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Thread: Agitation

  1. #1
    lacavol's Avatar
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    Agitation

    I did a search and didn't find the answer that I was looking for... I just developed my first roll of film using what I could find in some books and on the www. I went with the basics all Kodak; D76, Indicator Stop, Kodafix, Kodak Hypo, and Photo-Flo. Thought I would start with something easy. Everything turned out fine, I think I overexposed the film so the negatives are a little dark, and maybe they are overdeveloped a bit. The timer is easy to follow and a step by step method seemed to work.
    My question is that the agitation seems the main nebulous variable. If I invert (which I did) then the film is out of the developer for a bit of time depending on how fast my inversion is. I have a Patterson tank so I could use the twisting method, which I haven't tried yet. It seems to take me about 15 seconds to do 5 inversions, otherwise it seems as though I'm making a drink, which would seem to froth the developer. Does the twisting method work? Should I be doing inversions faster? Do I need a metronome, otherwise how do I know if I'm agitating the same or differently on different days?
    That is D76 stock and Legacy Pro 100 for 7.25 minutes.
    Thanks.
    Last edited by lacavol; 09-20-2011 at 01:59 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: additional info

  2. #2
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    I recommend inversions. A couple inversions each 30 seconds is what I was taught. I follow the inversions (for the first few minutes anyway) with a couple good sharp raps on a hard surface to dislodge air bells. After a couple minutes air bells aren't going to ruin your pictures anymore since the surface is completely wet.

  3. #3
    lacavol's Avatar
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    That sounds reasonable, I saw 5 inversions every 30sec on the www. Thats half my developing time. Plus I had very little time to drink my beer.

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    If you want the finest grain, the shortest developing time and the cleanest (most even) processing result, you should definitely agitate continuously from start to finish. Typically this will give you a processing time that is about 65% of the normal time using more traditional (ie. less often) agitation. Conversely, if you want a grainier result, agitate less often or hardly at all (and use an appropriately adjusted longer processing time). It doesn't matter 'how' you agitate, because each time you do it you'll tend to do it the same way, so just 'do it', don't worry about trying to 'time' it. Giving the tank a twist in the hand as you invert it, so that it slowly rotates as you go, is good, essential. The idea that giving more agitation somehow gives you a 'rougher' result is arse-up, the opposite is actually the truth. You'll see this effect in a more pronounced way using Ilford films; Kodak films show less 'variance' in graininess. If you want a fabulous tight 'sandy' grain, try processing Ilford film with, say, 20 or 30 seconds of starting agitation and then no agitation at all for the rest of a relatively long process. Warning: giving less agitation (in other words, having more/longer 'still' periods) increases the chance of getting 'funnies' in your processing result, eg. funny streak marks etc, where the emulsion has tripped out/gone quirky. If a neg is really important, continuous agitation is the fastest, finest, most reliable way to go, always. Hope this helps!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cornflower2 View Post
    It doesn't matter 'how' you agitate, because each time you do it you'll tend to do it the same way, so just 'do it', don't worry about trying to 'time' it.
    I think this is the most important thing regarding agitation. Just do it the same way every time and you'll get consistent results. The more you agitate the more even and faster are the results, but constant agitation is not easy to do manually. So I think 5 seconds every 30 seconds is a good compromise.
    I like my film stirred, not shaken.
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    markbarendt's Avatar
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    As already stated consistency is important in whatever method you choose.

    I'm not a fan of twisting, I ended up unrolling the film off the reel and ruining it.

    For normal negatives stick as close to the directions as possible, this will allow you to trouble shoot the rest. For example to see if it is actually overexposed or over developed.

    One thing you did not mention was temperature. It is very important that your thermometer be reliable/consistent so that you can get the same temp every time or adjust for changes in temp. Unless you are using truly calibrated thermometers your actual temperature will normally be different than say mine.

    If your thermometer reads 2-degrees cold your water will be 2-degrees warmer than planned and that means overdeveloped negatives.

    When you adjust your "system" do it one variable at a time and test it. If you adjust two variables, say agitation and temp, you won't learn as much.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post

    One thing you did not mention was temperature. It is very important that your thermometer be reliable/consistent so that you can get the same temp every time or adjust for changes in temp.
    Regarding temperature, I used to use the inversion/twisting method and I'd place a thick rag over the capped Nikor tank so the heat of my hands could not increase the dev temp, but I was getting density build-up on the edges of the film due to increased flow through the reel. Eventually, I changed to processing in the dark with the open tank in a water jacket using a lift rod for agitation, which involved slowly lifting the reel (keeping it submerged) and rotating 180 degrees then slowly lowering - 5 sec every 30 sec. The resulting negatives were flawless.

    Subsequent chemicals were also in separate open tanks in the same water jacket, even though temp for them was not as critical in b&w processing.
    Last edited by silveror0; 09-20-2011 at 12:27 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: after thought

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    lacavol's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the replys and I welcome more. It seems it is more an art than a science with consistancy as the key. I'll try to use all of the advice to get a consistant routine.
    I used 20° C as my thermometer has a arrow there, of course it could be inaccurate.
    Last edited by lacavol; 09-21-2011 at 01:44 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: temp

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    I've used inversion for years with good results. I was taught to agitate for the first 30 seconds & then for 10 seconds at the start of each subsequent minute. In 10 seconds I will do 3 complete inversions, i.e. over-back, over-back, over-back. Then put it down with a sharp rap to dislodge bubbles. Doing it this way I find the times given at the Massive Dev Chart are correct.
    I know that in some countries people are taught to agitate every 30 seconds & also that some people agitate quickly. There's no reason why this wouldn't work as long as you are consistent and adjust the overall time for what gives the best result.

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    I am 100% with Michael W on this subject , and use the same procedure.
    Kodak has long indicated 30 sec inversions, Ilfords clone, ID-11, states every minute.

    Try to rethink the cocktail shaker approach - agitation is meant to FLOW fresh dev.over the film , not beat it into submission. The method used will affect the density of your negs for sure.

    As for constant rotary ;the reason for the lower grain is simple : by eroding the edge of each grain 'smoothness 'is achieved . But so is sharpness and acutance.
    The converse , stand development, should,by this logic produce golfball grain. ,but those who use it swear by it.
    Take the middle path , try 2 turns and a thump every minute.
    But be careful with that Paterson - the brittle plastic tank body can crack easily.

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