Developing trays - all the same?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Theo43, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. Theo43

    Theo43 Member

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    One of the things on my 'to get' list is a set of three plastic developing trays for 11x14 prints. I am aware of three brands, namely, Arista, Paterson, and Yankee. Do you have preferences among these or other brands and, if so, why? Thanks,
    Ted
     
  2. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I like the flat bottomed Cesco trays myself. They're white and they get stained but that's just cosmetics and I don't care about that. I don't print much at any one time, so I don't need a lot of volume to counter exhaustion. These trays work well with as little as 1L of solution. Less waste. I like that.
     
  3. panchro-press

    panchro-press Member

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    I like the Cesco dimpled bottom trays. I develop sheet film and they work well.

    -30-
     
  4. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Cesco - they make several grades, get the ones with the shiny finish. The ones with the mat finish adsorb chemicals, and of course they stain.

    I haven't used the Paterson, but Paterson as a rule makes very high quality gear.
     
  5. mwdake

    mwdake Member

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    I like and use the Paterson trays.
    Very rigid, nice deep grooves in the bottom and come in different colors.
    Can't say I have ever used any others even though I have a set of 8x10 no name, 11x14 Kodak with flat bottom and used to have a set of stainless.
     
  6. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    *******
    I have used the same Paterson trays for many years.
     
  7. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    The Yankee trays I have are hard plastic and come in various colors including black, yellow, red and white. I like them best for film development with a slosher.

    For paper, I prefer Patterson trays which have recessed grooves on the bottom which help with agitating and picking up prints from the tray. They also have a pouring spout on one corner. I like the 14x17 size for 8x10 and 11x14 paper. Works good with 2000 ml of solution.

    For larger trays for 16x20 and 20x24, I use the Cesco trays.

    I agree that the glossy surfaces are good for trays. No matter which brand, keep them clean.
     
  8. fotch

    fotch Member

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    The Cesco trays are good, my favorite is the Kodak trays, don't know if still available. Got some used, like new.
     
  9. Larry.Manuel

    Larry.Manuel Member

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    My 20x24 Paterson tray came by special order through my local store. It's very nice; I don't regret paying $110 for it. I use it for singe-tray processing. It's made of thick, smooth polypropylene, something likely to last 50 years.

    Larry, Kingston, Ont.
     
  10. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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  11. Denis R

    Denis R Member

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    flat bottom troubles

    the problem with flat bottom trays is the tendency for paper to stick to the bottom

    which makes for not fun trying to push the paper to get it unstuck
     
  12. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

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    If you are tray developing film watch out for the dimpled part - something to do with the plastic moulding process - it will scratch your 8x10 negs when you agitate ('click clack') nicely over an area approx 3x4" area :rolleyes: (emulsion side is worse, but base isn't immune)

    I sanded mine down flat with the rest of the tray - no more probs, did wonder however why this problem hadn't been mentioned anywhere that I could find up to that point ...
     
  13. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    In the developing process it is OK with trays with ridges or canals.
    Avoid flat ones and the ones with small cupolas since the papers will cling to the bottom.
    The maker is usually unimportant. If the quality feels right it will work ok.

    If you plan to tone your prints, avoid the ones with ridges. If the print isn't flat the chemicals may deposit unevenly and you will end up with striped prints.
    You can use flat bottomed trays for toning if you want to be on the safe side, but the ones with canals works well for all purposes in my experience.

    These are just my experinces, hopefully they can be helpful to others.
     
  14. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Ted,

    I love Paterson trays. I love them so much that when I use the MAMA darkroom in Chicago (shameless plug) I drag mine with when printing 11x14 (the one size they don't have in Paterson trays).

    Neal Wydra
     
  15. Stan160

    Stan160 Member

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    I find ridged-base trays don't work so well on the warming plate I use for lith developing because very little surface area is in contact. Something else to bear in mind.

    Ian
     
  16. Wrobel Photographic

    Wrobel Photographic Member

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    I have 13 of the Arista trays in various sizes and they work very well. I believe they are rebranded Paterson trays as they look the same at a lesser cost.
     
  17. Reinhold

    Reinhold Subscriber

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    They're only TRAYS, for cryin' out loud...

    Get on Craig's list and go scrounging.
    Get whatever you can find.
    Cheap.
    Lot's of 'em these days
    Get a mongrel mix in any size you'll need now & in the future.
    Some will work better for specific tasks than others, but you'll find that out as you go...

    Darkroom life is more than Designer Brand trays.

    Sheesh.

    Reinhold

    www.classicBWphoto.com
     
  18. photomem

    photomem Member

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    I agree with the mongrel mix. I just finished JB Welding and re-enameling four 11X14 trays from probably 40 years ago. They were free, in good shape except some enamel nicks and one rust hole, and it took me about 10.00 in supplies to repair them and make them safe for photo chemistry again. Before that, I was using cat litter pans I picked up at the drug store.
     
  19. Theo43

    Theo43 Member

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    The whole bloody point of asking for opinions is to learn from the experience of others, so as to not needlessly flush $$ down the drain; something like 'measure twice and cut once'. Sheesh indeed.
    Ted
     
  20. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Paterson (or the knock-offs). They are deep, oversized so that the prints aren't crowded and have wide grooves to get fingers/tongs under. For film developing they are my only choice; smooth bottoms for no scratches!

    Yes, you can get other trays that work just fine, but if you are buying your first batch, just get the best. There is a big difference in trays. I've had some would barely fit the size paper they were intended for. The Paterson (and Cesco dimple-bottomed) trays are generous in dimension. And, at Freestyle's prices you don't even have to try to snag used ones on auction sites.

    Best

    Doremus Scudder
    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  21. Theo43

    Theo43 Member

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    I have got sets of Paterson trays sized for 5x7 and 11x14 papers. Thank you all for your opinions and advice.
    Ted