MOD 54: Experiences?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by michael_r, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,610
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I've always developed my sheet film the same way - homemade slosher in open trays. I use intermittent agitation for all my plus, minus and compensating development so the slosher has always been perfect for me. It is relatively simple and gives me exceptionally even development. However sometimes I can't resist the urge to experiment with something - even though I don't have any problems to solve and I know the new gadget won't improve the results. It's for fun more than anything else.

    Case in point, the Mod 54 system. I hadn't heard of it before but there have been a few references to it relatively recently on APUG. So anyway, it just looks so cool I want to try it. The only bummer is I'll have to get a Patterson tank. I don't like those things at all.

    Looking at the pictures of the Mod 54 on the website, one thing that puzzles me is, those finger-tabs that hold the sheets seem to extend pretty far into the image area of the sheet. Why would that not cause development issues - ie increased development around the tabs, reduced development under the tabs etc?

    Anybody have any experience with this sexy looking system?

    Thanks
    Michael
     
  2. wildbill

    wildbill Member

    Messages:
    2,848
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  3. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

    Messages:
    773
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use one for all my 4x5 work, and love it. Very convenient, as I primarily shoot 120 and 35mm roll film, which I develop in a mult-reel paterson tank. Never had any development issues related to the tank, the only mistakes have been related...
     
  4. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,610
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Thanks for the link and thanks Chris.

    I guess I'll just have to try it and see for myself. I just wish someone made one of these insert things for stainless steel tanks. I don't like the Patterson tanks.
     
  5. philosomatographer

    philosomatographer Member

    Messages:
    240
    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Location:
    Johannesburg
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    DIfficult to use, great results

    I've been using one of these for about two years, and have some film developing inside one right now.

    I find it epically difficult and fiddly to load the film onto the Mod 54 in a dark changing bag. Much more frustrating than either my 4x5 Nikor spiral reel tank, or my Kodak metal hangers (dip + dunk). It's so easy to accidentally get two sheets of film in contact with each other (seated in the same notch). Really, I sometimes want to throw it onto the braai (barbeque for you non-South-Africans) and watch it melt...

    Still, the results are as promised, perfectly even and streak-free, which is why I stick with it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2013
  6. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

    Messages:
    810
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Location:
    Co. Wicklow,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Michael, you may also want to consider HP CombiPlan if you can get it. I've been using it for over a decade now.
     
  7. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

    Messages:
    671
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2012
    Location:
    Derbyshire
    Shooter:
    Medium Format

    All the problems you have identified are real.

    You might prefer this "experiment". I use no other method now for sheet film. It's ideal if you use Pyrogallol or Catechol based developers as there is no need for your skin to be in contact with the chemicals...

    http://freepdfhosting.com/f640343f29.pdf

    RR
     
  8. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,160
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    Connecticut,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    RR

    Don't be a troll, he only listed one problem and it was the finger tabs, and it's not even a problem at all, have you ever even used one?

    OP I think by not having it in your hand you're actually not sort of understanding how it functions which is why you think that that might be a problem. The film faces inward and all the pressure is on the back of the film not on the emulsion, there's actually some space between the inside part of the tab and the emulsion so the emulsion never touches the fingers, so there's no uneven development issues as the developer is in full contact with the film the entire time.

    As long as you're not shaking the thing around a lot, there's also no issue with the film pieces coming out of the holder, but after using it a lot, I have found that you do have to be gentle not for concern over the film coming loose but rather to prevent scratching from those fingers on the backside of the film, however I've never noticed the scratching to actually interfere with the image, just that it's noticeable if you agitate vigorously. If you use regular film holders, it certainly doesn't come into the image anyway, however if you're using graphflex holders, then the image will be slightly wider and then it would slightly enter the image area.

    Overall it's not a bad option for hand developing especially if you're using most of it in the daylight, and I've never had any streaking or any kind of issues with the images that I produced
     
  9. drumlin

    drumlin Member

    Messages:
    199
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Location:
    Chapel Hill
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I don't have issues loading film, and I'm more hamfisted than most. I do have a recent variant -- I think he's updated the molds some based on user feedback and the like.

    I think it's an elegant solution for the small time dabbler into sheet film (eg myself) who likes a daylight tank and doesn't want to invest in a big Jobo.

    I ordered mine from B&H and saved on overseas shipping.
     
  10. timor

    timor Member

    Messages:
    181
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have the older version, I develop only 4 sheets at the time. No problems.
     
  11. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

    Messages:
    671
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2012
    Location:
    Derbyshire
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Troll? What gives you the right to call me a troll? What gives you the right to call me anything? What gives you the right to tell me or anyone else what not to do?

    The OP asked a reasonable question and although you might think the design fault of the finger tabs counts as only one problem, I can assure you that we don't all feel the same way about the multiple consequences of having those fingers how they are. He can avoid all the problems he mentioned, including the need to obtain the tank, by going for the equivalent to a "tray with a light-safe lid" approach that the converted orbital processor offers. He will also be able to keep his hands dry and free of chemical drips that are inevitable with the Patterson tank...

    What's the problem in pointing that out in my reply to his post?

    RR
     
  12. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,475
    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Location:
    MA, USA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    This thread was revived after almost 2 years of silence and the 2 links to threads that covered this exact issue over hundreds of posts have been posted here.
     
  13. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Location:
    Stratford-up
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I don't understand your issue with the fingers

    1) The fingers are a slightly different radius to the installed sheet of film - therefore although there is a close gap as the edge of the film, the gap becomes progressively wider as you approach the tip.

    2) If loaded correctly, the fingers are against/close-to the back of the film face - ie the non emulsion side.
    I am not an out and out purist but I have no concern about the evenness of the chemicals against the anti-halation layer - as long as it is removed, I don't care.
    As for any effect of development marks on the emulsion side - I have yet to see any - and I have looked very closely on very flat even density areas.
    The emulsion side gap of the fingers is considerably larger than on the anti-halation side and doesn't seem to present a problem of retained/exhausted development marks.

    I have done many hundreds of sheets of film in Mod54 cassettes and have yet to experience any of the uneven development concerns (either physical or intellectual) that seem to have plagued the Forums.

    Martin :smile:
     
  14. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Location:
    Stratford-up
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format

    I too successfully load my Mod54 in a Changing Tent and thought I would share my learned experiences.

    1) I had to teach myself a robust method of counting the fingers - which is not as easy as you might think

    2) I lie the Cassette on its side to load the film.

    3) When loading the first sheet, make sure the it has settled into the inner most slots - count the fingers on all 4 slots

    4) When loading the second sheet, firstly count the fingers to make sure you have got the film located on the correct slot.
    Then run your finger along the edges of the film to make sure there is an even and consistent gap between the inner and middle sheets of film.
    Sometimes you need to wiggle a sheet of film back and forth to make sure it settles fully "home" in its slot.

    5) Only when items (4) has been successfully completed, can you start to load the outer most sheets, the process for which is a re-run of (4)

    6) If something has gone wrong and the film isn't sitting correctly don't be afraid to take all 3 sheets out and start again - it is often quicker in the long run.

    Personally, I found the single largest key to successful loading of the Cassette was item (1).
    To count the fingers, I use a plucking technique with the tip of my index finger - the way you would pluck a guitar string.


    You might or might not find this useful.

    Martin
     
  15. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,160
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    Connecticut,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Troll might have been harsh, but I'd ask you to calm down, I wasn't trying to be aggressive I just wanted to point out that you made it seem like the OP listed many issues, when really his only concern was the fingers and the tank, that's two things, your way of writing made it sound like there were many problems, which there aren't.

    You still haven't answered the question of have you ever actually used the Mod54 (especially the new version)...

    Thirdly the OP was about trying something new, he already has a successful and reliable way of developing, he just wanted to try something new, he isn't desperate for a daylight tank, and already has a tray method...

    And I have just as much right to call you out, as you do to comment and tell him to do something entirely different, I just think your bashing a product you know nothing about and it's misleading to others who might want to learn about it. If your product is so much better, how come it's not on the market and the MOD54 is...
     
  16. Dinesh

    Dinesh Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,699
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    So instead you decided to call him a troll?
     
  17. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,610
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Which dingus started this dumb4ss thread anyway?
     
  18. Dinesh

    Dinesh Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,699
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Mitsou!
     
  19. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,160
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    Connecticut,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Haha philosophotographer started it back up hah!

    Oh well, it happened haha
     
  20. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

    Messages:
    671
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2012
    Location:
    Derbyshire
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Call me out?

    Goodness me!

    Yes I have used the new MOD54, which is one of the reasons I now use the modified orbital processor.

    Yes the orbital processor has to be sourced second hand now, which to my mind might add more to the OP's aim to experiment. Simply buying a tank and insert, then following the instructions, presents only quite a tiny degree of experimental experience.

    I apologise if my suggestion appears to be simply bashing your favourite product (that I do know plenty about), that was certainly not the intention. You might take a more tolerant attitude to my posts on this if you understand that the modified Paterson Orbital Processor is not MY product. It is not even my idea. I simply adopted it from seeing it in use on You Tube. At first I had problems with it, but the experiences I'd had with your favourite product led me to the solutions, which are all explained in that pdf.

    Your last question is a good one. There is plenty of lamentable precedent in analogue photography for good products being simply dropped from the market, these fora bear all too frequent witness to that.

    I'll sign off now by suggesting that a good way to keep folk calm is to refrain from calling them derogatory names.

    RR
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2013
  21. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,160
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    Connecticut,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Ahh we both can breathe haha

    I have a tendency to take over posts by making a comment outside of the full scope of the post, and you have a tendency of trying to make people use products you use. We both have our flaws, but it's the new year, so, let's celebrate and forget this crazyness.

    Oh, by the way, I don't think the MOD54 is my favorite product by any means, I'm just saying that it's not as bad as people say it is, I can't afford the expert Job own drum for 4 x 5, but if I had to choose something that would probably be my favorite I suspect that that would be it, I just have never used one before to comment on it. However, based on the design, it seems to me a no-brainer that that would be the best thing to use for both consumption of developer, and consistency of development AND ease of loading.
     
  22. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

    Messages:
    671
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2012
    Location:
    Derbyshire
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    You still puzzle me. This is a forum. Folks ask questions some of us answer them. We can only make suggestions of any value based on our own experiences. That is all they can be, suggestions....

    As for making anyone do anything, I'd say that is impossible via an internet forum.

    RR
     
  23. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,475
    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Location:
    MA, USA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    You should watch sidney lumet's "Network"...
     
  24. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,160
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    Connecticut,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    So... you haven't commented on your "results" anyway... I assume by now you've tried it out? LOL
     
  25. ataim

    ataim Member

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    Location:
    Fort Worth,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I have and use one. Once you learn how to load its really pretty easy. The main thing NOT to do is to agitate too vigorously. If you do it will set up currents around the tabs and cause uneven development in that area. And if you use a thin film you can dislodge the film. I only use Ilford film and have had only one piece come dislodged. I've ran probably 200 sheets without issue with these guidelines.