Develop Individual 35mm Frames
I know many people will immediately ask why I would move away from the convenience of roll film without stepping up to 4x5 or even smaller 6x8cm sheet film, but my next project involves single frames of 35mm film...if I can figure out how to develop them.
I've read that film can be developed in trays under a safe light, but then I learned that it's only ortho film under a red safe light. If at all possible I plan to use Rollei ATP, ADOX CMS 20, or some other slow panchromatic film. I'm not necessarily opposed to ortho film, but I've never used it. Maybe I'll change my mind after I develop my first roll of Rollei Ortho 25.
My next idea was to cut strips of about 2 frames (even though I'll only expose one) and then roll the strips onto a spool, but that failed miserably in my test. Each strip overlaps the previous one rather than pushing it along the spool.
So, if I stick with panchromatic film is my only option to develop using trays in absolute darkness?
pixel is a four letter word
You could develop by IR, I use the ATN Viper to tray process 4x5 TMY-2 and its near-IR LED causes negligible if any (barely measurable) fog.
Not sure why you need to do this but if you are willing to waste some film then you could bulk load short rolls, say 4 frames with one exposure. The other way is to expose one and leave say two/three blank then repeat on a 36 frame roll then measure the distance and cut the roll according to two pieces of masking tape.
Develop each frame with its blanks either side in small trays in total darkness. I am presuming that each frame is being treated as a small sheet film and exposed and developed according to the different light conditions.
Out of sheer curiosity would you mind explaining what the purpose of this is?
Bill, thanks for the suggestion. Night vision goggles are already part of my plan. If people can develop negatives using trays in complete darkness then I suppose I can do the same with night vision, and clearly you already do. It seems difficult but maybe I just need to read more about tray processing. My biggest fear is scratching the negatives, so I was hoping for some alternate method that would only require loading the frame in darkness then developing in light, similar to normal roll processing.
pentaxuser, some different lighting conditions and exposures, yes, and maybe different developments as a result. Right now it's just going to be an experiment for fun. I'm sure I'll be learning as I go that there are more variables than I'm anticipating.
The basic idea is a single frame "one shot" pinhole camera (several actually). I'll cut each frame and load it into the camera in the dark with night vision. Each camera will be as small as possible, hence individual 35mm frames. Think of a matchbox pinhole with only the matchbox, no canisters. Slow film + pinhole = loooooong exposures. Rather than sit around with my camera and an entire roll of film to take 1 shot I can stick a matchbox in an inconspicuous location and walk away to look for another shot. Repeat with 10-20 matchboxes, and then make my way back to the beginning to start collecting them several minutes/hours later.
pixel is a four letter word
If you're only going to be doing 1 or 2 frames, tray processing would be the easiest. Yes, it would need to be done in total darkness until you get it in the fixer.
It may sound intimidating, but is easy, actually, though you need access to a suitably dark place, if you don't have a darkroom.
One option if you can't find ortho film, may be to make negatives on paper which you can process under a safelight. You can produce a positive either by contact printing the neg onto another piece of paper, or else, ahem, scan the neg.
You might be able to process in a stainless tank without a reel in daylight, but you would probably get scratches, and maybe would have problems with evenness in development since the film would probably be floating most of the time. But it would be an easy thing to try out. My first impression is that attempting to work with the film on a reel is probably a waste of time, as you may have discovered, but if you tried with stainless, you could try again with plastic, or else, vice-versa.
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Rollei makes 25 ASA Ortho film in 35mm.
Would it be a sin to use 6x9? You'll have the benefit of filmholders and even Grafmatic backs.
Less diffraction too (though at this point, it's moot. Probably easier to drill though).
Brief weak green light exposure is possible with panchromatic film.
Efke makes 2x3 panchromatic B+W sheet film at ISO 25.
Ilford and Rollei sell ortho sheet film, but you'd have to cut down from at least 3x4.
It occurs to me that if you are still inclined to use 35mm, you could probably turn slide viewer into a camera and cut 35mm into slide mounts.
If you do this, I want credit for that bit of insanity.
(Edit: Oh, hell, maybe I'll build this tomorrow.)
Last edited by alipstadt; 10-09-2011 at 08:17 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Stand development. I process everything this way and it works great. It does take longer, but the development takes place all alone while I am doing something else. Google "rodinal stand development", follow links, and you will eventually find two threads with lots of details, but basically it works like this: Process film in a room temperature 1:100 solution of Rodinal by agitating for two minutes and then letting it stand for one hour. The week developer exhausts in the highlights, so they don't get blocked. I process 5x7 sheet film, 35mm and 120. I've used it with great success with a variety of film. Honestly, I came back to film photography only because of this handy process. Sheet development in the dark is the most boring thing I have ever encountered, and I wish I had the time back that I spent doing it!
5x7 sheet film sits nicely at the bottom of a tray for an hour. I assume 35mm frames would do the same, but it I were you I'd attach little paper clips or something to the little fellas so keep them nicely under the surface.
I agree that stand/semi-stand would be the easiest, esp. in total darkness.
Another option would be to look into Gary Winogrand's development process. Apparently he developed in darkness "about half way", most likely in D-76, and then finished developing by inspection under a faint dark green safe light (apparently unfixed panchromatic film becomes less sensitive to green light after some initial exposure to developer). See one of his student's class notes here - page 15 has references to his darkroom techniques. D-76 isn't mentioned directly here, but it is in other references to Winogrand.
i can't wait to take a picture of my thumb with this beautiful camera.
- phirehouse, after buying a camera in the classifieds
Originally Posted by alipstadt
Will hold the film flat during exposure (wasn't sure how you were going to manage that) and you can develop the film in the mounts in trays without scratching!