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Thread: Processing--I Did It!

  1. #1
    Foamer
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    Processing--I Did It!

    I received all my supplies for processing my own sheets, and two weeks ago I started doing it! I'm using SP-445 tank, HC-110, Photographers' Formulary tf4, distilled water, and Photoflo. Also bought a Gralab 300 timer. I bought a black out curtain over my interior bathroom door and that makes my "dark room" very light tight even in daytime. i load the film in the dark, turn on lights. I look up the developing times on DigitalTruth developing website: https://www.digitaltruth.com/devchar...ch&TempUnits=C which even has a temperature conversion function. I fill the tank with distilled water/HC-110 dilution B, immediately start the timer, and do the four inversions every 30 seconds. Empty tank and run ~70 degree tap water through it for about 3 minutes, empty, fill with distilled water and agitate for a minute, empty, refill with tf4 mixed with distilled water, three minutes with agitation 30 seconds out of 60s. Empty into a jug, take off caps and put under running water for about five minutes. Empty tank, refill with distilled water & 5 drops Photoflo. Inversions for a minute, empty. Hang sheets to dry by a corner.

    So far I've done five loads (20 sheets) and each seems to have come out well! I started with FP4+ and have also done one batch of HP5 now. It's all much easier than I thought! It's really not hard--just follow the recipe. I'm now thinking of starting tray development for my 4x5 Lane plates. I know they can be done in the tank but if I tray develop I can do the stop bath when they're at their peak. From there the next step will be trying wet plate. Doing my own processing has given me a lot of confidence to tackle more. I mostly started doing my own to cut down the nearly two weeks of turn around time, but also to save postage and trips to the post office. The fact it's kind of fun was a surprise! Thanks to Prof. Randy Moe of the Tin Can College and all the others who walked me through it. For those thinking about trying, really it's not hard at all. The SP-445 tank is easy to work with too.


    Kent in SD
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails HudBridgeM.jpg   Waubay3m.jpg   Waubay2m.jpg  
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  2. #2
    Serious Amateur Photographer pepeguitarra's Avatar
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    Re: Processing--I Did It!

    Good for you. The pics look great too.
    "I have never in my life made music for money or fame. God walks out of the room when you are thinking about money." -- Quincy Jones

  3. #3

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    Re: Processing--I Did It!

    A good start! In B&W, DIY is the way to go. Color? Send it out.

  4. #4
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Processing--I Did It!

    Good for you! Faster cheaper and more reliable than mail order

    Tin Can College is the school of hard knocks

    99% are graduates...

    Look up Tin Can Tourists

    Read this https://tincantourists.com/2818-2/
    Last edited by Tin Can; 29-Jan-2019 at 01:33. Reason: Add link
    Vive la révolution!

  5. #5

    Re: Processing--I Did It!

    There is nothing quite like seeing your first negatives come out of the soup. Not everyone has a 100% positive experience the first time, but it’s still close. (Ask me how i know).
    --- Steve from Missouri ---

  6. #6

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    Re: Processing--I Did It!

    I just started using the SP-445 too Kent. It's a terrific tool that wasn't available when I last did 4x5 processing; back then it was open trays in a darkroom. I have no darkroom so the SP-445 makes it possible.

    One thing about the SP-445 people need to know is that it will leak all over the place if you skip the step where you squeeze it before putting the caps on! It's in the instructions, so it's my own fault... Tim (the fellow who makes and sells it) even has a video on YouTube called "squeeze play" where he explains the why and the how of it.

    Another thing to watch for is you have to make sure the film holders are perfectly dry. I did two batches in one day and the holders were a bit damp. Not only did it make it hard to load the film, but also one negative was destroyed because it was "glued" to the holder in places. I may invest in a second set of holders for times when I want to process 8 sheets in one day.

    I'm also using the same film and developer. I compared FP4+ and HP5+ and am very pleased to see that with Dilution H of HC-110 (1:63 at 18 minutes at 20 C) the grain of the HP5+ is very comparable to the FP4+. It made a much flatter negative in Dilution H, but I'm scanning rather than optical printing so the flat negative is actually a plus. I'm also keen to try Xtol with HP5+. Many claim it gives you a very good combination of tone, sharpness and grain.

    Needless to say I share your enthusiasm! Enjoy the journey.

  7. #7

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    Re: Processing--I Did It!

    Quote Originally Posted by rdeloe View Post
    Another thing to watch for is you have to make sure the film holders are perfectly dry. I did two batches in one day and the holders were a bit damp. Not only did it make it hard to load the film, but also one negative was destroyed because it was "glued" to the holder in places. I may invest in a second set of holders for times when I want to process 8 sheets in one day.
    Never used the SP-445, but on other tanks like the Combi Plan I found a hair dryer on low worked well enough to get the holders dry for quick turn around.

  8. #8

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    Re: Processing--I Did It!

    The last time I tried this, the only options I could find were "open trays in the dark" or the HP Combi-Plan. I used the latter, which did seem to use a lot of chemicals for few sheets. But at the time, I didn't want to mail out my film and didn't have any good/easy local options for 4x5. Eventually, though, I just switched to a 6x7 roll back for that camera because it was easier to deal with.

    (The camera in question was a Crown Graphic, which I got more for the "retro press photographer experience" than for LF by itself, so a 90mm lens and 6x7 back got the job done.)

  9. #9

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    Re: Processing--I Did It!

    Looks good. Feels good don't it?

  10. #10
    Foamer
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    Re: Processing--I Did It!

    Quote Originally Posted by rdeloe View Post

    1. One thing about the SP-445 people need to know is that it will leak all over the place if you skip the step where you squeeze it before putting the caps on! It's in the instructions, so it's my own fault... Tim (the fellow who makes and sells it) even has a video on YouTube called "squeeze play" where he explains the why and the how of it.

    2. Another thing to watch for is you have to make sure the film holders are perfectly dry. I did two batches in one day and the holders were a bit damp. Not only did it make it hard to load the film, but also one negative was destroyed because it was "glued" to the holder in places. I may invest in a second set of holders for times when I want to process 8 sheets in one day.

    3. I'm also using the same film and developer. I compared FP4+ and HP5+ and am very pleased to see that with Dilution H of HC-110 (1:63 at 18 minutes at 20 C) the grain of the HP5+ is very comparable to the FP4+. It made a much flatter negative in Dilution H, but I'm scanning rather than optical printing so the flat negative is actually a plus. I'm also keen to try Xtol with HP5+. Many claim it gives you a very good combination of tone, sharpness and grain.

    Needless to say I share your enthusiasm! Enjoy the journey.
    1. I do have some leaks when using the HC-110, but not the tf4. i do the squeeze thing, but I think I'm filling it too full. There needs to be some air in there to create a vaccuum.

    2. I've been doing two batches back to back. Once I have everything set up it just seems more time efficient. I towel dry everything, blow out the holders, then set on top of my floor registers. It's warm dry air and dries them out in a hurry.

    3. I did run into a small problem with the HP5. My water temp called for a developing time that was under 5 minutes and the chart gave a warning that might be too short. There was only a 15 second difference so I just ran it that much longer. I think I need to find a different process or dilution for HP5 when the HC-110 dilution B won't work. I might try the dilution H maybe.


    Kent in SD
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails balticHP5m.jpg   WaubayM.jpg  
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

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