The best negatives I have made were with tray development and single sheets. I will qualify this statement by saying that I use a lot of Efke 25 film which comes pre-scratched at times. I also use PMK pyro a lot, so staining properties are important and evenly developed negatives are demanding consistency.
With a Yankee type daylight tank, I had problems with uneven skies and finally gave up on it. This may have been more due to my abilities and technique with PMK.
for 4x5 I have tray developed, have a combiplan tank I use if I can fill it up with negs. I have and do not like tubes. I find them a hassel. If you do not mind being in the complete dark trays and two to three negs are great. I have done as much as five without problem but that was only once and I won't try it again. Read my last processing problem for a hazzard with tray processing.
The Yankee daylight tank sucks. I never got an even development. I have had no problem at all with the combiplan.
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
Decades ago, when I first started shooting 4 x 5, I tried the Yankee tank. Results were not very satisfactory and a large volume of solution is needed.
Then I tried shuffling a few sheets in a tray and had problems with scratches, sheets sticking together, etc. Admittedly, most of this was probably due to my beginner status, but just couldn't see much future in the tray method. With hindsight, I think that if I'd just had the sense to subdivide the tray into several sections so that simple rocking could have substituted for shuffling the sheets, it might have worked out.
Around the same time, I had been working a little with the then-new Cibachrome, using a Cibachrome drum and a Beseler motor base. A rare flash of intuition gave me the idea of processing black and white sheet film in similar fashion. At the time I had never read of any else doing that, although I now assume that I was hardly the first. The Cibachrome drum wouldn't work, because it is internally smooth and has no spacers or dividers. But I acquired a Chromega 8 x 10 drum which neatly holds four sheets of 4 x 5. Bingo! Processing problem solved! Almost thirty years later, I still use the same drum and motor base; I've never had scratches, leaks, or uneven development. Since I don't do heavy-volume processing, the four-sheet capacity is fine. The only problem I recall is that I once had a sheet of thin-base film (Tech Pan) come loose during rotation.
Drum processing involves very low-cost equipment, small chemical volumes, minimal skin contact with chemicals,full-light working conditions, and highly consistent results. I strongly suggest than any LF beginner try this method first.
Tray processing with a "slosher" also works well. Summitek sells one; however, phil bard has directions on how to make one at his website http://philbard.com
Facts are facts; however, perception is reality.
I have tried various tanks- I like trays. I don't know how people scratch their film, with their fingernails?the bottom of the tray?
If you have good touch, you can develop multiple sheets of film, or singles for those really important shots- vary development, agitation, mix sizes, different film stock- all without having to fool around with any gizmos. I would suspect that even great photogs we admire (most of whom used trays) that do use a JOBO have the skill to develop a sheet or two in a tray occasionally, for testing, special neg, stand dev, etc.
Just my $0.02...
OTOH, people like the JOBOs for the consistency, but it's not very hands-on that way. To me fooling around with putting each sheet of film in it's own little length of PVC, taking it out wet, putting screen behind it, just to stand there for the whole time anyway is nuts, (here come the flames) but people love the BTZS tubes, so they must like the results. The only thing that I think everyone will agree on is stay away from the cheap "Yankee" tanks. (If you MUST try one, the key is to agitate like a washing machine, otherwise kiss your skies goodbye).
Good luck, whichever way you go-
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
trays for PMK and Pyrocat-HD no scratching. I think most of the scratching comes from too the wash and it being too forceful.
Thanks for the link DrPhil.
Originally Posted by DrPhil
Yankee daylight tank has given me mixed results depending on film. When APX100 4X5 was available, I had fairly consistent results. But since then I've become very frustrated with the tank & am switching to trays. Still use the 4X5 tank for 2X3 size film with good results - guess it sloshes around better for sizes smaller than max size of tank thereby giving more even development.
van Huyck Photo
"Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"
Thank you everybody who contributed to helping me with this.
It seems like there are basically two alternatives:
1. Invest in additional equipment and get a tube.
2. Go with finishing my darkroom and use the trays I already have.
To me it seems like there are pros and cons with both, but I've always been known for handling all kinds of things very gently, so I think trays is the way for me to go.
I suppose I have to get my butt in gear and start finishing my darkroom.
Saint Paul, Minnesota
One other option is a slosher tray. It divides the tray into 4 compartments that each take 1 4x5 negative. I've had very good luck with a slosher tray for 4x5 negatives and I will be using one for 8x10 starting next month. You can see the 4x5 negative version at http://www.summitek.com/cradle.html
Photographers Formulary also sells both the 4x5 negative and 8x10 negative versions.