COmments on SS tank developing with hangers

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by mark, Feb 17, 2005.

  1. mark

    mark Member

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    I am talking about the one gallon square tanks that you put the hangers in and lift them out for agitation. I am not sure what their official name is.

    In my quest to stop getting uneven development on my negs and not damage the emulsion I have begun thinking about tanks and hangers. At one point I read that this method was not good and rife with problems. Is this true?

    If there are folks out there working with this method of film processing I would like to here about it. Are the stories of uneven and inconsistent development true?
     
  2. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    I don't use them, but considering that tanks and hangers have been the leading commercial processing method for decades, I'd be surprised at any uneven development when using that method. The obvious down-side, I'd think, is the large volume of chemicals required, and the associated workflow issues.
     
  3. mark

    mark Member

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    That is what I thought but I read a number of years ago when I was just starting LF that people got wave patterns because of the way the chemicals rebounded off the Sides of the hangers during agitation. Like if you are processing in too small a tray.

    I started screwing up negs when I began looking to save chemicals as my negs got bigger. BTZS type tubes were a disaster, drum processing has proven to just not work for me. And I cannot afford a jobo. I fugure I can develope all of my 5x7 negs at one shot using the gainer method of filling for a presoak, dropping in the right amount of Developer concentrate then dropping in the right fix concentrate. One tank for the whole process. Then I dump it all out and wash, hypo and wash. Gainer is a pretty crafty guy. If this does not work I have no problem doing it the old fashioned way. I am just plain fed up with my processing problems. I assumed it was something I am doing wrong. At this point I need to go back to the basics but still be able to process in volumn.
     
  4. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Although many pro labs had tanks set up with nitrogen burst systems for agitation, I believe the preferred manual method is to lift the frames (all frames at once using lifter bars) from the tank, tilt them to 45° for a couple of seconds, and then re-immerse. Next cycle, tilt the other direction. Repeat.

    I'd be leary of trying to use a single tank for everything. (What do you do with a group of hangers loaded with film while switching chemicals?) Three tanks would allow all films to be immersed in the baths at the same time.
     
  5. eric

    eric Member

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    This is what I did at the lab I worked at. I never had a problem but had to be careful with older hangers cause sometimes...the film falls out. Ooops. I did this method if we weren't too busy. If I got busy, I put it in the Jobo. It took longer but at least, I can process a few baskets of roll film while that thing is turning.
     
  6. Joe Symchyshyn

    Joe Symchyshyn Member

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    I use the deep tank method for my developing sheet film. While I don't shoot 5x7, the results should be comparible.

    I do use the small tanks (8 sheets in single hangers) for small batches but in general all the work I shoot in the studio goes in 4-up hangers that fit in the 13L big tanks. The one change I do is my developer... Because I only develop 5 hangers (20 sheets) at a time, I use a slim version of the deeptank. I bought it on ebay. It allows me to use less chemistry that is one shot, and then the other tanks are the standard size. (4L of chemistry for 20 sheets) Here's my process...

    I only use PMK with water presoak and fixer.

    I load up the hangers and make sure that the emulsion side goes onto the hanger side that has all the holes drilled in it. If I don't do this, I find I get strange agitation marks... By rotating the emulsion out to this more open side, even development is achieved.

    I load up 5 hangers (20 sheets) and put them off to the side... I then grab a large elastic band and put it around the whole group of hangers over the middle bar. This creates 1 unit to hang onto... I started this because I was leary about not being able to fit it all into the small tank in the dark. 5 JUST fits in... I could stop doing it now due to experience, but I'm used to it so it's part of a routine I guess...

    I keep a floating lid on the fixer tank so I keep reusing that... When not in use I put it into a bunch of bottles for storage.

    Water, developer, water, fixer... I use a big washer that is part of this stainless steel deeptank line... The system costs a fortune new, but I picked them up from someone getting out of wet processing of colour film... I'm sure a system like this is out there if you find it useful... With so many darkrooms packing up, they aren't that expensive anymore...

    I can also/and do process 18 rolls of 120 at a time in a basket... Again, perfectly even development.

    Any questions, feel free to PM me... Good luck!

    joe :smile:
     
  7. mark

    mark Member

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    Joe
    You don't mention the brand you use. I really know next to nothing about this and would like to explore it more.
     
  8. Joe Symchyshyn

    Joe Symchyshyn Member

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    Brand?? Hmmmmmmm... I'm not near them so I may have to look... But here is a link to what type of equipment I'm talking about.

    Small Version of Deep Tanks w/hangers

    Hope that helps,

    joe :smile:
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi mark

    i used deep tank and hangers for 9 years with no problems. i processed 5x7 sheets for a portrait photographer (maybe 50-70 sheets a day) in the big tanks, and i processed a bunch of 4x5 sheets in smaller tanks - both improvised tupperware containers which worked great, and stainless steel mini tanks. hangers work great once you get the hang of using them, but be aware that sometimes you might buy a bad hanger on the used market. (i am speaking of my own experience) and you will process your film like every other time, but when you inspect your sheets after the processing is done, you will notice small circles, or lines on the edges of the hangers from where the film wasn't allowed to move about ( or something like that) you won't be able to figure out what hanger was the culprit and after getting these marks on enough film you might decide to process using a different method.

    since then i have processed my film in trays, and i also have a unicolor drum &C, but i often think about those tanks and how easy they were to use. i have also wanted to use "777" developer and DK50 again and they work great in deep tanks, not in trays ... so maybe i'll be using hangers again someday, but nervously since i would buy all my hangers used considering they are probably an arm and a leg by comparison if buying them new ...

    good luck

    -john
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2005
  10. mark

    mark Member

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    Is there anyway to inspect the hangers to see which are too tight?
     
  11. Canuck

    Canuck Member

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    I used to process in deep tanks for custom stuff in a custom lab many years ago. It worked really well for most things but at times, when in a hurry I'd loose a sheet down to the deep depths of the tank. Other than the lost sheet, it was nice and even. At one point, I was thinking of getting a nitrogen burst for home but sanity kicked in (by the better half). :smile:

    I have a couple of tanks I still use at home when I want to do a large batch and not wanting to do tray processing of them. Just don't do it much anymore as the amount of chem needed, 4 litres per tank, never gets exhausted before expiring due to oxidation. Roller based porcessing on most occassions or tray processing is what I do nowadays. When I do get nostalgic, I swap back into tank processing. Dip and dunk .. and not just donuts :smile:
     
  12. Joe Symchyshyn

    Joe Symchyshyn Member

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    As for too tight... I have yet to find a bad hanger that way.

    Everyone finds a pros and cons list for their own working method... I still haven't had a piece of sheet film jump out of the hangers. But who knows, live and learn I guess.

    I've been processing sheet film this way for over a decade, and while I still haven't seen amazing results when 35mm is developed this way (surge marks from the sprocket holes), for sheet film I like it.

    Is it only 5x7 that you would be developing?? I could ask around and see if anyone has some hangers that could be donated to your cause... Lemme know.

    joe
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i'm sure there is a way, but i have no idea what it might be ...
     
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  15. Joe Symchyshyn

    Joe Symchyshyn Member

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    I'd say take an out-take, drop it in and see if it has a bit of room to move about...

    If not = too tight
    Falls out = too lose
    Just a bit of movement = just right.

    joe :wink:
     
  16. pelerin

    pelerin Member

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    Joe,
    Would you be kind enough to share some details about your timing and agitation scheme? Do you tilt, or simply lift the hangers when you agitate... or am I not getting the fact that you have a burst agitation system? Thanks.
    Celac.
     
  17. Poco

    Poco Member

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    I used to use tank/hanger development for 4x5 without any problem. Hangers were a mix of used ones gotten off of Ebay and tanks were square, plastic containers those mini-eclairs come in from Sam's club (I can't rave enough about those containers -- absolutely flatbottomed, tight closing lid, white colored so any dirt is visible, etc...) In a pinch, I could develop 12 sheets at a time, but 10 was easier and more the norm. The ends of the hangers over shot the container enough that I could easily run my hands up along the sides of the container and catch all the hangers on my index fingers for lifting clean out.

    Initial entry/agitation of hangers was by rapid dipping of all the hangers into the soup 5 or 6 times and a final "drop" of the hangers with several sharp raps of the hand across all their tops to dislodge air bubbles. Agitation was a couple more gentle lifts while tilting side to side and then a third time with a "drop" and rap.

    I developed like this for over a year without any problems of constancy but eventually moved to tray processing because it uses less chemistry and I found temp control easier. I have a cold darkroom in winter and dropping 10 SS hangers into (comparatively) heated soup did weird, unpredictable things to it's temperature. Even with a water bath, It was always guesswork just how much hotter to start with in order to average about 68 degrees throughout the process.
     
  18. Joe Symchyshyn

    Joe Symchyshyn Member

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    No I don't use a nitrogen burst system... Just the standard lift agitation method.

    Ok, so all the hangers are linked together with the elastic band in another tank on my work table. I've prepared all the chemistry and water bath before loading the hangers, I'm ready to go.

    Presoak

    I take the unit of 5 hangers and go to the water soak. I agitate smoothly but consistantly (not too hard and fast - hard to describe) for a continuous 30 second cycle. Agitation is up and out of the tank, turn to a side, back in completely, back out, turn to the other side... (Drips off the corner) When the agitation cycle ends the hangers top arms (the part that hangs over the top edge) get tapped on the top of the tank to release any bubbles on the film. Agitation is 5 seconds every 30 seconds for the 2 minute pre soak.

    Development

    (I vary agitation so I will describe it like this... The top of the dial is 12:00, the X:45 mark is 9:00, the X:30 mark is 6:00, the X:15 mark is 3:00.) Boy I'm making this sound difficult aren't I??

    PMK requires a lot of agitation, every 15 seconds... MY method is to do the first 30 seconds like the water presoak. When the timer is at 3:00 I simply lift it up and down about an inch, up and down for 5 seconds. When the dial gets to the 12:00 I do the complete agitation. The dial then goes to the 9:00 mark and back to the 1 inch up and down for 5 seconds...

    I found that too much agitation (all the way up, and all the way out) for EVERY cycle was giving me some sporatic surge marks over the hanger edge. By slowing down some of the agitation, it all went away and my film is remarkably even now. I'm no longer reluctant to shoot things on perfectly even backgrounds and develop this way.

    If I've made this more complex than I needed, let me know and I'll try to explain it another way.

    joe :smile:

    BTW, I always use surgeon's gloves to do my processing... Never barehanded.
     
  19. mark

    mark Member

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    Joe,

    Right now, yes 5x7 will be the only thing I do this way. I have a combi-plan tank for 4x5 if I shoot 4x5 BW. This sounds like it might definately be worth a try. I looked at the link you posted for the skinny tanks and I have it on my watch list but they look like they might fall over. Is this a problem with the skinny tanks.

    I have not done an ebay search-I am banned from ebay right now so I have wait until when the wife is out to look at it :smile:

    Just surfing the used photo sites I have not found any 5x7 hangers. Are these difficult to come by, and is rust a problem I should totally avoid in the hangers? I suppose, if one wanted to, they could do stand processing in these right?
     
  20. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I thought I had some 5x7" hangers, but they turned out to be 13x18cm instead. Since I had bought then (2nd-hand) in Norway, they could have been either.

    This is one case where 5x7" and 13x18cm are definitely not interchangable!
     
  21. Joe Symchyshyn

    Joe Symchyshyn Member

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    5x7 is definitely not as popular a format in so far as hangers would be concerned... I'll take a look around and see if I can dig something up for you.

    As far as the slim tanks tipping over... Because I use only the slim one for developer, I duct tape it to a heavy hard rubber tank turned upside down. This gives it a big footprint and I never worried about it falling over. (I did consider the tipping over issue initially but thought a piece of tape was a good answer to it...)

    Rust a problem?? I've yet to have any rust hangers. I've seen some with some corrosion when bought used, but they cleaned up really well and I now maintain them well, so no further problems.

    I've never done stand processing, but assume that one could use this system as well.

    Good luck

    joe
     
  22. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I processed tank and hanger years ago. I don't remember any
    problems. I built my own tanks. I think a well proportioned one
    liter tank may handle four to six sheets. You might even
    consider making the hangers.

    Thinking back, there is hardly any agitation involved. Dan
     
  23. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    I'm a tank processer, have been for 17 years. The only film I don't process in the big tanks is 35mm. had lots of surge problems. But for 8x10 4x5 and 120 I use both rubber and stainless steele 3 1/2 gallon tanks. Dip and dunk I think they call it. The hangers are loaded onto racks, then all the film is submerged at once. The tanks if you keep a eye out are fairly easy to find. Cheaply!. The racks and hangers are a bit more of a hassle though. I've tried every different way my least favorite was the drum with motors. After this experimentation the best way for me was definately dip and dunk.
     
  24. photoguy

    photoguy Member

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    I've developed a few hundred 4x5 sheets using single sheet hangers in a SS gallon tank. Piece of cake, works very nice. No uneven film yet. Drop the film in (maybe 10 sheets at a time) lift, 45 deg. to the left, drop in tank, lift 45 deg to the right, repeat every minute. It does use a fair amount of chemistry, that's the only downside for me. I have two tanks filled with dev + fix (the stop is a larger beaker that they fit into) because I only have two!
     
  25. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    For What it is worth,
    I have tried the motor driven devices even had a Wing Lynch system, but still prefer the ease of tank (dip and dunk) developing. Never in over fifty years have I had a negative fall out of a holder, 4x5, 5x7 or 8x10. When ever I tray develop I destroy more than I can keep. Even used to trim the corners off sheet film with finger nail clippers to try to avert scratching. I can do six sheets of paper at one time, but can't do even one perfect sheet of film. I know my limitations and what is easiest for me, so I use tanks and hangers.

    Stainless is wonderful if temperature controll is necessary, but hard rubber will hold their ambient temp for a longer time. For B&W I prefer rubber, for color C41 or E6 I like the stainless in a temperature controlled water bath.
     
  26. BarrieB

    BarrieB Member

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    Greetings; I use three Kodak Hard Rubber Tanks for 4 X 5 Black & White negatives with the film loaded into SS Hangers, just dip and lift to drain every 30 seconds, never had a problem: Also I have made a SKINNY Dev. tank out of PVC that holds 6oo Ml which is economical when I process only one or two sheets. BTW this method is also handy for 'Developing by inspection' as the hangers car be lifted up and out without damage to the film, Cheers .