Print Drums vs. Trays
I would like to thank everyone for th helpful information about enlargers last week. I manged to get my hands on a Fujinon enlarger, and it would be arriving sometime this week.
As of right now I do all of my film processing in a Jobo Tank. I have been pleased with the results, never had any streaking or any other problems. I was thinking due to limited space, (especially now the at 4x5 enlarger is coming), that developing prints in a drum might be easier than trays. I have read both pro and con, but nothing really good or bad about it. The only thing I have been able to confirm is that Fiber paper, has to be handled with extreme care after washing.
Any opinions or ideas would be greatly appreciated!
For B&W I much prefer trays. Drums use less chemicals. Are light tight. Hold temperture better. But I personally enjoy seeing the image come up in a tray.
I've always used trays for B&W, even though I've owned drums. If you run out of space for trays, shop for a second-hand Richardson Tray-Rak that holds three trays stacked vertically.
Good Evening, Gary,
I tend to agree with Nick's comment above. A couple of other points may, however, be worth considering.
If I need to knock out a quick print or two (or maybe just a single contact sheet), using a drum with the much smaller quantities of chemicals makes a lot of sense.
While I have and use trays accomodating 16 x 20 prints, I have also sometimes used the drum method for prints of that size. By the time I decide to make a 16 x 20, I've usually zeroed in on the exposure and development times, so I don't need to see the print during processing. Again, the positive is a savings in chemical amounts; that factor is somewhat offset by the nuisance of washing the interior of the drum between prints. Anything beyond two or three prints in a session normally makes it worthwhile to set up the usual line of trays.
I began B&W darkroom work with trays, and I've done a grand total of one B&W print in a drum. (I wanted a sample of a print done with a particular developer, but I only had about 250ml of that developer on hand, so a tray was out of the question.)
For color, I began by using drums because that's what all the books and manuals and whatnot recommended; however, I found it to be a pain -- drums need washing and drying between prints, and I had some early problems with green streaks on my prints because of incomplete drying. (I suspect little drops of water clung in the lid and then dripped down.) Thus, I became obsessive about drying my drums, and the end result of all of this was that it took much longer to do a color print than a B&W print.
For my latest color session (a week or two ago), I tried tray processing. I did this in total darkness until the print was in the blix, which was a bit awkward, and the odor from the trays was stronger than when I used a drum. OTOH, the overall speed of the process was much better. Overall, I preferred the tray processing, and I intend to use that method again the next time I do color prints.
That said, I suspect drums would have an advantage for larger-than-normal prints. I normally process 8x10 and smaller prints, so I keep chemistry on hand in quantities that are suitable for this size. To do an 11x14, I'd need to use larger trays (which I have) and mix up larger quantities of chemistry. To do an 11x14 in a drum (which I have), I could use less chemistry than I use for my 8x10 prints. The chemistry would exhaust much faster, of course, but at least I wouldn't need to mix up larger quantities of it. This is largely speculative, though; I've not wanted to make an 11x14 B&W print since beginning color printing.
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I would use tray for B&W and drum for color.
Another possibility is to use a Color Canoe which were once popular. You see them from time to time on ebay. They come in 8x10 and 11x14 sizes made of SS. They allow the use of a very small amount of chemicals say 1.5 to 2 ounces per print. The canoe has a rounded bottom and is rocked back and forth for agitation. After development the developer would be poured out and replaced with fixer. I find one useful for making a print or two without having to setup a set of trays. Using one certainly saves space.
I am using drums because there is no room for trays in the room that I have available and can be made dark. I load the drum in that room, and do the processing in my kitchen.
I have a number of drums (4 +) in the 8x10 size, and cycle through them, rinsing them and wiping them dry each time. As a result, by the time I am ready to do my 5th print, the 1st used drum has had time to air dry.
On e-bay, drums and roller bases can be dirt cheap. I am currently using cibachrome drums.
I really miss the tray experience - to the extent that I recently took a night school course that was probably innapropriate to my level of experience.
On the other hand, drums make it easy to set up and use one shot chemistry - short printing sessions are possible. In addition, for the first time ever, I have a "darkroom" with a nice view (I work at the kitchen counter, and can look out the kitchen window).
Given the prices on e-bay, it is probably worth having a drum or two, even if you do have room for trays.
P.S. You can probably understand why I have hestitated to sign up for the postcard exchange :rolleyes:
I would like to thank everyone for the helpful replies. It has given me alot to think about. Right now I am inclined to get a couple of drums, and some trays and try both. I can see the advantages of both of them.
I had the same problem, limited space. But I wanted
Originally Posted by coriana6jp
to get on with it. I adopted the single tray processing
method. All of a sudden I can do up to 16 x 20.
Two basic ingredients: minimal solution volumes, and
those more dilute than usual. One tip if you give it a
try; pre-wet the print in THE tray. You'll find that
a cup or less of chemistry will handle an 8 X 10.
I use the chemistry one-shot but some save to a
container for the next print. If saving, a not so small
amount of your usual strength will do a few prints.
Then there are two and three tray methods. In each
case the last tray is a holding tray. A. Adams used
a fourth tray to hold. A second fix followed. Dan