Tank for 35mm: which size?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by sterioma, Oct 11, 2004.

  1. sterioma

    sterioma Member

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    Here I am again with a question about the equipment for the darkroom which I am putting together. I am only intersted in 35mm as of now.

    I am now asking the following thing: would you buy a tank with room for two
    spirals or for just one?

    Basically, these are my basic doubts:

    1. Would a single spiral tank allow to make higher dilutions?
    2. How do I avoid waisting chemicals when using a bigger tank loaded with just one spiral (which will be the case most of the times)?

    Following are the details of the offers from the online shop (price is pretty much the same):

    Paterson 35mm Tank: 14xH12 cm (1 35mm spiral)
    Paterson Universal Tank: 14xh17 cm (2 35mm spiral or 1 120 spiral).

    Thanks for any advice you can give me :smile:
     
  2. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    actually if you can afford it, get both. There will be times you want to do two that have the same exposure and times to develop. It saves time. Others you will only want to do just that one roll. I've used tanks that do 4 rolls at once. Of course when I see something I really like, I can run through a lot of film in a few hours.
     
  3. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    Second aggie suggestion about getting both if possible. We use the 2 reel tanks all the time with one roll of film. You need to be sure to use enough chemistry to cover which is at least 10ounces with the patterson reels and that the reel is pushed down all the way to the bottom of the spindle. People have been known to forget that and end up with uneven development. Of course you could also just put an emplty reel on top.
    You will find that there may be times when you will need more than just 2 reels. ALthough you can reload a patterson reel if it is damp (at least the newer ones) it can be difficult.
     
  4. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I also would second Aggie's suggestion if you can. I have a single tank, two double tanks, and a tank that takes four reels of 35mm. I don't think I'd go much bigger than that, I think agitation gets tricky with those eight reel tanks. Having said that, I find I rarely use the single tank. Somehow I can always burn through more film! If you are using more than one tank, start your development times at one minute intervals. Of course, I acquired these tanks slowly over the years, and still would like one more four reel tank!
    -Suzanne
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If you can find them second hand, tanks are cheap. It's good to own them in a range of sizes. I use stainless steel tanks, and I have tanks for 1, 2, 5, 8, and 12 35mm rolls (but I'm usually using them for 120).
     
  6. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

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    Not wishing to be argumentative, but why buy both? I have used the 2 reel tanks for years with the vast majority of films being developed on their own. I feel it's handy to have the option to do 2 films at a time and I also do 120, although I didn't when I bought my first tank.

    It is handy to have multiple tanks, more so multiple spirals (if plastic) as their b******ds to load when damp, let alone when wet. It all depends on how much film you expect to process.

    To answer your specific questions in one, for a single film, both the single spiral tank and double spiral tank would use the same quantity of chemicals.

    Martin
     
  7. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    If you can only afford 1, get the 2 spirals tank.
    All you need is a "reteiner" ring to keep your 1 spiral at the bottom and you won;t use more cheamicals than in a 1 spiral tank.

    If you want to dev 2 rolls at once is the way to go, and will allow margin to use 120 film later....

    I'd reccomend a plastic tank (Patterson or similar)
     
  8. sterioma

    sterioma Member

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    Thanks everybody for the answers!

    It looks like that the two reels option is what I should prefer, for the time being. Since this is my first attempt at developing BW on my own, I think I can stick to one single tank for now. If my experience is successful (and my family won't complain for the mess in the bathroom :smile:), I might consider your advice of adding further tanks.

    Just to share what else is in my cart:

    • Rodinal 500cc
    • llfostop 500cc
    • Agefix 1L
    • Agepon 250 cc
    • Paterson Thermometer (Alcohol)
    • Graduated Cylinders (50cc and 650cc)
    • Kodak Tri-X 400 (5 rolls)
     
  9. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    You'll need a syringe to measure Rodinal.
    Those sell for less than $1 in any pharmacy, or free if any of your friends is a doctor. Get a 5ml and a 10ml if you can.

    If you are doing 1 roll its about 350ml, 1+50 you'll need 7ml and 1+25 14ml.
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think it is better to have tanks that fit the number of reels loaded for more consistent agitation. If you agitate a half-full tank with a large air space, that's different from agitating a full tank with a small air space. Alternately a tank with sufficient solution for two reels but only one reel loaded may produce different results with a one-shot developer than a tank with sufficient solution for two reels and two reels loaded. With very dilute developers, there might be similar considerations about developing one reel of 120 as opposed to 220 or 2 reels of 35mm in the same volume of solution.

    So start with the larger tank, if you can only afford one for now, but you might want to be aware of the issues and get other tanks later.
     
  11. Dean Williams

    Dean Williams Member

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    Get the two reel tank, like most other folks say. And add a few things to your cart:

    D76 (but get the Rodinal too, everyone should have Rodinal on hand).

    Get more Tri-X.

    Get some FP4.

    If you can afford it, get a thermometer with a dial. They are easier to read, and harder to break.

    You can mix a very economical drying aid with: One part Isopropyl Alcohol (70%) plus four parts Distilled water. No spots! Use it for about ten films, and discard.

    You will also need some containers to store your mixed chemicals. One liter plastic water bottles will do fine if you squeeze out the air after adding the chems, and store them in the dark. They're free after you drink the water. Be sure to label them.

    Clips, or clothes pin to hang your film to dry.

    Have some fun.

    Dean
     
  12. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think it's better to get the industrial syle bottles to store chemicals. You can find them at some camera stores, or even at hardware stores (probably for less, but haven't priced them out lately). I was storing exhausted fix in old water bottles, but some of them leaked. I ended up buying a five gallon heavy duty plastic bucket to store it. (We have septic, so I wait for our town's 'toxic waste day" to dispose of old fix.)

    Good luck!
    -Suzanne
     
  13. sterioma

    sterioma Member

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    Yes, I was planning to take the syringe at the pharmacy, or maybe I might have already some somewhere.


    Talking about Rodinal: I preferred a liquid developer because I understand it's easier to mix them for a beginner, compared with the powders (I have also read that Rodinal+TriX combo can be a bit grainy for the 35mm, though... we'll see the result).

    Would I be able to extract with the syringe just the amount I need to dilute for one/two rolls development, or will I have to prepare some intermediate working solution to store in spare bottles (or other containers which have been suggested)? I couldn't find this apparently basic information on the web.


    I have followed your suggestion and made those Tri-X from 5 to 10 :smile:

    FP4 for the 35mm is out of stock and nowhere to be available any soon at my online store. No dial thermometers either. I wish here in Italy we had the same availability of darkroom equipment and films which I can see in USA and UK for example. Unfortunately shipping costs to here are a bit too high......


    Thanks again to everybody.
     
  14. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Sterioma:
    Yes, with the Rodinal you just take what you need using the syringe.
    Another liquid to try would be Kodak HC110 very concentrated. I believe I saw a thread somewhere around here about mixing direct from concentrate.
     
  15. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    You measure Rodinal straight from the bottle with the syringe.

    1+25
    1 35mm roll -> 350 ml water + 14ml rodinal
    2 35mm roll -> 650 ml water + 26ml rodinal

    1+50
    1 35mm roll -> 350 ml water + 7ml rodinal
    2 35mm roll -> 650 ml water + 13ml rodinal
     
  16. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Years ago, a friend of mine who worked in a lab gave me a 30ml all-glass syringe. The plunger is ground perfectly to fit the barrel with absolutely no leakage. It's very accurate and easy to read and clean. I worry that one of these days my butterfingers will drop it.
     
  17. Dean Williams

    Dean Williams Member

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    A good start. :smile:

    If you have Orwopan 125 in your area, it is the same as FP4, at least in the US. Other choices for a 100-125 speed film are Fuji Neopan SS and Kodak Plus-X along with Efke and Foma 100 films. Some slower films are very nice in Rodinal (along with Tri-X, but you will get a little more grain). You'll have to try some to see what you like. That's part of the fun!