Processing 4x5 film?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by stradibarrius, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    I have lots of experience processing B&W film so this question relates to the equipment needed to process 4x5 sheet film. I have tanks and reels to process roll film and know how to use them.
    If you had no, LF tank, LF tubes etc to process sheet film and could start fresh, what type of processing tank, tray or tube would you invest in.
    I have seen some videos for the BTZS tubes that seem easy to make and use. Of course I can use my trays that I develop my prints in.

    looking for your favorite method?
     
  2. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    You could try with open trays. Of course it requires total darkness, but you will have total control of the process and you don't have to buy anything right now (I assume that you have some darkroom stuff already).
    That said, a daylight tank is nice (but in my experience more risky).
     
  3. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Paterson Orbital would be my first choice, unfortunately no longer in production and probably as rare as rocking horse poo in the USA.
    Second choice would be a Jobo 2500 tank with a 2509 reel. The third choice would be a set of three Combiplan tanks so that I could run a small dip'n'dunk line.
     
  4. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I develope in an AP brand plastic two reel tank ala "taco" method. I have a daylight tank that holds 12 sheets, but I usually only shoot two or four sheets at any time, so it just sits.
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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  6. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    Slosher Tray - see link. Wouldn't trade mine for anything....

    Good luck!

    Shawn
     
  7. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Ansel Adam's used and stood by tray development. It is by far the simplest, and should get your feet (well... actually your fingers) wet.

    I'm hoping to upgrade to what jnanian just posted to in the near future. Taco method also might be worth exploring.

    I think that getting into Jobo/BTZS tubes is overkill for something you've just gotten into. Start primitive, and then work your way up if your passion for the hobby permits it.
     
  8. Dave in Kansas

    Dave in Kansas Member

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    I have a Yankee daylight tank that holds 12 sheets that I use if I have around 5 or more sheets to develop. If I have fewer than that I usually just tray develop.

    Dave
     
  9. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    If I use my trays, can i process several sheets at the same time or do I have to process each of them separately?
    Also I am assuming that it has to be done in total darkness..no safelight???
     
  10. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    My favorite is stainless hangers in tanks, I have a narrow stainless tank that holds about 5 hangers and doesn't require much chem. When I don't do it that way, I process in trays or occasionally in a Jobo with the sheet reel.
    If I were starting from scratch I'd go either with the slosher tray or a Combi Plan tank. On ebay there are also the inserts that go into Patterson tanks, which look promising.

    Yes, with trays and deep tanks, you work in the dark, no safelights. I find it restful :wink:

    How many at a time depends on your skills. I know folks who do 20 sheets at a time, my limit is about 10.
     
  11. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    To begin tray developing, I would suggest starting with 6, no more. Rotate thru all 6 in 30 reconds, that way, each film is "agitated" for about 5 seconds. You want to get the rotation down to 30 seconds, much like doing 35mm in a small tank, agitating every 30".

    You can do more of course, but you have to get your speed up to snuff. No safelight... that's the fun of it!

    The PF slosher tray looks like a good method too, but for $70 you could make something with the same capability at a much lower cost.
     
  12. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    When using trays I use small trays (a lot of them) and max 4 negatives in each tray so that I can keep one in each corner (you don't want them on top of each other).
     
  13. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I respectfully disagree. Having them stacked is a perfectly normal thing and presents no problem as long as you pre-soak them to avoid sticking, and as long as you leaf through them at a constant rate.
     
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  15. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    Rick, can you explain the "Taco" method? I realize that it is not the most economical method but to process my first few sheets it is easy and daylight safe.
    I have two Arista 2-reel tanks.
     
  16. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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  17. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    To each his own. Stacking doesn't work for me but a lot of others use it.
    "Leafing through them at a constant rate" gives a little too much agitation for me, but this is just my experience.
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    as long as you are careful and have a method
    you can process as many sheets of film in a tray as your tray can handle
    i regularly do 10-12 and have shuffled 30-40 sheets with no scratches or other problems ...
    but it takes experience and practice ...

    good luck barry !
    john
     
  19. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I started out using 5x7 trays and they work well. You can shuffle your sheets in the chemicals. It takes a lot of practice. I've scratched many sheets from the lack of experience. There are also daylight tanks which I use. I have an old Yankee Agitank. I think they're OK and have gotten mixed results. I have a friend that has an HP Combi Tank. http://www.amazon.com/HP-Combi-Plan-Sheet-Developing-System/dp/accessories/B0000ALKEH

    They work well too.
     
  20. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    Thanks...I think I have enough info to get going. I took two shots last night of a nautilus shell and I am going to process them in a bit.
     
  21. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Afternoon, Barry,

    While I have considerable admiration for those who have the skill and patience to use tray processing without getting unevenly-developed or damaged negatives, my recommendation (as many APUG members who recall my previous posts on this topic will remember) is a Chromega 8 x 10 color processing drum. It comes with separating ribs and a spacer; it's cheap, doesn't leak, requires only minimal chemical amounts, and makes 4 x 5 processing virtually foolproof. The only drawbacks are 1)four-sheet-at-a-time limitation and 2)incompatibility with stand or semi-stand processing, neither of which normally affects me.

    Konical
     
  22. rjbuzzclick

    rjbuzzclick Member

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    Similar to Konical, I use a Beseler color drum that holds four 4x5 sheets and only requires 200ml of chemistry. I have a motor base for it, but before I got that, I just rolled it back and forth on a 2x4. It works well, although I am recently discovering that the spout light trap is not as good as I first thought. If I load the film a day or so before I process it, I have had a stray light leak appear that I used to blame on film holders, but subsequent investigation revealed it to be from the drum. I have two drums and they both exhibit this. It's easy enough to avoid by being careful. I also have a Unicolor drum, but it leaks a bit as it's missing the gasket. I just need to make a new one.
     
  23. dtheld

    dtheld Member

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    I highly recommend the processor made by Morgan O'Donnel (apug member, search
    Mod_Photographic for the details and his website) or contact Morgan at morgan@modphotographic.co.uk.
    He's a great guy that has come up with an excellent solution to the 4X5 developing problem.
    Dave
     
  24. mwdake

    mwdake Member

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    Another vote for the Unicolor or Beseler drum.
    I do 4 sheets in 250 ml of solutions with the motor base.

    I must admit I do have a couple of Jobo 4 x 5 tanks and reels and 2 Jobo processors but I still use the Unicolor drum most often as it just seems more convenient for the occasional 4 x 5 that I do.
     
  25. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Evening,

    A follow-up to Reid's comment above: I have on occasion, put film in my Chromega drum but not processed it immediately. Even after a several-day interval, light leakage has never been a problem at all. I would not, however, deliberately leave a loaded drum in a sunny location for any extended period of time. I wonder if the Beseler drum light leakage could occur simply because the pouring spout is left facing upward toward any room light source(s); perhaps facing it downward would alleviate any problem.

    Konical
     
  26. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    Nikor monster stainless daylight tank with the cut-sheet film cage, for me! I've done a zillion rolls of 35mm and 120 film in the normal sized tanks, so this just puts me totally in my comfort zone of processing technique.

    Duncan