Tray processing

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Stephen Samuels, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. Stephen Samuels

    Stephen Samuels Member

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    Maybe I'm missing something but am about to develop 10x8 in trays and wondered how everyone keeps track of development times in complete darkness? I could count (not very accurately!) for a couple of minutes but when times run to 8 - 10 minutes, precision would be right out the window.

    Thanks for your experiences.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have a large Omega Pro Lab timer with a luminescent dial (the big Gralab timers are like this as well) that I can see in the dark. It's far enough away from the trays that it doesn't fog the film.

    You could also use any timer that beeps. I ordered three cheap timers like this from a company in Hong Kong, but they only sent me one of them, so I won't recommend this particular company, but this sort of thing is easy to find.

    Then some people develop by inspection.
     
  3. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    If I keep my trays in the bathtub and I'm kneeling next to the 'tub, i just point my digital watch away and press its little light button and read off the time occasionally. Barely any light produced by that. Or a kitchen timer but that can be a bit unexpected.
     
  4. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I use a big Gralab timer -- just keep it pointed away from the film. But any kitchen timer would work. heather -- what watch do you have? Supposively, the Timex Intaglo (or whatever name they use) light that their watches have is just the right color for inspecting film during development!

    Vaughn
     
  5. mjs

    mjs Member

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    I have a large Gralab timer on a shelf about three feet above the trays. The shelf is about 8" deep and the timer is back far enough that from the level of the trays, one can't see it. I painted the walls and ceiling of my darkroom matt dark gray, so no reflections to worry about, either. I cover the timer's face when I'm unloading film, reloading holders, etc. but uncover it once I've got the film into the developer. I run a control test a couple of times a year in complete darkness (counting) and I've never seen a trace of fog.

    Mike
     
  6. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    Vaughn - hah, I haven't heard that. This is a casio watch with a tiny green LED(i suspect anyway) in one corner of the display. I suppose (very dark)green light is generally the safelight of choice for film, though ...
     
  7. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I use my enlarger timer, the red LED kind, set to dim. It sits at a level lower than my sink, and a ways away, No problem.
     
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  8. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Stephen, I use audible timers when doing 5x4 while I sit in the dark

    I start the timers just after I immerse the film

    I use a Casio wrist watch to repeatedly bleep every minute while Dev’ing the film - http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/2510921/Trail/searchtext>CASIO+WATCH.htm

    Concurrently, I run a Paterson Triple Timer to bleep when the Dev/Stop/Fixer times have expired – it will count down 3 times at once & I have found it ideal for timing the overall sequence - http://thedarkroom.co.uk/products_class.php?productID=995

    Martin
     
  9. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Stephen,

    I use a Timax Ironman Triathlon digital watch with a timer function (you can program multiple times in, including drain times if you like). I keep it in my pocket and listen for the alarms.

    Neal Wydra
     
  10. Stephen Samuels

    Stephen Samuels Member

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    Thanks everyone - I was thinking of recording an audio signal on CD using the metronome or drum machine in studio software but it starts to get complicated when you need to distinguish between minutes and parts of minutes. Your suggestions sound a lot easier.
     
  11. Ian Leake

    Ian Leake Subscriber

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    Darkroom timer with luminous hands. I count the number of minutes in my head and only follow the second hand so it doesn't have to be very bright.
     
  12. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I don't develop in trays anymore, but I used to use a metronome. Counting seconds is your best friend... :D It gets to become a habit and second nature after a while. Some people can't stand it.

    If you have trays anyway, learn how to develop by inspection with a dark green safelight. Time development can, and is in many ways, very precise. But as an extra safety measure I used it to turn on the lights for a brief moment at about 75% of my normal dev time. Have a look, then either dunk the film into the stop bath or let it continue developing as needed. It's pretty slick, if you can avoid all other problems such as scratches and uneven development.

    Re: Metronome. It's a brilliant tool for me since I print in silver. This way I can get very precise dodging and burning done by just letting the enlarger lamp continue to illuminate while I do my thing with various tools, so if you print in silver it could be worth it for that reason too. Then if you decide you don't like it for film developing, well, you can still use the metronome.

    - Thomas
     
  13. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    This has been done too, certainly, and I remember reading a post once (probably here) where someone said their development timer for their usual film/dev combination was a particular recording of Satie's "3 1/2 Gymnopedies"!

    I bought a GraLab timer that doesn't glow in the dark, but does click when the hands pass each other (every 6 seconds), and some glow-in-the-dark paint. The results are just barely bright enough to see, but I rely first on counting the clicks and just peer at the dial for confirmation that I haven't lost count. I don't think I could fog film with it if I tried.

    -NT
     
  14. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    There is software available for most Palm (I use FotoTimer) or Windows 'personal-assistant' mini-computer things to make them bleep in different ways at the appropriate times. You just put the thing in a film box or a drawer, so the light isn't a problem, with one or two extra timing periods at the beginning so you can get set up before starting the film off.

    Alternatively, making a recording on cassette or MP3 is also a well tried and tested method - especially as you can speak reminders for agitation or whatever you need, without having to remember what different bleeps mean in the 'modern' version.
     
  15. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    you can set my ipod to beep after so many minutes.