View Full Version : How do I develop pack film?

07-06-2009, 08:37 PM
So I bought this camera, and it came with an old pack of Tri-X (I don't know exactly how old). Some was already used, or at least the tabs were torn off; for the heck of it, I shot the rest and am now ready to develop it and see what I got.

How does this work? Can I open the pack *holder* in the light, or does that too have to take place in the dark? And since there are 16 sheets in there, which is more than I want to do as a single stack, can I take some out and close the pack back up, still lightproof?

I'll be tray processing, and I know to be careful about the glued-on paper; I just need to know how to get the film out of the pack!



07-06-2009, 09:01 PM
Handle in complete darkness. The sheets are thin-like 120 film. They were developed in sheet film hangers and deep tanks in the Dark Ages.

Christopher Walrath
07-06-2009, 10:28 PM
Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9000/ Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/


07-06-2009, 10:37 PM
As above, total darkness only. We used to soup a sheet at a time in a tray of straight Dektol, for two minutes. They were a pain in the "nek" because they were so flimsy; but it was even harder to get the @#$ stuff into a hanger. WE had a light-tight closet, so we must have kept the film pack in there after it was opened. Tell ya the truth, it was so long ago I don't remember..

David A. Goldfarb
07-06-2009, 10:47 PM
It was possible to "rob the pack" of a few sheets, process them, and continue shooting the unexposed sheets, but since you've shot the whole pack, it's not worth reassembling. Just take a couple of sheets and process them to check your processing time, since the film is old, and then process as many sheets as you can comfortably handle in a tray. Keep the rest of the pack in a three-part film box or other dark place in the meanwhile

When you remove the sheets from the pack, they will have paper stuck to them. Try to peel the paper off as cleanly as possible, otherwise it can float off in the developer or elsewhere in the process and make a mess or get stuck to the film.

07-07-2009, 09:08 AM
One aspect of "The Good Old Days" best left in the past.

07-09-2009, 04:09 PM
I still have a few packs in the freezer. I really miss Verichrome Pan. It was the best, wish Kodak still made the stuff, even in 120. Processing pack film is a pain, I always seem to end up with a few "floaters" of paper in the tray or tank.

07-17-2009, 12:37 PM
I have the old instructions for a Primo film pack and an Ansco film pack and am about to scan them. Is photobucket a good place to put the scans?

<a href="http://s822.photobucket.com/albums/zz148/studiocarter/?action=view&current=IMG_0001.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i822.photobucket.com/albums/zz148/studiocarter/IMG_0001.jpg" border="0" alt="instructions"></a>

07-17-2009, 12:43 PM
Are you looking for a permanent residence, or a place to upload images so you can dish out some links?

07-17-2009, 01:04 PM
I have a web page and am trying to share pictures of equipment and instructions and don't want to host them myself.
that was one, there are three others.

07-17-2009, 01:08 PM




John Shriver
07-18-2009, 02:15 PM
The Nikor 4x5 reel is actually adjustable for all pack film sizes, and is pretty much the ideal daylight method for processing it. Hangers really don't cut it, since the film is so floppy, and is smaller than the nominal sheet film sizes. I doubt they would behave well in a Jobo reel either.

Bits of paper are par for the course when processing it, there's no way to cleanly remove all the glued strip of paper that holds the film to the pull-paper.

Kodak made a pack film tank, which was round, and took a tray with pie-shaped wedges. You folded a sheet in on itself and slid it into one of the pies. But it's not really a daylight tank, since you have to remove the lid to drain and fill. (It was from the days of Orthochromatic film being the norm, so you used a red safelight.)

Photo Engineer
07-18-2009, 02:22 PM
Look out for at least two other potential problems.

The paper tabs can remain on the film and come loose during processing and stick to the film causing defects, and the film is slightly oversize so that 4x5 is not 4x5, it is longer. This means that you cannot use some holders for this film such as traditional 4x5 hangers. That is why it was often tray processed. Of course the thin support led to buckling in most holders as well which also caused problems.


07-22-2009, 09:41 PM
Although I know they were used for pack film, in my experience trying to load a Nikor reel with it is very frustrating and leads to many crinkles. The film is just so flimsy. Maybe if I had the experience of an old newspaper lab worker doing many, many a day it would work out. I have two of the "taco" pack film tanks (Kodak and Premo - looks like the only difference is the marking) and while they do have to be opened to drain. it looks like an easier proposition. I have a few more film packs in the freezer so I will probably have it down pat just as I run out of film.