Develop Individual 35mm Frames

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by matt nalley, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. matt nalley

    matt nalley Member

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    I know many people will immediately ask why I would move away from the convenience of roll film without stepping up to 4x5 or even smaller 6x8cm sheet film, but my next project involves single frames of 35mm film...if I can figure out how to develop them.

    I've read that film can be developed in trays under a safe light, but then I learned that it's only ortho film under a red safe light. If at all possible I plan to use Rollei ATP, ADOX CMS 20, or some other slow panchromatic film. I'm not necessarily opposed to ortho film, but I've never used it. Maybe I'll change my mind after I develop my first roll of Rollei Ortho 25.

    My next idea was to cut strips of about 2 frames (even though I'll only expose one) and then roll the strips onto a spool, but that failed miserably in my test. Each strip overlaps the previous one rather than pushing it along the spool.

    So, if I stick with panchromatic film is my only option to develop using trays in absolute darkness?
     
  2. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    You could develop by IR, I use the ATN Viper to tray process 4x5 TMY-2 and its near-IR LED causes negligible if any (barely measurable) fog.
     
  3. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Not sure why you need to do this but if you are willing to waste some film then you could bulk load short rolls, say 4 frames with one exposure. The other way is to expose one and leave say two/three blank then repeat on a 36 frame roll then measure the distance and cut the roll according to two pieces of masking tape.

    Develop each frame with its blanks either side in small trays in total darkness. I am presuming that each frame is being treated as a small sheet film and exposed and developed according to the different light conditions.


    Out of sheer curiosity would you mind explaining what the purpose of this is?

    pentaxuser
     
  4. matt nalley

    matt nalley Member

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    Bill, thanks for the suggestion. Night vision goggles are already part of my plan. If people can develop negatives using trays in complete darkness then I suppose I can do the same with night vision, and clearly you already do. It seems difficult but maybe I just need to read more about tray processing. My biggest fear is scratching the negatives, so I was hoping for some alternate method that would only require loading the frame in darkness then developing in light, similar to normal roll processing.

    pentaxuser, some different lighting conditions and exposures, yes, and maybe different developments as a result. Right now it's just going to be an experiment for fun. I'm sure I'll be learning as I go that there are more variables than I'm anticipating.

    The basic idea is a single frame "one shot" pinhole camera (several actually). I'll cut each frame and load it into the camera in the dark with night vision. Each camera will be as small as possible, hence individual 35mm frames. Think of a matchbox pinhole with only the matchbox, no canisters. Slow film + pinhole = loooooong exposures. Rather than sit around with my camera and an entire roll of film to take 1 shot I can stick a matchbox in an inconspicuous location and walk away to look for another shot. Repeat with 10-20 matchboxes, and then make my way back to the beginning to start collecting them several minutes/hours later.
     
  5. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    If you're only going to be doing 1 or 2 frames, tray processing would be the easiest. Yes, it would need to be done in total darkness until you get it in the fixer.
    It may sound intimidating, but is easy, actually, though you need access to a suitably dark place, if you don't have a darkroom.

    One option if you can't find ortho film, may be to make negatives on paper which you can process under a safelight. You can produce a positive either by contact printing the neg onto another piece of paper, or else, ahem, scan the neg.

    You might be able to process in a stainless tank without a reel in daylight, but you would probably get scratches, and maybe would have problems with evenness in development since the film would probably be floating most of the time. But it would be an easy thing to try out. My first impression is that attempting to work with the film on a reel is probably a waste of time, as you may have discovered, but if you tried with stainless, you could try again with plastic, or else, vice-versa.
     
  6. alipstadt

    alipstadt Member

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    Rollei makes 25 ASA Ortho film in 35mm.

    Would it be a sin to use 6x9? You'll have the benefit of filmholders and even Grafmatic backs.
    Less diffraction too (though at this point, it's moot. Probably easier to drill though).
    Brief weak green light exposure is possible with panchromatic film.

    Efke makes 2x3 panchromatic B+W sheet film at ISO 25.
    Ilford and Rollei sell ortho sheet film, but you'd have to cut down from at least 3x4.
     
  7. alipstadt

    alipstadt Member

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    It occurs to me that if you are still inclined to use 35mm, you could probably turn slide viewer into a camera and cut 35mm into slide mounts.

    If you do this, I want credit for that bit of insanity.

    (Edit: Oh, hell, maybe I'll build this tomorrow.)
     
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  8. GumPhoto

    GumPhoto Member

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    Stand development. I process everything this way and it works great. It does take longer, but the development takes place all alone while I am doing something else. Google "rodinal stand development", follow links, and you will eventually find two threads with lots of details, but basically it works like this: Process film in a room temperature 1:100 solution of Rodinal by agitating for two minutes and then letting it stand for one hour. The week developer exhausts in the highlights, so they don't get blocked. I process 5x7 sheet film, 35mm and 120. I've used it with great success with a variety of film. Honestly, I came back to film photography only because of this handy process. Sheet development in the dark is the most boring thing I have ever encountered, and I wish I had the time back that I spent doing it!

    5x7 sheet film sits nicely at the bottom of a tray for an hour. I assume 35mm frames would do the same, but it I were you I'd attach little paper clips or something to the little fellas so keep them nicely under the surface.
     
  9. mabman

    mabman Member

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    I agree that stand/semi-stand would be the easiest, esp. in total darkness.

    Another option would be to look into Gary Winogrand's development process. Apparently he developed in darkness "about half way", most likely in D-76, and then finished developing by inspection under a faint dark green safe light (apparently unfixed panchromatic film becomes less sensitive to green light after some initial exposure to developer). See one of his student's class notes here - page 15 has references to his darkroom techniques. D-76 isn't mentioned directly here, but it is in other references to Winogrand.
     
  10. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Genius!

    Pako mounts.

    Will hold the film flat during exposure (wasn't sure how you were going to manage that) and you can develop the film in the mounts in trays without scratching!
     
  11. alipstadt

    alipstadt Member

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    Yeah, I do crazy things, usually held together with gaffer tape. Consequence of living in NYC apartments; lots of odd things, but nothing more than a light power tool or a soldering station..

    There's Rollei ortho in the fridge, I've got some glassless Gepe holders. Grab a viewer tomorrow at Adorama or B&H...

    I suppose you could make a motor drive pinhole out of a light sealed carousel... :smile:

    I would probably fix and wash them a second time because the chemicals might not clear areas in touch with the mount. You can use storage trays as dev tanks [edit - as was suggested above].
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 9, 2011
  12. matt nalley

    matt nalley Member

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    Slide viewers like this? I like that idea and may try it in my experimenting.

    My plan is to use glassless slide mounts (black of course) to make sure the film is flat. I haven't quite worked out a final design for the camera body, but if I can integrate a slide mount groove then theoretically I'd get consistent results. Loading the film would be relatively easy, too, once it's in the slide mount. And post processing, the negatives could be stored in the same mounts to ease enlarging. I'm sure everyone knows how it can be a pain to load a single 35mm frame into a negative carrier. Oh, and most of the slow films I've worked with so far really love to curl.

    It's the processing stage where I'm stumbling (all this is still just in my head). If I could get away with processing the film in the mount that would be great, although my guess is the plastic and metal do not mix well with chemicals. Thoughts?
     
  13. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Plastic mounts are probably okay with the chemistry, as long as you can wash them thoroughly and dry them out. I'd think you would have water inside the mount that would take a long time to dry.
     
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  15. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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  16. matt nalley

    matt nalley Member

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    I will most likely try stand development at some point, especially if I use Pan F+ or Efke KB25, but not at first. I've tried it a few times and generally liked the results. However, Rollei ATP and Adox CMS 20 are best in their specialized developers. If I develop in a tray I'll need a really small one because those developers are not cheap like Rodinal, but like Rodinal they are one shot. I'm sure I could run several (hopefully at least 30) frames through a single tray without exhausting the developer, but I'd still want to use no more than the 300mL normally used for a roll if possible.

    Although, as I was writing I also thought maybe for pinhole photos there would be little noticeable difference between Rodinal and SPUR (Adotech is a SPUR developer, right?). I know some people get acceptable results with high dilutions of Rodinal and these films. That will be one more variable to play with I guess :smile:
     
  17. alipstadt

    alipstadt Member

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    Nope. More like this. The slide mounts are akin to film holders and the slide viewer gets sealed up and painted flat black, replacing the viewing screen with your pinhole board. You load the slide viewer (taking the place of a spring back) with the emulsion forward, towards where the viewing screen was. You could get fancy and add one of these on top for a viewfinder, and glue one in place on the bottom so you can use a tripod. This is fun :smile:

    Something like this is your dev tank.
     
  18. matt nalley

    matt nalley Member

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    Really? I would have no problem with a little extra washing and drying. At least then I could easily handle each frame through processing with much less chance of scratching the negatives. Once they're fixed I could remove the mounts (in the light!), dry the negatives, and remount them in clean, dry mounts for enlarging. The "wet" mounts could be reused in the cameras, after they've thoroughly dried of course.
     
  19. matt nalley

    matt nalley Member

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    Another interesting idea. I like it. Keep them coming :smile:
     
  20. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Use positive printing paper instead of film. Way easier to cut and load using a safe light with less worry about scatching the emulsion when processing.
     
  21. alipstadt

    alipstadt Member

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    Matt, I was suggesting that you pop them from the mounts when fixed, still wet, putting them back in fix, and then proceeding to washing/clear. You might use another storage tray, putting holes at the bottom of each section and using that as a dryer, perhaps coupled with a gentle airflow.
     
  22. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    How about using a SS or plastic clip (used for hanging a whole roll of film to dry) and developing in a small tank (like a two-35mm roll developing tank). The other end of the clip could be on a short rod (or wood skewer or chopstick) that would keep the film suspended in the tank. Basically using the same method as 4x5 film in SS hangers.

    Use several tanks dev -- stop -- fixer -- wash

    Vaughn

    PS -- Use just one tooth of the clip on a corner of the film
     
  23. matt nalley

    matt nalley Member

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    Very cool idea. That kind of slide viewer may be a little too big for what I have in mind. If what I've read is accurate a 20-25mm focal length would work, so a total camera depth of less than 2in should be possible. Still, that would be a fun project...one I might try later. Thanks for the dev tank link.
     
  24. matt nalley

    matt nalley Member

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    Wow, way more replies than I expected on this tonight. Thanks everyone. I need to sleep on this, and then google some stuff tomorrow. As always, there are so many different ways to skin a cat...or take pictures, whatever you enjoy.
     
  25. alipstadt

    alipstadt Member

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    Oh, I was expecting to take a hacksaw to it to shorten it as needed. The reason I would want square is so I could lay it down on a flat surface.

    BTW, the other type of viewer was a common novelty viewer for cruise ships and vacation hotel memento photos decades ago. The film goes in without a holder and is left there permanently. Holding the white translucent side towards a light provides diffuse illumination for the slide, while a simple magnifying lens brings the image to viewable size. They were often marked with the logo of the hotel or cruise line as a souvenir. Not what you want.

    [Oops, wrong link. Fixed. Scroll down to see an example of such a slide viewer.]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2011
  26. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    I would try to load the cut frames into a plastic developing reel. It should be easy enough to slide them into the grooves and run them around to the inside by their edges. Load them in like little train cars...