Agitation

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by lacavol, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. lacavol

    lacavol Member

    Messages:
    75
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I did a search and didn't find the answer that I was looking for... I just developed my first roll of film using what I could find in some books and on the www. I went with the basics all Kodak; D76, Indicator Stop, Kodafix, Kodak Hypo, and Photo-Flo. Thought I would start with something easy. Everything turned out fine, I think I overexposed the film so the negatives are a little dark, and maybe they are overdeveloped a bit. The timer is easy to follow and a step by step method seemed to work.
    My question is that the agitation seems the main nebulous variable. If I invert (which I did) then the film is out of the developer for a bit of time depending on how fast my inversion is. I have a Patterson tank so I could use the twisting method, which I haven't tried yet. It seems to take me about 15 seconds to do 5 inversions, otherwise it seems as though I'm making a drink, which would seem to froth the developer. Does the twisting method work? Should I be doing inversions faster? Do I need a metronome, otherwise how do I know if I'm agitating the same or differently on different days?
    That is D76 stock and Legacy Pro 100 for 7.25 minutes.
    Thanks.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 20, 2011
  2. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,984
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I recommend inversions. A couple inversions each 30 seconds is what I was taught. I follow the inversions (for the first few minutes anyway) with a couple good sharp raps on a hard surface to dislodge air bells. After a couple minutes air bells aren't going to ruin your pictures anymore since the surface is completely wet.
     
  3. lacavol

    lacavol Member

    Messages:
    75
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That sounds reasonable, I saw 5 inversions every 30sec on the www. Thats half my developing time. Plus I had very little time to drink my beer.
     
  4. cornflower2

    cornflower2 Member

    Messages:
    4
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, A
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    If you want the finest grain, the shortest developing time and the cleanest (most even) processing result, you should definitely agitate continuously from start to finish. Typically this will give you a processing time that is about 65% of the normal time using more traditional (ie. less often) agitation. Conversely, if you want a grainier result, agitate less often or hardly at all (and use an appropriately adjusted longer processing time). It doesn't matter 'how' you agitate, because each time you do it you'll tend to do it the same way, so just 'do it', don't worry about trying to 'time' it. Giving the tank a twist in the hand as you invert it, so that it slowly rotates as you go, is good, essential. The idea that giving more agitation somehow gives you a 'rougher' result is arse-up, the opposite is actually the truth. You'll see this effect in a more pronounced way using Ilford films; Kodak films show less 'variance' in graininess. If you want a fabulous tight 'sandy' grain, try processing Ilford film with, say, 20 or 30 seconds of starting agitation and then no agitation at all for the rest of a relatively long process. Warning: giving less agitation (in other words, having more/longer 'still' periods) increases the chance of getting 'funnies' in your processing result, eg. funny streak marks etc, where the emulsion has tripped out/gone quirky. If a neg is really important, continuous agitation is the fastest, finest, most reliable way to go, always. Hope this helps!
     
  5. Juri

    Juri Member

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Location:
    Estonia, Eur
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I think this is the most important thing regarding agitation. Just do it the same way every time and you'll get consistent results. The more you agitate the more even and faster are the results, but constant agitation is not easy to do manually. So I think 5 seconds every 30 seconds is a good compromise.
     
  6. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,516
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As already stated consistency is important in whatever method you choose.

    I'm not a fan of twisting, I ended up unrolling the film off the reel and ruining it.

    For normal negatives stick as close to the directions as possible, this will allow you to trouble shoot the rest. For example to see if it is actually overexposed or over developed.

    One thing you did not mention was temperature. It is very important that your thermometer be reliable/consistent so that you can get the same temp every time or adjust for changes in temp. Unless you are using truly calibrated thermometers your actual temperature will normally be different than say mine.

    If your thermometer reads 2-degrees cold your water will be 2-degrees warmer than planned and that means overdeveloped negatives.

    When you adjust your "system" do it one variable at a time and test it. If you adjust two variables, say agitation and temp, you won't learn as much.
     
  7. lacavol

    lacavol Member

    Messages:
    75
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for all of the replys and I welcome more. It seems it is more an art than a science with consistancy as the key. I'll try to use all of the advice to get a consistant routine.
    I used 20° C as my thermometer has a arrow there, of course it could be inaccurate.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2011
  8. Michael W

    Michael W Member

    Messages:
    1,430
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've used inversion for years with good results. I was taught to agitate for the first 30 seconds & then for 10 seconds at the start of each subsequent minute. In 10 seconds I will do 3 complete inversions, i.e. over-back, over-back, over-back. Then put it down with a sharp rap to dislodge bubbles. Doing it this way I find the times given at the Massive Dev Chart are correct.
    I know that in some countries people are taught to agitate every 30 seconds & also that some people agitate quickly. There's no reason why this wouldn't work as long as you are consistent and adjust the overall time for what gives the best result.
     
  9. Smudger

    Smudger Member

    Messages:
    285
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    Location:
    Dunedin,New Zealand
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I am 100% with Michael W on this subject , and use the same procedure.
    Kodak has long indicated 30 sec inversions, Ilfords clone, ID-11, states every minute.

    Try to rethink the cocktail shaker approach - agitation is meant to FLOW fresh dev.over the film , not beat it into submission. The method used will affect the density of your negs for sure.

    As for constant rotary ;the reason for the lower grain is simple : by eroding the edge of each grain 'smoothness 'is achieved . But so is sharpness and acutance.
    The converse , stand development, should,by this logic produce golfball grain. ,but those who use it swear by it.
    Take the middle path , try 2 turns and a thump every minute.
    But be careful with that Paterson - the brittle plastic tank body can crack easily.
     
  10. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

    Messages:
    829
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    Shropshire,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If I get frothy developer I admonish myself severely for not rinsing all of the photo-flow out of the tank and reels after the last session :whistling:

    I don't like twiddling tanks - I don't think the developer gets moved around enough. I don't worry about the film coming momentarily out of the developer when I invert the tank - the emulsion is saturated with developer - it won't dry out in such a short time.

    Five inversions in every 30secs seems a bit much to me...
    Users of Kodak film tend to agitate every 30 secs because that is what the instructions said. Same with Agfa.

    Ilford have always recommended agitation every 60 seconds, which is what I use, and I only give a couple of inversion, twisting the tank as I do so. I give 5 inversions when I first pour the developer in, though, then a good tap on the bench to dislodge air bubbles.

    Consistency is everything - you learn the timing and rhythm like a dance move or something (just had a great idea for a youtube video, anyone up for showing off their 'technique'?) but I don't think the exact number of inversions or times are that important. They do make a difference, but as long as you are consistent then you can adjust your developing time to suit. I've developed plenty of Kodak films in Agfa developer and used Ilford's 60s agitation and it works perfectly well.
     
  11. Smudger

    Smudger Member

    Messages:
    285
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    Location:
    Dunedin,New Zealand
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Catch up post

    I implied that Rotary processing 'smoothed 'grain , and improved sharpness and acutance.
    I meant : the smoothing of the grain Reduced the above.
     
  12. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,930
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm with Michael W.!

    Jeff
     
  13. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

    Messages:
    6,241
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    Southern USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Continuous agitation can produce its own set of problems such as surge marks. AFAIK, this method has never been recommended by any of the major film manufacturers such as Kodak. Developers such as Acufine will not produce good results unless their agitation scheme is followed closely.
     
  14. Monito

    Monito Member

    Messages:
    345
    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Location:
    Nova Scotia,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Don't worry about that. The film still develops because of the developer inside it. The purpose of agitation is to ensure that fresh developer is available at the surface most of the time so that solution interchange brings fresh developer in and exhausted developer out. That interchange is not very fast but it is important.

    That's way too much agitation. That's why your negatives are a bit dark. Agitate for five seconds every 30 or every minute, your choice. I chose 5/30 for D-76 1:1 and TMax; mostly because I've always developed film that way. Only in the first 30 seconds after all the developer is in do I agitate continuously but gently to ensure that all the bubbles move around so that all the surface is uniformly in contact with solution.

    The purpose of agitation is not to have a specific number of inversions, but to have a specific amount of time where the solution is in motion. You really don't need much, just enough to ensure that fresh solution is available at the surface.

    If that means only two gentle inversions in the 5 seconds, so be it. I do 2 inversions and a gentle tap or rap as I set it down.

    Twisting is fine. Don't do the inversions faster, do fewer so that you only take four, five or six seconds.

    Whatever method you settle on, be consistent in the long run. Consistency is more important than one specific setting or another of any given parameter. Especially keep the temperature consistent, within one degree C for the entire development (stop and fixing can be within a few degrees) and the same temperature and tolerance each time. I find it easy to keep the temperature of a water bath in a tub within a quarter degree C for a ten minute development if it is close to room temperature.

    You got it about consistency. Don't worry if the thermometer is off, just so long as you always use the same thermometer and same temp. More accurate thermometer better than less accurate, but consistency is the key, as you now know. If you change thermometers, calibrate the old one versus the new one and it will guide you on changing your time or temperature for the first few runs with a new thermometer.
     
  15. lacavol

    lacavol Member

    Messages:
    75
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks everyone, I shot a few rolls and developed them. I think that inversions for the first 30 sec. and then 4 inversions in 10 sec. every minute worked the best for my film and developer.

    Just one question which I haven't tried yet... wouldn't a diluted developer and longer developing time make any timing errors smaller in relation to developing time? :blink:
     
  16. Monito

    Monito Member

    Messages:
    345
    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Location:
    Nova Scotia,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Correct. That is the reason that Kodak strongly urges not using times less than 5 minutes for manual development. However, if you are safely beyond five minutes, then the other effects of dilution become more important (acutance, grain, ...).
     
  17. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,073
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Indeed, the best practice is to be consistent. Take errors associated with agitation out of the equation by doing it as reproducibly as you can.... then you can begin tuning your recipe in terms of time and tempt etc. to get the results that you want.

    For me, agitation has always been a few sharp initial raps on the tank (or just banging the tank on the table) to dislodge any bubbles, and then a smooth inversion, and then 10 sec of gentle agitation (rocking) in every minute, with one more inversion half way through. I simply try to randomize the motion of the fluid while also not creating froth. I don't think I've ever once had the slightest hint of irregular development.

    Well... just for general interest, there is something very different from dilute developer / long time approach that you might like to read about, namely monobath developers. So named because they contain the developing and fixing potions in the same single bath. The development occurs very quickly and so all you do is agitate well and whistle a tune and you're pretty much done... with developing and fixing. Timing is not critical at all, and neither is agitation. Plus, fixing basically occurs automatically right after development. If this interests you then search on APUG for more info. Guided by the book by Haist, I have experimented with monobaths.

    Notwithstanding the initial mixing of chems, I find monobath to be very easy, and at least for larger formats it yields very good results. I wouldn't recommend it for 35mm though.

    Enjoy experimenting!