Developing Tank Question

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Southern-Lights, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. Southern-Lights

    Southern-Lights Member

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    So, I know that a lot of people use a daylight developing tank when they develop roll film, my question is, what do you use if you don't use a daylight developing tank.
     
  2. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    I worked with a fellow, who, if he had many 120 rolls to process, would tape them into loops and develop many at once in open trays, in the dark.

    You can also dip and dunk your reels in open tanks.
     
  3. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    In the old days of orthochromatic film, they did the dip and dunk and developed by inspection under a safelight.
     
  4. vedmak

    vedmak Subscriber

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    if you are using modern films, dip and dunk will not work because they sensitive to all wavelengths, developing tank is the only way to guarantee against fogging your film.
     
  5. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    You can still do dip and dunk, just in total darkness, then the appropriate safelight after midway development time, and then for a very short time under light.
     
  6. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Large Newspapers used to use Deep Tanks (think 7ft deep tank). Unwind a roll of 35mm, put a clip on the bottom end and lower it into a deep tank. Use bursts of Nitrogen Gas to agitate the developer while keeping the film static.

    A large numbers of 35mm rolls could be processed at the same time - which was useful when a Photographer would arrive back in the office with a bag full of exposed film.

    This method required dedicated kit, serious investment and careful control of the Gas Burst process. It could, however, produce very evenly developed film.

    Another way is to load a film onto a reel (usually stainless steel) and pop it into a cage/basket with some others. Still in the dark the cage would then be dropped into a Large Tank of developer. An operator would then raise and lower the basket, tipping it this way and that to try and generate even development.

    There are stories (urban legends?) that some darkroom technicians would kneel over the Large Tank to agitate the cage, still with a cigarette or cigar clamped in their mouth.

    Typically, the Large Tank and Deep Tank methods would use undiluted Developer and a replenishment technique to maintain developer activity and ensure consistent development from batch to batch and day to day.

    The small daylight tank we use, has always been seen as a low volume/amateur method, requiring little investment, low film throughput and a relatively simple technique.

    Martin
     
  7. Southern-Lights

    Southern-Lights Member

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    Wow. So many different ways to develop the film.

    @Martin Aislabie: So does that mean that the pro film photographers use something besides a daylight tank to develop their film?

    When you do the dip and dunk method, do you use a reel like you would in a tank?
     
  8. CBG

    CBG Member

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    One other way to work, very, very simple, just hold a roll, in dark of course, one end in each hand and seesaw the film through a tray of developer. (Guaranteed to develop not just film but those arm muscles too.) Whilst waaaay back seesaw developing was mostly promoted as a way for amateurs with no equipment to do developing, a couple of pros used that method to do all their development. It does work.

    I'm heading the other way and gathering the equipment to do rack and tank for up to 18 rolls of 120 at a time. Haven't sorted out what development scheme I want to use. I'm thinking probably one shot / very dilute. That would give me consistency and economy. Were it more practical, I'd prefer D-23 related two bath, but I'm not sure of reliability with low turnover in a 3 1/2 gallon batch that doesn't get used frequently enough.
     
  9. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I'm not sure if you're describing the same thing, but I recall reading about a development method that involved placing a 35mm roll of film, in its cartridge, in a developer solution and then repeatedly rotating the spindle one way and then the other, so as to wind and unwind the film within its cartridge. IIRC, this only works with 24-exposure and shorter rolls; there's not enough room in the cartridge of a 36-exposure roll for this to work. I've never tried it myself.

    This deviates from the original question, but I've seen eBay auctions for Kodak tanks that can be loaded in daylight. Here's an example of a completed auction. I've never seen one of these in person. It seems like it could be handy in some situations, but I don't know how well this design works in practice.
     
  10. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Being a professional photographer has nothing much to do with the type of development process you use - it is more about film throughput v time v investment.

    I don't know that Method A produces greater evenness or consistency than Process B

    I know a professional who develops all his 5x4 in a Jobo CPE with a standard daylight tank and plastic reels.

    However, many old seasoned Lab Rats do tell that seasoned and replenished neat stock B&W Developer give far more evenly toned Negs than when Dev is diluted 1+1, used and then discarded – which is a process that is equally applicable to daylight and deep tanks.

    If you are using the Large Tank method of development, it is done in complete darkness, usually using stainless steel reels, loaded into an open cage, which is manually lowered into a large and deep tank - again usually made from stainless steel.
    Timing is done by an audible clock system, which bleeps at regular intervals.

    Have a look at these two links to help understand what I am rather feebly trying to explain

    http://www.hewes.co.uk/

    http://www.richards.uk.com/index.htm

    Martin
     
  11. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Roller transport. Film goes over and under a serioer rollers and thru the solutions, then wash and dry. Comonly done for Color C41 today. Works for black and white also.

    You can load 4 reels and put them on a lift rod and develope in a 4x5 deep tank. Spin during immersion and retrieval, tilt 30 deg to drain while out. I can use the same developer I use for 4x5 film on hangars. Gallon tanks can take more.

    Home process 4 films a month, closed tank and timer is the best way so long as you don`t try any fancy agitations schemes touted on the internet. Just follow the instructions on Kodak website, publication J78.
     
  12. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    I string some ss reels on a lifting rod and soup them in gallon tanks. I have darkroom timer with selectable beep intervals.

    As a kid, I did the see-saw in a tray.

    All in total dark, of course.
     
  13. GraemeMitchell

    GraemeMitchell Member

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    I have a 3.5 gallon tank line I put together over this last year that I run film in. 18 up 120 or 30 up 35mm, or sheet film of course. I use one shot HC-110 and Rodinal. I had a seasoned tank of xtol going, but prefer the other developers for some practical reasons in my work environment.

    I use a Gralab timer about eye level as my timer.

    It's a great way to run film, but has taken me a lot of practice to get consistent at. It's MUCH more difficult for roll film than daylight tanks. I still have the odd trouble w/ it sometimes...

    I set it up maybe once or twice a month. It's the only way I can process the amount of film I shoot and stay sane.
     
  14. Hal Reiser

    Hal Reiser Member

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    My workflow uses a modified dip and dunk process with small tanks. I set up three stainless steel tanks each filled with developer/ stop/ fix and set them in a water bath. Once the film is loaded on the stainless steel reel I drop it in the developer tank, place the cap on it, and begin the development process with the lights on as normal. Just prior to the film reaching the desired development time the lights go out and the cap is removed. The reels are loaded in the tank with a lift rod and are transferred to the stop tank when the development time is reached. After the stop bath is completed the reels are transferred in the dark to the fixer tank. The lights remain off until half the fix time is reached when they are turned on to see if the film has cleared. I find this allows for a much more precise time change between solutions.
     
  15. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Never tried it but...

    I remember an article on Peterson's Photographic magazine had an article on using golf club tubes. If I remember correctly, you would insert your film into the tube, fill it with developer so there's a bubble inside to allow agitation. You could soup your film in daylight.
     
  16. pacman1213

    pacman1213 Member

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    I have one of those tanks :smile: never used it and i am keeping it as a collectors item.
     
  17. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    There was also two daylight loading tank made by Agfa carrying the Rodinax brand, the 35U and the 60. See the instruction manuals for the tanks here and here. I have the 35U and while it works ok, it's a real PITA to use. Part of the reel is always out of the the solution, so constant agitation is imperative.

    To answer your question, the only other practical alternative is something using deep tanks and reels. The see-saw method works, but try doing that with a 5 1/2 ft long roll of 35 mm film. Not a pleasant thought. The method is somewhat more doable with 120 roll film, but it's still messy, and hardly conducive to producing consistent results.

    There's a reason the currently popular styles of stainless steel and plastic tanks are so. They work, and are for most hobbyists, the most practical and cost efficient compromise.