Crazy thought - developing sheet film in the holder

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by sv@diycamerakit.com, May 20, 2009.

  1. sv@diycamerakit.com

    sv@diycamerakit.com Member

    Messages:
    78
    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I had this crazy thought about sheet film development in the field. I liked the type 55 film a lot, but since it's not longer available I've been looking for ways to obtain the same results (a negative to look at within minutes).

    So I keep having this crazy thought about developing the sheet film IN THE HOLDER (obviously a plastic one). Imagine a box with slots for film holders which contains tanks for the developer, fixer, wash, etc, a battery, small pump (to move the liquids and to agitate the water), and maybe even a thermostat if there is AC available. Maybe even a fan to dry it.

    Shoot the film, remove the holder from the camera, insert the holder into the device, pull the dark slides, press a button, 5-10 min later, negative.

    So, anyone sees any reason developing the film in the holder would not work? I assume I would have to change the light seals to something like rubber, but other then that a plastic holder should be ok, right?
     
  2. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

    Messages:
    1,044
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Bucuresti, R
    Shooter:
    35mm
    First thing that leaps to mind is you might have trouble clearing the anti-halation layer on the back of the film unless you could find a way to make sure chemistry circulated there as well.

    Interesting idea though; I kinda like it.
     
  3. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,073
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You could make easy-break pods like those used for type 55 and just pull the film through those.

    It's easy enough to develop 4x5 in the field though, with a changing bag and some combi-plans or such.
     
  4. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    "So I keep having this crazy thought about developing the sheet film IN THE HOLDER (obviously a plastic one). Imagine a box with slots for film holders which contains tanks for the developer, fixer, wash, etc, a battery, small pump (to move the liquids and to agitate the water), and maybe even a thermostat if there is AC available. Maybe even a fan to dry it."

    Hmmm....Why not just imagine a changing bag and a brand new $80 daylight tank, if you are going to all that trouble. Lighter, cheaper, smaller, less to break, no electricity req'd. Plus you won't wreck perfectly good film holders. The fellow above has a point as well. It's a better idea in every possible way.

    The real question for me is, why do it at all? Why the rush? Why the need for that negative right then and there? You know what is going to be on it anyhow. Your time in the field is worth more than the money it would cost you to shoot multiple sheets if you are unsure of yourself.
     
  5. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

    Messages:
    7,114
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Location:
    In a darkroo
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.167 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

    Course you'd have to lug enough h2o around for rinsing but it could be doable.
     
  6. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,073
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Why rinse? Type 55 negs don't need to be rinsed on the spot- just cleared in a small amount of water and sodium sulfite. So there must be a way around it.
     
  7. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

    Messages:
    443
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Location:
    Central NC
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Cleanliness.

    Unless you can get 100% of the chemistry off the film holders, and return the film holders to perfectly clean and dry condition, you risk having crud (mostly in the form of dust) fall off your holders onto your film to obscure light at exposure time. This, to me, would be a nightmare (I do so love to spend hours and hours spotting).

    As you note, the felt light traps would probably be history and have to be replaced with something that worked as well, but would also withstand the wetness and the chemistry. I don't have any idea what that might be.

    Finally, agitation would be a problem, particularly at the edges of the frame where it's held under the film rails of the holder. It might be quite difficult to get even development over the sheet in a normal film holder (with no holes along the rails for flow control like you have in film hangers for example).

    None of this means it can't be done. It's just not going to be as easy as you might have hoped.
     
  8. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

    Messages:
    7,114
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Location:
    In a darkroo
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Just asking. Wouldn't prolonged fixing action bleach the negs if one were to process in the field?
     
  9. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,073
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I don't know for sure but I guess the type 55 pods contained just the right amount of chemistry to react to completion and no further.

    Anywhere there has been extensive discussion of single-pot development here.
     
  10. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,342
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Location:
    Humboldt Co.
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I had a student do this once with one of our 4x5 holders. It totally messed up the felt in the light trap.

    Vaughn
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,981
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    The volume of chemistry isn't so critical with monobath development, as long as there is the necessary minimum. The fixer acts as a timer to stop the development, so overdevelopment tends not to be a problem, but if you leave the neg in the solution too long, you could get other undesirable effects, like dissolved silver plating out on the neg.

    As to the original post--Developing in a specially designed holder for the purpose, without felt light traps and with ribs or something to allow solutions to flow behind the film? Sounds messy, like developing 35mm in the cartridge. Yeah, you could do it, but it seems, unless the situation is really desperate for some reason, it would cause more problems than it solves.
     
  12. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

    Messages:
    1,044
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Bucuresti, R
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Was this an intentional experiment, or the result of some terrible misunderstanding? :D
     
  13. bowzart

    bowzart Member

    Messages:
    1,221
    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Location:
    Anacortes, W
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    And the spots would be black on the print. Those are extra special really great fun ones to spot.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. bowzart

    bowzart Member

    Messages:
    1,221
    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Location:
    Anacortes, W
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It was possible to extend the development to get a bit more contrast, but it was very limited.
     
  16. sv@diycamerakit.com

    sv@diycamerakit.com Member

    Messages:
    78
    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Some good points here I think. It seems that I would have to dry the holder before it's removed, otherwise I might get crud in it. The other option would be to simply put the wet holder in a zip lock and dry it at home (or base). I don't know how would I clear the antihalation layer, that's something I didn't think about. I'm sure I can figure out the agitation.

    The reason I would do this is because I'm interested in shootings things that move (dancers). While I am reasonably confident in the exposure, getting the right image without seeing the result is a crap shoot. I was planning on using a 4x5 D SLR.

    Maybe I'll sacrifice a holder to run a test.
     
  17. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,073
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Why not shoot fuji fp100b or 400b in 4x5 format.
     
  18. sanking

    sanking Member

    Messages:
    4,813
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Location:
    Greenville,
    Shooter:
    Large Format

    I think you will just wind up ruining the holder. How do you think the velvet of the light baffle will hold up to developing chemicals?

    My suggestion would be to buy a small print drum, say an 8X10 Unicolor or Beseler and a motor base. Put the film in the drum in a changing tent, and everything else you can do in daylight with small amounts of chemicals.


    Sandy King
     
  19. sun of sand

    sun of sand Member

    Messages:
    602
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Maybe 55 was really great for checking exposure but I don't know why anyone wouldn't just use the other films for that if nonpolaroid was the end art
    anyway
    why see the neg in the field? Seems too much of a contraption to deal with ..like tintypes or whatever
    Just bracket? Seems easier, quicker, probably close enough to equal in cost and bound to get one exposure perfect with the other not too far off so you'd have an ok backup just in case the other has issues ..not sure you'd ever get many negatives in the field that you wouldn't mind using for final art
     
  20. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,342
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Location:
    Humboldt Co.
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Students certainly do keep one on one's toes. Obviously, he thought it was quite logical to expose and to develop in the same holder...just like the OP!

    Vaughn
     
  21. sv@diycamerakit.com

    sv@diycamerakit.com Member

    Messages:
    78
    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    As I said in the prior post, the reason for this is not to check exposure. Is to see if I got the shot (of people moving). I might have to use the fuji instant, but a) right now it's very expensive and I predict I will need a lot of tries to get the shot I need and b) it's a relative low detail positive print, I would like to have the amount of detail correspondent to a 4x5 film not to mention the option to use the film I want.

    I assumed the felt light traps will have to be replaced (with some liquid resistant material).
     
  22. MartinP

    MartinP Member

    Messages:
    1,485
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    35mm
    If you have to do this in a holder, it might be wiser to find an old DDS which leaks light, then modify it to be your 'wet' holder. Transfer the film from the normal DDS to the 'wet' one inside a changing bag.

    Possibly you can modify the 'wet' holder to put the film in the darkslide slot and drill the backplate to allow some chemical circulation. Or perhaps remove most of the backplate and dev one sheet at a time, for further improvements in evenness. At this point one might think that some sort of small Combiplan might be easier, or just curl the sheet round inside a normal daylight rollfilm dev-tank and use rotation to circulate the developer (roll the tank on a couple of bits of wood on top of your workbox).

    Assuming you find the perfect shot on your field-developed sheet, the negative has to be perfect enough to use, else what is the point in cutting too many corners ?
     
  23. fschifano

    fschifano Member

    Messages:
    3,216
    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Location:
    Valley Strea
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Polaroid Type 55 made some nice negatives if you exposed for it properly. If I remember correctly, if you wanted good "keeper" instant prints, you exposed at EI 50. If you wanted good negatives to print later, you exposed at EI 25. I've personally examined some Type 55 negatives and resulting darkroom prints. It was a quality product, no doubt about it.

    With Polaroid all but out of the picture, Fuji's 4x5 instant print films will do just fine for checking exposures. But honestly, I can't see doing that either. For me, the main purpose of these films is to check the look of lighting ratios. For that I can haul out a Canon G9 or G10 and accomplish the same thing with no film costs.
     
  24. sun of sand

    sun of sand Member

    Messages:
    602
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    What happens if you take 10 shots which are still a crapshoot
    Take 20 minutes to check em over and not a single one

    Every 10 shots has to be like 30+ minutes total time
    Not even taking into account the probablitly that some won't be perfect physically coming out of this process

    Seems much safer to shoot and pray
    than shoot and pray and pray ..and pray for dancers not minding they may have to dance even longer -if even possible
     
  25. sun of sand

    sun of sand Member

    Messages:
    602
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Not keeping you from experimenting with the idea though ..just doesn't seem practical for this situation where even if everything else being fine you're still limited to human stamina ..dancers as well as yours
     
  26. Philip Jackson

    Philip Jackson Member

    Messages:
    26
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Fuji should seize the opportunity from the perpetual whinging here about the demise of Polaroid T-55 to devise a monobath paste for one of their films (say Acros 100) and package it in a pod within a special envelope similar to the ones they already manufacture for instant black and white or color prints . Forget trying to produce a print at the same time (this wasn't something Polaroid ever did successfully). Fuji has all the technology for instant prints, and negatives shouldn't be that different, as long as the paste is optimized for a particular sensitized material.

    An alternative do-it-yourself option could be as simple as a changing bag and a special single sheet tank, with a reservoir in the bottom for a small volume of a monobath. Once the film has been loaded, the tank could be sealed with light tight lid, and then tipped over so the monobath flows over the film. After the completion of development-fixing, the film could be stored in water, awaiting washing, Photo-Flo and drying until you get home. I always used to store my T-55 negatives in water in the field after I had a sodium sulphite spill which dried to a white powder in the carpet in my car.

    Monobaths can also be formulated as a thickened gel, so another option might be to spread it across the bottom of a plastic container and then slap the sheet of film face down on it inside the changing bag. I'm not sure, however, whether this would clear the anti-halation backing. Rinsing off the gel afterwards in water could also potentially be a bit messier (remember how caustic the Polaroid stuff was).

    Philip Jackson