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Thread: Thoughts and questions on processing 8X10 X-ray film

  1. #1
    Randy's Avatar
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    Thoughts and questions on processing 8X10 X-ray film

    Double sided X-ray film is all I shoot for 8X10.

    Here is what I have tried over the past few years:

    1) Multiple sheets in trays - I have managed to get the scratches down considerably BUT I still get to many.
    2) Hangers in tanks - I continue to get, to a degree, uneven development (especially if sky is in the picture) and surge marks / increased density near the border of the film.
    3) Single sheet in gallon freezer bag - some scratching.
    4) Single sheet in plastic rotary tube with caps - some scratching, probably from inserting film or removing film after processing.

    ...so, I had a couple "epiphanies" the other day.

    Epiphany #1) I have never tried stripping one side of the double-sided film, but have a friend who does it all the time. I wanted to try processing in a tray with a sheet of glass (as some here have said they employ), but I wondered if I could kill two birds, so I taped a sheet of exposed film to glass with masking tape (trying to seal it so no developer could get to the back side), developed in a tray, and once it was in the fix I removed the tape so the fix could now get to the back side of the film. My thought was: little to no scratching - and - remove the back side emulsion in the fix, which would be undeveloped because of the tape, and that would end the need to strip / bleach the back side after processing (if one wanted to).

    Anyway:
    I agitated only by rocking the tray, which I am guessing is not a very good method of tray agitation, for film anyway.
    I believe masking tape is not the best for what I am trying to accomplish.
    I had "0" scratches.

    So, my questions are:
    1) Can anyone recommend a tape that will be sticky enough to hold the film to the glass and not let any liquid past during the processing (the masking tape seemed to be releasing in places at some point)?
    2) What would be a good agitation method for processing a single sheet in a tray, taped to glass?
    3) Am I not thinking clearly here - is this not a good alternative to stripping the emulsion with bleach?

    Epiphany #2) I have not tried stand development for 8X10 X-ray film for two reasons:
    1) I use the double sided film and figured stand would not work unless the bottom side was going to be stripped.
    2) I didn't want to have to spend all that time in a darkened bathroom.

    So, I was considering the alternatives and the idea of using one of those molded plastic darkroom paper-safes as a developing chamber for stand development popped into my wee brain. That way, after putting the sheet in the developer, just lower the lid and you can now turn the light on and leave the room...thoughts?
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/52893762/bigger4b.jpg

  2. #2

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    Re: Thoughts and questions on processing 8X10 X-ray film

    Can't really help but wanted to observe that using a ziplock bag seems like a brilliant and innovative approach. Am surprised it didn't work well.

    Will also say that when I was trying to do 8x10, I used a large drum intended for paper....which works well but is a one-at-a-time process. Obviously, a jobo expert drum is the cat's ass for processing Sheet film.

  3. #3

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    Re: Thoughts and questions on processing 8X10 X-ray film

    I use hangers and don't have problems. That leads me to ask what developer you're using and what times? With dodgy stuff (x-ray falls into that category) I get much better results with times over 10 minutes. With shorter times it's hard for the various random things that happen to have time to even out. I don't think, for instance, that any method or procedure would work optimally with x-ray that involved a three minute time.
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  4. #4
    Randy's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts and questions on processing 8X10 X-ray film

    I struggled at first with hangers, not enough agitation and improper agitation led to horrible negs. I managed to get a lot better but I have not managed to get my negs to look like they do when tray processed. Of course, I don't get near the scratches when processing with hangers but I still get increased density and / or surge marks at the borders.

    I have been using Arista Premium Liquid dev. 1:18 for about 9 minutes at 68 - I pull the hangers straight up, tilt 45, lower, again, tilt the other way, lower, again, tilt, lower - so three agitations, which takes about 25 seconds, rest 35 seconds, then do it again. Any advice would be appreciated.
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/52893762/bigger4b.jpg

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    Re: Thoughts and questions on processing 8X10 X-ray film

    Still to work out "perfect" volume and agitation but without a darkroom I've found Paterson Orbital tanks seem to give me scratch free negs. Just need to get volume and agitation right now - with 250ml and even what you think is gentle agitation the "wings" on the lig causes surge marks and uneven development, scratch free, but uneven. . . Hopefully the 150ml that's been suggested should fix this, I'll see if I can get a chance to shoot a couple of test shots in the next couple of days. . .

  6. #6

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    Re: Thoughts and questions on processing 8X10 X-ray film

    With hangers I'd dilute the developer more and agitate less. As I go on, I'm using less and less agitation. I'm down to a bump every five minutes. In x-ray labs the procedure for manual development was to hang the film in the developer and walk away, and when I did it more like that my results got better.
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  7. #7

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    Re: Thoughts and questions on processing 8X10 X-ray film

    An Uncle tray processes using a Hake for brush development. Very even and no scratches.

    You might try that and see if it works for you.

  8. #8
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    Re: Thoughts and questions on processing 8X10 X-ray film

    You could tape it down and fix one side first. Should take about 30-60 sec with tf4/5 and a sponge, rinse and development then as normal. I use ektascan b/ra film and it is not double sided and is easy to use.

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    Re: Thoughts and questions on processing 8X10 X-ray film

    I've been using hangers with Pyrocat for several years. I use extreme minimal agitation - agitation at beginning, 1/3 and 2/3 of development time. I think the Pyrocat hardens the emulsion and helps keep down scratches.
    juan

  10. #10
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    Re: Thoughts and questions on processing 8X10 X-ray film

    Had the same problem using standard trays. I've been using 13x19 inch glass bakeware dishes since, developing one sheet at a time, and have had no scratching.

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