View Full Version : Drum Processing Options for ULF

05-28-2009, 09:29 PM
Hi All,

I admit that I hate tray processing film, I have tried it several times & have had nothing but problems (created by myself I am sure). I settled on Jobo Expert drums for 4x5 & 8x10 and have never looked back.

I read thru the archives & came away with no concrete answers. I noticed some people have made inserts for Jobo 3063 drums & others have used Bessler drums, etc, etc. But, the sucess rate seems to vary from good to only so-so.

I was just wondering if there are any new thoughts or developments (no pun intended) on ULF drums.

Thanks for the input.


Allen Friday
05-28-2009, 11:47 PM
I regularly develop 11x14 single sheets in 2840 tubes (the one with the extension on the bottom), 12x20 and 16x20 single sheets get developed in 2500 and 2800 series tubes. I also use 3063 tubes to develop 2-12x20s, one 16x20 or one 20x24. I use D-76 as my go to developer. With D-76, no insert is needed. I have also used D-23 divided without inserts without any problems.

I tried using rollo pyro in a tube, but gave up because of lines (made by the ridges in the tubes) showing up on the negs. To me this wasn't a big deal as I get the results I want from D-76. Sandy King has a method for using pyro in tubes, you should find it in the archives. If you must use pyro, I would try his method. It involves taking the tube off the jobo at regular intervals and rocking the tube from end to end.

I tend to use a lot of developer. 750 ml for 16x20 and 1 ltr for 20x24. The Jobo is set near its slowest speed, I think it works out to about 60 or 70 rpms. (Sorry, I don't remember the exact rpms, I have been using the same setting for years.)

I buy tubes on *-bay. I put in low offers and a couple of times a year I actually win. I have accumulated a lot of tubes this way.

I also run two jobos at a time. I picked up a second one really cheap on *-bay. It took two years to get one really cheap. When you're developing one sheet at a time, it gets pretty boring. Running two at a time, staggering the start time by just over 5 minutes, keeps me jumping.

To further speed things up, I do the minimum wash in the jobo, three quick washes of about 1 minute each. As soon as the last wash is done, the tube comes off the jobo and the next tube goes on. While the new tube is in the 5 minute pre-soak stage, I empty the old tube, soak the film in SS and then put the film in a print/film washer for a complete wash. When the new tube is in the fix stage, the old film gets photo-flo and hung to dry.

Bottom line, I've been developing ULF film in jobo tubes for 5+ years now without any problems, as long as I stick to D-76. But, I like D-76.

Oren Grad
05-29-2009, 12:45 AM
I'm not sure there's anything really new to report. I use the 3062 and 3063 drums without inserts and develop in D-76. No problems with evenness, but I'm developing for silver, not alt processes where UV transmission is an issue.

05-29-2009, 07:59 AM
Thank for the info!!! I am using Pyrocat (as I am making duel purpose negatives) for most of my processing, so I will take a look and see if I can find Sandy Kings method.



Allen Friday
05-29-2009, 12:44 PM
I looked up Sandy King's article on unblinkingeye.com, "An Introduction to Pyro Staining Developers, with Special Attention to the Pyrocat-HD Formula." I suggest you give it a read. According to sandy, using Pyrocat eliminated the streaking problems with rotary (jobo) processing. I was incorrect in my above post. He recommends removing the drum and giving it sideways agitation for print drums on motor bases, not jobo procesors. So, you should be good to go with a jobo and pyrocat.

Give the article a read. Lots of good info therein.

05-29-2009, 06:56 PM
Thank for the info!!! I am using Pyrocat (as I am making duel purpose negatives) for most of my processing, so I will take a look and see if I can find Sandy Kings method.



What size film or format? The pyro rib problem can be lightened, maybe eliminated, if you can find a drum where the larger ribs hold the film in place and the smaller ribs do not leave a mark. I run the CPP-2 at speed 4 with two sheets of film and 1 ltr water, 15ml part A, 30 ml part B Rollo Pyro.

I shoot 7x17, have used Rollo Pyro 3 maybe 4 years without a rib mark. I use a combined tank 2830 and 2560, two sheets at a time.

I have a second CPP-2 that needs an $80 part. Maybe running two at a time would be a good idea for me. Thank you Allen.

John Powers

05-30-2009, 10:37 AM
I have followed these discussions for a very long time and as best I can tell there is not one single solution that works in every case. People are using drums with different internal configuration (smooth walled, ribs, tube separators, etc.), different developers and dilutions, and developing for different processes (what works for silver printing may not work for alternative printing). What I can suggest are a few guidelines that I try to follow.

1. If possible use a drum with a smooth wall configuration. The tubes, ribs and separators that are in some drums may alter the rate of flow over the developer during rotation and create hotspots. And the hotspots may not be visible in silver printing but may show up in printing with UV processes. Having said that, I have personally had good success with Beseler and Unicolor drums that have internal dividers and ribs.

2. Use the most dilute solution of the developer possible, If using Pyrocat-HD or -MC use the 1:1:100 dilution, or even 1:1:150 instead of 2:2:100. If using D76, try 1:3 instead of 1:1 or 1:2.

3. Slow rotation is much better than fast rotation. The Unicolor and Beseler motor bases rotate the drums much slower than Jobo. If you have a Jobo, use the slowest rotation possible.

4. Motor bases that reverse the rotation are preferable to those that turn in one direction only.

5. Right after you pour the developer in the tube lift it from the motor base and give some rotation on end by lifting the ends of the tubes up and down, rotating the tube at the same time. Repeat this action every minute or every two minutes for the rest of the development period.

You may not do any of these things and still get good results but IMO they are best practice for developing film in drums with motor base rotation.

Sandy King

05-31-2009, 11:02 PM
Thank you all for the helpful input. I will be shooting both 12x20 & 11x14. I dont have a jobo, but for LF been using expert drums on a no-name motorized roller base.


Thank you for that helpful article! Answered alot of questions that I had nor had I previously thought about. BTW, I tried to reply to your email last week, but I am not sure if you recieved it or not.

Thank again for the help.