Paterson Orbital users..question

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by JCT, May 22, 2009.

  1. JCT

    JCT Member

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    Hi all,


    So I want to use a Paterson orbital as my traveling processing method this summer. Will likely use it for 8x10 for the first time.

    I am planning on scoring the bottom as suggested by a number of people, but I am a bit conflicted about removing the "fins" underneath. Some folks have commented that they can leave marks when using soft emulsion films, so I would like to know if there is any consensus regarding the need for removing the fins. Any downsides? Not necessary?

    Appreciate the input!

    JT
     
  2. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I don't remember ever using a soft emulsion film in mine. If others have noticed it I would take them for their word. I generally used TriX without problems and some FP4+ and Hp5+. What I have had problems with at one time or another was shifting negs. Maybe it was just to hard an agitation but I am not a fan of the current peg type of system to hold the sheets.
     
  3. JCT

    JCT Member

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    Hi Wayne,

    Thanks-- I'm in the process of checking out a Deardorff I've been fixing up and purchased some inexpensive Arista film to start, so was concerned to see folks mentioning the potential problems with the blades for "softer" 8x10 film. I eventually would like to migrate to Tri-X in 8x10 as I have been using quite a bit in 4x5, so your experiences are encouraging. I think I will leave them intact and see how it goes at first as I work through my testing.

    I had come across some comments re: shifting negs as well, I had been planning on sticking to 8x10 (maybe some 5x7) with this gizmo, but thanks for the heads-up.

    Thanks again,

    JT
     
  4. bill spears

    bill spears Member

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    Don't want to be doom and gloom but I'm thinking of giving up on my Orbital as a means of processing sheet film - just can't seem to iron out all problems and this is after 12 months of perservering !
    I used blobs of epoxy resin on the base of mine to stop the film sticking and while this works well, I constantly get very faint impression marks on the non emulsion side of the negs where they make contact. The biggest problem though ...... and it's driving me nuts at the moment - is streaking. I removed the fins underneath as I thought they were causing it by creating currents in the developer but this didn't help. It's a pity because the Orbital is very easy to load and doesn't use much chemistry.
    A tip for the separator pegs is to replace them with long, small guage stainless bolts or self tappers.They're much more secure and the film doesn't ride over them in the developer.

    I've just spent the whole of today constructing a 'slosher' tray from some acrylic which I'm hoping will be the answer for sheet processing in the future.

    I think whatever mods you do to an Orbital, it'll be process of ' suck it and see'. Very frustrating journey for me though !

    Bill
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2009
  5. Peter Black

    Peter Black Subscriber

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    My original orbital was scored with a Dremel as per Roger Hicks' article some years ago, but I only did it in 1 quadrant in case it didn't work. I've found it to be OK over the years, although I open it up at washtime and lift the neg to make sure that water gets to wash the back of the neg as well. I use the motor base and I've not had a problem with the pegs. I went on to score the opposite quadrant the same way. It would probably work as well on all 4, but I don't shoot a lot of 5x4 and I would be reluctant to make a mistake with 4 sheets. :smile:

    I've also recently got a wholeplate camera and another orbital which I've done the epoxy beads on. I'm fairly sure they are too big, but that has not been an issue the 4 times I've used it so far. The negs all turned out OK without streaks or scratches, and I haven't touched the fins that others talk of. I still find it beneficial to take the lid off during washing and make sure the back of the neg is washed. I had assumed that the wholeplate neg would move about as there is nothing to stop it, but it stays surprisingly static even with 150ml of water sloshing around, which is why I think the epoxy beads are too big and are holding the film to them.
     
  6. Usagi

    Usagi Member

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    I have developed 4x5 negatives with orbital using motor now for a half year.
    I have two orbital 'tanks', for one I did Dremel and for one I put silicon droplets.
    From the both lids, I removed the 'fins'.

    So far, orbital has worked really well. Both tanks give equal result, so it does not have any meaning whether bottom is scratched with dremel or the negative is kept from sticking by some other way.

    No streaking, no uneven developing. Although I have very little doubt that in some cases the negative edge density might be a bit bigger than density at other areas. That is the thing I have to test some day - so far it hasn't cause any problems.

    As I develop a lot of 4x5 negs, I really like the easy use of orbital. The loading with a new negatives is so easy when compared to the any kind of spirals.
     
  7. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Well (as we all know) the Paterson is really a paper developing tray thats used for film developing with the scoring or dimpling. I personally wasn't interested in constant agitation developing so I should mention that I always used the tray such that developer covered the entire negs on standstill. Probably the real reason the negs shifted now that I think about it, but many times they didn't. The tray is prone to cracking in the corners if dropped but it can be repaired with plastic solvents and pieces of plastic.
     
  8. bill spears

    bill spears Member

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    It's interesting to hear of others experiences and that it works well for some. I think my issue with streaking is not an outright fault of the Orbital and I need to do more tests. I think there are so many variations with amount of developer used and agitation techniques etc, it's difficult to pin down whats best.
    I've just this minute emerged from the darkroom though, having given the homemade slosher a test run; it was a real pleasure to use and negs are looking good but we'll wait til they're dry and on the lightbox !
     
  9. Usagi

    Usagi Member

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    That's true. Really annoying!
    Don't need even drop it, just gently knock tray gently against sink or something and here we go...


    The one that I haven't yet tested is partial stand with Orbital, or uncontinuos agitation. Don't know how repeatable and even results it will give.

    I would have go with rotary processing but orbital seemed more insteresting daylight approach because the tray can be agitated either by motor, by hand (using the base) or simply by keeping tray on water bath and rocking it.

    And ofcourse, the old tray processing at dark is always option.

    BTW: As I don't have original pegs, I use screws instead. They works well.
     
  10. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Just finished eight sheets - Presoaked for five minutes on the motorised base. Placed the tray on a flat surface and tipped in 500ml of developer and gave it a couple of gentle rocks once per minute. Stop, fix, and initial washes were then done with the tray back on the base.

    No streaking or uneven development apparent to my (untrained) eye.
     
  11. Usagi

    Usagi Member

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    Now it's hot here, my darkroom has 28 degree celcius. Just realized one weak point of motorized orbital: No way to use waterbath, so I cannot control developing temperature.

    Perhaps I should develop with keeping tray in the waterbath and by rocking it... The motor is just - so ease.
     
  12. Usagi

    Usagi Member

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    A bit more about Orbital.

    I got some time ago first negative that was developed unevenly. The edges of 4x5 negative had notably more density than other areas.
    As this was real world photograph, I didn't measure it more, but I took some test negatives. Target was evenly illuminated wall from very close distance, camera focused on infinity.

    What I found was significantly more density around the edges of the negatives. This was same with my both orbital tanks - one that has "dremel worked" and one that has silicon droplets.

    Now, after I have looked issue more, I suspect that the cause could be change in the movement pattern.
    My orbital used to rotate and tilt the tank. The tank rotated slowly on each turn of the motor base and got tilted on each turn (here's a youtube video).
    Now it only does tilting movement, rotation is gone.
    I haven't yet figured out what caused that and why my tanks have lost that rotation movement. Is there too much or too less friction?


    How do your Orbital move with motor? Is the pattern similar like in the youtube video? If it is, then that is really the reason for my problems and I have to fix either motor base or go to the manual agitation.
     
  13. bill spears

    bill spears Member

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    This looks like too much agitation for me, and potential developer spill, although I know others use this method with no problems.
    I used to fill with alot more solution so that the film is practically covered then agitate very gently by hand - similar to as you would with paper.
     
  14. Usagi

    Usagi Member

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    Wirelessly posted (Samsung 2700: SAMSUNG-B2700/XBIB2 SHP/VPP/R5 NetFront/3.4 SMM-MMS/1.2.0 profile/MIDP-2.0 configuration/CLDC-1.1)

    The motorized agitation works at least up to 350ml when the lid is closed.

    My guess is that rotation movement broke the developer flowing pattern and prevented uneven development.
    Now when my motor base does not do rotation pattern any more, only tilts tank in (one direction) about 3 seconds intervals, it is just too much and flowing pattern istoo simple and predicable.
    So it is like tilting towards every corner so that one full 'circle' takes circa 3 seconds.

    Manual rocking surely works, but then my biggest fear is possible too strong development near the edges of the tank where moving developer bounces back.

    Haven't done much testing with manual rocking though. However when doing traditional tray developing by rocking the tray, too strong edge density is often problem - like i have now with 'tilting only' motor base.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2009
  15. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Actually, I think you can. I have read reports of people dispensing with the motor or static base and floating the tray in a bath of water to maintain temperature.


    Steve.
     
  16. Usagi

    Usagi Member

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    Here's video example how my orbital does agitation now. In the end of the video I use hand for doing rotating movement like my orbital used to do.
    Which way is the proper for orbital with motorized base?

    http://jukkavuokko.com/linkatut/CIMG2756 orbatal only tilt.avi


    I also did some tests with much less developer and found out that uneven developing was not any more a problem. It seems that as I have slowly begun to use more and more developer (up to 300-350ml), it ruins the whole idea behind the orbital, which is to use only small amount of developer but move it fast over the surface.
    Seems like 150ml is okay, perhaps 200ml also which I have used for a long time.

    Still not sure about the proper agitation with motorized base...
     
  17. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    For the last few weeks, I've taken to processing single sheets of 5x4 in the centre of the Paterson tray. I'm kinda hooked on the results of semistand development in 200ml of Perceptol at 1:4. Also getting good results on the motorised base, again with a single sheet & 160ml of dev.