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Thread: Checklist for first attempt at developing sheet film (SP-445)

  1. #1

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    Cool Checklist for first attempt at developing sheet film (SP-445)

    Hello everyone! Recently decided to sell most of my digital equipment to fund a Chamonix 0-45n2 and I'm preparing to develop my first shots - the first film I've developed in a decade, and first sheet film ever.

    I created a quick checklist for my first go as a starting point, most of which is derived from Tim Klein's videos and the Ilford documentation. I would greatly appreciate any opinions and suggestions.

    4x5 HP5+ / HC-110 (Dilution H) / SP-445 rev 4 / Ilford Rapid Fixer / IlfoStop / LFN Wetting agent / Water temp 72

    1. 4 beakers prepped with developer/fix/stop/distiled water
    2. Add developer
    3. Tap SP-445 a couple times
    4. Squeeze until liquid rises a bit, tighten vent cap first
    5. Start timer
    6. Agitate - 4 inversions every 30 seconds
    7. Develop for 9:21 (Includes temp/time conversion)
    8. Stop for 30 seconds - 4 inversions
    9. Fix for 5 minutes - 4 inversions every minute
    10. Fill with tap water, slosh it around, dump x 2
    11. Fill with tap water, cap, invert gently for 30 seconds
    12. Fill with tap water, cap, inversion agitation for 60 seconds x 3
    13. Fill with with distilled water, add 2 drops of LFN, cap, inversion agitation 30 seconds
    14. Take off lid, pull film out while still submerged and hang to dry

  2. #2
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Checklist for first attempt at developing sheet film (SP-445)

    For inverting make sure you rotate about the long axis (with the fill/vent caps on the left and right as you face the tank) otherwise you most like will get swirl marks. For rinsing, i do not fill and empty, I place under the faucet and let water in the fill side and drain out the vent side for 10 minutes at a slow to medium pace. I put photoflo into a developing tray, take the holders out and place in the tray and lightly agitate for a few seconds to cover film. Then film slides out of holders easily and I hang and dry. I blot corners with paper towel after hanging for a bit, but some say that part is not needed. Habit i guess. Make sure you use at least 450mm (a bit more if you do not put both holders into the tank) I am between 450 and 500, but experimenting to find the best volume.

  3. #3

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    Re: Checklist for first attempt at developing sheet film (SP-445)

    You might want to consider a pre-soak for 2-5 mins with water. This is a controversial subject, but I've used a water pre-soak with many B&W films over the years and never noticed any issue from doing it. Also, whichever dilution of HC-110 you use make sure you have, at least, 6ml of concentrate in the final working solution.

  4. #4

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    Re: Checklist for first attempt at developing sheet film (SP-445)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Ruttenberg View Post
    For inverting make sure you rotate about the long axis (with the fill/vent caps on the left and right as you face the tank) otherwise you most like will get swirl marks. For rinsing, i do not fill and empty, I place under the faucet and let water in the fill side and drain out the vent side for 10 minutes at a slow to medium pace. I put photoflo into a developing tray, take the holders out and place in the tray and lightly agitate for a few seconds to cover film. Then film slides out of holders easily and I hang and dry. I blot corners with paper towel after hanging for a bit, but some say that part is not needed. Habit i guess. Make sure you use at least 450mm (a bit more if you do not put both holders into the tank) I am between 450 and 500, but experimenting to find the best volume.
    Good tips! About the washing technique, what you described is the same as described in one of tims older videos, and in a more recent one he recommended a "modified ilford technique" (what I listed above). Do you think there is a big difference in the real world between the two techniques? I realize I'll need a fixer test to be sure regardless.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan9940 View Post
    You might want to consider a pre-soak for 2-5 mins with water. This is a controversial subject, but I've used a water pre-soak with many B&W films over the years and never noticed any issue from doing it. Also, whichever dilution of HC-110 you use make sure you have, at least, 6ml of concentrate in the final working solution.
    What's the advantage of the pre-wash?

  5. #5
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Checklist for first attempt at developing sheet film (SP-445)

    Prewash helps to remove the ant-halation layer. I think it works myself. I don't know if there is a real world difference between continuous or what you describe other than maybe it saves water, but I suppose you could always experiment to see if you prefer one over the other as far as washing. I fix for the specified time and have not had an issue.

  6. #6

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    Re: Checklist for first attempt at developing sheet film (SP-445)

    In addition to what Steven said, it also helps the developer to "sink" into the emulsion more evenly at start of development. Think about a sponge...it will absorb moisture more uniformly when slightly wet vs dry.

  7. #7
    Studio Madbird
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    Re: Checklist for first attempt at developing sheet film (SP-445)

    I would also add this step:

    Relax and Enjoy the process

    And also realize you can really mess things up and still end up with printable negs. I started a development a while back by filling the tank with fix - then screaming- then rinsing in a panic, then developing (adding about 10% more time on the fly) and still got ok negs.

    Not advocating careless sloppiness, but anyway, Have fun!

  8. #8

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    Re: Checklist for first attempt at developing sheet film (SP-445)

    My $0.02

    1) Until it becomes second nature - do one sheet at a time. You will need 475-500ml of developer without the second holder in place.
    2) Ilford products - presoak 5 mins at developer temperature.
    3) long initial agitation. 1-2 minutes.
    4) Final Step - NO PHOTOFLOW IN THE TANK OR HOLDERS !!! It leaves a residue that carries over to the next batch if you don't clean it properly.
    5) for faster pouring in - file down the minimum depth indicator in the lid.
    6) Buy a second tank and work them back to back for more productivity. Its hard to do two at one time unless you are doing a semi-stand method.
    7) lubricate the o-ring on the lid with silicone, wipe off - Oil from your skin/face will also work for a short time.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
    http://www.searing.photography

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    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Checklist for first attempt at developing sheet film (SP-445)

    Never thought about filing down the fill indicator. That may remove the small errors I still get when developing. I always pondered if not being able to fill and empty fast enough was causing small problems I see intermittently from time to time.

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    Re: Checklist for first attempt at developing sheet film (SP-445)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan9940 View Post
    You might want to consider a pre-soak for 2-5 mins with water. This is a controversial subject, but I've used a water pre-soak with many B&W films over the years and never noticed any issue from doing it. Also, whichever dilution of HC-110 you use make sure you have, at least, 6ml of concentrate in the final working solution.
    There certainly is an effect, the longer the film is wet the larger the grain!

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