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  1. #1

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    Thoughts on processing FB prints in rotary tanks

    A couple of weeks ago I bought an Omega D5 with Super Chromega head and a few accessories (IC Timer, easel, neg carriers and lens boards). I wasn't really looking to buy an enlarger, but there it is.

    Since I don't have a lot of room for trays, I've bought a Simma roller base that also rocks the tank back and forth, as well as an 8x10 Simma tank (also looking for an 11x14 tank). While I'm waiting for a couple lenses to show up so I can start printing, I have some questions about use and re-use of developer with FB paper. The instructions for the 8x10 tank say to use 45ml of developer for RC colour prints, but I'm thinking that if I use more developer (I'm pretty sure I can use at least 100ml before it spills over the ribs inside the tank), I'll not have any issues with uneven development. Or is that even a concern? The other thing I'm wondering about is, let's say I mix 1 litre of working strength developer, and I use the 100ml (or more) per print as I mentioned above, should I pour the developer back into the working strength jug, or use it one shot and dump it? In this case my concern is if I re-use the developer the prints change as I get deeper into a print session, or are most common developers active enough that as long as I don't exceed it's print capacity I'll be OK? I haven't wet printed in years, and then I always processed the prints in trays. Having to use the tanks I'm more dependant on reliably timing processes so I can get predictable and repeatable results. My plan is to follow the Ilford archival processing procedure.

    Thanks in advance, and if anyone has tips or tricks outside of my questions to offer, I'm all ears.

  2. #2
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    You can process the paper in your rotary tank if you want, but you'd have to wash it in a tray or external print washer due to how fiber prints wash. They rely on a continuous flow of fresh water to bleed out the chemicals trapped in both the emulsion and the paper base.

    You have two problems with the drum in this respect; there is not constant supply of fresh water, and the back of the paper is in constant contact with the drum which retards washing in those areas.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

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  3. #3

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    Thanks Thomas. I should have made it clear that while I don't have a lot of room for trays, I do have room for 2, one on either side of the sink. Maybe a third one on the other counter where the roller base will be. My thinking was to do dev-stop-fix and initial wash (450ml as per tank instructions, and change the water a few times, before moving the print to the HCA bath and then on to the final wash.

  4. #4
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I sometimes use tubes with RC black and white prints.

    With respect to each chemical (developer, stop bath, fixer) I have two large graduates.

    I pour the chemical from one set, and then after each step in the process I dump the (partially) used chemical into the corresponding graduate in the other set.

    So after 10 prints (assuming 1 liter of each chemical, and 100 ml each print) I end up with all the (partially) used chemicals transferred into new graduates.

    I then turn around and re-use each chemical. With respect to the developer, I can either replenish it, or adjust the time upward, to compensate for the earlier use.

    When you do this it is important to pay close attention to the capacity recommendations of the manufacturers.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  5. #5

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    I process all my prints (RC and Fiber) in my Jobo. I run the Ilford recommended archival sequence. I have even toned with selenium in the JOBO with repeatable results. I leave the final wash for a large try using a Kodak tray siphon. I've developed up to 16x20 in a tank, and plan to try 20x24 this summer. Because of the ribs on the inside of the Jobo tanks, the back of the paper is not fully in contact with the tank and thus does get chemistry and rinse water. I don't know about the simma tank. Regarding chemistry, I use all my chemistry (except stop) to 2/3 the recommended capacity. So for Ilford multigrade developer with FB paper that's about 34 8x10 prints. Only problem I have with Fiber in a Jobo tank is that the ribs leave marks on the paper. These completely disappear when dry mounted.

  6. #6
    polyglot's Avatar
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    Yes, you can make prints in drums, it's why Jobo sells big (16x20 and 20x24) print drums. You just need (for FB) to run an archival wash afterwards in a tray or your sink. For RC, you can do everything in the drum and give it a quick flick under tapwater before hanging to dry.

    As to developer, I find that Multigrade is fine for 3 goes through the drum but the oxidation (and dilution from prewashing the paper for uniformity of development) kills it after about 6 runs. What I do is make up 500mL of working solution for a session and use it 100mL at a time. Once each 100mL has been used 3 times, it gets discarded. Usually that means I run 3 sets of test strips on the first 100mL, then I make a pair of 8x10s from the next 100mL, etc.

  7. #7

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    Thanks, a few different approaches to try, and all good information. @Matt, how much do you extend development by the second time using the developer? Also, out of the original 1 litre there will be some loss of volume (developer retained in the paper, stuck to the drum and light trap etc.). Does it make sense to pour off some of the used developer to make the replenishment amount the same each session?

  8. #8
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    You can develop prints in drums as long as you use print drums. Negative drums have ridges that cause problems for prints.
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

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    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  9. #9
    polyglot's Avatar
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    PS you can of course run the HCA step in your drum which is particularly nice with a motorised base. It's just salty* water and won't cause fouling & stickiness like some of the wetting agents are reputed to.




    * no not table salt. other salts.

  10. #10
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groundloop View Post
    Thanks, a few different approaches to try, and all good information. @Matt, how much do you extend development by the second time using the developer? Also, out of the original 1 litre there will be some loss of volume (developer retained in the paper, stuck to the drum and light trap etc.). Does it make sense to pour off some of the used developer to make the replenishment amount the same each session?
    Groundloop:

    I am not particularly scientific about the time extensions or replenishment regimes, but then I rarely have to worry about them.

    It is fairly rare for me to do more than 20 8 x 10s in a session when I am using the tubes, and the developer I use (Kodak Polymax T) has a rated capacity of 32 8 x 10s per litre.

    If I am doing much more than 20 8 x 10s in a session, I tend to put 300 ml or so of fresh developer in and then top it up to a litre again. That extends the developer's life by another 10 8 x 10s.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

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