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Thread: Stearman developing Issue

  1. #1

    Stearman developing Issue

    I develop with the stearman 4x5 tank and have been having great fortune developing switching between coffee and wildflower developers but recently I tried a new developing solution with beer and had unsuccessful results. I'm assuming these are agitation errors perhaps? But what is strange, I developed 4 negatives at once and two of them appeared to have pattern of the stearman tray embedded on them while the other pair just seemed to have a few developing error splotches.

    Is there any reasoning for this strange embedded?

    I've attached two to compare, one of the pairs with just minor splotches, and the other the embedded stearman tray imprint on it.

    Appreciate any insight? (Don't mind poor scans).

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Morgantown, WV

    Re: Stearman developing Issue

    What kind of agitation did you use? I'm thinking it might be something to do with the viscosity of the developer and/or how it reacts to the film. Could be other factors from whatever else is in the developer, or even whatever kind of beer it is.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2015

    Re: Stearman developing Issue

    A latent impression of various holes in the SP-445 film holder is a fairly common reported issue. I had that issue, too, on occasion so I stopped using this tank. What seems to be really odd about this issue is that it seems to be film/developer combo dependent. If you like using this tank, my advice would be to stick with film/developer combos you know work.

  4. #4

    Re: Stearman developing Issue

    Quote Originally Posted by martiansea View Post
    What kind of agitation did you use? I'm thinking it might be something to do with the viscosity of the developer and/or how it reacts to the film. Could be other factors from whatever else is in the developer, or even whatever kind of beer it is.
    I was a bit worried about the agitation, one constant minute of agitation then 3 cycles every minute for 15 minute. We were a bit too casual missing some minute marks, and I our cucles were inconsistent, each time one of us agitating it, using different techniques im sure.

    It was my first time using beer as my developer as well.

    Also, first time using Frankenstein ASA 200.

    So it is our first experiment with both, which is hard to pinpoint. We will be doing another development with our regular home developer (coffee) this week.

    I am just curious as to why it took the shape of the stearman tray itself, is that odd or normal if developer / agitation is off?

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Austin, TX

    Re: Stearman developing Issue

    That is frustrating. I would contact Tim at Stearman Press. He is very knowledgeable and helpful. I'm betting that he can tell you what is going on.

    On another note, it's usually not a good idea to change more than one variable when you are trying different techniques because when things go wrong you don't know which variable is the culprit. Keep us posted.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Purcellville, VA

    Re: Stearman developing Issue

    It's quite hard to tell exactly what we're seeing. The blue suggests to me that this is the antihalation layer and that it didn't get washed our sufficiently. But the edge problems may indicate a foaming process that interfered with development there.

    I can't speak to the unusual developers you are trying. The various issues with the holders have been addressed in a number of threads. I have found solutions for all, but I use plain old D-23.
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Montreal, Canada

    Re: Stearman developing Issue

    No matter how many revisions they make to the holders, it's simply a fundamental flaw with the entire concept that you can't get around. The best you can do is:

    1. Remove the films from the holders before washing, and wash in open trays or some other device
    2. After the wash, give the negatives a thorough soaking (at least 10 minutes) with intermittent agitation in HCA (or a fresh 2% sodium sulfite solution
    3. Second wash

    What this will often do is help to remove residual anti-halation dye (if there is any), from where the base side of the film was in prolonged contact with the holders. It will not remove the marring from wherever the film was in prolonged contact with the holder. The good news is that sometimes these marks don't print (people who scan negatives seem to have more problems). Marks on the base side of the film were also a thing with BTZS or other straight cylindrical tubes, although they were more irregular, and usually didn't print.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Aug 2000

    Re: Stearman developing Issue

    At the high cost of film these days it is difficult for me to understand why people continue to use a somewhat questionable container, and unproven developers.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    South Dakota

    Re: Stearman developing Issue

    I've used the sp445 since it came out with ilford and foma films, HC110. I've had no issues with hundreds of sheets.

    Kent in SD
    Last edited by Two23; 20-Jun-2022 at 20:36.
    In contento ed allegria
    Notte e di vogliam passar!

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Feb 2019

    Re: Stearman developing Issue

    I've occasional issues where a tiny bit of anti-hlation dye doesn't wash out so there is a purple splotch left on the film. Fortunately, just holding the sheet under running water and with my thumb gently massaging the back of the sheet (the non-emulsion side) for a couple seconds generally clears it away. And aside for that happening a couple times, I too have had no issues. Today I'm more likely to use the 810 tray, but when defeloping color I use the 445 since its easier to keep it in a water bath to maintain temperture.

    Looking at the two samples both look like they didn't have enough developer since one end of the sheet is ragged. The second sheet--maybe the dye didn't clear, but it looks far worse than the splotches I've encountered. It almost looks like it was loaded backwards, i.e. emulsion in, which would limit the amount of developer that had access to parts of the film.

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