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Thread: Uneven tray development with X-Ray film

  1. #1

    Uneven tray development with X-Ray film

    I bought a box of x-ray film which turned out to not be what I wanted. It's double-sided and green-sensitive where I wanted the blue-sensitive, single-sided. I'll be listing it--and the extra box they sent me that I didn't order but got for free a week later--here shortly. At any rate, I'm trying to get my hands around x-ray film and so far I've met with really meh results. I like my paper negatives better so far.

    The problem, besides scratches (I'm even using a piece of lexan in the bottom of my developer trays), is some weird uneven development. Paper negatives come out just fine, but using the same diluted Aristadol on the x-ray film results in splotchy development that is mostly unusable. Here's an example of what I'm seeing:

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    The development is pretty uneven all around the frame.

    Is it the dilute developer I'm using? Should I increase the concentration and not cut my stock solution down so much? I'm trying not to agitate more than necessary because the scratches are hard to control but if I'm going to get uneven development, then I need to do something else to get better results. I've got some PMK Pyro mixed up in stock and ready to use but wanted to try this out first. Maybe the Aristadol is not good for x-ray film?

    * Rittreck View 5x7 Fuji 180/5.6 4s @ f32

  2. #2
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Uneven tray development with X-Ray film

    Don't develop till it looks good under safelight. I have gotten past this by developing a couple minutes longer that that. I use weak dektol with the ektascan and it's good as long as it stays in the developer long enough. Is aristadol a dektol substitute? It takes longer for even-ness than paper developing.

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    Re: Uneven tray development with X-Ray film

    I had a similar problem with my Ektascan 5x7's in 8x10 trays recently. 8 minutes Pyrocat HD, 500ml 2:2:100, 1 min continuous agitation then 5 sec every thirty sec. Cyanotypes look good (ignoring uneven development). I maybe had the safelights too close for a final inspection...

  4. #4

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    Re: Uneven tray development with X-Ray film

    I have struggled with uneven density on my xray film. It turned out to have two causes:
    Safelight not being entirely safe; make sure you test this. I now use a single red led bulb filtered with a sheet of ruby lith.
    I only get even development with continuous agitation. The latter solved the issues of higher densities along the edges. Ironically, I used continuous agitation in the beginning, but I moved to intermittent agitation because others got good results this way. But it wouldn't work for me. I expose double sided xray film at about ei 50-80 and develop for 4 to 7 minutes in parodinal 1:80 to 1:150 with continuous agitation, tilting the tray alternatingly on the long and the short axis and flipping the film over every 15 seconds or so.
    I did away with scratches by using a cheap non-stick oven tray with a flat bottom that is a little larger than the film. Using a plastic tray with a sheet of glass on the bottom didn't entirely prevent scratches.

  5. #5

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    Re: Uneven tray development with X-Ray film

    More of a question than a suggestion - as I've never tried using X-ray film: but do you folks use a pre-soak prior to development? (and, if not - would a pre-soak help mitigate the unevenness?)

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    Re: Uneven tray development with X-Ray film

    Another question to add to the above: what about adding a bit of Photo-Flo...either to a pre-soak, or to the developer? Might help with unevenness...and also with the aforementioned scratches? I've recently begun adding a few drops of Photo-Flo to my pre-soak when processing more "conventional" films in Pyrocat - and this definitely helps.

  7. #7

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    Re: Uneven tray development with X-Ray film

    Have you tried Brush Development? Use it with 8x10 film and no more uneven skies or overdeveloped edges - even in small trays.

  8. #8

    Re: Uneven tray development with X-Ray film

    Using a flat-bottom tray and continuous agitation seems like easy things to implement into my workflow. I'll give that a try.

    I've noticed it does take considerably longer to develop than the paper negatives so it could be I'm just not waiting long enough. It's hard for me to gauge the density of the image so I could be just taking it out too early. I'm using a single red LED bulb which I haven't had any issues with so far.

    I might try exposing the next couple sheets at EI 80 rather than 50 and giving them a little longer soak in a flat-bottomed tray and see if that makes a difference. Thanks for the suggestions so far...

  9. #9
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    Re: Uneven tray development with X-Ray film

    Processing in trays, I do not think uneven development would be the result of a particular developer unless that developer resulted in very short development times...I think.

    And don't write off the Green Xray so fast. Personally, I have found the tonal range of the green to be superior to the blue. All I shoot is the double sided (as I am to cheap to spend for single sided).

    I believe there is a particular (long) thread in the dark room film processing section that will probably answer most questions on Xray film processing.
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/52893762/bigger4b.jpg

  10. #10

    Re: Uneven tray development with X-Ray film

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie View Post
    Have you tried Brush Development? Use it with 8x10 film and no more uneven skies or overdeveloped edges - even in small trays.
    I have not tried brush development. I think I'll order a box of Ektascan and give it a try.

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