Print Drums vs. Trays

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by coriana6jp, Jun 11, 2006.

  1. coriana6jp

    coriana6jp Member

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    Hi all,

    I would like to thank everyone for th helpful information about enlargers last week. I manged to get my hands on a Fujinon enlarger, and it would be arriving sometime this week.

    As of right now I do all of my film processing in a Jobo Tank. I have been pleased with the results, never had any streaking or any other problems. I was thinking due to limited space, (especially now the at 4x5 enlarger is coming), that developing prints in a drum might be easier than trays. I have read both pro and con, but nothing really good or bad about it. The only thing I have been able to confirm is that Fiber paper, has to be handled with extreme care after washing.

    Any opinions or ideas would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanx!

    Gary
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    For B&W I much prefer trays. Drums use less chemicals. Are light tight. Hold temperture better. But I personally enjoy seeing the image come up in a tray.
     
  3. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I've always used trays for B&W, even though I've owned drums. If you run out of space for trays, shop for a second-hand Richardson Tray-Rak that holds three trays stacked vertically.
     
  4. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Evening, Gary,

    I tend to agree with Nick's comment above. A couple of other points may, however, be worth considering.

    If I need to knock out a quick print or two (or maybe just a single contact sheet), using a drum with the much smaller quantities of chemicals makes a lot of sense.

    While I have and use trays accomodating 16 x 20 prints, I have also sometimes used the drum method for prints of that size. By the time I decide to make a 16 x 20, I've usually zeroed in on the exposure and development times, so I don't need to see the print during processing. Again, the positive is a savings in chemical amounts; that factor is somewhat offset by the nuisance of washing the interior of the drum between prints. Anything beyond two or three prints in a session normally makes it worthwhile to set up the usual line of trays.

    Konical
     
  5. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I began B&W darkroom work with trays, and I've done a grand total of one B&W print in a drum. (I wanted a sample of a print done with a particular developer, but I only had about 250ml of that developer on hand, so a tray was out of the question.)

    For color, I began by using drums because that's what all the books and manuals and whatnot recommended; however, I found it to be a pain -- drums need washing and drying between prints, and I had some early problems with green streaks on my prints because of incomplete drying. (I suspect little drops of water clung in the lid and then dripped down.) Thus, I became obsessive about drying my drums, and the end result of all of this was that it took much longer to do a color print than a B&W print.

    For my latest color session (a week or two ago), I tried tray processing. I did this in total darkness until the print was in the blix, which was a bit awkward, and the odor from the trays was stronger than when I used a drum. OTOH, the overall speed of the process was much better. Overall, I preferred the tray processing, and I intend to use that method again the next time I do color prints.

    That said, I suspect drums would have an advantage for larger-than-normal prints. I normally process 8x10 and smaller prints, so I keep chemistry on hand in quantities that are suitable for this size. To do an 11x14, I'd need to use larger trays (which I have) and mix up larger quantities of chemistry. To do an 11x14 in a drum (which I have), I could use less chemistry than I use for my 8x10 prints. The chemistry would exhaust much faster, of course, but at least I wouldn't need to mix up larger quantities of it. This is largely speculative, though; I've not wanted to make an 11x14 B&W print since beginning color printing.
     
  6. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I would use tray for B&W and drum for color.
     
  7. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Another possibility is to use a Color Canoe which were once popular. You see them from time to time on ebay. They come in 8x10 and 11x14 sizes made of SS. They allow the use of a very small amount of chemicals say 1.5 to 2 ounces per print. The canoe has a rounded bottom and is rocked back and forth for agitation. After development the developer would be poured out and replaced with fixer. I find one useful for making a print or two without having to setup a set of trays. Using one certainly saves space.
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I am using drums because there is no room for trays in the room that I have available and can be made dark. I load the drum in that room, and do the processing in my kitchen.

    I have a number of drums (4 +) in the 8x10 size, and cycle through them, rinsing them and wiping them dry each time. As a result, by the time I am ready to do my 5th print, the 1st used drum has had time to air dry.

    On e-bay, drums and roller bases can be dirt cheap. I am currently using cibachrome drums.

    I really miss the tray experience - to the extent that I recently took a night school course that was probably innapropriate to my level of experience.

    On the other hand, drums make it easy to set up and use one shot chemistry - short printing sessions are possible. In addition, for the first time ever, I have a "darkroom" with a nice view :tongue: (I work at the kitchen counter, and can look out the kitchen window).

    Given the prices on e-bay, it is probably worth having a drum or two, even if you do have room for trays.

    Matt

    P.S. You can probably understand why I have hestitated to sign up for the postcard exchange :rolleyes:
     
  9. coriana6jp

    coriana6jp Member

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    I would like to thank everyone for the helpful replies. It has given me alot to think about. Right now I am inclined to get a couple of drums, and some trays and try both. I can see the advantages of both of them.

    Thanks!

    Gary
     
  10. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I had the same problem, limited space. But I wanted
    to get on with it. I adopted the single tray processing
    method. All of a sudden I can do up to 16 x 20.

    Two basic ingredients: minimal solution volumes, and
    those more dilute than usual. One tip if you give it a
    try; pre-wet the print in THE tray. You'll find that
    a cup or less of chemistry will handle an 8 X 10.

    I use the chemistry one-shot but some save to a
    container for the next print. If saving, a not so small
    amount of your usual strength will do a few prints.

    Then there are two and three tray methods. In each
    case the last tray is a holding tray. A. Adams used
    a fourth tray to hold. A second fix followed. Dan