Processing techniques for 7x17

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by mikewhi, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. mikewhi

    mikewhi Member

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    Hi:

    Well, now that I've taken the plunge into 7x17 I could use some suggestions on how to process the film. I will be shooting EFKE PL100. The only thing I have now are 16x20 trays and a JOBO but I don't have a drum that big.

    Can anyone give me suggestions on how to process the film? I am planning on using Pyrocat HD. Ideas on stand or minimal agitation techniques would be interesting. But if you're willing to share how you process your ULF film, I'd be interested.

    Thanks.

    -Mike
     
  2. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Mike,

    I also use the 7X17 format. Depending on subject matter I develop the film in one of two ways, in ABS tubes standing on end for stand development, or with rotary processing in Beseler or Unicolor drums used on Uniroller motor bases . The second method will give the most even development of any method of processing, but the first gives more edge relief.

    If you want to go the rotary route pick up a 16X20 Beseler or Unicolor print drum of the kind used for processing color prints. This often come up on ebay for a pittance. The Unicolor drum has built-in dividers that will allow developing two sheets at a time but for the Beseler drums you need to make sure that the unit has the three divider tubes that originally came with the unit. You can position the dividers to process two sheets of 7X17 at a time. I actually have two each of the tubes and motor bases which allow me to develop four sheets of film at a time. For processing with Pyrocat-HD do this.

    1. Put the film(s) in the drum, close the lid and turn on the lights. add a liter of water at the processing temperature and rotate on the motor base for 5 minutes.

    2. Use one liter of developer per sheet of film. I now recommend dilutions of either 1.5:1:100 or 3:2:100 for rotary processing to keep general stain as low as possible.

    3. Agitate for the required time by just allowing the drum to rotate on the base, but every minute or so lift it off the base and give it vigorous sidewise action to break the laminar flow.

    4. Pour out the developer and pour in the stop bath. I recommend a 12 normal strength solution.

    5. Pour out the stop bath and add the fixer.

    6. Remove the film from the drum and wash one sheet at a time in a tray.

    Using this method of development will give you very even development and is very safe in that you will not scratch the film. I also like it because after you put the film in the drum the rest of the operations can be performed in room light. With Pyrocat-HD you will also get very low B+F or general stain.

    For stand or semi-stand develoment read the article by Steve Sherman in one of the numbers of View Camera that came out early this year. It will answer many of your questions about this method of develoment.

    You can also just develop in trays but I personally just loathe staniding around in the dark developing film so I tend to avoid this method. Also, I get a lot of scratches and gouges developing in trays, though some people can do it well.


    Sandy
     
  3. mikewhi

    mikewhi Member

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    That's a lot of help, Sandy. I'll keep an eye out for a motor and drum on eBay. I wonder if there is a Jobo drum that would have the dividers?

    I went to the Jobo for the same reasons you loathe tray development.

    -Mike
     
  4. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I developed mine with brush development until now. I have gotten a Jobo 3063 but do not have the insert that goes with it. I plan on using fiberglass screen in between the drum and the negative. Or you can make one like Jobo used to make, Donald Hutton sent me this pic of one that was made by a friend of his.

    Good luck.. :smile:
     
  5. David

    David Member

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    More ways to skin a cat here: tray development allows for inspecting the film during development and a careful technique gets away from scratched film (even Efke). Inspecting the film allows individual tailoring of each negative. Very cool indeed, but Sandy is right that standing in the dark is not exciting, it is, though, a link in the chain of events that are part of ULF photography. Developing probably isn't very exciting regardless of how it's accomplished.
     
  6. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    I do mine 2 sheets at a time in a JOBO 2850 drum. Perfect every time. PyroCat HD and Jobo CPA rotary machine.
     
  7. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I don't know. If you want to go Jobo all the way, with both motor base and tube, there are obvious convenience advantages. But the unit takes up a lot of space, which is why I prefer the Beseler/Unicolor motor bases and drums. Also, if you use a real Jobo you will probably need to slow down the rotation, at least with high speed and thick emulsion films.

    Sandy
     
  8. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    My path on developing 7x17 has gone full circle. I first tried tray development, and I scratched the snot out of the negatives. I move to a Jobo, and have had reasonably successful results using one of the print drums. But even with all the care I take (pulling the drum off and sloshing it back and forth every minute) I still would occasionally get hot streaks in my negatives. It always seemed to happen with the negatives that were the best images and ones where I did not make a backup shot. I also would occasionally pick up more base + fog than I wanted.

    So I bit the bullet and went back to trays. I still scratched them at first. But the more I did it, the better I got. The key is to be SUPER gentle when rotating through the stack, and make sure that you always keep one gloved hand in the tray to keep the sheets of film aligned . The culprits on the scratching problem are the corners. So if you keep all the corners aligned, your problems will diminish greatly. I suggest making quite a few mundane forgettable photos at first, and develop them as practice until you can do it time and again. Once you have it down, you will always have it down. FWIW, 7x17 is harder than any other format in my opinion. I think 12x20 is a breeze by comparison. I think it has something to do with the long skinny film in wide fat trays. I suggest biting the bullet and using trays. It's cheap and effective.

    Clay

    check out some example work on http://www.desantosgallery.com/artists/harmon/harmon.htm
     
  9. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I have never used Jobo so can not comment on the problems that one might experience with it.

    However, I can say this. In developing sheet film of 7X17 and 12X20 in the Beseler and Unicolor drums I have never scratched a single piece of film, nor, to the best of my knowledge, experienced any uneven development or hot spots from this type of processing.

    In contrast to Clay's experience with Jobo, I have not seen similar problems with prints developed in print drums on motor bases. I think the explanation for the difference in our experiences might lie in the fact that my procedure with the drums is to never let them move in one orientation for more than 20-30 seconds. In other words, I don't just ocassionally lift them from the base, but do so on a regular basis, i.e. every 30-45 seconds. In fact, I probably spend more time agitating with the drum than if the films were in a tray. But I do all of this with the room light on, which is a great blessing for me,

    Sandy
     
  10. Donsta

    Donsta Member

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    I have just been doing some experimentation with developing 7X17 and 12X20 on a Jobo. Jobo USA is closing it's doors within the next two weeks and the employee who made the "jobo" inserts for ULF film has already left (I am trying to track him down... I live in the same state so a little detective work may be successful).

    Another option is to make one's own inserts. The founder of Lotus cameras developed some inserts - I have some Jpegs of them but have not yet tried manufacturing them. This past weekend, I shot a 7X17 and a 12X20 shot of even blue sky and developed them in a Jobo 3063 drum with no insert (the drums have ridges which hold all sorts of different sized pieces of film/paper). I used a 5 minute prewash in Pyrocat HD and removed the drum from the unit every 90 seconds for vigorous sideways agitation as recommended by Sandy. Both sheets were perfectly developed with no hot streaks of any sort. While the "one sheet at a time limitation" is a little tedious, I don't foresee myself shooting vast quantities of 12x20 film at a time so for now, this will be my standard development practice. I am still going to try my hand at manufacturing some "Kriegland" inserts though...
     
  11. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    Sandy,

    The hot streaks would not happen every time. Maybe one out of twenty negs. But I could never predict it, other than to know it would happen when I could least afford it.
    The culprit seems to be the concentric ribs on the interior of the drum instead of the longitudinal ribs. I would get changes in the amount of stain right around the rib. It can be very subtle. In fact I have a few negatives that show no uneveness to the naked eye, but you sure as hell can see the streak when you print them in platinum. Some of the other problems I had I eventually corrected through some technique changes. One was to use quite a bit of volume to minimize oxidation effects. I typically would use 1000ml for 2 7x17 sheets in the drums. I also used a 2:1:100 or 2:1:150 dilution for pyrocat, which also would help minimize any runaway base + fog problems.
     
  12. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    Let us know how that goes.
     
  13. Donsta

    Donsta Member

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    It's interesting to note that the concentric ribs can be avoided - you can place a sheet of 12x20 into a 3063 drum either lenghways or sideways - it sits in place just fine (I tried both and could find no imperfections either way). I haven't spent enough time playing with 7X17 sheets - but will get round to it. I did not, however, do a Pt test print to check for UV visible only hot streaks. I may do an overexposed Cyanotype test print (cheap and should show up any UV transmission problems too). Clay - which drums were you using? As far as I can tell, the 3063 drum is a single piece, so that may help.
     
  14. philsweeney

    philsweeney Member

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    For 8 x 10 and 7 x 17 negatives I use a 16 x 20 tray. My total volume of dev is around 100 ozs depending on dilution and developer, so 6-8 films are covered well. By using the large tray I can slide the bottom sheet clear of the stack before I start to pull up. This minimizes the chance of the edges in the stack from dragging against the film emulsion. Film is FP4. I understand the efke 100 sratches easily, so I'd probably start with 4 films.
     
  15. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Clay,

    Many years ago ((early 90s?) when people first started experimenting with rotary type processing with staining developers of ULF film, including Jobo and film drums, there were numerous reports of development artifacts, ranging from streak patterns on the film that corresponded to the direction of rotation to stains that seemed to correspond to the ribs of the drums. I also heard reports of lines such as the one you describe that were not visible to the eye but would definitely show up on the print with UV processes. Quite a number of people concluded from these experiences that rotary processing was not worth the problem and returned to tray.

    However, as I have stated many times, standing there in the dark for long periods processing film is not something I like to do so spent a lot of time thinking about my own technique and examing the results. I don't pretend to have all of the answers but here are some of my thoughts on the way to get very even development with rotary processing. Some of the things I see you do already so I suspect that the difference in our results is equipment, not technique.

    1. Use a fairly large amount of developer solution as this minimizes the effects of developer speed up when crossing over any dividers that may be in drum. For example, I use 2 liters of solution per sheet of 12X20 film, quite a bit more than necessary (about 4X as much in fact).

    2. Rotation should be as slow as your equipment will allow, down to 5 RPM if possible. Fast rotation is very risky, not only because it increases oxidation that gives higher general stain but also because it can create hot spots.

    3. Rotation should be in both directions so it is important to use a motor base that reverses direction.

    4. Lift the drum or tube off the motor base frequently and give the film vigorous sideways agitation. It is very important to start this pattern of agitation very early in the cycle, say within 15 seconds or so of the beginning of development, because any patterns of unevenness always start during the first seconds of development and increase with time. Anything you can do to inrtroduce a random pattern to development is useful in breaking up laminar flow patterns that can cause hot spots.


    5. If you are using Pyrocat-HD increase the proportion of Solution A to B in the developer, and use a fairly weak dilution. I personally use a 1.5:1:100 but I can see that 2:1:150 might actually work better (more developer exhaustion and edge effects but less oxidation).

    Regarding those lines on the film that are not visible to the eye but show up during printing I have also seen this, but in my case I concluded that this was due to coating irregularities of the film during manufacture, not development technique.

    I have also concluded, for my own conditions, that the ribs that run lengthwise in print drums do not create any development artifacts, so long as 1) the film is pre-soaked, 2) speed of rotation is kept to 5 RPM or less, 3) a large amount of total solution is used, and 4) a fairly weak dilution of developer is used, with more Solution A than B.

    In spite of my very positive experiences with rotary processing I would encourage others to actually test how even your film is developed by sacrificing a few sheets of film by exposing them to an even light source and then developing with several techniques, say in a tray, in a tube or drum on a motor base, or in a tube that is used in a water bath as with BTZS type tubes. I know from my own tests that I get the most even development in the following order: best in smooth walled tubes in a water bath, after an initial pre-soak, second best in drums on a motor base, and last in tray development. Which convinces me that the key to even develpment is slow but continuous random agitation. From my tests I would conclude that the best method for 7X17 film would be the use of BTZS type tubes (which one could easily make from ABS plastic), with agitation by rolling them in a water bath. But there are some practical considerations which make the use of tubes of this size much more difficult than in smaller sizes such as 4X5 and 5X7.

    But I have to admit than even if the order of even development was reversed I would still use the drums because of my dislike for working in the dark.

    Sandy
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2005
  16. mikewhi

    mikewhi Member

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    Well, I share the distaste of working in the dark and shuffling negatives. I used to get so many gouges that I just did one negative at a time and that took forever! That's why I switched to a JOBO. Problem is, even at the slowest setting there is no way I can get 5 RPM. I'll have to keep my eye out for a Bessler\Unicolor with the Uniroller base. I assume, Sandy, that it has bi-directional rotation and can go as slow as 5 RPM?

    My next choice would be stand development with tubes, but I'd prefer the easy of the roller base. My JOBO spoiled me. If the Bessler roller will handle the JOBO expect drums, I may not need my JOBO anymore.

    I'll be doing 7x17 in very low volumes so tube processing could be a viable option - I may even try both to see the difference first hand.

    If anyone sees the roller base come up on eBay, please keep me in mind if you can.

    My next challenge will be 'seeing' in 7x17, something other than the obvious wide landscapes I hope. I have a few things in mind. But then I have a lot of things in mind and time is not so plentiful<g>.

    -Mike
     
  17. sanking

    sanking Member

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    One very practical solution for 7X17 film is to develop it in open ended 3" diameter PVC tubes. You could just roll the tubes around in an open tray in the dark, or you could buy or make a tank that could be covered for development in the dark. In fact, if you made the tank deep enough so that the developer would cover the tubes you could choose to either develop you film with normal agitation or with extreme minimal or stand agitation. With a tank of reasonable size this method would allow you to develop 4-6 sheets of film at a time, which makes it a very viable method.

    One could also do the same thing with 12X20 film but the size of the tubes and the amount of developing solution that would be required for this size begin to approach the impractical. Not impossible, though.

    Sandy
     
  18. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Photos of how 2 sheets fit perfectly in the Jobo 2850 drum. These aren't an expensive drum. 2 8X20 sheets fit the same way but go all the way to the far rib. I get perfect even development every time. No insert needed. I don't think the 1220 would work in this though.
     

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  19. Buster6X6

    Buster6X6 Member

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    Just recently I started developing 8X10 negatives. I use Cibachrome base that I modified with a DC motor. I use model RR transformer to power the base. I found that I can turn drum at less then 5 rpm's and have a switch to reverse rotation which I do three times during 8 min developing time. I could have gone and made larger wheel inside the base to rotate even slower but so fahr the negatives are very good. I use Efke PL100
    2:2:100 dilution with 250 ml of Pyro HD. I use Cibachrome drum for a single sheet of 8X10 film.I imagine you can use any size drum. The negatives are very sharp and contrasty , anfortunatelly I do not have noting to compare it with. I love the results.
    Just my 2c worth

    Greg
     
  20. mikewhi

    mikewhi Member

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    Hi Jim:

    I got into Carson City yesterday morning. I have a lot of gear with me and I'm ready to shoot!

    Regarding your post, are those 7x17 negatives. They look like they fit well. How much chemistry do you put in there to cover the negative? Do you process it on a JOBO or rotary processor or do you do it by hand?

    BTW, I setup my 7x17 for the first time today. My friends have a great view in their back yard and I see across Carson City to the mountains beyond. I put on my Nikor-W 360, Schneider Symmar-S 480 and my Cooke Triple Convertible XVa. All of them cover the format easily. With the Cooke, all 3 focal lengths will easily cover the 7x17 with a ton of room for movements. When I put on the rear element alone (about 476mm) I could adjust the front rise\fall to their maximum and never got any cut-off. When I slid the rear standard left\right the bellows cut into the optical path before I ever reached the limits of the lens. This Cooke lens is amazing. I have my 305 G-Claron with me but I haven't tried it out yet.

    My friends and I are talking about a multiple day trip down to the Bristlecone Pine area. I will go down south ahead of them by a few days and then we'll tool around in my Jeep. There is that great drive down from the Bristlecone Pine on a pretty steep 4WD road that drops all the way down the valley.

    Before I head south from Carson, I'll contact you to see if we can hook up and make that drive you mentioned. If not, just dropping by or meeting somewhere to say 'hi' would be great.

    I brought 25sh of 7x17 HP5 along with my 8x10 and 5x7 outfits so I'll have plenty to shoot with.

    I'll be processing the 7x17 when I get back and I'll pick up one of these 2850 drums. I don't need inserts with this drum?

    Thanks!

    -Mike