Developing 4x5 negs in trays.
I want to copy some of my color slides to BW negs and do some tray dev this winter, and I can't buy the Jobo 3006 or 3010 drum right now.
A good BW film to copy mostly Velvia & Provia.
Are there any unique problems with doing 4x5 negs in open trays?
Can't help you with film choice's but beware of the inevitable scratches and fingerprints. Fill the trays with as much liquid as you can. Use 8X10 trays for 4x5 or 5x7 film. I used 5X7 trays for 4X5 and regret it---I do not use hardener in the fix's.
Originally Posted by davetravis
Good luck.... (luck is not needed with proper preparation.)
If you haven’t tried it yet I suggest starting by reading this:
It’s going to take some trial and error to get exposure and development tweaked and by the time you have done this you should have a grasp of it.
You have to be very careful to avoid scratches, as mentioned by Bruce. Otherwise, tray development is a very good method to use.
Start conservatively. Develop few sheets at a time, maybe even only one or two until you get the hang of it.
Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.
Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?
avoid scratches - process one sheet at a time. I agree with Bruce - 4x5 film in 8x10 trays - this avoids turbulence near the edges of the tray causing over development at the edges of your neg.
As far as film, I would guess that any good panchromatic B&W film will work well. If it were me I'd start with FP4+ since that is what I have on hand. It has certainly worked well for me for creating contrast masks from color negatives.
Also, the Jobo 2521 drum with the 2509N 4x5 reel is a lot less expensive than the expert drums.
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I've lately taken to doing 4x5 sheet film in one of these: http://www.summitek.com/cradle.html I get very even development. I've used the CombiPlan tank as dip and dunk, without the lid, with excellent results as well.
The Photographer's formulary also sells an item very similar to the Summitek cradle. You need 11x14 trays with the 4x5 cradles.
Originally Posted by Lee L
I had forgotten about those - I have used one myself very successfully.
While I understand why one would use 8x10 trays for 4x5, I've never had a problem with 5x7s. First, sacrifice a couple sheets of film (or use a few negatives you're never going to print or even look at again), and practice with the lights on in water. Then close your eyes, or 'outen' the lights and practice some more. My experience suggests that you keep the emulsion side down and shuffle from the bottom to the top. Keep all the notches on the LRHS except one sheet that will remain with its notches on the ULHS. Use your dominant hand fingers to gently and swiftly pull the bottom sheet out and place it on the top of the negs and your left hand to secure the pile from shifing too much. When you get to the notched sheet you've cycled through the entire pile. You'll get the hang of it in no time.
BTW, I've found that 100ml of developer per sheet works well and a comparable amount of stop, and fixer per sheet. Six sheets is about the most you can manage safely at one time unless you do this every day and are really, really good at it.
I've been doing 4x5 film in 8x10 trays for years with only one scratch - the first time. Then I did pretty much as John (just above) suggests, except I keep the emulsion up to avoid issues with the bottom of the tray.
I'm right handed -
I hold the stack in the left hand (never more than 8 at a time). After taking them out of the holders, I "shingled" them slightly, to facilitate taking one at a time. I clip one corner to mark the first sheet, but I like John's rotation of the film notches - you just need to be able to do first in, first out.
The right hand is also dry - take the first one, drop it into water (do a couple of rotations in water first to keep the film from sticking together in the developer). Use the side of the right pinkie to push it to the bottom, so the right hand stays dry, except for the pinkie (and keep the fingernail on the pinkie trimmed).
Repeat with each sheet till they are all in the water, then rotate them a couple of times. Once they are wet, transfer to the dev, starting with the same first sheet, then through the process likewise.
I believe I got this method from Fred Picker.
I always found development to be very even and consistent. I am playing around with tubes at the moment, but the only reason is for semi stand development.
Why try to learn tray development while you are also trying to find the right film, development times, etc. Keep life simple and get one of the Photographer's Formulary sloshers (cradles) mentioned earlier for about $45. You can do 6 sheets at a time. You will use a bit more developer for 1-shot processing but developer is cheaper than time and scratched film. Also, your hands never touch the chemicals. If you buy two sloshers you could probably find a way to go about twice as fast if you have alot of film to process.