Entering the world of 16x20.. Need some advice..
I'm almost ready to begin 16x20 printing. I just have a few conerns/questions.
- Anyone using the single tray processing method? In theory it sounds ideal, saving the most space, but pouring and pouring and pouring would get old after I while I would imagine.
- How much chemistry in a 16x20 tray? I use 2L now for 11x14, so 3L? or 4?
- How necessary is a print washer for 16x20? I have one for 11x14 and love it but can't afford another one for 16x20. I have tray siphon which would work for low volume work.
- Ok to handle the print with hands? I've never used tongs and don't intend to.
Any other advice or suggestions would be great!
It would be hard to handle a tray full of chemicals at that size I would think, but maybe? Your tray siphon will do fine if only one or two prints are done at a time. Use a pinch consisting of your index finger and thumb and
you shouldn't have any problems with kinking the print during handling. You only need enough chemistry to cover the print, no need to fill the tray to the brim. As long as the capacity of the chemicals are followed, use the
just enough to easily cover the print while agitating. It's not much different than 11x14 really, just takes more space in the sink
good luck with the prints!
Good Evening, Brian,
16 x 20 trays require about twice the chemical volume compared to 11 x 14 trays. If you intend to process only a couple of prints, the required amount isn't too great--just enough to give good coverage to the paper. If you intend to make a number of prints in one session, it's good to ample quantities of chemicals, just so that chemical exhaustion doesn't occur toward the end of a printing session.
Another very viable option, especially if your working space is limited, is a drum originally made for color prints. Chemical quantities are quite small, but a motor base for rotation is, while not an absolute requirement, highly desirable.
Washing with a tray siphon is quite practical if you use RC paper. A 20 x 24 inch tray is preferable.
Handling the larger paper requires a little practice, but it's not really difficult. Allow plenty of time for chemicals to drain off the print before transfering from one tray to the next.
I use 6 liters of developer and 4 liters of stop and fix. I allow 30 seconds for chemicals to drain before going to the next tray. I wear Nitrile gloves and never use tongs for any size I print—can't stand them.
For some reason 16x20s look a LOT bigger to me than 11x14s. I think you'll really enjoy them Brian.
well i did my first 16x20 two weeks ago. Two trays, and a bit of a hassle but i stopped in the sink then drained,flushed and refilled the sink during fix. I used 2.0 ltr of chemicals in each tray and did 4 prints. The best of which is now framed and hanging in the lounge. Was`nt that hard after all.
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As little as 2L of liquid with RC paper though with fiber paper it may not cover the edges of the print so 3-4L would be better for the developer at least. After the fiber is wet is flattens out.
I use multiple trays and have 6 of them for developer, stop, 1-2 fixers, wash, permawash, toner, drying drip tray.
I've always use tongs in chemicals, and sometimes use two for 16x20. Hands are OK in the wash tray, not fond of gloves.
16x20 looks and is big! It's as big as I can go without doing floor or wall projection. Not sure how I'd handle trays any bigger, 16x20 is already pushing it getting 3 trays on my dev/stop/fix table.
There are those who do single tray development, I cannot imagine any reason other than space, the pitfalls IMO are too great.
I use 10 litres of developer per printing session to make prints. If you are going into the darkroom to make a couple of prints then less is ok.
Yes you will get very tired of dumping trays, actually go fill a tray in your darkroom right now with water and practice a bit. If you follow double fix , wash, hypo clear , wash you will get the idea of how difficult this may become.
On the other hand you will at least be giving your upper body a real workout.
All kidding aside , I use 20 x24 trays and when I was younger I had no problem lifting the trays to dump chemistrys, now I do, I have joined a fitness center to build back strength so I can pour my trays at the end of a day.
I use gloves and buy them in bulk to get a good price, I would never use tongs.
You do not need a vertical washer, a series of dumps would be totally ok. You would need to figure out that one for yourself, a good hypo clear before would be in order.
Originally Posted by brian steinberger
I have heard of people using an 11x14 slot type print washer for 16x20 by bending the print to fit into two slots. It always seemed risky to me. Has anybody tried it?
As mentioned above I also use 4-6 liters of solution for 16x20 prints. My sink will hold five 11x14 trays but for 16x20 trays I use tray stackers. I bought them from Calumet @ approx. $80. You can place up to three trays in the space of one. For washing I have a vertical partitioned print washer that takes up to 16x20 papers and sits on the counter-top and drains into the sink. A tray siphon will work but look into making your own print washer with sheets of acrylic. I made my first one by copying the design from a picture. After many years of use I replaced it with a store bought one.
I use dishes like this .
I do not know the English term for them. They are made for mixing dough. You can find them in the nonfood department of every supermarket. They are not too high and have a large opening, which is important, as a 16x20 tray is heavy and somewhat floppy. To my experience, 2,5L of chemicals are enough. Rinsing the prints is the bottleneck in the process as you want to rinse them separately. If you do not have the space for large trays, chances are, you do not have space for separate trays for rinsing.
I have tried to develop large prints in a large tube. This works fine for the first print until you have to get the wet print out of the tube. I suppose, you can not rinse a fiber print in a tube as there is no way to make sure that the back gets washed. Others say it would be fine, as the back does not get soaked with chemicals YMMV.
I have done it several times as I too do not have the space for large trays, but don't like the workflow much. I prefer to stick with 12x16.
EDIT: I suppose I should supply the linkt to the source of the picture: Curver
Last edited by Ulrich Drolshagen; 09-15-2011 at 10:25 AM. Click to view previous post history.