Semi-Stand development and uneven spots...

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by TheFlyingCamera, Jun 11, 2005.

  1. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I just did my first batch of film using semi-stand development techniques. First, it is AMAZING. Your negatives look like they are etched glass, not film. I'm definitely going to keep pursuing this technique. For those curious, I'm shooting 4x5 Ilford FP4+ @ ISO 64, then developing in PMK Pyro 1:1:175 for 1 hour, with 15 sec agitation every 15 mins.
    This question, then, is for those who have more experience with this. I found on a number of my negatives that I had some uneven underdeveloped spots near the corners of my film. Not every sheet was affected though. I developed ten sheets in a Yankee Agitank. When I first looked at the film, I saw the spots, and so I looked for a pattern to see if it was relative to the position in the rack. It did not appear to be the case, as on one side of the center post, the outermost few negatives had these spots, but on the other side, they did not.

    I doubt it is a film issue, as I believe all the sheets in the batch came from the same box. I know that this development technique sometimes has issues with uneven development, most likely to raise their head in sky areas or other continuous tone areas, but this isn't the case here (at least as far as sky areas are concerned). I'll post scans as soon as my negs are dry so you can see exactly what I'm talking about.

    In any case, any insights would be appreciated.
     
  2. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I have been using Pyrocat HD with full stand..not semi stand development which starts with a 5 min presoak in tap water, I minute of agigitated development in Pyrocat HD made from 4 ml of A and 3 grams of washing soda..no part B..in a liter of tap water. I have used it without problems of uneven development on Pan F 50+, Apx 100, Delta 100. I develop only one roll of 36x 135 film per liter. For multiple rolls I have been using a 3 liter container with 3x the ingredients listed previously. I have never worked with PMK in stand development. I have tried some of Pat Gainer's Pyro formulas in TEA with reduced development agigtation and I had plenty of problems. Of course Pat Gainer never recommended that I try these techniques in the first place.. I know just who to blame.
     
  3. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Have you ruled out fingerprints? Being in the corner make that a logical suspect for contact while loading the film.
     
  4. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Without firsthand experience I would bet it is the lack of a presoak.
     
  5. TheFlyingCamera

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    I did a 3 minute presoak. I actually always presoak my film, so that I get more even and consistent results, and my film is up to temperature before I pour in the developer. I at first thought it might be fingerprints, but it isn't exactly in the corners, and no fingerprint patterns show. I have highlighted the problem spots with big red arrows in the image below. I'm thinking it has to do with the design of the rack in the agitank, the more I look at it. I might be able to modify the rack by cutting out or at least minimizing some of the crossbars.
     

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  6. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear FlyingCamera,

    I have had very poor results with uneven development using the Yankee tank. I moved from the Yankee tank to negative holders and now I use Jobo 2500 series (not the perfect solution for stand development<g>). I read a post from a fellow whoe claimed that agitating by pouring the developer in and out of the tank rather than rocking it improved his situation.

    Neal Wydra
     
  7. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

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    Looking at the scan I am thinking whatever method you are using to hold the film is causing unwanted pressure at the corners of various sheets of film and not allowing developer to produce uniform density.

    Agitation, I learned a long time ago that every photographer has his / her own method of agitating film. Being consistent with your agitation technique is far more important that the exact method of agitation, althought I subscript to the gentler kinder approach.

    Ken's method of using full strength developer and then pouring out in favor of pure water is risky at best. The benefit of that method is more contrast compression than it is to increase adjancecy effects which is caused by exhausted developer at tonality boundaries and reduced agitation.

    Terrific technique, do not give up
     
  8. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I agree. Upon consideration, I think that it is the design of the film holder for the agitank that is causing blocked flow at certain points. I'll probably have to revert to tray processing (which is a pain because I won't be able to leave my darkroom or have lights on for an hour). I've always had very consistent results with the agitank before, which I know a lot of people don't, but I have a very gentle agitation method, holding the tank with my finger tips pointed up, just under the ridge around the top of the tank, and then rocking the tank, raising and lowering each corner in a circular pattern. Think Rob Gibson coating a glass-plate with collodion, and you get the idea, but faster.
     
  9. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    You might give tube development a try and see if it isn't better. There's an article in the "How To" section on 4x5 tubes and their construction.

    I switched from PMK to Pyrocat for a couple of reasons, but one of them was uneven staining. PMK isn't well suited to stand development because of general stain and the issues revolving around it, but tubes should help a lot with this process. Make sure to mix enough developer to completely submerge the film and you may have more even development. Judging from your results, perhaps I should have stayed with it a bit longer.

    One nice thing about Pyrocat is the ability to vary dilutions to take advantage of various development and agitation techniques. If you still have problems with stain, PMK may not be the right choice. Rodinal is another good choice, as a lot of people in the forum are using it the same way with good results. Stand development really is incredible for added sharpness. tim
     
  10. TheFlyingCamera

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    I had no problem with stain - the stain was very even and consistent. I just had those odd under-developed spots in the sides of about half my film. I'll look into tubes - probably just bite the bullet and get the BTZS tube kit. When using PMK for normal development (1:2:100, 10-15mins depending on film) my negs come out of the agitank perfect - even stain, even development.