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  1. #1

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    Temperature and development time

    I've been getting great results with room temp Xtol and Tri-X 400 and TMax 100. But room temperature at the end of May is much warmer than room temperature was a few months back. Do I need to adjust my development time as the temperature rises? And in which direction--if the chemicals are warmer do I develop for a longer or shorter period of time?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karencs View Post
    I've been getting great results with room temp Xtol and Tri-X 400 and TMax 100. But room temperature at the end of May is much warmer than room temperature was a few months back. Do I need to adjust my development time as the temperature rises? And in which direction--if the chemicals are warmer do I develop for a longer or shorter period of time?
    If you want consistent results you'll want to control your process including temperatures.

    To answer your questions directly, you do need to adjust your development time (shorter) as temperature rises. The data sheet that comes with your film should have a chart of time vs. temperature for you to use to figure out your new development time.
    Bruce Watson
    AchromaticArts.com

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    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    I find it easiest to keep normal development temperature at the warmest my darkroom gets, which for me being a basement darkroom is 70 degrees. This works well for 5 months or so out of the year. The rest of the time I just warm up the chems in a hot water bath til they get to 70. If this doesn't work for you then you'll need to adjust development time. Development time will be shorter the warmer the developer gets. I think 1 minute per 2 degrees difference from normal is a good starting point. Be careful though, Tmax films are very sensitive to changes in developer temp. If you're not too sure you'll be able to very consistent, I'd recommend going to a conventional emulsion such as FP4 for a slow film and Neopan 400 for a faster film. These emulsions will be more forgiving as far as inconsistencies in temperature.

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    Thanks for the fast responses. Sounds like my best bet is to adjust the temp rather than the timing--since I'm consistently happy with what I get right now. I like the lack of grain I get with TMax vs TriX, esp when I'm doing portrait shoots. I haven't tried Neopan though; I'll check that out. As for switching developer, I find Xtol doesn't make my house smell like a darkroom, so I'm liking that. I haven't found anything else that odor-free yet.

  5. #5

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    I grabbed a used microwave at a garage sale for warming up chems. I also have a freezer in my darkroom (it also serves as a basement!) and I took some of the plastic film containers (the outer ones that the film cassette comes in) and put a bit of water in them and put them in the freezer. If you chems are too warm, put these "ice cubes" in the chem to cool them off. You then re-use them.

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    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karencs View Post
    Thanks for the fast responses. Sounds like my best bet is to adjust the temp rather than the timing--since I'm consistently happy with what I get right now. I like the lack of grain I get with TMax vs TriX, esp when I'm doing portrait shoots. I haven't tried Neopan though; I'll check that out. As for switching developer, I find Xtol doesn't make my house smell like a darkroom, so I'm liking that. I haven't found anything else that odor-free yet.
    That's a good enough reason to stick with Tmax. Neopan 400 is my favorite film though. Anyway, Xtol diluted 1:1 is a great developer and my favorite. Yes it is odorless, but it's not the developer that you're going to have to worry about smelling much, it's the stop and especially the fixer.

  7. #7
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    Most people I know use the "drift through" method

    As an example - say your Darkroom is rather warm and during the 10 mins you are processing the film, if it starts at 20C its might end up at 24C after the 10mins processing.

    Then if you were to start at 18C it would drift through to 22C by the end of the 10mins - so spending roughly equal time either side of the nominal 20C - hence the temperature effects cancel each other out (more of less anyway)

    Therefore you need to measure exactly the temperature at which your developer starts and finishes and then adjust the start temp to compensate.

    Its a little bit tricky to do to begin with - as the developer warms up surprisingly quickly just sitting around - but I put lots of the Water (for diluting the developer) in the Fridge for a few hours before I start and make sure I have a ready supply of Ice Cubes.

    If it’s really warm I also put the Dev in the Fridge to cool off - but I don't have young kids, my bottles of dev look nothing like soft drink bottles and I mark then up with what is in them.

    Martin

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    Be careful though, Tmax films are very sensitive to changes in developer temp...
    That's the nice thing about Kodak's products. They give suggested development times over a range or temperatures in the data sheets. No guessing involved.
    Frank Schifano

  9. #9

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    When I checked the temp on the chemicals they were at 70, so only a few degrees above "normal." I adjusted my time a little and the results were fine. I'm now keeping track of all of this so over time I'll have a recipe list.

  10. #10

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    As mentioned above, the temp of the chems will drift toward the room temp. I, too, have my darkroom in the basement, so before I start, I fill a large tray, (or a bucket, if a tall development tank) with water the temp of the process. Then everything sits in this "water bath" the whole time. I even add hot water or ice cubes (depending on the season) to maintain it, especially during long semi-stand development times.
    Constant temperature helps maintain a nice uniform grain pattern. Fixer and wash times are also kept to the same temp for this reason.

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