Need Help with 4x5 Film Processing Problems

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Fotoguy20d, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I'm getting what looks to me like uneven development on my 4x5 negatives. In case it wasn't visible in the scans, I drew roughly parallel lines on some of them. These are scanned contact prints. The other two looked okay. I use HP5 in HC-110B for 5 minutes. Am I agitating too much? not enough? Are the sheets hitting each other? Agitation was +/- 90 degrees from vertical, with rotation in the film plane, followed by tapping a tank corner on the counter. I was doing other things but roughly agitation every thirty seconds with fifteen continuous seconds at the end.

    Thanks,
    Dan
     

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  2. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    What kind of tank?

    Duncan
     
  3. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    Sorry - HP Combiplan.

    Dan
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Those tanks (and the Yankee) can be harder to get even agitation with and you are more likely to get issues with such a short development time. Some people process without the lid on using them like a mini deep tank lifting the neg holder for agitation.

    The trick is gentle but effective agitation, too much and you get surge marks, but a higher dilution would help enormously.

    Ian
     
  5. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    Ian,

    I had been using an FR tank with even worse results and thought the HP was supposed to be better. I may try the dip/dunk method. Better than tray developing I suppose, but I was hoping to stick with daylight processing.

    I was thinking of trying dilution H (might have the designation wrong). I believe it's half the strength of B so around 63:1, and around 11 minutes development time.

    Are those surge marks? Would loading fewer than 6 sheets help?

    Dan
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's difficult to tell what caused the unevenness but it's probably happening at the filling and initial agitation stage. Because the time is short the development starts very quickly.

    Some people fill the tank with dev then add the loaded film holder agitate then put the lid on & work in the light. I use a Yankee for some films and the lids don't seal so agitation is even harder.

    It's years since I used HC110 and the UK version was a different concentration, so can't help on that :smile:

    Ian
     
  7. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    If you insist on using a Combiplan, or any other tank of its kind, a good 5 minute pre-soak will help eliminate these streaks from the chemistry flow. Filling the tank and then putting the carrier in the developer in the dark is a solution many have found helpful. Frankly, I hate the things.
     
  8. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    Ian/Jim,

    I think I'll try filling the tank and then adding the film. Maybe try the pre-soak too. You hate to change too many things at once but none is a major cost/time impact so not a big deal to just keep it all if it works.

    I did have a problem this time with the tank filling slowly - the air vent didn't want to crack open well. That and a longer dev time might help. I have the HC-110 datasheets down in the darkroom - just too lazy to check them right now.

    Dan
     
  9. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I have great results from my combiplan tank, but I use longer developments ; usually 12-15 minutes depending on the developer as I use weaker or slower developers.

    Do a prewash for a minute or two first. Then use a dilution or developer that is slower to develop. The inversions should be gentle. I figure at least 2 seconds to go from one position to the inverted position. I do 30 sec continuous agitation at the beginning when the developer is strong, and it's less important regarding the agitation at the very end when the developer is weaker.

    If the film was touching you'd see it when you were done.
     
  10. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    i'm a firm believer that developing times of 5minutes or less is the main reason for enevenness. The shorter times do not allow for the emulsion to catch up with different areas that get developer first or get odd agitation marks. this is hard for me to explain, but for me, longish development times means more even development. I don't develope any film for less than 10 minutes.
     
  11. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    Thanks to everyone who gave me their thoughts.

    Just finished processing the latest batch of HP-5. Taking all of your advice (and using poor lab technique by implementing everything at once - don't care, I'll stick with it all), I used J Brunner's 49:1 @ 8 minutes dilution for HC-110 and HP-5 @ ISO-400, poured both developer and fixer (at their appropriate times) into the tank before dropping in the film, and pre-wetted the film before dropping it into the tank. I didn't see uneven development so maybe I'll be okay. I have a big shoot next weekend and no room for error so hopefully the process is there.

    Dan
     
  12. Light Guru

    Light Guru Member

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    Another tank option that I have tried and have had good results with is using a paterson 3 reel tank and a 4x5 hulder from mod photographic. The holder will will hold up to 6 sheets of 4x5 film. Mod Photographic sells them on ebay.
     
  13. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I've noticed something about these marks I've been getting. When the film is drying, sometimes, there will be a line between the emulsion being completely dry and fairly tacky and wet. That's where the mark comes from. What's causing this? Not fixing enough? Fixing too much? Not washing enough? Any thoughts? I can control it fairly well if I dry the film with a hairdrier.

    Thanks,
    Dan
     
  14. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    I only put 4 sheets at a time in mine.

    Try leaving the middle sheet out - the film may be touching each other in the tank.

    I have seen touch conditions on my films if I used all 6 slots.

    Martin
     
  15. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Those marks look like the classic problem of not agitating properly enough in the first 15-20 seconds of development.
    I have not read the other posts so sorry if it has been pointed out.
     
  16. Smudger

    Smudger Member

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    I have never had good results inverting my Combiplan . I kill the lights once a minute and lift the rack,drain to the left, re-insert, lift and drain to the right. Works well.