How to develop really big film

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Jersey Vic, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. Jersey Vic

    Jersey Vic Member

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    I'm about to buy my 1st 8x20 (B&W) film for my favorite biscotti tin pinhole camera and was wondering how do the megaformattisti go about developing their big film. Any tips would be 'hugely' appreciated.
    Thanks in advance for all of the help I am sure to receive.
     
  2. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    I bought 4 seperate 31qt rubbermaid storage bins. sanded the bottoms of them so that there wouldnt be any scratching of the negatives. it takes about 2L of solution to immerse the negative. I usually manage to develope 4-5 7x17 negs with 2L of solution. I also do developement by inspection and the inspection part is very easy with such a large negative.
    I develope one negative at a time. Lay the negative emulsion side up in the pre soak tray. leave it there for a few mins. move to the developer tray. I use an 8" hake brush and slowly "brush" the negative from side to side holding the negative in the film edges right next to the sheet identification notches (limits the development markings from touching the negative)
    after about 70% developement the green safe light comes on and I observe the highlight densities.
    after developement is complete... into the water stop bath. then the fix and finally to the final washing in a homemade 10 gallon fish tank washer.

    perhaps that was more than you were looking for. but thats my scheme for both 7x17 negs and 8x20 negs from my pinhole.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I do 11x14" usually in trays, just like I do 8x10" and sometimes smaller formats. Occasionally, I might do it in a print drum if it's just one or two sheets.
     
  4. Troy Ammons

    Troy Ammons Member

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    An easy way would be in a Jobo CPP probably in a print tube.
     
  5. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    You will find that 2 8X20 sheets will fit perfectly in grooves that hold them away from each other in a Jobo 2850 tank.
     
  6. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    Another way that would work (and close to what I'll wind up doing if/when I ever print larger than 8x10) is to one-shot everything and develop in a single 16x20 tray. Set up with your presoak already in the tray, developer and fixer (no stop bath needed in this case) mixed and in graduates before you turn out the light. Soak the film, pour off the presoak, pour in developer, develop, pour off developer and pour in fixer, and after one minute in the fixer you can turn on the lights to see how big a mess you made pouring out the presoak and developer. Rapid fixer that normally dilutes 1+4 for film or 1+9 for paper will do a fine job on a one-shot basis at 1+24, possibly even greater dilution (I'd be tempted to try 1+49 for a one-shot application). Expect fixing times about 3-4 times as long as you'd normally give for film strength, but if you turn on the lights with the film in the fixer, you can see when it clears; fix for twice that long (shouldn't take as much as ten minutes in the fixer in any case).
     
  7. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    Trays are the default method---simple, low cost and very practical, but IMHO boring. I can see that this would be more fun if I developed "by inspection" a la Edward Weston but I'm too cowardly for that.

    There are also tanks with holders but these are expensive unless bought used and are expensive to ship (very heavy hard rubber) and break if you drop them (I know this from personal experience) and I find are awkward to use unless you have a dedicated dark room where you can leave them full of chemicals with the floating lids to protect them. Also IMHO the old ss film hangers more often than not are usually worn or bent so inserting film in the dark can get a little to "interesing" for my temperment.

    A processor as Jim Galli recommended is way cool. You can use the drum alone and roll it around on the drain board or in the bath tub---use a couple of 2x4s if there are protrusions on the lid or base that make rolling it difficult, but having a motorized base is "uptown and spiffy." I find the Unicolor works for me ('cause I'm too cheap to buy a Jobo, which really is "uptown") Get a paper (print developing) drum, either the 8x10 or 11x14 will work for your purposes. The 11x14 will digest 2 sheets of 8x10 film if you're dexterous. Take a gander of the Unicolor article on The Large Format Photography Homepage for details. You should be able to get the whole kit and kaboodle(base and drum) for under $40 on eBay if you look hard.

    Welcome to 8x10, where the fun never ends!
     
  8. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    one thing I forgot to mention in my initial reply....
    I am cheap. so my methods usually go the route of "least financially debilitating"
    but Ive found no fogging issue, no scratching (unless I make a stupid mistake), no uneven development. All seems to work well. so if you are on a poor bachelors budget you can manage even the big negatives :smile:

    when I win the lottery Im going to go all fancy and uptown and buy a bunch of those nice flat bottomed trays from US plastic or maybe try my hand at some Jobo stuff. but not till the winning lottery ticket. Oh and Ill buy a bunch of prints from different APUGers as well. :D :D