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  1. #11

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    I agree with Frank Schifano: Use a little more developer to guard against leakage and increase the number of inversions at your half-minute intervals. (I use 4 inversions in 5 seconds.) That said, I've never filled the tank when the film only occupies half the tank. That's always seemed pointless to me, and I've never noticed differences between half-full tanks (for two-reel tanks when developing one reel) and full tanks (which I do use when I put two reels in a two-reel tank).

    There are videos on YouTube of film development. I don't have any URLs offhand, but you could do a search.

    One more suggestion, albeit a more radical one: You could ditch the SS tanks and get a Paterson, AP, or similar plastic tank that permits "twirl stick" agitation. My impression is that most people prefer inversion agitation, but a few prefer to use the twirl stick. It's conceivable that this method would give you fewer problems than inversion agitation does, just because of your own idiosyncratic approach to both methods.

  2. #12

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    You don't need to abandon the steel tanks/reels to try twirl agitation. I, when I feel the need, simply rotate my steel tanks in the same manner as I would with my Paterson tanks and get exactly the same effect. The laws of physics are the same whether you twirl the film in stationary solution or twirl the tank/reel/film in a stationary solution. I see no difference in the quality of the final negs. In fact, I happen to prefer the quality of negs that are twirled rather than those that are agitated like a washing machine. Highlights aren't nearly as dense and more separation in the middle tones.

    Just my .02,

    -Fred
    Last edited by Fred Aspen; 09-12-2008 at 02:17 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #13
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    Another vote for extra dev in the tanks - better a little extra than not enough.

    Don't fill the tank to the brim though - you need a little room to mix the dev up as you agitate - the sloshing causes turbulance in the liquide and it is this that mixes the chemistry up.

    If I use only part of the tank, I leave the other reals in place and make sure there is a good half inch (10mm) of spare depth in the developer

    I agiate by rocking the tank from one hand to the other - one hand at the bottom of the tank and the other at the neck - one second to turn upside down and another to turn it right way up again. Repated 6 times and leave to stand for the remainder of the minute

    I have nevr seen negs that have suffered from excess agitation - but I have seen evidence of too little (mine included sadly)

    Martin

  4. #14

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    OK, after eight hours and sixteen rolls, some observations:

    Nothing seems to faze Arista EDU Ultra II 200. Presoak or not, gentle agitation or vigorous, full tank or just barely enough, it comes out even as can be every time. But Tri-X, Plus-X, or HP5+? Not so much.

    Dilution and developer don't seem to make a difference. Tri-X at an EI of 250 through TD16 1:1 or XTOL 1:3 looks the same, with or without a presoak. Development along the edges of the frame adjacent to the sprocket holes is heavier than at the center but it's a narrow area and densest closest to the middle than the ends. Might've been the illumination on the gray card but it doesn't show up on the Arista which was shot at the same time in the same setup.

    With more vigorous agitation in TD16 1:1 thin dark lines appear radiating from the edge of the film toward the center, between the sprocket holes, as well as from the center of the sprocket holes themselves, surrounded by a slightly lighter area. I'm assuming this to be surge related but not enough of a surge to create large visible 'clouds' of lower density. And again it occurs only on the top of the film even when the tank is filled more than normal, although the tank is not filled completely. The areas along the edges where the development is denser occur top and bottom though.

    HP5+ doesn't respond to a presoak at all as far as I can tell. It does however show a more pronounced sensitivity to agitation, at least in TD-16 1:1. The same agitation that produced the thin dark lines described above left large surge clouds along the top edge's sprocket holes and a much wider region of excess development along both edges. It was really obvious. I'm guessing I managed to not fill the tank that time. And as I recall, this was the roll agitated every 30sec during a 10-12min dev time so it would appear that too much agitation isn't a good thing.

    Another roll of HP5+ developed immediately prior, also in TD16 1:1, came out nearly perfect but with the faintest of streaks in the lowest density frame and again only along the top edge. It was presoaked for more than five minutes and agitation during development was very light with little rotation. I couldn't duplicate it with another two rolls though, agitation was probably too intense. And I probably didn't have the tank as full either.

    Plus-X was strongly streaked in TD16 1:1 even though it was presoaked. Another roll came out pretty much the same. But neither was developed with a full tank. Tried again with two more rolls and made sure the tank was nearly full. The heavy streaking wasn't there but some slight surge cloud-like streamers were. Agitation was probably too intense and with too much rotation. No obvious overdevelopment along the edges adjacent to the sprocket holes though.

    I searched youtube and found a number of videos showing agitation methods. It doesn't look like I'm doing anything much different from most anyone's demonstrations with the exception of imparting a lot more rotation at each inversion.

    Looks like the modern films are touchier, or the Arista stuff is peculiar to itself, dunno. Thanks to everyone for all the help, it's been invaluable. I'm getting closer but am bummed about not being able to get consistent even results with any film. Whatever it is I'm not doing right I'm missing it completely.

    If anyone has any further suggestions or things to try please let me know.

    TIA, Pete

  5. #15
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    How fast are you filling your tanks? With 120 and developing in stainless tanks with the slower filling plastic tops, I fill the tank in the dark and drop the loaded real into the solution.

    With 35mm I do continuous agitation for 30-45 seconds, and then two inversions with a twist every minute, this agitation thorough but gentle, taking about 8 seconds.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmcd View Post
    How fast are you filling your tanks? With 120 and developing in stainless tanks with the slower filling plastic tops, I fill the tank in the dark and drop the loaded real into the solution.

    With 35mm I do continuous agitation for 30-45 seconds, and then two inversions with a twist every minute, this agitation thorough but gentle, taking about 8 seconds.
    As quickly as possible but within ten seconds is rare, usually longer. Longest times were occurring when I was trying to control the amount but it's quickest when I just fill the tank. When filling the tank I have it tilted over initially and bring it upright as it's filled to avoid trapping any air. Last time I deliberately checked for an air bubble by rapping the tank with the cap off I didn't see any but it does seem slower than it ought to be.

    Another thing, and this is probably key, the most non-uniform development occurs on the film that's on the outside rather than nearest the center. And it's a short roll, only 12exp I've rolled myself with a bulk loader. So it takes up about half the radius of the spiral.

    Duh. This would be where the developer is moving fastest during inversion. I think I need to roll up a 30 or 36exp roll and run that through the same process to see if it comes out ok.

    I don't have a darkroom light-free enough to drop the film into an open tank so I'm limited to using daylight tanks and pouring the chemistry in. Agitation sounds about the same although I started with two inversions instead of five at each agitation point. Maybe I should try that again when using a full tank.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by justpete View Post
    Another thing, and this is probably key, the most non-uniform development occurs on the film that's on the outside rather than nearest the center. And it's a short roll, only 12exp I've rolled myself with a bulk loader. So it takes up about half the radius of the spiral.
    This, in combination with your comment that you impart more rotation to your tank than you see others doing in their videos, makes me think the rotation may be the issue. One of the objections I've seen from others to "twirl stick" agitation is that you'll get different amounts of development on inner vs. outer parts of the spiral with this method. It could be you're seeing something similar, but manifesting itself mostly along the edges. If so, cutting back on the rotation as you invert your tank should help a lot. It's worth trying, at any rate....

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by srs5694 View Post
    This, in combination with your comment that you impart more rotation to your tank than you see others doing in their videos, makes me think the rotation may be the issue. One of the objections I've seen from others to "twirl stick" agitation is that you'll get different amounts of development on inner vs. outer parts of the spiral with this method. It could be you're seeing something similar, but manifesting itself mostly along the edges. If so, cutting back on the rotation as you invert your tank should help a lot. It's worth trying, at any rate....
    Oh! I hadn't ran across this issue while searching, disregarding those returns as I don't use a Paterson tank, hmmmm. Correlation - kewl. Thanks!

    I just spooled up a couple of 36exp rolls each of Tri-X, Plus-X, and HP5+ for testing with XTOL 1:1 (ran out of TD16 today) to see if spiral-fill makes a significant difference. Now I can make a more reasonable comparison by not using much if any rotation while inverting the tank. Big help there, tnx again.

  9. #19

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    I use Hewes SS reels for both 120 rollfilm and 35mm - I presoak with tempered DIW, I always fill the tank with developer. I always agitate gently. My development times are always 10 minutes or more. No uniformity problems, no streaking, with any of the developers I use.
    Tom Hoskinson
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  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by srs5694 View Post
    This, in combination with your comment that you impart more rotation to your tank than you see others doing in their videos, makes me think the rotation may be the issue. One of the objections I've seen from others to "twirl stick" agitation is that you'll get different amounts of development on inner vs. outer parts of the spiral with this method. It could be you're seeing something similar, but manifesting itself mostly along the edges. If so, cutting back on the rotation as you invert your tank should help a lot. It's worth trying, at any rate....
    Oh! I hadn't ran across this issue while searching, disregarding those returns as I don't use a Paterson tank, hmmmm. Correlation - kewl. Thanks!

    I just spooled up a couple of 36exp rolls each of Tri-X, Plus-X, and HP5+ for testing with XTOL 1:1 (ran out of TD16 today) to see if spiral-fill makes a significant difference. Now I can make a more reasonable comparison by not using much if any rotation while inverting the tank. Big help there, tnx again.

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