    Re: Determining costs of different developments

    If you use Xtol replenished, your chemistry costs for development drop to a few cents a sheet..

  5. #5

    Re: Determining costs of different developments

    Thanks! The drum roller seems like a good option. Seems like it would work well for processing just a few sheets at s time, with minimal chemical usage, which is what I want. Seems like it might be tricky with E6 since temperature is so critical but I find an article on this site that said by preheating the drum you can make it work. It does sound like some hacking is required to seat the negatives in the drum so they don't collide.

    I'll research some more but any more information would be appreciated. Thanks

  6. #6

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    Re: Determining costs of different developments

    If you are processing conventional black and white film then you might like to consider making your own developer to keep costs really low. There are the various types of Caffenol developers that are very low cost. For a little more you can make up OBSIDIAN AQUA that is diluted 1:500 for the working solution. This makes it very economical. Whatever you consider for processing sheet (colour as well as black and white) you really ought to look into getting one of these. http://freepdfhosting.com/f640343f29.pdf Colour work, where agitation is constant or nearly so, you need only 50ml to 150ml of working solution. With monochrome using stand or semi stand development you use 500ml of working solution.

    RR

  7. #7

    Re: Determining costs of different developments

    Thanks. I want to do color photography, so either c41 or e6. But I want a method that will let me use the minimum amount of chemicals at a time. The hope is to mix as little as is needed each time I develop.

  8. #8

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    Re: Determining costs of different developments

    Quote Originally Posted by donteatmemountainlion View Post
    Thanks. I want to do color photography, so either c41 or e6. But I want a method that will let me use the minimum amount of chemicals at a time. The hope is to mix as little as is needed each time I develop.
    In which case the Paterson Orbital, easily modified as described above in the pdf but still using the rotary agitation regime, is exactly what you are seeking. The continuous agitation needed for E6 and C41 makes it feasible to use as little as 55ml (2 ounces) of working solution for up to 4 sheets of 4x5 film. There are two or three of them available on eBay at the moment.

    RR

  9. #9

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    Re: Determining costs of different developments

    A few notes based on my limited experience with C41 and the MOD54 so far:
    * Yes, you need 1l of chemicals to cover the MOD54, no matter how many sheets you have loaded.
    * C41 chemistry is relatively easy to use, in my experience particularly so at lower temperatures, which makes the timing a little less critical. I get consistently good results at 25C
    * Shelf life of C41 is pretty good it seems and you can re-use it a dozen times or more, making development costs comparable or lower to commercial development for 135 and 120 and MUCH lower for 4x5"
    * I haven't touched E6 yet personally simply because of the limited shelf life of the chemicals in a mixed state. This would mean that I would have to shoot a bunch of E6, save it up and then process all at once. I don't like that; I like quick results.
    * If you opt for C41, go for a kit that has a separate bleach and fix (no combined 'blix'). It's not much more work this way, it doesn't cost much extra, but it'll help getting reproducible results and maintain a usable shelf life. Blix tends to go bad quite quickly.

    As to E6 vs. C41: it's a matter of personal taste. I like the 'shoot it and be done with it' aspect of E6, but I like the dynamic range and practicality of a home amateur of C41.

  10. #10

    Re: Determining costs of different developments

    Thanks so much for the info and link. If I'm using just 55ml (or slightly more) will the red pegs work? Sounds like the issue is with 500ml of developer the sheets lift up over the pegs and float around.

    I'll look for an Orbital on ebay...searching didn't turn up anything but I'll look.

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