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Thread: Developing tank advice

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    49

    Re: Developing tank advice

    Thanks for all the input.

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    near Prescott, Arizona
    Posts
    79

    Re: Developing tank advice

    J, I like the Stearman SP-445 if I have just a few negatives to develop. If I have more than 8 negatives, I start to find washing, drying, and reloading the SP-445 tedious, and use hangers and tanks instead, even though that method requires total darkness.

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    723

    Re: Developing tank advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    I find hangers and tanks are something I can do

    I use trays for single film up to 14X36 inch sheet

    My tanks can process 16-4X5 in one go on 4up hangers

    I CANNOT shuffle, my hands are arthritic, so as above

    We all must adapt to fragility of age
    I think if you research it that you will find true arthritis is quite rare. I learned about this lab from weapons work. The national labs were using them for security checks, and VA has used them to detect self-medication but they have a great general health profile you can have done. www.arltma.com

  4. #14
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    18,943

    Re: Developing tank advice

    Thank you for your concern

    I used heavy duty power hammers, drills, saws and rode motorcycles all my life

    My hands are claws, little flex, Dupuytren’s contracture, Trigger Finger

    I have far worse problems, but very happy at almost 72 to have little pain

    I cook all my own local farmer food meals

    I feel way better than 10 years ago when I was in wheelchair and 40 lbs heavier

    Also have severe Glaucoma

    One Day at a Time






    Quote Originally Posted by Neal Chaves View Post
    I think if you research it that you will find true arthritis is quite rare. I learned about this lab from weapons work. The national labs were using them for security checks, and VA has used them to detect self-medication but they have a great general health profile you can have done. www.arltma.com
    Tin Can

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Newbury, Vermont
    Posts
    1,601

    Re: Developing tank advice

    This will be a long post…and perhaps a bit controversial or at least a bit provocative and “feather-ruffling” - so please bear with me…or don’t!

    Years ago…I spoke with Gordon Hutchings (The Book of Pyro author), who went on at length about the advantages of tray-processing a single negative at a time. (Gordon also mentions this in his Pyro books). My problem with this approach was that it would just take too long to do all of my films this way…particularly after returning from an outing where I may have exposed a large number of films.

    But then by some miracle the lightbulb lit…and I came up with using a single, very large tray, within which sit a number of smaller trays - as you will see in the photo below:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Film Processing Tray Setup.jpg 
Views:	62 
Size:	65.7 KB 
ID:	221098

    (Note in the photo that there are a number of 8x10 trays, with the first being placed before a 20x24 tray (within which sit six 5x7 trays), and the remaining five 8x10 trays being placed after the 20x24 tray).

    The way this works: I place six (4x5 or 5x7) negatives, face up, into the first (8x10) tray, which is a presoak to which I’ve added a bit of photo-flo. After three minutes of very gentle shuffling, all the negatives go, one by one (again, face-up) into their own smaller (5x7) trays, which are themselves arrayed in one large (20x24) tray.

    After the transfer is complete, I then pick up the entire large tray and rock it around gently for one minute, with the remaining agitation cycles being timed depending upon my desired contrast and density ranges.

    Furthermore, I may take this a step further and give one or more of the little trays its own specific agitation cycle, if that or those particular negatives need this. Keeping track of those negatives is usually a matter of carefully notching a corner as these films come out of their holders.

    Once the developing stage is complete, all the films get transferred (one by one, in the same order as they’d been placed in the developer) into the first of three water bath trays…but this time face down…as without the added protection of the photo-flo, the films are a bit more vulnerable to scratching, regardless of whatever added protection might exist from the degree of emulsion hardening which may have occurred from one of my staining/hardening (pyro or pyrocat) developers.

    After shuffling through the three water baths (with one complete top to bottom shuffle in each tray), the negatives go into the fixing bath (TF-4), and get gently shuffled there (again, face down) for either five minutes (for “traditional” film), or seven minutes (for t-grained films) - and following this the films are washed for a total of fifteen minutes prior to photo-flowing and hanging in the drying cabinet.

    The thing about giving each negative its own developing tray has some real advantages. First among these, at least from my point of view, is that the agitation cycles are much more accurate, defined, and controllable. Think about this…if you are shuffling several negatives in one developing tray, with the idea that by going through the pile in timed cycles - do you think this equates to any single negative in that pile being agitated but once during that cycle…and that by adjusting the timing and/or shuffling speed of these cycles, you’ve accurately controlled the actual agitation intervals for each negative? Hardly. What is really happening in that pile is that all of the negatives are, to some degree (so long as you are shuffling) always in motion.

    Furthermore, thinking that you can work around this by simply shuffling faster to achieve a longer “quiet interval” can be very risky in that this will increase the potential of scratching one or more negatives, and can also build up contrast needlessly. Also, when the pile of film is “quiet” in the developing tray, do you think that there is enough space above the emulsion side of the closely packed films to allow for a truly meaningful developer exchange and local exhaustion scenario? Sometimes I wonder about this.

    At any rate…finally, keep in mind that prior to starting in with the above processing scenario, I did a number of “lights-on” tests with sacrificial films and developer - to make sure that the films were each being agitated equally in the developer…and that there were no problems with films either sticking to the trays or floating upwards, noting that the 10oz of developer per tray was more than enough to keep the films happy.

    Jeesh…I guess I’m really sticking my neck out here! And yes…I do realize full well that many of you get stupendous results by shuffling your negatives through your developing trays (as I did before this) - so maybe I’ll just be quiet for now and go back outside to rake a few more leaves! Bye!
    Last edited by John Layton; 6-Nov-2021 at 10:30. Reason: clarity

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Montreal, Canada
    Posts
    1,153

    Re: Developing tank advice

    Seems like what you’re doing here is the slosher thing but without the slosher .

    Quote Originally Posted by John Layton View Post
    This will be a long post…and perhaps a bit controversial or at least a bit provocative and “feather-ruffling” - so please bear with me…or don’t!

    Years ago…I spoke with Gordon Hutchings (The Book of Pyro author), who went on at length about the advantages of tray-processing a single negative at a time. (Gordon also mentions this in his Pyro books). My problem with this approach was that it would just take too long to do all of my films this way…particularly after returning from an outing where I may have exposed a large number of films.

    But then by some miracle the lightbulb lit…and I came up with using a single, very large tray, within which sit a number of smaller trays - as you will see in the photo below:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Film Processing Tray Setup.jpg 
Views:	62 
Size:	65.7 KB 
ID:	221098

    (Note in the photo that there are a number of 8x10 trays, with the first being placed before a 20x24 tray (within which sit six 5x7 trays), and the remaining five 8x10 trays being placed after the 20x24 tray).

    The way this works: I place six (4x5 or 5x7) negatives, face up, into the first (8x10) tray, which is a presoak to which I’ve added a bit of photo-flo. After three minutes of very gentle shuffling, all the negatives go, one by one (again, face-up) into their own smaller (5x7) trays, which are themselves arrayed in one large (20x24) tray.

    After the transfer is complete, I then pick up the entire large tray and rock it around gently for one minute, with the remaining agitation cycles being timed depending upon my desired contrast and density ranges.

    Furthermore, I may take this a step further and give one or more of the little trays its own specific agitation cycle, if that or those particular negatives need this. Keeping track of those negatives is usually a matter of carefully notching a corner as these films come out of their holders.

    Once the developing stage is complete, all the films get transferred (one by one, in the same order as they’d been placed in the developer) into the first of three water bath trays…but this time face down…as without the added protection of the photo-flo, the films are a bit more vulnerable to scratching, regardless of whatever added protection might exist from the degree of emulsion hardening which may have occurred from one of my staining/hardening (pyro or pyrocat) developers.

    After shuffling through the three water baths (with one complete top to bottom shuffle in each tray), the negatives go into the fixing bath (TF-4), and get gently shuffled there (again, face down) for either five minutes (for “traditional” film), or seven minutes (for t-grained films) - and following this the films are washed for a total of fifteen minutes prior to photo-flowing and hanging in the drying cabinet.

    The thing about giving each negative its own developing tray has some real advantages. First among these, at least from my point of view, is that the agitation cycles are much more accurate, defined, and controllable. Think about this…if you are shuffling several negatives in one developing tray, with the idea that by going through the pile in timed cycles - do you think this equates to any single negative in that pile being agitated but once during that cycle…and that by adjusting the timing and/or shuffling speed of these cycles, you’ve accurately controlled the actual agitation intervals for each negative? Hardly. What is really happening in that pile is that all of the negatives are, to some degree (so long as you are shuffling) always in motion.

    Furthermore, thinking that you can work around this by simply shuffling faster to achieve a longer “quiet interval” can be very risky in that this will increase the potential of scratching one or more negatives, and can also build up contrast needlessly. Also, when the pile of film is “quiet” in the developing tray, do you think that there is enough space above the emulsion side of the closely packed films to allow for a truly meaningful developer exchange and local exhaustion scenario? Sometimes I wonder about this.

    At any rate…finally, keep in mind that prior to starting in with the above processing scenario, I did a number of “lights-on” tests with sacrificial films and developer - to make sure that the films were each being agitated equally in the developer…and that there were no problems with films either sticking to the trays or floating upwards, noting that the 10oz of developer per tray was more than enough to keep the films happy.

    Jeesh…I guess I’m really sticking my neck out here! And yes…I do realize full well that many of you get stupendous results by shuffling your negatives through your developing trays (as I did before this) - so maybe I’ll just be quiet for now and go back outside to rake a few more leaves! Bye!

  7. #17

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    now in Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    3,214

    Re: Developing tank advice

    Some interesting thoughts here. I'll just add that you should avoid the old Nikor stainless tanks. I ruined a lot of images using one of those for 5 or 6 years, when it was my only option.

  8. #18
    Eric Woodbury
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    1,567

    Re: Developing tank advice

    Started with trays. Then Jobo for a time. Now ABS tubes (similar to BTZS tubes).

    I couldn't shuffle without problems. So when using trays, it was one at a time. That was a lot of 'dark time'. Tubes float in a tray of water for temp stability. Must be careful of over agitation since they are so fun to spin. For stop and fix, I remove the films from tube and finish in trays.

    I use an XTOL equivalent developer and WD2H+ developer for most everything.

  9. #19

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Suwanee, GA
    Posts
    928

    Re: Developing tank advice

    +1 for the SP-445 for 4 negatives or less. The Yankee or FR square tanks are easy to use too and hold more negatives, but can not be inverted so you end up sloshing some chemistry out when agitating side to side. The square tanks do make good wash tanks if you need to do another run through the SP-445. I tend to develop single sheets and have learned to manage 2 SP-445 tanks if in a hurry .
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
    http://www.searing.photography

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Wassenaar, NL
    Posts
    335

    Re: Developing tank advice

    Quote Originally Posted by esearing View Post
    +1 for the SP-445 for 4 negatives or less .
    +1 too. I have an extra pair of slides so I could do 8 films in two runs with 1 litre solution in total, but I mostly come home with 4 sheets. To be sure to keep it dry when agitating, I put a piece of gaffer tape over the lid, which is closing ok, but still.

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