Large Format developing methods

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by TareqPhoto, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

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    Hi,

    I would like to ask a short question in a long detailed explanation so you can answer me better way.

    I started to shoot LF last year, but i was worry how to develop the sheets, i used the lab to develop my first 4 sheets and i did it myself at home for the fifth one, the lab is a bit pricey for B&W [color is just fine], and i developed at home by trays, this method was painful and i hated, and i ended up with a neg having scratches [not sure from the developing or from something else].

    I bought BTZS tubes, and i bought HP Combi-Plan, i didn't use both yet as i need many things to know before i do, but i really don't know how and where i can find the answer i need to start, so that i will ask the question.

    I read a lot that Jobo system is nice and recommended for processing film for Lf or even MF, but people just answer me thinking i live in USA or Europe and can afford Jobo somewhere, i live in UAE and even if i use websites i can't find JOBO and i don't think the shipping option helping me at all to order one anywhere in the world, so i make this JOBO option out, wish this JOBO is still in production so i can buy it from some websites such as Freestyle or B&H or Amazon and so.

    Now the question is, what is the best method for processing LF for me in my situation? BTZS video links is not helpful enough, the talking instructor is a bit not so clear for me, i may need another one with more detailed one and slower more clear speaking so i can understand all the steps one by one, also the last question is, what is the dilution amounts for the dev/stop bath, and fixer for BTZS and Combi-Plan if i use any? i want to know the amount accurate or math way rather than some saying you can use drops or use 1/4 for dev and so, i prefer to tell me use 74.59372ml than just saying use little amount to the water, little amounts or drops i may not do it properly and i am not sure if it will work really, i was not sure at all when i mixed for trays, it worked but i can't remember now what i did if i used drops or certain amount, is there anywhere telling me how much dilution i need to mix chemicals in LF processing methods? HP Combi-Plan i was not sure if i want to use it because i heard many say they have leaking and the amount of 1L is too much, but i found that i can develop 6 sheets at once in 1L, so this may be a good option than just develop 1-2 in 1L, also i don't know about the washing method for all those methods above, can you answer me in more details step by step please? My English level is not that great to understand 1-2 lines only or short sentences of answers.
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi tareq

    deep tanks is a no brainer,
    easy and works every time
    the only down side is learning how
    to do it, and standing in the dark for 10 mis ...
    there is a way to put the film in,
    and out and if you have a bad hanger you have
    trouble like anything else ... but it is a great method.

    you can use plastic food storage bins instead of the large
    deep tanks, and hangers cost about 2-6$ each ...

    good luck !
    john

    ps you can process rollfilm on a coat hanger, the same way ...
    in the same developer ...
     
  3. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

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    Thank you John.
    I have a Paterson deep Reel 3 tank, i may give that a go and see.
     
  4. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    If you're shooting 4X5, an easy method would be using the Jobo film tank with the 4X5 reels and loader. I understand you're in the UAE :smile:
    You don't need the machine since you can use a flat surface to roll the tank on. Everything considered it should be relatively inexpensive to ship lol
    The answer you may not want to hear is learn to tray process. ALL of the older statesmen of photography did this and it's a matter of practice. A lot of practice!

    I think John may be referring to deep tanks, that hold a large volume of liquid. They're usually stainless or hard rubber and the film is held in a SS frame and dunked into the chemistry.
    You may find picture of them on Ebxy
     
  5. shootsingh

    shootsingh Member

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    HP worked fine for me. I used ilford developer id11 mixed 1:1
    HP is a good system but the jobo expert tank 3010 cannot be beaten.
    You can buy one on ebay for less than £200 ask the seller in advance for the delivery to your country.
    Or new one is from uk £325 approx. From www.firstcallphotography.
    You dont need jobo machine, as said earlier, you can roll it on floor or,
    Fill a little tub of water and float the drum in water and rotate it.

    If you are serious about quality of development then jobo 3010 is the only option (in my opinion) i have used all tricks but nothing beats this drum. Its dream to load and easy to develop and you will save lot of chemical. 50% saving compared to hp.

    You can always add jobo processor cpp-2 or cpa-2 in future. if you want a new one, can be ordered from germany for about £1500.
    But jobo 3010 is the way to go.
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i was referring to DEEP tanks, tanks john :smile:
    sorry i wasn't clear ...
    when i didn't have any, i used 3 quart food storage containers
    and they fit shingle-sheet hangers ...

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum379/87753-kodak-4x5-stainless-developing-hangers.html

    i agree, that tray processing works very well .. i gave up the tanks/hangers
    years ago and until recently processed all my film in trays ...

    food-storage trays work well for that too, and they usually come with lids :smile:

    - john
     
  7. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

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    Well, thank you very much!
     
  8. Dikaiosune01

    Dikaiosune01 Member

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    I recently purchased one of these from morgan,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mt_Lzd3LUnQ

    They have gotten some really good press on these forums. I'm getting ready to try it out, I'm currently using some 35mm film to test the best developing time. I'll be trying in the next few weeks.
     
  9. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I always used a slosher tray. It holds 6 4x5 sheets in an 11x14 tray. Works very well.
     
  10. mjs

    mjs Member

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    I hate to sound like an old fuddy-duddy, but developing sheet film in trays is something which I feel is useful even if it isn't what you do when you have lots of film. There's nothing like the flexibility and control you get developing one or a few sheets at a time, and should it become necessary, developing by inspection simply can not be bettered. There is no superior method of developing film.

    That said, it's also slow and fussy. In our day and age, most of us want a faster, easier solution that's almost as good. Tray development also requires practice and regular reenforcement and lots of us aren't very fond of that idea, either. But at the least, if you already have the trays (for printing, perhaps,) I suggest that you would be better off learning to process at least a few sheets of film in trays, just in case. Experience is always the best teacher and with it you can at least make informed decisions.

    Mike
     
  11. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Second the tray method. I can do up to 10 4x5's in 1500cc of HC110 1:65 in an 8x10 tray, with no scratches or even a hint of uneven development. As mjs mentions, a number of reasons to work this way, if it appeals to you. There are some things to observe in the work flow, though, to optimize the process, at least, for me. I can elaborate if you are interested.
     
  12. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    I'm interested. I've got 20 sheets of 4X5's in the freezer from a recent trip, I think there's some good stuff there, but actually I am hesitant to process because of past mishaps. Indeed, the problems lie in workflow.
     
  13. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    In addition to the info you will receive in this thread, there has to be a lot of information in the archives, as this is a common question. Check them out.
     
  14. cj8281

    cj8281 Member

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    When I first got into LF, I tried the tray method and all of my film came out all scratched up. A friend gave me some film to try in the light to see what was going on. Even with the lights on and being very careful it too became scratched.
    I built my own little tank that develops one sheet at a time. I found the instructions here at this website: http://www.btinternet.com/~g.a.patterson/photos/lfdevelop.html Was easy to build and it works fine.
    Tareq, What developer are you using or planning on using?
     
  15. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

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    Well, i wouldn't mind using the tray if my bathroom was better designed or say if i have a better place to do developing by trays, i don't have any high level base stand to put my trays on, so i was forced to sit down to my side to do developing which i hate to do that position, it wasn't comfortable at all, so i was thinking about another method where i don't need to sit down and just develop in the sink [i do that with 35mm/MF tanks] standing up.
    @cj8281: I was using D76 but it is running out, so i am looking to buy TMAX as it is the first developer i used and it gave me better results than D76 and feel it is easier to mix than the D76, but i see many many people using HC-110, so i put that as my next soon developer if not TMAX, i have XTOL/Diafine/1D-11/Microphen all in box unopened, but i am not planning to use any of them soon, i hate mixing for working solution, but i will use them later in the future when i will shoot more film, for now i better buy a ready liquid developer and my options mostly go for TMAX and new to me HC110.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2011
  16. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Couldn't you build a small shelf that would fit over the sink? It wouldn't have to be to large even to hold 3- 8X10 trays side by side it should be less than 30"
     
  17. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

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    That is a good idea, i will check if i can buy or get any board that can be placed on the sink so i can put on the trays, i think this will solve one problem though, will give it a try and see.
     
  18. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    For 4x5 I use the Yankee daylight tank.

    It's easy to load, requires a modest amount of chemistry (~1600ml), and can process 12 sheets at a time.

    Loading obviously must be done in complete darkness, but can be done in a changing bag. Everything else is done in normal room light.

    For tray development, use smallish trays, not much larger than the film. I definitely prefer the Cescolite trays with the bumps on the bottom.
    Process emulsion down and agitate by lifting the bottom sheet out of the tray and putting it down on top of the stack. With a bit of practice you should have no scratches at all.

    I develop all of my 8x10 film in trays because there's no good alternative. I've had no problem with scratches on that film. 4x5 should be much easier.


    - Leigh
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2011
  19. mrbishi

    mrbishi Member

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    For my 4x5's I use a mod photographic insert for a 3 reel Patterson tank. I can do 6 sheets at once and get away with using 10ml of Rodinal each time (1:100 stand developed). Brilliant piece of kit!
     
  20. Discoman

    Discoman Member

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    I've always used (for B/W) one of those daylight developing tanks.
    they cost about $30 and hold a bit of film.
    well, 12 sheets.
    you can't invert the tank, you just slide it back and forth.
    and, if someone opens the lid and leaves it off for a minute, your film isn't totally destroyed (happened to me. i still can print acceptable photos from the negs.)
    http://freestylephoto.biz/4945-Yankee-Adjustable-4x5-Cut-film-Developing-Tank
    yeah, you can't process a lot of film at a time, nor give each sheet the great individual attention, but for general purpose, it's great.
     
  21. Caplight

    Caplight Member

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    Hi Tareq,
    I have 20+ yrs of experience in tray developing and Jobo ATL3 usage. I used the jobo ATL3 for years. I did E-6 , C-41, and b/w in it with great succes. Even the E-6 process was impeccable. We did a test everyday to read out the E-6 teststrips and always kept in between balance. The ATL3 came with waterbody that was a sort of bain-marie ( a container holding water on a certain temperature ) which kept the drum that contained the film and liquid on the exact temp.
    Filling of either 4x5 or even 8x10 film was really very easy ! But this won't bring you much closer to a solution to your problem. Try some googling on ATL3.
    Tray developing is actually easy to do. If necessary keep yr developing trays in another bigger tray as way of bain-marie to keep liquid on temp during treatment of film.
    The trick is to slide the sheet of film into the tray and get the liquid asap over the film to avoid developing spots. So what you do is keep the tray in a slight angle. Best is to hold the tray on the front with one hand. Lift the tray slightly, put the film with the upper part into the back ( where the most liquid is now during tilted ) of the tray. Lower the film equally together with the tray and start gently to lift and lower the tray during the complete process of developing.
    You can also first make the film wet in ordinary water on temperature for a minute before starting the development. This process also garantees that the fluid is smoothly spread over the sheet film.
    I hope this makes sence. Don't be afraid to do it. It works just fine, and is very cheap. Just trays and your liquid. That's it.
    Also important is to prepare before you start ! Make sure everything is in place and set to use. That means no stress during the handling!
    Good luck !
    Kind regards,
    Luc.
     
  22. rjmeyer314

    rjmeyer314 Member

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    Over the past 45 years I've developed 4x5's in: 4x5 dip tanks, 5x7 dip tanks, 8x10 dip tanks, a 4x5 Yankee tank, trays of various sizes, and in tubes made for developing paper. I've never had a JOBO, so I can't comment on that. I've basically had good (identical) results from all except the paper developing tubes. I've often had bad results with that approach and have generally stopped doing it.
     
  23. cosseboom

    cosseboom Member

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    I've been using a uniroller to process all of my 35mm and 120/220. When I started shooting 4x5, I picked up a 8x10 daylight print drum made to process 2 8x10 prints. I've put a divider in so that it can fit 4 4x5 sheets. It uses about 250ml of solution and produces great results. I think I've spent about $75 on the drums and roller for all of the above formats. I'm developing traditional B&W, C-41 and E-6.
     
  24. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

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    Thanks for all the answers.
    I have to give what i have a go first, i tested the trays and got the impressions, so i have to check the tubes and the Combi-Plan tank and see, i really like the MOD option, and i don't think i can get JOBO even if i want.
    And also i appreciate the answers talking bout processing color films as well, because i doubt our lab will keep doing color film processing for long time, i asked them about processing 4x5 neg colors and they said they don't do it for less than 15 or 20 sheets, and then one member here said that he went there and they told him they will not do 4x5 color neg anymore, i bought 1 color film sheet box already, so what i can do with this if the lab can't process it and i don't know how to process color film?
    I stopped to do photography now due to weather and some situations, but i hope by Sept or Nov i start to shoot film again, and i am going to buy a developer maybe next month to be ready, i feel i will not process any sheet until i have many shots i've taken with sheets, will not waste my time to process 2-3 sheets per month-45days.