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Thread: Stearman Press SP-810

  1. #81

    Join Date
    Aug 2015
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    173

    Re: Stearman Press SP-810

    I agree that these trays are very cool. So much easier for 8x10 than the BTZS tubes if you don't have a darkroom (i.e. you don't keep having to go back into a tent to swap caps). I've used these regularly for B&W without fault. I'm about to be brave, buy some colour film, and try to use them to get back into colour processing. I'll probably set up my Jobo for heated water bath at least for E6 and for multiple sheets in one session: I entirely understand the point about the thermal profile of the tanks meaning that colour processing is possible, but you still do need to keep the chemistry at the right temperature - I'm planning to try out the new Bellini kits for E6 and C41 available here, which have had rave reviews.
    http://www.davidfearnphotography.co.uk
    see too my 5x4 and 8x10 flickr albums

  2. #82

    Join Date
    Aug 2015
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    173

    Re: Stearman Press SP-810

    A quick update to say that I've successfully processed my first two sheets of 10x8 Kodak Portra 160 using the Stearman SP810 trays, and Bellini 1-litre C4 kit (which should last for a while, properly stored, and should do 16 sheets).
    I followed the Bellini instructions for mixing, timings, and agitation, but set the waterbath to 40C (using a Cinestill TCS-1000, which works well and in my experience heats up the water more quickly than a Jobo because it circulates the water as well as heating it) and giving a 1min water prewash at 40C.
    Time for colour developer with this is 3'15"; I timed from the start of pouring in to the time when pouring in the bleach, so started pouring out the developer at 2'58" to allow sufficient time to drain without overdeveloping.
    First time I've had batch of C41 large format film where all the sheets developed properly. Previously I'd relied on a lab for 5x4; their processing for 120 showed no problems, but sloppiness made for uneven development on sheets.

    Here's my first result, really only a test of technique and processing.

    http://www.davidfearnphotography.co.uk
    see too my 5x4 and 8x10 flickr albums

  3. #83

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    Aug 2015
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    173

    Re: Stearman Press SP-810

    Another update from me after having completed my first batch of E6 with the Stearman SP810, using the Bellini E6 6-bath Kit and their instructions.

    My first stage was to process a roll of 120 in an old Paterson tank, using the Bellini manual times (except with First Developer at 7'10" to match what used to work for me previously with the Tetenal 3-bath kit) and using their recommended agitation, 15" initial and then 5" every 30". This came out fine.

    I then processed 3 sheets with the Stearman (2 Velvia and 1 Provia) using the same time and agitation (using the panning method). Marginally less successful - a couple had subtle tide-lines about 1/3 away along, something I can edit out in post I think. Almost certainly down to relatively low overall agitation time with the FD I think. I haven't got this with the C41 following Bellini instructions (now having processed 4 sheets of 10x8), presumably because the percentage agitation time was a lot higher during the colour developer stage since this stage is only 3'15" for C41.

    So next time I will run a sheet using Klas' agitation times and method, which is in % terms about double the agitation time stated in the Bellini instructions. FD at 7'10" (timed from start of pouring to entry of wash water, factoring in 18" of time at the end to carefully drain the tray) works great btw - it is recommended that you extend FD for Fuji slide film.

    Setup for all of this was 40C waterbath heating chemistry (both Jobo wash bottles for pouring and the storage bottles) via Cinestill TCS1000 and Stearman tray alongside, next to sink, and with 1minute 40 presoak. I started the presoak when FD temperature had gone past 38C.

    So if I sort the agitation time I think this will be a winner. Compared to other (esp. Jobo) options this processing method is pretty cost-effective and compact; TCS1000 is pretty noisy, though, when circulating and heating (much noisier than a Jobo for instance): happy to turn it off mid-way through the bleach stage!




    Quote Originally Posted by howlingsun View Post
    Did my first E6 8x10 sheet today in the SP-8x10. Came out perfekt, no defects, streaks or anything like that.
    Quality of the tank is very high and its very easy to use.

    Attachment 200382

    Here is the process I used:
    - Fold the film sheet like a taco for 10s while loading the tray to create a small bend in the film, allowing faster wetting of the film. https://youtu.be/0WdzqOWl4h8?t=185
    - Heat chemicals to 40C
    - Pre-soak with 40C water for 1min
    - Agitation 1min initially, then 10s (lift 5 times) every 30s
    - Agitation method was to lift the tray slightly in the front, causing a gentle wave lengthwise.

    Attachment 200383

    Best regards
    Klas
    http://www.davidfearnphotography.co.uk
    see too my 5x4 and 8x10 flickr albums

  4. #84

    Re: Stearman Press SP-810

    Quote Originally Posted by hporter View Post
    So far, it is exactly what I was hoping it would be. I wanted something that would allow me to quickly process a single sheet of 8x10 film, without having to set up my Jobo or working from trays in the dark.

    It is a snap to pull a sheet of 8x10 from a holder and drop it in the tray. Inserting the divider and separator tabs for 4x5 takes only a few seconds.

    I have only developed a couple sheets of 8x10 x-ray film, and two 4 sheet batches of Foma 100 4x5 just to try it out. I goofed up the first time I developed the 4x5 sheets. One of the sheets slipped under the separator tabs and glued itself to the sheet in the adjoining section. Here is what I saw after fixing the film and popping the tray top.

    Attachment 199288

    I think it was a case of my not being mindful of how I grasped the tray while dumping the contents out. The second time, I was more careful about grasping it in the exact middle, and perhaps being a bit more gentle when dumping the liquid from the tray. No problems on the second try with 4x5 sheets.

    I normally use the Stearman Press SP-445 to develop 4x5 sheets when I don't want to set the Jobo up. While I have enjoyed the SP-445 and like it very much, I will probably use this tray instead in the future. In the dark, it is much easier and much quicker for me to pull the sheets from my holders and lay them in the tray rather than trying to pull them and then slide them into the SP-445 holders. The SP-445 is not difficult, the tray is just easier.

    And the opening of the tray is very easy and quick to pour in 500ml of solution into without making a mess. It is also easy to tip it and dump it out. I have a small workbench in the middle of my hobby room that I use. I just set an inexpensive dishpan to the side to dump the tray into, and place my graduates of chemicals on the other side and it couldn't be simpler to setup and use.

    Attachment 199289

    Just like the SP-445, it is easy to pull the light baffles out and clean the tank when you are done with it. The baffles are molded with the text of which position they are intended to be placed back into, which is also helpful. Another positive point is that it has little feet molded on the bottom that make it very easy to rock the tray back and forth.

    I haven't tried the J Lane dry plates yet and I am hoping I can process the dry plates in this tray. I know that special dry plate holders are available for the SP-445 tank, but perhaps I won't need them now?
    I've also had this problem. I just got the SP-810 and have developed in it four times now and 3/4 times found a sheet stuck under the separator tab causing a dent in the film and uneven development.

    I figured maybe the problem is actually putting the lid on in the dark. My theory is that if the lid doesn't go on perfectly straight then it might snag a piece of film and pull it under.

    I don't quite see how one would slip under when draining. Aren't they designed to seat against the receiving holes in the base?

    EDIT: Just to clarify, I've seen the SP-810 video on youtube showing Tim's method of putting your fingers against the receiving holes in the base to ensure the film isn't overlapping. Every time I've developed with it, I've done this and made absolutely sure the film wasn't covering the holes. This is what leads me to believe that you can encounter this problem if you don't put the lid on perfectly straight, which I have personally found to be VERY hard to do in the dark. Maybe others are just better at this step than me?
    Last edited by prismaphonic; 22-Mar-2021 at 11:07. Reason: forgot to quote

  5. #85

    Re: Stearman Press SP-810

    Practice makes perfect! I had a similar experience once, then I immediately figured out how to do it in the light and then in the dark with success in all subsequent times using the tank.

  6. #86

    Re: Stearman Press SP-810

    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad . Marvin View Post
    Practice makes perfect! I had a similar experience once, then I immediately figured out how to do it in the light and then in the dark with success in all subsequent times using the tank.
    What's your technique? I just realized that my problem might be that I try to align it to either the front or back. I just realized that if I tilt the lid to the side and align it to the side of the base first, then the middle tabs will be perfectly in line. I'm going to try that next time and hope that guarantees it won't pull a sheet along with it.

  7. #87

    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Erie, Colorado
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    72

    Re: Stearman Press SP-810

    I had to go back to the darkroom and try it to figure out how I actually do it!

    I catch the front lip of the lid on the front baffle of the tank and then tilt the lid into place. You might have to slip the lid forward during the rotation downward. Takes a bit of practice but I've never had a problem.

    Note: the reason the hold down tabs are in the lid and not the tray is simple: they have to be wider than the film they're holding down. We tried different configurations of hold down tabs mounted to the tray but they were awkward since you had to slide the film under them. It was too easy to scratch the film.

    Side note: The only way your film could slide under the tabs is if the lid is warped and the hold down tabs don't go down far enough. (We've had two reports of warped lids.) It's pretty obvious if it's not flat.

    Tim

  8. #88

    Re: Stearman Press SP-810

    I do something like that, I hold both ends of the lid as I lower it onto the tray. You can feel the center and should have no problem. I also like to shuffle the loaded tray to hear the loose films inside. Practice in the light with scrap films so that you can see how the film moves around after you place it, then put the lid on , pick it up and shake a little bit side to side and you will hear that the film is free. Then in the dark. Good luck! The tray is a fabulous design and I have stopped using my sloshers and other methods completely.

  9. #89

    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    158

    Re: Stearman Press SP-810

    Quote Originally Posted by tim48v View Post
    I had to go back to the darkroom and try it to figure out how I actually do it!

    I catch the front lip of the lid on the front baffle of the tank and then tilt the lid into place. You might have to slip the lid forward during the rotation downward. Takes a bit of practice but I've never had a problem.

    Note: the reason the hold down tabs are in the lid and not the tray is simple: they have to be wider than the film they're holding down. We tried different configurations of hold down tabs mounted to the tray but they were awkward since you had to slide the film under them. It was too easy to scratch the film.

    Side note: The only way your film could slide under the tabs is if the lid is warped and the hold down tabs don't go down far enough. (We've had two reports of warped lids.) It's pretty obvious if it's not flat.

    Tim

    I am very happy with the construction of SP-810. I am using it to develop two 5x7’s at a time with the tabs in middle row. However, I keep having one of the films slide under the middle tabs at the end of the development. Its very disappointing to see the negatives come out with the uneven development around the foot of the tabs. I have practiced and practiced in light and dark to make sure I have the lid on right. When its dry, the films do slip under the tabs when I shake the unit. I have noticed a slight upward bow in the top lid that does not allow the feet of the middle two tabs to sit flat and flush with the end ones. Could this be causing the film to slip under? When I press down on the middle part of the top lid against the bow the films don’t slip under shaking.

    Any advice? I am scared to develop my 5x7’s at this point, paranoid that they will slip across and get ruined.
    Last edited by kmallick; 19-Sep-2021 at 11:52. Reason: Typo

  10. #90

    Re: Stearman Press SP-810

    Quote Originally Posted by kmallick View Post
    Any advice? I am paranoid at this point to develop my 5x7s at this point.
    Sorry to hear that, especially when you should be stoked about a new format. In terms of daylight tanks, I've had good luck with developing two 5x7 sheets in a Patterson Orbital--no tabs to deal with, just a pair of field expedient nylon screws to serve as a kind of gate so the sheets don't overlap. (FWIW, I'm using the Orbital in conjunction with a water bath, which seems to work well with a semi-stand agitation regimen.)

    That said, given the photo you posted with lots of sky/reflected sky, it seems as if you might run into really challenging conditions more than I do--it might be worth exploring various "tube" approaches (e.g. BTZS or the "Steve Sherman" approach to semi-stand development). Both require total darkness for loading developer, but otherwise most of the process can proceed under the lights.

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