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  1. #1

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    Cirkut Film Development..?

    Greetings,

    I picked up a #10 Cirkut from Kenneth Snelson in NYC this past Monday, and it came with enough expired film for me to start learning the ropes.

    The first batch of expired film is Kodak Verichrome Pan, 4 rolls of (10" x 6') for Cirkuts... It's factory packaged for the Cirkut, so I assume it's got the paper leader for daylight loading, but I haven't confirmed that yet by opening the package in the dark. Expired 5/1978.

    Remaining film is Kodak Plus-X Aerographic film 2402, estar base, expired 10/1988. It's a 125' roll, in a big black cannister, about like 120 film but maybe 6x as big.

    My plan is to shoot in small amounts, to learn the ropes, conserve film while learing, and verify operation of the camera. I've got some trays that are 16" long, so I'll keep my shots shorter than that until I know what I'm doing.

    So my question is: what would you reccomend for development on these two films? Also open for suggestions on any special precautions given the 20-30 expiration date. Snelson tells me it's been the freezer all that time, and since every other part of the sale has been exactly as he described, I've no reason to doubt his statement regarding the film.

    Oh, I'll also save the paper leader on the factory-packaged Cirkut film. I figure that I can measure it and make new leaders from light-proof paper, and have daylight loading capability for my Cirkut. Although I also realize that I may just be naive....

  2. #2

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    I use rollo pyro for my verichrome pan film. 7.5 minutes at 70 degrees and like my results. Otherwise just follow kodak directions. I tray process with plexi trays. you'll likely have a small amount of base fog but it shouldn't be a problem for printing. You'll have to test the plus x. Some of the aerial film doesn't have a antihalation backing and is sensitive to flare and edge fogging unless you have a accurately cut leader paper. It's will also flare in the bright highlights, and mostly has a interesting "antique" look about it. Let us all know if you find new film sources
    Jamie

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the info, Jamie.

    Was hoping to take a shot with the Cirkut today, just something really simple and familiar to me, but other things got in the way.

    But I think both the camera and I are ready.

  4. #4
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    Congratulations Doug on the find.
    Good luck on the development.
    Looking forward to seeing the results.

    John Powers

  5. #5

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    Here's how I've always done it.....

    Black and white or color processing is easy enough by using Rubbermaid dish tubs with two gallons of chemistry in each tub. I replenish the solutions and they last a long long time.

    Ten inch cirkut film is scrolled back and forth in the tub with the film placed so the narrow width of the tub prevents the negative from touching the bottom and scratching. The curved sides are less than ten inches wide.

    You start by presoaking in plain water then grab the end of the film and pull it out of the water and into the developer tub. Scroll quickly with two hands until the other end goes into the developer. The keeping the film under the solution, scroll it back and forth until it's time to go into the next step. I keep my hands under the film and just use the tips of my fingers to keep the film moving.

    Yes, I wear gloves.

    Also, when you cut the film off of the paper leader, leave a 1/2 inch of paper attached to the film with the tape. The paper edge gets soft and will not scratch the film. If you cut it off, the sharp corner of the film can gouge the film when you roll it.

    Color chemicals are heated two degrees warmer than needed. In my darkroom they cool down to exactly what I need while processing. I figure by starting at 102, turn the lights out, open the film, trim the leader and trailer, go into the presoak, my developer will be 101 degrees when the film first goes in and 99 degrees when it comes out. That gives me the 100 degree developing temperature I want. Bleach and fix are not critical.

    Your darkroom might be different so you will have to do some daylight testing. I remember when I had my mobile lab and we were in Montana when it was 104 degrees outside and had quite a time cooling the juice down with ice so we could process correctly but it did work. Same idea as stated above only in reverse.

    The biggest thing to conquer is preventing the ends of the film from becoming over developed. You need to vary the scrolling speed so the middle of the film gets the same surface exposure time as the ends. I scroll faster on the ends and then slower in the middle and try not to roll the fill tight. There is a natural curl that gives the film some room between the wraps and that is what you are after.

    I have developed more than a thousand of cirkut negatives this way with few problems after I got the hang of it.

    You need a good place to hang the film while it dries. When you hang it up, wipe it down or you can get streaks. Then leave it alone. Don't worry about the film because it is going to curl and look bad but it eventually gets straight again.

    What's really good about this method is that it can be done in a small place like a bath tub.

    I don't do this, but there was a time when group photographers would shoot a b&w image, develop it in paper developer, the after it was fixed and washed but still wet, squeegee the negative to a wet piece of photo paper on the bathroom door and then hit the lights for a second, strip the neg from the paper and develop the paper in the same developer the film was processed in. Then they had a proof print for taking orders. I have developed test negatives in the field by this method and it does work.

    There are a few more "secret tricks" like dumping the presoak water while the film is in the developer, then when the film goes into the bleach the empty presoak tub is put over the developer to prevent bleach from splashing into the developer and ruining it. You can figure out some of them yourself.

    I'd wish you good luck, but it really isn't needed. It's easy to do.

    Ron in Alaska

  6. #6

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    Thanks Ron
    My first try was fun and the scratches I got were part of the game, and not that bad. The second try was with a longer piece of film and I really scratched it. I have a 100ft stainless reel to cut and respace
    for 10''x20 ft or so lengths, figuring I 'll get some buckets for the chemicals. I even have a coupla rolls of color neg in the freezer to shoot someday.
    It's been over a year [ shoot 2 years, argh], so I've been intimidated.
    Your descriptions could help a lot.
    regards
    Ed

  7. #7

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    Thanks from me too, Ron.

    Hoping to get out maybe tonight and shoot my son's elementary school, as my first-ever Cirkut shoot. Built in the 1930s, there's strong rumors it'll be sold / razed as part of local school system consolidation. A person could do worse for a subject for a first-time Cirkut shoot.

  8. #8

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    My advice is to not use reels....

    I have friends who use Jobo processors, but I still like the old fashioned way with the tubs. No moving parts except my hands and the film. Forget things like a Nord processor for aero film they are going to ruin more film than it is worth. Remember KISS.

    Cirkut film is thinner than regular film and even if you are using color film that is the same thickness as 120 film, the 10 inch width is going to make it act like it is even thinner.

    Just processed three rolls today with no problems so what else can I say?

    Ron

  9. #9

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    School kids....

    Just about the hardest thing to photograph with a cirkut camera are elementary school kids. It isn't possible to get them to all hold still and pay attention.

    I did however photograph a grade school in China in 1985 with a #10 cirkut that went perfect. The teachers organized everyone absolutely right, they all stood still and quiet and when I was finished one teacher gave a quick clap of her hands and all the kids ran back into the school room in about 30 seconds.

    For your shot tonight, I really do wish you luck.

    Oh, I think the hardest groups to do are high school kids there is always a smarty that thinks it's cool to make subtle finger gestures. Usually it's easy to remove, but I rarely stop with the finger. Sometimes I draw horns or knock out teeth. Don't mess with a photographer that knows how to retouch negs.

    Ron in Alaska

  10. #10

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    I took my first Cirkut photo last night. Not of my son's elementary school (which would have been just the building, no kids), but of a local oil well display, circa 1900.

    My neg is badly over-exposed, my (dumb and amatueurish) mistake..... I didn't stop down to F32 after composing at F6.8. Ack! I know better than that.

    But it was a good test shot, because.... the camera works as designed, I dodged all the problems Cirkut newbies can make (except stopping down to proper F.stop to shoot), exposure is even / constant, and I can process the film OK in tubs containing 2 gallons of chemistry each. Although the lens has separation at edges, even though I shot it wide-open it was sharp at the focussed distance.

    Nothing was difficult, just needed to follow the directions carefully. I'll have to make stopping down a part of the routine, ie, compose, stop down, then fold groundglass half away, and collapse groundglass bellows, etc.

    I'll take another shot tonight. I'm pretty confident this second shot will be fine.

    This weekend there's a vintage motorcycle race (early 1900s board-track bikes, American) nearby; in Wauseon, Ohio. Going to see about doing a group shot there, racers and bikes. Will see what develops.

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