from Paterson to stainless steel - agitation or equipment problem?
So far the forum has been a great help to me. I've never had a reason to start a post because the information always was already there. However, this time I need a little bit more help.
Years ago I obtained stainless steel reels to develop 135 and 120 film. Never used them because I was happy with all my Paterson stuff. But over the years I became more critical and found developing streaks in clear skies - even with pre-washing. After some research, I found out that the plastic Paterson reels are not spacious enough for the developer to work equally. Stainless steel reels might solve my problem, I thought.
I developed a 120 film like I always did, but this time in a plastic LPL tank and one 120 reel (only fits one reel).
Pre-wash 1 min.
Develop about 7 min, TMX in TMX developer 1+4, agitation two times every 30 secs.
Stop, fix and wash in the usual way.
During these steps my tank was always completely filled.
The result: over the length of the film the density is thicker than on the inside, so it developed faster on the top and bottom of the reel. What have I done wrong? I assume my agitation method is wrong with this tank/reel, but I'm not sure. Or is there something wrong with my equipment?
I dearly would like to know what other people think about this. Thanks in advance.
You say your tank was completely filled, if so, how did your solutions move around the tank during agitation? I have used stainless and Paterson tanks over the years but have always had lots of room in the tank apart from what the solution is taking up, in other words, I have never completely filled a tank and I suspect your problem with uneven development has to do with filling the tank to the brim! BTW, Patterson tanks work fine, if you are having problems they will be because of agitation mistakes.
It is said that we remember the important things, if true, why photograph? I forget, so I photograph.
Well, maybe I exaggerated a little. I leave some air in the tank, but not much. What you say makes sense, though.
I've never had this particular problem with Paterson.
Should I have another agitation method with different tanks/reels? Do you notice a mistake in my agitation? What is your method?
Not very much air is needed. Try being a little more vigorous with your agitation, and/or extend the time you agitate. For example, if you are doing 5 seconds, try 10 seconds. Be consistent, and only make one change at a time.
Agitation seems to be a very personal thing, at least based on what I've seen in the threads with agitation questions. What works great for one person, works not at all for someone else, so the key is to introduce a reasoned change in your routine and test.
I'm not familiar with the LPL tank, but if it's one that normally uses a center core, and you didn't use a core, with the stainless reel, you'll get light leaks.
Originally Posted by charlemagne
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What you need to do is place your reel inside the tank, and place enough water in to just cover the reel(with the lid off so you can see it). Now pour the water into a measuring cup to see how much actual fluid it takes to develope. My guess is you have been over filling the tank even though you say there is air space in the tank.
Never ever had the slightest problem with my Paterson tank.
Originally Posted by charlemagne
Actually I dumped my second stainless steel tank and reels because of the poor manufacturing quality.
What sort of movements are you using when agitating the tank? I ask because if the agitation pattern doesn't essentially cause the liquid to "tumble" it may be that you are essentially agitating the fluid at the top and bottom of the tank, while leaving the fluid at the centre relatively untouched.
In addition, your problems with the Paterson tanks may be due to the same issue - the Paterson tanks and reels work well for a huge number of people.
“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
The way how I agitate my Paterson and LPL tank:
rotate ('tilt' might the right English word...) the tank 360 degrees (one full turn),
with the lid on the upside I turn it 90 degrees,
then do another 360 rotation,
all within about 6 seconds.
I'm beginning to to think that I over-filled my tank, but I'm not quite sure yet. I guess I should also improve my agitation?
What pops into my mind:
does anybody have experience with agitation every minute in small tanks? I thought maybe this could solve the problem in the LPL tank with stainless reel...?
Less agitation means that I have to extend the developing time.