Developing 4x5 negs in trays.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by davetravis, Nov 13, 2007.

  1. davetravis

    davetravis Member

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    I want to copy some of my color slides to BW negs and do some tray dev this winter, and I can't buy the Jobo 3006 or 3010 drum right now.
    Two questions:
    A good BW film to copy mostly Velvia & Provia.
    Are there any unique problems with doing 4x5 negs in open trays?
    DT
     
  2. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Can't help you with film choice's but beware of the inevitable scratches and fingerprints. Fill the trays with as much liquid as you can. Use 8X10 trays for 4x5 or 5x7 film. I used 5X7 trays for 4X5 and regret it---I do not use hardener in the fix's.

    Good luck.... (luck is not needed with proper preparation.)
     
  3. photographs42

    photographs42 Member

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  4. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    You have to be very careful to avoid scratches, as mentioned by Bruce. Otherwise, tray development is a very good method to use.

    Start conservatively. Develop few sheets at a time, maybe even only one or two until you get the hang of it.
     
  5. dslater

    dslater Member

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    Hi Dave,
    avoid scratches - process one sheet at a time. I agree with Bruce - 4x5 film in 8x10 trays - this avoids turbulence near the edges of the tray causing over development at the edges of your neg.
    As far as film, I would guess that any good panchromatic B&W film will work well. If it were me I'd start with FP4+ since that is what I have on hand. It has certainly worked well for me for creating contrast masks from color negatives.

    Also, the Jobo 2521 drum with the 2509N 4x5 reel is a lot less expensive than the expert drums.
     
  6. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    I've lately taken to doing 4x5 sheet film in one of these: http://www.summitek.com/cradle.html I get very even development. I've used the CombiPlan tank as dip and dunk, without the lid, with excellent results as well.

    The Photographer's formulary also sells an item very similar to the Summitek cradle. You need 11x14 trays with the 4x5 cradles.

    Lee
     
  7. dslater

    dslater Member

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    Hi Lee,
    I had forgotten about those - I have used one myself very successfully.

    Dan
     
  8. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    While I understand why one would use 8x10 trays for 4x5, I've never had a problem with 5x7s. First, sacrifice a couple sheets of film (or use a few negatives you're never going to print or even look at again), and practice with the lights on in water. Then close your eyes, or 'outen' the lights and practice some more. My experience suggests that you keep the emulsion side down and shuffle from the bottom to the top. Keep all the notches on the LRHS except one sheet that will remain with its notches on the ULHS. Use your dominant hand fingers to gently and swiftly pull the bottom sheet out and place it on the top of the negs and your left hand to secure the pile from shifing too much. When you get to the notched sheet you've cycled through the entire pile. You'll get the hang of it in no time.


    BTW, I've found that 100ml of developer per sheet works well and a comparable amount of stop, and fixer per sheet. Six sheets is about the most you can manage safely at one time unless you do this every day and are really, really good at it.
     
  9. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    I've been doing 4x5 film in 8x10 trays for years with only one scratch - the first time. Then I did pretty much as John (just above) suggests, except I keep the emulsion up to avoid issues with the bottom of the tray.
    I'm right handed -
    I hold the stack in the left hand (never more than 8 at a time). After taking them out of the holders, I "shingled" them slightly, to facilitate taking one at a time. I clip one corner to mark the first sheet, but I like John's rotation of the film notches - you just need to be able to do first in, first out.
    The right hand is also dry - take the first one, drop it into water (do a couple of rotations in water first to keep the film from sticking together in the developer). Use the side of the right pinkie to push it to the bottom, so the right hand stays dry, except for the pinkie (and keep the fingernail on the pinkie trimmed).
    Repeat with each sheet till they are all in the water, then rotate them a couple of times. Once they are wet, transfer to the dev, starting with the same first sheet, then through the process likewise.
    I believe I got this method from Fred Picker.
    I always found development to be very even and consistent. I am playing around with tubes at the moment, but the only reason is for semi stand development.
     
  10. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Why try to learn tray development while you are also trying to find the right film, development times, etc. Keep life simple and get one of the Photographer's Formulary sloshers (cradles) mentioned earlier for about $45. You can do 6 sheets at a time. You will use a bit more developer for 1-shot processing but developer is cheaper than time and scratched film. Also, your hands never touch the chemicals. If you buy two sloshers you could probably find a way to go about twice as fast if you have alot of film to process.
     
  11. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    I develop all of the [little] 4x5 that I do in trays without a problem.

    Use 8x10 trays (at least), fill them up with enough liquid, and start developing 1 sheet at a time, and there shouldn't be much of an issue. If there are multiple sheets floating around in a tray, scratching can become a problem.
     
  12. gbenaim

    gbenaim Member

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    One thing that hepled me eliminate scratches completely (at least w 8x10) is changing the orientation of the film. I now place it perpendicular to the tray, so the the film's short side is on the tray's long side. This keeps the film pinned down along one axis, and makes it much easier to keep the stack lined up. I do it w the tray's wide side facing me, so the film is in a 'portrait' orientation.
     
  13. mudhaus

    mudhaus Member

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    I am liking the CombiPlan

    I just started 4x5 processing for the first time last week. I almost passed on the Combiplan since there were so many negative remarks about it. But I finally found someone who recommended it and I'm glad I got it. I have already developed 40+ sheets without any problems.

    I had read you could develop 12 b&w at once by backing up the sheets, but that was not really successful. Otherwise, six sheets at a time worked just great and development was very even.

    It does leak somewhat when turned upside down, but I just do my inversions over a sink and it's not really a problem. It is also pretty delicate, but it certainly works as advertised. Just treat it with kid gloves...
     
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  15. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    I use Jovo's and George Collier's method in 5x7 trays, but with an added twist. I'm right handed, so I angle the trays at about 45 degrees to the right so the bottom right corner is closest. This gives a more comfortable pulling of the bottom sheet. Under the top left corner of the trays is slid something a little thinner than a bottle cap; this creates a slight down hill slope for the negatives that keeps them nestled into the lowest corner. (I started lifting the one corner of the tray when I used to use highly dilute developer and reduced agitation in 8x10 trays for minus development, because the negatives would meander out of alignment and then couldn't tell which negative went in first). Just make sure, as you're getting ready to drop a negative on top of the stack, to get its edges to 'tap' the bottom right corner of the tray before you drop it back in the developer.

    This is all seems more complicated in written form!

    Murray
     
  16. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i guess i am lucky
    i have been processing film in open trays for about 10 ( or 13?) years
    never had problems. maybe 1 with scratches in all that time.
    i process 4x5 in 5x7 trays, once in a blue moon in 8x10 ...
    i never process less than 8 sheets, and have shuffled upto 28 sheets at once.
    i guess it takes practice and luck ...

    john
     
  17. davetravis

    davetravis Member

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    Thanks for all the responses, as usual some great help on APUG!
    DT
     
  18. Don Wallace

    Don Wallace Member

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  19. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Sorry Don, I took a little mental leap there. I've been using Pyrocat HD developer that does not use hardened fix. You are right regarding traditional developers of course.
     
  20. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i would not recomment hardener at all.
    it is difficult to wash hardened film and paper
    (if you do archival processing)
    ... ilford, kodak and others have recommended against using hardener ....
     
  21. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Don't use hardener either.

    Murray
     
  22. Don Wallace

    Don Wallace Member

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    I don't use hardener with paper. I will always use it with film. I also use a hypo clearing agent and wash film a long time. But for me, it is just too risky without hardener for film.
     
  23. palewin

    palewin Member

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    Well, first the items mentioned in prior posts that are different from what I do: since I use PMK, I use non-hardening fixer. I change the orientation of the negatives in the tray by rotating 90 degrees each "quarter of total time" (i.e. if my time is 12 minutes, I rotate the stack one-quarter turn each 3 minutes). I also develop emulsion side down, but this is personal preference, I think you will find roughly 50% of people who tray develop do emulsion up, the others emulsion down. Lastly, I think the biggest item impacting scratching is the amount of liquid in the trays. The more liquid (i.e. the "deeper" the liquid) the less likely you are to scratch. I think it is those who are trying to economize on chemicals who have the most problems.
     
  24. dslater

    dslater Member

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    Hi John,
    just curious what developer you use? I use PMK pyro and I think that with pyro and pyrocat developers, using the 8x10 trays with 4x5 film becomes much more important. I think that pyro developers have more problems with uneven development due to turbulence in the tray than conventional developers do.

    Dan
     
  25. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi dan

    i use a few different developers for sheets
    mostly i use ansco 130 (shhh, i know it is for paper! )
    within the last year i started use sprint film developer ( sort of like d76 )
    again. used it for a long time, and strayed. its kind of nice :wink:

    never used pryo developers ... always wanted to though ...
     
  26. palewin

    palewin Member

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    Dan, just to provide a slightly different approach: I use PMK in the food storage containers you can buy in a super market, I think something like 6x8". I got the idea from Ken Lee's website, the section on processing. The containers are deeper than 8x10 trays (at least for me, more depth = less chance for scratches) and the reduced surface area (48 sq in vs. 80 sq in) means less PMK oxidation during processing. Rotating the negatives periodically, as I mentioned in my earlier post, seems to eliminate uneven development, since any turbulence is evenly distributed.