Pyrocat HD, FP4 stand - help
I have been working up to a time/temp combination with Pyrocat HD and 4x5 FP4 for stand/semi-stand. I have arrived at a good contrast level (for my Aristo V54, Dupont MG filters, and Forte Fiber VC paper.
ASA 50 for the film (final test negs shot with incident readings to eliminate any "previsualization" errors.
I use hangers (someone on a thread once said hangers are ideal for stand development). The tanks hold about 2400ml, the reason for the measurement. Agitation is alternate diagonal draining off of each corner, continuous, being careful not to be too turbulent about it, but to keep things moving (learned about surge marks many years ago in the Army).
73F, 15:10:2400 with distilled water (very close to 1.5:1:250).
2 minutes presoak (mostly continuous agitation, tapping off airbells now and then), into the developer - 1.75 minutes initial continuous agitation, 30minutes development, agitation for 15 sec (4 lift and drain, 2 on each side) at the 10 minute marks. So, they get 2 agitations, one at 10 and one at 20 minutes.
When I was doing individual sheets to establish time/temp, I didn't see any problems, but what you can see in the attached images came from the last development session, these 2 negs are from a group of 4 films done together.
The tanks are good size, have light tight lids (the ends of the hangers sit on a "shelf", an inch or so below the top of the tank), and are great for doing this, and hold 8 hangers. The top surface of the developer is a good 1/2" or so above the tops of the holding bales in the hangers.
You can see that the offending areas are related to the hangers, surge of some kind, I guess.
Image one is along the left side, and a dark vertical edge running down the large butress.
Image 2 is along the right edge, with a dark area somewhat along the top on the right side (hard to see in the attachment).
Both hangers were positioned the same, in parallel, so the problems are opposing, in a sense.
I am disapointed at getting so close and have this problem. The quality of acutance is just what I want, so I'm inclined not to agitate more often...but will if I have to. Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to be thorough.
I can sympathize with your problem, but unfortunately don't have too much to suggest. I too tried Pyrocat /semi-stand with FP-4 on hangers and could not get it to work consistently. I had problems that looked much like yours and assumed it was due to improper agitation, but could not figure out what to do . I finally gave up on hangers and now use a Slosher type cradle in a tray with great success. I'm very interested in what other people have to say about this because it would be nice to be able to process more than 6 sheets at a time.
I've used this combo with great success using semi-stand development but in individual tubes. Steve Sherman has written about the process in issues of View Camera.
I do not use hangers and use tubes. But my presoak is 5 minutes. Yours seems a little short.
George, from reading Steve's comments about stand development, in general the problem comes from initial agitatation of the film. It seems the fluid is reacting to the edge of the film hanger and creating greater activity along this edge, due to the flow characteristics. I also use tubes for this type of development and don't have problems. It is just a single sheet at a time per tube, but agitation by roll, pitch and yaw seems to be just the ticket for me. While more labor intensive, it seems to work pretty well because there aren't areas in the tube to create cavitation or swirl marks due to the hard edges. The slosher system works well enough, but I prefer working with the lights on for longer development times. tim
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Thanks for your replies. It's disappointing, but comforting to know that it's not my technique.
I have tried tubes with other films, and had trouble getting all of the AH backing off (believe this is the reason for the long presoak with films, rather than the emulsion). The idea of the fiberglass screen "behind" the base side of the film seems cumbersome, but maybe I should "retrench", as it were. The nice thing about the tanks is that the tubes I made stand up nicely in the same tanks.
When agitating the tubes (to the same interval and duration), would you pick them up and place back in (as in a "basket" of some kind? Or leave enough room in the tank for the "pitch and yaw" method combined with a bit of twirl, or what?
Semi-stand in tubes
As many folks know, for Semi-Stand development of 8x10 sheet film with Pyrocat (and other developers) I use a PF 8x10 slosher tray and I also use ABS tubes.
Originally Posted by George Collier
With both, I use a 5 minute tempered water presoak (either deionized water or distilled water). For me, the purpose of the presoak is for uniformity of development - NOT to remove the various dyes that may be on the base side of the film. Any residual dye comes off the base side of my film during the fixing and washing steps.
With tubes, I agitate by gently inverting the tube with a gentle twisting (or torus) motion.
With the slosher tray, I agitate by gently lifting alternate corners of the slosher tray.
Everything is analog - even digital :D
fp 4 pyrocat and stand
I have used pyrocat for quite a while with hangers. I think you may be over agitating.
Longer pre soak and very slow lifting and tilting of the hangers, it might take as much as 10 seconds or more for one hanger, and just once or twice in the beginning. If you are having more than one hanger in the tank, merely moving one gives the others some agitation.
I use 1.5, 1.5 to 100 for semi stand, 30 minutes. Slight lifting and tilting of the hangers once every 10 minutes, no more.
Steve Sherman gave a talk a few years ago at a VC confernece, and he said that he put a sheet of 7x17 in a big round tank full of developer, and used a round sponge (I think) and lifted it in and out of the tank very slowly once every 10 minutes and that was it. I may have the details a tad fuzzy, but it was amazing to us that such very slow movement of the developer would work.
The film was semicirled around the inner diameter of the tank, emulsion side in, and the movement of developer was really minimal.
Try emailing him, he is the Guru on this stuff.
What did you do differently between the successful ones and the failures? You used single sheets successfully and multiple sheets of film with the failures. Could the introduction of multiple hangers change the flow of the developer? I'd suspect it would.
Also, I think the 2-minute presoak is too short.
George, the tubes I use have a screw-plug in one end, so the motion isn't a problem. Normally, I just roll the tube gently on the counter and twist end for end. Not sure I'd want to use open tubes in a tank, but I think Sandy King used a large tub of developer in a dark box and open tubes for some of his larger formats. tim