Life is all about the journey.....go for it!
In 2000 I got a 4x5 enlarger (but only had cameras going up to 6x6cm). Then I was arranging my old folder collection and realized I could re-spool some 120 to use in the 620 cameras. I also had a 100mm enlarger lens I was not using. This got me into 6x9cm. I even went and bought a third Kodak Tourist, just to get one with a little better lens.
I liked the 6x9cm so much that I wound up getting a Horseman VH-R. From there it was a no-brainer to jump to 4x5 with the Horseman 45FA.
Then, just for fun I restored my old Century 8x10 and did contacts prints. I got pretty frustrated with contact printing and got an 8x10 enlarger. From there I went on to get a modern 8x10 and went with the Shen Hao 8x10.
I started doing "serious" photography with a Mamiya 7. I appreciated the big negatives, compared to 35mm. I found that I was constantly enlarging them up to my favorite size of 16x20. Then I started doing contact prints with 4x5. I fell in love with the quality of contact prints. That got me doing platinum prints, which led to 5x7 and 8x10. I continued to enjoy the size of my enlargements at 16x20, however. But the quality just wasn't as good as a contact print, and I didn't enjoy making enlarged negatives in the darkroom or on the computer. The only solution was a bigger, in-camera negative, which led me to build a 16x20 and then a 20x24 camera.
To me there is nothing as beautiful as a well made contact print, in either silver or alt. process. While I still shoot a lot of 8x10 and 5x7, sometimes the subject or project calls for a big print, and hence, a big negative.
OK, I have to ask.....
How do you "larger than 16x20" guys develop your negatives? Do you use trays or tubes or ???? If trays do you stack them?
One of the reasons I stopped at 7x17/8x20 was a lack of tray space in my darkroom sinks.
Curious minds want to know. Thanks!
I develop my 16x20 and 20x24 negatives in Jobo drums on a CCP-2 processor. There are two different drums which accommodate 16x20, and one drum which will take 20x24.
As for prints, I process alt. process prints in a single tray. I use one tray for all steps, pouring out the used chemicals and adding the new. I even wash the print in the tray. The big sheets of watercolor paper tear if picked up wet. When the wash is done, I tilt the tray at 45 degrees and let the print drain for about 1/2 hour. I can then transfer the print to a screen for drying without tearing the print. For full sheets of watercolor paper, I use smooth-bottomed trays designed to go under washing machines. They are about $20 at Home Depot.
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Originally Posted by Allen Friday
I have developed my 12x20 pinhole pix in 16x20 trays, and in a print drum, rotated by hand on a Jobo Manual Roller Base that I got off the shelf at Freestyle. Both seem to work all right. The drum is nice because all you have to do in the dark is load it. However, I think tray processing in general gives you more room for manipulation via standing development and other changes in agitation regimen.
FWIW, all I have shot in this format has been Efke 25.
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
I process my negatives in a tray up to four at a time. I have also used a jobo and enjoyed it but when I am working through a trip of negatives four at at time bites into them at a quicker pace. My pt/pd prints are all done in trays although I use several trays. I built my sinks to accomodate my negs so that was taken care of in reverse order. Of course the wet plate is done with a dip tank and then a dedicated tray for the fix.
This thread sure is interesting...
Seems to me like there is a meaningful jump from say to 11x14", 7x17" etc... to the 16x20" plus sizes, not to say further categorization is required but it is a consideration above and beyond just the usual "got holder, got camera, got lens with coverage, got supply of film" check list.
Cleared the bowel problem, working on the consonants...
Jobo development of single negatives does get extremely boring and it does take a lot of time. I solved that problem by getting a second Jobo. (Albeit, it took about a year to find a second Jobo at a good price--I'm basically pretty cheap.) When developing film from a trip or a studio session, I will run the two machines at the same time, starting one negative five minutes before the second. I wash the film in a film/print washer, so as soon as a tube is done with the fix and 30 second rinse stage, a new tube with a new negative goes on the machine.
I never could get consistent results with big negatives in trays. I would scratch one or have uneven skies. Plus, I like being able to work in the light.
I think trays are great, if you are good at it. Unfortunately, I'm not.