Crazy thought - developing sheet film in the holder
I had this crazy thought about sheet film development in the field. I liked the type 55 film a lot, but since it's not longer available I've been looking for ways to obtain the same results (a negative to look at within minutes).
So I keep having this crazy thought about developing the sheet film IN THE HOLDER (obviously a plastic one). Imagine a box with slots for film holders which contains tanks for the developer, fixer, wash, etc, a battery, small pump (to move the liquids and to agitate the water), and maybe even a thermostat if there is AC available. Maybe even a fan to dry it.
Shoot the film, remove the holder from the camera, insert the holder into the device, pull the dark slides, press a button, 5-10 min later, negative.
So, anyone sees any reason developing the film in the holder would not work? I assume I would have to change the light seals to something like rubber, but other then that a plastic holder should be ok, right?
First thing that leaps to mind is you might have trouble clearing the anti-halation layer on the back of the film unless you could find a way to make sure chemistry circulated there as well.
Interesting idea though; I kinda like it.
Another day goes under; a little bourbon will take the strain...
You could make easy-break pods like those used for type 55 and just pull the film through those.
It's easy enough to develop 4x5 in the field though, with a changing bag and some combi-plans or such.
"So I keep having this crazy thought about developing the sheet film IN THE HOLDER (obviously a plastic one). Imagine a box with slots for film holders which contains tanks for the developer, fixer, wash, etc, a battery, small pump (to move the liquids and to agitate the water), and maybe even a thermostat if there is AC available. Maybe even a fan to dry it."
Hmmm....Why not just imagine a changing bag and a brand new $80 daylight tank, if you are going to all that trouble. Lighter, cheaper, smaller, less to break, no electricity req'd. Plus you won't wreck perfectly good film holders. The fellow above has a point as well. It's a better idea in every possible way.
The real question for me is, why do it at all? Why the rush? Why the need for that negative right then and there? You know what is going to be on it anyhow. Your time in the field is worth more than the money it would cost you to shoot multiple sheets if you are unsure of yourself.
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
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Course you'd have to lug enough h2o around for rinsing but it could be doable.
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Why rinse? Type 55 negs don't need to be rinsed on the spot- just cleared in a small amount of water and sodium sulfite. So there must be a way around it.
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Unless you can get 100% of the chemistry off the film holders, and return the film holders to perfectly clean and dry condition, you risk having crud (mostly in the form of dust) fall off your holders onto your film to obscure light at exposure time. This, to me, would be a nightmare (I do so love to spend hours and hours spotting).
As you note, the felt light traps would probably be history and have to be replaced with something that worked as well, but would also withstand the wetness and the chemistry. I don't have any idea what that might be.
Finally, agitation would be a problem, particularly at the edges of the frame where it's held under the film rails of the holder. It might be quite difficult to get even development over the sheet in a normal film holder (with no holes along the rails for flow control like you have in film hangers for example).
None of this means it can't be done. It's just not going to be as easy as you might have hoped.
Just asking. Wouldn't prolonged fixing action bleach the negs if one were to process in the field?
I don't know for sure but I guess the type 55 pods contained just the right amount of chemistry to react to completion and no further.
Anywhere there has been extensive discussion of single-pot development here.
I had a student do this once with one of our 4x5 holders. It totally messed up the felt in the light trap.
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.