An idea for tray processing film

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Robert, Jun 22, 2003.

  1. Robert

    Robert Member

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    I know many of us have darkrooms that aren't dark enough for tray processing film. That's one of the reasons I went with a tank. Well while developing a print today an idea hit me. I'm working on a long table. It would seem putting a three sided box on the table open on just one side for access would turn my darkroom into dark enough for tray processing film. Light doesn't like going around corners so if the open side was away from small leaks I have then they shouldn't be a problem. A person could even put a clock/timer on top of the box and it wouldn't fog anything. If I ever get an 8x10 then I'll need a way to process the film. This sounds simple. Too simple?
     
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't know if it will work, but...

    My darkroom is so "un-dark" that after about six minutes with the light off I can see the film I'm processing. I almost panicked when I first discovered this, but decided to go ahead anyway. The decision to change to development by inspection was easy...

    I have not seen any evidence of fogging from this low light level, and my negatives are always good :smile:
     
  3. bmac

    bmac Member

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    The only thing I can think of is that you are going to have to look out for light reflectong off the back wall and hitting the open side of your contraption. You might even want to put a door on it to block out any possible light, and just open it for inspection / switching from tray to tray. What about unicolor drums for 8x10 film?
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Before building a contraption, do a real test with film to see if you are getting significant fog from light leaks. I have small leaks and tend to process or load film at night with the lights immediately around the bathroom/darkroom off, and I'm not seeing fog problems.

    It also helps to be organized and able to work quickly and efficiently to minimize exposure time.
     
  5. Robert

    Robert Member

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    Well that rules me out-)) Thinking about it even just using deep trays should help. I actually spent some time yesterday putting some duct tape around the worsts of the leaks. Took me awhile to get used to it this morning it was so dark. These weren't very big leaks either but I guess what little light they let in was enough for my eyes.

    My problem is I tend to like dilute developers which means long development times. Getting a tank would be simpler. I've already got the motorbase but I've sort of promised myself I'm not buying any equipment I don't REALLY need. Better to spend the money on film and paper.
     
  6. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    Didn't they (old timers) used to put dye in the developers to act as a built in darkroom? Like Polaroid film.
     
  7. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    So they did. The films were still sensitive, and especially before they'd been dunked in the dye, though...

    The dyes are still available: They're called Pinakryptol and comes in green, yellow or white varieties. I have some yellow in my darkroom, but haven't tried it yet.

    Prolonged development isn't a problem even in my leaky darkroom. When I was developing the eclipse negatives - semi-stand development in Maxim Muir's compensating developer - the doorbell rang in the middle of it. It put the lid of an empty paper box over the developer tray, and went to answer it. I was very quick about opening and closing the door to the darkroom, but the sun was shining directly into the hallway outside (I don't have double doors).

    I came back after ten minutes fearing the worst.

    Another six minutes for my eyes to adapt again, and I could see the negs had suffered no damage. This could be an unexpected side benefit of staining developers...
     
  8. LFGuy

    LFGuy Member

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    Works good for 4x5 film (if you've got a separator in between) but it can be a real pain if you've got a lot of 8x10's to develop. When developing with Pyrocat HD, I go through the normal routine, then keep the film in the drum for another 20 minutes for a wash..... so, a 2 minute pre-soak, ~9 minute development, 1 minute stop, 5-6 minute fix, 20 minute wash... that's close to 40 minutes per sheet (with loading, draining, etc.). Which can take forever if you've got lots to develop. Which is why I've been considering trays (or maybe going for one of the Jobos after saving up a bit). But normally I don't have a bunch, unless I go on some long trip.

    Sounds kind of like my "darkroom" (bathroom, actually), I'll have to give it a try one of these days! I do print Azo there from time to time, but that's pretty slow in the first place and doesn't take as long to develop as sheet film. I usually hang some pants up to cover up the cracks in the door frame that leak some light in. Although I wouldn't answer the door if someone rang :wink: !
     
  9. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I had three very good reasons for answering the door:

    1: I couldn't remember if I'd locked it or not.
    2: I was expecting my father to stop by to pick up a chair I had promised him.
    3: I was expecting a delivery of chemicals for even more darkroom fun...