Shallow vs Deep Developing trays

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by jeddy-3, May 29, 2012.

  1. jeddy-3

    jeddy-3 Subscriber

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    Hello Everyone, I'm still working on getting my first closet-darkroom prepared. I have 3 small trays that my father gave me from his old rig, and I'd like something bigger. It seems that the deeper 5" trays would be less likely to spill, especially when I make trips to the sink in the adjacent room. Are the deeper trays more difficult to work with for any reason when developing paper? Is there any advantage to the more shallow 3" trays? Thanks so much. I know it's a very basic question, but I have absolutely no darkroom experience and do not know anyone, other than my father, who has any to share. His only experiences are printing very small snapshots in his very small trays. Thanks most kindly for your patience with such a silly question.
     
  2. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Traditionally I think the deep trays were reserved for fixer, which could last a long time, but you did not wish to have saturated with silver too early, so you used lots of volume.

    Fibre based papers once were exposed, developed, stop bath, first fixer, water holding bath.
    At the end of a session, from the water holding bath all of the prints together were moved into a fresh second fixer solution, and interleaved to make sure all prints saw exposure to the fresh solution.

    These were where having a deeper tray was handy.
     
  3. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear jeddy-3,

    Buy Paterson trays. They have a little extra room, stack well and are quite durable. They are deep enough for all your needs. I suggest a large funnel and emptying the trays where they are rather than carrying them around full. Use a larger tray (something as simple as a mat for wet boots) to catch spills.

    Neal Wydra
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Deeper trays hold more chemistry. That is better for doing higher volumes of prints.

    Trays that are fairly stiff and thick are easier to carry with chemicals in them, but if it is at all possible, it is better instead to pour the chemicals into a jug or pail used for the purpose of transport.
     
  5. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    If I must move prints, I put the wet prints into a dry tray.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Usually the deep tray is a fixer tray for the reasons described in the first post. Fixer generally doesn't suffer from exposure to air, so you can leave it out and use it until it is exhausted (unless you're using plain hypo), where it only makes sense to make as much developer as you need for a session usually, and you don't need to fill a deep tray with it.