Lage Format film processing
I am getting ready to focus on large format photography. I have a 4x5 cambo legend and a 5x7 kona.
With the cambo I got a Jobo cpp2 and cpa2 with the 4x5 reel, tank and 4x5 loader. With the kona I got a plethora of 4x5 and 5x7 hangers with three 5x7 tanks and six 4x5 tanks. The tanks are some sort of old plastic or hard rubber, no lids or covers, seem to be in good condition. The hangars are stainless steel.
I have three antique red glass developing trays with a small glass rod that holds the film sheet.The trays are curved, it seems that you lay the emulsion side down, the glass rod flexes and pins the sheet downward, holding it below the bottom and immersed into the chemistry. You then rock the tray during development. They seem to be for 4x5, not sure if they will hold 5x7 but I doubt it.
I also have a permanent darkroom setup, well laid out and fun to spend time in with my complete cd collection burned into itunes ( sometimes I just hang out in there reading books and listening to downtempo chill beats like Kid Loco, trip hop, acid jazz or very loud Springsteen and Led Zepplin if it has been a stressful day, as everyone knows not to bother me if I'm in there working. I even have a special message on my cell phone and office phone to let everyone know who may call to not expect me to call back for several hours).
After reading all of the posts concerning tray development shuffling multiple sheets, rotary processing, the aftermarket patterson holder, jobo tank with standard immersion and agitation, it seems that hangars and tanks would be the way to go.
Shuffling sheets can scratch the negatives, rotary can cause streaks and uneven development, some say that rotary does not process the same as inversion / agitation would in the highlights although John Sexton I think is a Jobo user, the patterson holder is expensive and the sheets can fallout. Using the Jobo reel and tank with inversion takes a lot of chemistry. Using tanks means that you have to stand in the dark. I don't have an opinion as yet about my glass trays with the glass rods.If I was afraid of the dark I'd go digital. I'll not comment on the taco method, as I'm already burned out on which method to consider so far.
As I understand using hangars and tanks, I simply load the hangars, dunk them into the tank, raise the hangars out of the chemistry, rotate the hangars to the left, rotate to the right and drop them back into the tank at some interval during the development time. Pick 'em up and drop them into the tank of stop bath, pick 'em up again and drop them into the tank of fix, all at the appropriate times for each. Seems very straight forward to me.
So with all of that being said, and not minding standing in the dark for ten to twenty minutes at a time grooving with itunes, would hangars be the preferred method for the best results ?
Can anyone give me pointers on film handling and agitation using hangars and tanks ?
Can anyone give me a heads up and correct any misuderstandings that I may have of the other processes ?
I don't have the expert drum. I have the drum with reel for six sheets of 4x5.
"rotary can cause streaks and uneven development, some say that rotary does not process the same as inversion / agitation would in the highlights"
Good Evening, Charles,
I don't use the Jobo system, but I have used rotary processing in a Chromega drum for sheet film for over 25 years. I have never encountered streaks or uneven development; in fact, the absence of those problems is, to me, one of the primary advantages of using rotary processing. As for highlight/shadow development, I think that film and developer choice would generally be much more significant factors.
Last edited by Konical; 10-23-2011 at 06:20 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: missing words
I have processed thousands of sheets in tanks with hangers. Never had a problem. Tech Pan one at a time in trays. If you use any of the alternatives such as drums; as long as you follow proper procedures, you should get excellent, consistent results.
Why are there no speaker jacks on a stereo camera?
Hangers and tanks require a lot of chemistry. Also, you have to be extremely careful agitating the film in hangers as you may end up with excessive density near the film edges. I prefer trays (one sheet at a time) and BTZS tubes. I'm in no hurry. Have you been over to the largeformatphotography forum?
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i first processed sheets in large tanks like the ones you describe ( probably 4000 sheets ) and never had problems.
there is a little more to it than you describe though ... you have to be careful when you load the film ( you might scratch it )
you have to be careful when you lower the film in the tank of developer, and you have to raise and lower
the hangers a special way or you will have surge marks or it will not develop right ... once you learn, its
easy stuff ( lower slowly at an angle, leave sitting for 30 seconds then raise and lower 8 times ( 8x each side ),
and raise at a 45º angle and lower, left, raise / lower right side x2 ) is 1 agitation cycle each minute ...
one thing about deep tank development is you NEED to keep track of how many sheets
of film you process, and how many sheets you fix because ...
have to replenish ( developer ) and you also have to mix fresh developer + fix when you reach your limit.
i tray process now ... and maybe i scratched 2 sheets of film out of
maybe 2000 +? once you learn how to stack and shuffle sheet film you won't have trouble.
it really isn't as difficult or as scratch prone as some people suggest ...
... some get paranoid shuffling 3 sheets, i have shuffled close to 40 without scratches or problems ...
it is not hard ... you stack them up, and unstick + count your sheets, then both hands in the liquid
one keeps the film together in a stack the outer pulls the bottom one out, and drops on the surface then
it gets pushed down to the rest of the stack ... you just need a tray bigger than your film ...
you just need to practice ( like everything else) ...
i wouldn't bother with the curved tray or the glass rod, they sound like a recipe for disaster ...
good luck !
I did tray processing briefly. I used an oversized tray in a water bath. I had a nearby dish of cold water to cool off my gloved hands. Even so, I got uneven development just from the heat of my fingers. I process at 68 degrees, so maybe a warmer temp would offset my hot hands.
Never had a single problem with rotary processing with a Jobo, either Expert drums or reels for rolls/sheets.
If you are going to do a few sheets of 4x5, the HP combi tanks are easy to use, although I never put more than 4 sheets in one, as I don't trust that they might adhere to the next sheet. SS tanks and hangers are pretty fool proof if you follow the advice given about lowering and raising. There are pros who can't do it, but most of us don't have any problems.
That said, unless you are using highly dilute developers as one shot, or replenishing, the rotary tanks use less developer. I never did like them, but each to his own.
I have the the Jobo 2523 tank (not the Expert drum), and I find it works very well. I've never had problems with streaks. I have had streaks using a conventional Yer of technique.ankee tank, however. Some people report streaks with deep tank processing; that is probably a matt