Brush Development By Inspection

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Silverpixels5, Sep 4, 2003.

  1. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    Well I finally tried it! I exposed my very first 5x7 negatives using J&C Classic 200. One, of two identical shots, I developed in Rodinal 1:50 on a Unicolor roller. The other I brush developed by inspection using a japanese hake, which jorge talked about. I started checking at 6 minutes and ended up stoping 30-45 seconds after that since it looked pretty good(though i really didn't know what is good...lol). The negatives actually look pretty similar, though they are hanging to dry right now and I wont' be able to make a more informed judgement until later. I really like the BDBI, even though i did have a few bumps in teh road. For one, it was hard for me to keep the negative in place when brushing. i was using an 8x10 tray with a 5x7 negative. I got it to a position where i could keep it in place with my finger about halfway through the process. The other bump I had to go over was forgetting to water stop bath and throwing my negative straight into the fix. Hopefully it didn't effect the negative much, although I suspect that it probably knocked some strength out of my fixer. All in all I enjoyed it and I look forward to fine tuning everything. Now all I need is a radio for the darkroom, as 6 minutes in the dark with nothing more than your thoughts to occupy you is a bit scary....lol
     
  2. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I just keep my fingertips lightly pressing on the side it is not being brushed. To avoid fingertip marks on the film use latex gloves. In my case I use the glove in my left hand and brush with my right.
    You might also want to use less developer. I dont know if it is possible with the developer you are using but I use 500 ml for an 8x10 neg on an 8x10 tray.
     
  3. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    Less developer will probably make it easier as you suggest. I used a liter of it in an 8x10 tray for this run, but I'll cut it back to 500 mL the next time. this is also good since I'll be saving on dev and water. I guess I need to try the brushing a few more times so I can rely on my sense of touch more...still not used to operating in the total dark and the only way i knew where the brush was, was to start at my fingertips holding the neg down and brush away from there. Hopefully the next run will be much smoother. I really like this method of development and I think I'll stick with it for 5x7 and larger! For 4x5 I'll just keep using the hangers or unicolor drum if i'm in a hurry.
     
  4. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    Jorge (or anyone else using brush development):

    How often do you brush the negative? I tended to go up then down the negative lengthwise, then the same widthwise...wait a few seconds, then repeat the process. Is this agitation pattern ok?
     
  5. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    The brushing frequency is up to you, but the more time you wait the greater the chance of uneven development. This might only be a problem with some staining developers like ABC or PMK.
    If you are seeing good results with your technique then dont worry about it, the main idea of brush development is to obtain the most even negative possible.

    In my case I keep a continuing motion, I start at the top, brush down and then bring the brush to the top without brushing, move it about an inch to the side and brush down again.
     
  6. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    Thanks for the tip as I'll be trying this technique again this weekend on some Classic 200 in ABC.
     
  7. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    If you plan ond doing it by inspection I would not recommend ABC, every time you lift the neg to inspect it you risk getting streaks by oxidation. This happened to me many times with my 12x20 negs and it is the reason I switched to pyrocat HD. Then again you might have better luck than I did and it just might work for you.
     
  8. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Never tried brush development.

    What are the advantages?

    My standard method of development for ULF films is rotary processing in Uniclor and Beseler film drums on motor bases. I get very even develoment with this method using Pyrocat-HD.

    What enhancements on the print would I expect to see with brush develoment compared rotary processing?

    Sandy
     
  9. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Sandy,
    I would imagine that compared to Jobo or other rotary processing there is probably nothing to be gained by brush development (provided the flow patterns in the tube are consistant). However in comparing brush development to conventional tray development there is a noticable gain in evenness. The other thing that I have noticed is less potential negative damage.

    Aside from that there is the benefit of standing in complete darkness repetetively moving the brush across the negative for extended periods of time and contemplating one's naval...something almost spiritual about it.
     
  10. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Whoa,

    I gotta be frank about this. Contemlating my navel for 10-15 minutes is not a good enough reason for me to switch from rotary to brush development.

    Now, maybe if I could turn back time to 1985 when I was running 100 miles a week, and slimmer that two rails put together. the navel thing might do it for me. But from my current perspective looking down at that region, not.

    Sandy
     
  11. PaulH

    PaulH Subscriber

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    Do you contemplate quickly when the inspection light is on?
     
  12. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Actually, Paul, the point of inspection serves two purposes. Those being 1. To see if the film is in fact in the developer tray and 2. To see if my naval is as I have been contemplating it.

    I have yet to have both considerations occur at the same time. Maybe it is because of the factor that Sandy described. But I keep hoping.
     
  13. sanking

    sanking Member

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    With rotary processing I get very even development over every square millimeter of the film, and the chances of doing any damage to the film are virtually nil.

    Now seriously, why would one brush develop if there are no advantages over rotary processing? In other words, why in the world would you stand there brushing film in the dark when you could just watch it turn around in a drum in the light unless there is some advantage to be had on the final print?

    I can understand the logic of those who develp ULF film in trays, but there at least you have the advantag of being able to develop several sheets at a time instead of just one or two as I am able to do with 7X17 and 12X20 film. But the logic of brush develoment escapes me.


    Sandy
     
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  15. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    In my case Sandy, coupled with inspection I have found it to be a better solution for me. I have the Jobo expert drum which I used on a Beseler motor base and I have found that although time development is usually correct there have been times when inspection has allowed me to correct times to make up for mistakes in exposure.

    Since inspection is only possible, or at least far easier when done in trays then brush developing offers the most even developing one could get. As stated before as even as drum developing with the added control of inspection.

    Since I started doing this method I have never had the edge effect problems, no uneveness or streaks.

    SO to answer your question, if you want to do tray development and want the same even smoothness as drum developing then brushing is the best way to go. OTOH I was never good at doing multiple sheets in a tray, I just never liked the process and cannot imagine how you can keep even agitation while you shuffle sheets. I ruined more sheets by scratching them with the corners than I have ever done by brushing. I have ruined 5 sheets in about 12 years of doing it and that was my fault for using a brush which was dirty.
     
  16. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Jorge,

    OK, what you say makes sense to me. You are doing brush development primarily as a way to get, 1) very even develoment, and 2) be able to inspect image formation during developoment.

    But then, what advantage does brush development have over standard development by inspection in trays using oversize trays? I don't develop this way but people who do tell me that you can get very even development with single sheet tray development, if done in oversize trays, say 8X10 film in 11X14 or 16X20 trays, etc. And even this method appears to be much less work intensive than brush development?

    Sandy
     
  17. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    For one you use less developer. With Pyrocat or other staining developers this is not a big deal as they are very cheap, but imagine if you are using Xtol or something like Dixactol, which per gallon are more expensive than cognac...:tongue:

    Another one is tray size, what would I need for 12x20? a 30x40 tray?...no thanks! As to the work, brushing is no more strenuous than lifting the tray corners, specially if you are using a lot of developer in those big trays, and it insures you have better development.

    Think about it, at this point you are doing one sheet per run, you are standing the same amount of time in the dark rocking the tray, isnt it worth it to insure you will get the best possible negative?

    One more thing, in my case I use the Zone VI compensating developer timer, I adjusted the timing to measure at 74ยบ as well as the curve to increase or decrease 5% per degree, so I now have a system that provides me continuos agitation with very even development at any temperature my tap water happens to be. Essentially I have a poor mans Jobo.

    I`ll be honest with you, if I could afford a Jobo unit I would probably switch to rotary development, but for tray I think I have devised the best possible way to obtain consistent results and the best possible negatives. As you know the key is consistency, and the Jobo drum in the Besler motor bases was not cutting it, sometimes the drum rolled of the base, sometimes I took longer to pour the developer, I had no way to monitor temperature, so I had to cool or heat the developer, etc, etc.....Given enough money I would love to have an ATL 3000 with a water chiller hooked to the line like John Sexton has, but who wants to spend more than $15000 just for this?
     
  18. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Jorge,

    Thanks for your comments. I see your point.

    Just for the record, I don't use a Jobo. These units simply take up too much space for my workroom. I use Beseler and Unicolor print drums on the Beseler and Unicolor motor bases built for these drums. This type of equipment is cheap as dirt on ebay these days so we are talking about tens of dollars as opposed to hundreds or thousands as with Jobo, and for my money the results are every bit as good, so long as you observe two precautions: 1) always pre-soak the film, and 2) take the drum off the motor base every 1-2 minutes and give it some vigorous sideways agitation to counter the one directin agitaiton it gets on the motor base.

    Sandy
     
  19. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    What about times with brush development vs. tray development. If one developed film A in developer B for X minutes by the traditional tray method, what would be a guesstimate time for the same film and developer with brush development? I would assume somewhat less. Has anyone an approximate correlation?
    juan
     
  20. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    I have no basis for this comment since I've never done traditional tray development, but I also would think that the time may be slightly less. I say this because it's pretty much constant agitation with brush development, and I believe you shuffle with tray development every 30 secs or so.
     
  21. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    Development with a brush is the most even development of all. (I know nothing about rotary development.) It is what astronomers use. Their negatives must be perfectly developed. If there is a streak, it could be mistaken for another galaxy.
     
  22. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    Well I just finished my first try with BDBI in Michael's ABC. The first negative came out looking very nice except that I developed it a bit too long b/c my highlights look as if they could stop a bullet. I started looking at about 6 mins and it looked good, but i let it go a minute longer...seems it was already good at 6...lol. I started looking at teh second sheet at 5 mins and it looked good, so into the water stop it went. When that one came out of the fix I looked great. I'll see how both of them print sometime next week, but everything looks good right now...no streaks, no fog, so I'm happy. :smile:
     
  23. sgrowell

    sgrowell Member

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    Is there a description of the brush technique I could check out (on the web)?

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  24. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    Don't know. Look up something under Astronomy. I have an article somewhere from an old astronomy journal, but cannot possibly get to it now.
     
  25. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There was a thread on brush development here a while ago where Jorge gave a pretty complete description. Try a search.
     
  26. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    If you do a search at photo.net for brush development you'll see "Jorge's Brush Development Technique.' The technique is pretty simple and I havn't had any problems to date.