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Thread: 8x10 Vertical Tank Development Issues

  1. #1

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    8x10 Vertical Tank Development Issues

    I am struggling to get even development of 8x10 film in stainless tanks with vertical Kodak hangers. I've done a bunch of experiments but haven't achieved clear skies with no chemical wash marks. I'm running out of ideas and hoping folks that have figured out how to do this with manual agitation of hangers in vertical tanks could look at my process and make some suggestions.

    I built the tanks a while ago, modeled after Arkay tanks. They are 2.5W" x 11L" x 10.5D". They comfortably hold 4 hangers with some space between each hanger:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I made some wood spacer clips that hold the hangers evenly apart and allow me to lift all four hangers at once:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I am developing 4 sheets of Fuji HR-U x-ray film (double sided emulsion) using 510-Pyro at 1:250 dilution for 10 minutes.

    My current best development process is:
    • Soak for 4 minutes in water
    • 1 minute of constant agitation
    • Agitation every 30s after
    • Fix 4 min in TF-5 and wash 10 min


    The results are very much dependent on agitation technique and I've tried a lot of variations. Based on older posts on this forum, I am currently using the following technique:
    • Lift (all 4); tip to >=45 degrees away from me; lower
    • Lift (all 4); tip to >=45 degrees towards me; lower


    Each dip-dunk is about 5s.

    Here is a pure gray field developed in this way (with contrast adjusted digitally to make the issues obvious):
    Click image for larger version. 

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    There seem to be three issues:
    • Surge marks from the pores in the hanger on the bottom edge
    • Chemical wash marks over the surface, primarily in a vertical orientation
    • Horizontal banding (which I have attributed to my scanner and we can ignore)


    I have figured out how to make the surge marks at the bottom go away by lowering the hangers slowly so as not to force developer through the pores. This works out to 1s raise, 1s tip, 3s lower.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    However, the chemical wash marks remain (maybe get worse). In the past, I've tried other frequencies and timings, for example:
    • 30s continuous + 1 dip/dunk every minute
    • Extremely slow dip/dunk motions
    • Rough / fast dip/dunk motions
    • More extreme tip angle
    • No wood spacer holding hangers apart


    All of these were worse in some way worse than where I'm at. I feel like I either need more agitation with more variety of chemical movement or less.

    One other interesting data point is that 4x5 negatives developed with the same tanks and same process look great. Even skies; no surging. The only difference I can see is the 4x5 hangers have cross pieces, which must affect chemical flow.

    Ideas would bet greatly appreciated.

    Sam

  2. #2
    Steve Sherman's Avatar
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    Re: 8x10 Vertical Tank Development Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by sabeluc View Post
    I am struggling to get even development of 8x10 film in stainless tanks with vertical Kodak hangers. I've done a bunch of experiments but haven't achieved clear skies with no chemical wash marks. I'm running out of ideas and hoping folks that have figured out how to do this with manual agitation of hangers in vertical tanks could look at my process and make some suggestions.

    I built the tanks a while ago, modeled after Arkay tanks. They are 2.5W" x 11L" x 10.5D". They comfortably hold 4 hangers with some space between each hanger:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_5516.jpeg 
Views:	37 
Size:	25.9 KB 
ID:	222692

    I made some wood spacer clips that hold the hangers evenly apart and allow me to lift all four hangers at once:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_5517.jpeg 
Views:	27 
Size:	27.2 KB 
ID:	222693

    I am developing 4 sheets of Fuji HR-U x-ray film (double sided emulsion) using 510-Pyro at 1:250 dilution for 10 minutes.

    My current best development process is:
    • Soak for 4 minutes in water
    • 1 minute of constant agitation
    • Agitation every 30s after
    • Fix 4 min in TF-5 and wash 10 min


    The results are very much dependent on agitation technique and I've tried a lot of variations. Based on older posts on this forum, I am currently using the following technique:
    • Lift (all 4); tip to >=45 degrees away from me; lower
    • Lift (all 4); tip to >=45 degrees towards me; lower


    Each dip-dunk is about 5s.

    Here is a pure gray field developed in this way (with contrast adjusted digitally to make the issues obvious):
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	img20211213_11541925.jpg 
Views:	37 
Size:	20.8 KB 
ID:	222695

    There seem to be three issues:
    • Surge marks from the pores in the hanger on the bottom edge
    • Chemical wash marks over the surface, primarily in a vertical orientation
    • Horizontal banding (which I have attributed to my scanner and we can ignore)


    I have figured out how to make the surge marks at the bottom go away by lowering the hangers slowly so as not to force developer through the pores. This works out to 1s raise, 1s tip, 3s lower.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	img20211214_11535552.jpg 
Views:	28 
Size:	19.2 KB 
ID:	222696

    However, the chemical wash marks remain (maybe get worse). In the past, I've tried other frequencies and timings, for example:
    • 30s continuous + 1 dip/dunk every minute
    • Extremely slow dip/dunk motions
    • Rough / fast dip/dunk motions
    • More extreme tip angle
    • No wood spacer holding hangers apart


    All of these were worse in some way worse than where I'm at. I feel like I either need more agitation with more variety of chemical movement or less.

    One other interesting data point is that 4x5 negatives developed with the same tanks and same process look great. Even skies; no surging. The only difference I can see is the 4x5 hangers have cross pieces, which must affect chemical flow.

    Ideas would bet greatly appreciated.

    Sam
    I've had a lot of experience with various forms of reduced agitation processing of sheet film, which is essentially what you are describing. Virtually all uneven development stems from too gentle, and too short an initial agitation cycle. I would suggest no less than 2 minutes, and its doubtful, simply lifting the hangers by one corner is vigorous enough with such a short initial agitation. I'm not familiar with 510 Pyro, but have extensive experience with PyroCat HD. Any dilution beyond 200:1 is very likely going to yield uneven development due to Bromide buildup. A big help would be turn the film 180 degrees between agitation cycles to combat the bromide build up simply falling due to gravity and reduced developer strength. Developer becomes compromised due to high dilution of developer, that clearly is exhausting, this yields the release of bromide into the exhausted developer making random areas of the suspended developer with little to no developing agent active. Good luck !!


    Real photographs are born wet !

    www.PowerOfProcessTips.com

  3. #3

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    Re: 8x10 Vertical Tank Development Issues

    Thanks Steve,

    I will try longer and more dramatic agitation up front and report back. I don't think I can turn the film 180 because that would require taking it out of the hangers and putting it back in. Hopefully, something else works too.

  4. #4

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    Re: 8x10 Vertical Tank Development Issues

    I can also try 200:1 for a shorter time.

  5. #5

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    Re: 8x10 Vertical Tank Development Issues

    Here's an update. No fix so far but I've run a lot of experiments. I initially thought the up-and-down pattern of the uneven development might be related to the agitation being mostly up and down (i.e. surge marks), though I now understand that they may be bromine drag due to under-agitation or dilute developer.

    These experiments attempted to create more even agitation (more side-to-side motion to balance the up-down of the dip-dunk):

    1. There's about a half inch of end-to-end play available with the hangers in the tanks. I tried making small half-inch circles, leaving the hangers submerged near the bottom, alternating direction, such that the chemical motion would be balanced. This resulted in fairly even development the edges while the center still had up-down patterning. This seems to support the bromine drag hypothesis:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    2. With each agitation, I lifted the hangers half way out and lowered them back in to bring fresh developer to the center of the interstitial space between the negatives. I then knocked them side to side (the long way) 4x to get some side-to-side motion. This was really bad. The bottom half is denser than the top and the drag marks are worse than ever:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    3. Slow up and down motions with a tip to 90 degrees at the top and a long 2s pause to let developer flow in the opposite direction. 1 minute + every 30s. Maybe some improvement but not much better than without the tipped pause.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6

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    Re: 8x10 Vertical Tank Development Issues

    The previous experiments seem to support the bromide drag hypothesis. The lines are always up-down with respect to gravity, are more intense where agitation is poor, and seem largely unaffected by agitation technique.

    I ran two experiments to try to reduce bromide drag. In both I used my normal agitation method (lift, tip to 45, slowly lower for 5s, repeat tipping the other way).

    1. 200:1 dilution of 510 pyro for 8 min (20% stronger for 80% of the time); 2 minutes of constant agitation + agitation every 30s (2x the agitation). This one's a little better but I still couldn't use this negative for a landscape with sky.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    2. 150:1 dilution of 510 pyro for 6 min (40% stronger for 60% of the time); 2 minutes of constant agitation + agitation every 30s (2x the agitation). This one is similar to the 200:1 except now starting to show some surge marks from the pores in the bottom of the hangers.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #7

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    Re: 8x10 Vertical Tank Development Issues

    At the risk of pointing out the obvious, using a conventional camera film and a conventional developer would reduce a lot of your variables. Hanger/ deep tank systems make some sense if you have reasonable throughput, but are notoriously prone to edge surge marks etc, especially from the model of hangers you show. Trays or Expert Drums are the best choice for truly even results.

  8. #8

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    Re: 8x10 Vertical Tank Development Issues

    Abandon those horrible film hangers - they are the source of all your problems. Develop your film in trays and these artifacts will go away.

    Pairing "exotic" developers with "exotic" films is almost certainly a contributing factor as well. I suspect that if you were using HP5 and developing in D-76, you'd be seeing none of these undesirable artifacts. Also, you are diluting the developer too much - there's not enough developing agent in there to achieve even development.

    Figure out how to walk before you try to run.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    I learned my method by ignoring way too much advice
    A perennial theme, that!
    Last edited by paulbarden; 25-Dec-2021 at 08:45.

  9. #9
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: 8x10 Vertical Tank Development Issues

    IDK

    I love my old ARKAY gas burst tanks

    I use only clean KODAK hangers with are full of holes, unlike others, no soap or Foto flow EVER

    As soon as possible I drop them in, cover and quicky push my button to start my air burbles

    Usually 10 seconds of continuous bubbles, rest for 50 seconds and again 10 seconds bubbles usually 7 tp 10 minutes

    Then fresh still water stop, and into TF5 also gas burst, time varies by film

    Almost always Rodinol 1-100

    I only get negs like yours if I cut the time way too short

    Here is one I played way too short just to see

    I learned my method by ignoring way too much advice

    DIY is really teach yourself

    3 810 2-1 Macro by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr

    Then quick flow wash

    These are pretty violent bubbles

  10. #10

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    Re: 8x10 Vertical Tank Development Issues

    I totally believe you are correct about non-conventional film and chemicals being at the core of the problem. I also think that if I were developing standard film in standard chemicals it would already be working with my tanks and hangers.

    However, mostly for cost reasons, I'm committed to making x-ray film + pyro work. Keeping the costs low helps me feel free to play with the medium, experiment and make mistakes. I have found this to be critical for my art-making process. Even though this is tedious, putting in the time and experimentation to make this work (and sharing back the results if I can) is worth it. I do really appreciate the help along the way!

    8x10 X-ray film is 40 cents a sheet. 510 pyro works out to 60 cents for the 4 liters required to fill the tank at 250:1 dilution for 4 sheets of 8x10 or 16 of 4x5. I also like pyro because I do alternative process contact printing in addition to inkjet and it allows me to use the same negative for both. The tanning action also makes the x-ray negatives more robust. I've gotten this working for 4x5s on 4-up hangers in the same tanks (clear skies and no surge marks), so I can already process 16 4x5s concurrently for $3 total.

    I'm surprised 8x10 is so stubborn compared to 4x5.

    I'm sure everyone knows but x-ray film is double-sided and very easy to scratch. I tried tray processing in the beginning with glass in the bottom of the trays but I had trouble doing more than one sheet at a time without scratching them and getting the bottom and top emulsions to develop evenly. Maybe I will need to go back to trays for 8x10 it if I can't figure the hangers out.

    I think anything that touches the back side of the film (e.g. drums) will not work with x-ray film.

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