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  1. #1
    Southern-Lights's Avatar
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    Developing Tank Question

    So, I know that a lot of people use a daylight developing tank when they develop roll film, my question is, what do you use if you don't use a daylight developing tank.

  2. #2
    jmcd's Avatar
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    I worked with a fellow, who, if he had many 120 rolls to process, would tape them into loops and develop many at once in open trays, in the dark.

    You can also dip and dunk your reels in open tanks.

  3. #3
    Rick A's Avatar
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    In the old days of orthochromatic film, they did the dip and dunk and developed by inspection under a safelight.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

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    vedmak's Avatar
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    if you are using modern films, dip and dunk will not work because they sensitive to all wavelengths, developing tank is the only way to guarantee against fogging your film.

  5. #5
    Rick A's Avatar
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    You can still do dip and dunk, just in total darkness, then the appropriate safelight after midway development time, and then for a very short time under light.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

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    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern-Lights View Post
    So, I know that a lot of people use a daylight developing tank when they develop roll film, my question is, what do you use if you don't use a daylight developing tank.
    Large Newspapers used to use Deep Tanks (think 7ft deep tank). Unwind a roll of 35mm, put a clip on the bottom end and lower it into a deep tank. Use bursts of Nitrogen Gas to agitate the developer while keeping the film static.

    A large numbers of 35mm rolls could be processed at the same time - which was useful when a Photographer would arrive back in the office with a bag full of exposed film.

    This method required dedicated kit, serious investment and careful control of the Gas Burst process. It could, however, produce very evenly developed film.

    Another way is to load a film onto a reel (usually stainless steel) and pop it into a cage/basket with some others. Still in the dark the cage would then be dropped into a Large Tank of developer. An operator would then raise and lower the basket, tipping it this way and that to try and generate even development.

    There are stories (urban legends?) that some darkroom technicians would kneel over the Large Tank to agitate the cage, still with a cigarette or cigar clamped in their mouth.

    Typically, the Large Tank and Deep Tank methods would use undiluted Developer and a replenishment technique to maintain developer activity and ensure consistent development from batch to batch and day to day.

    The small daylight tank we use, has always been seen as a low volume/amateur method, requiring little investment, low film throughput and a relatively simple technique.

    Martin

  7. #7
    Southern-Lights's Avatar
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    Wow. So many different ways to develop the film.

    @Martin Aislabie: So does that mean that the pro film photographers use something besides a daylight tank to develop their film?

    When you do the dip and dunk method, do you use a reel like you would in a tank?

  8. #8
    CBG
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    One other way to work, very, very simple, just hold a roll, in dark of course, one end in each hand and seesaw the film through a tray of developer. (Guaranteed to develop not just film but those arm muscles too.) Whilst waaaay back seesaw developing was mostly promoted as a way for amateurs with no equipment to do developing, a couple of pros used that method to do all their development. It does work.

    I'm heading the other way and gathering the equipment to do rack and tank for up to 18 rolls of 120 at a time. Haven't sorted out what development scheme I want to use. I'm thinking probably one shot / very dilute. That would give me consistency and economy. Were it more practical, I'd prefer D-23 related two bath, but I'm not sure of reliability with low turnover in a 3 1/2 gallon batch that doesn't get used frequently enough.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by CBG View Post
    One other way to work, very, very simple, just hold a roll, in dark of course, one end in each hand and seesaw the film through a tray of developer. (Guaranteed to develop not just film but those arm muscles too.)
    I'm not sure if you're describing the same thing, but I recall reading about a development method that involved placing a 35mm roll of film, in its cartridge, in a developer solution and then repeatedly rotating the spindle one way and then the other, so as to wind and unwind the film within its cartridge. IIRC, this only works with 24-exposure and shorter rolls; there's not enough room in the cartridge of a 36-exposure roll for this to work. I've never tried it myself.

    This deviates from the original question, but I've seen eBay auctions for Kodak tanks that can be loaded in daylight. Here's an example of a completed auction. I've never seen one of these in person. It seems like it could be handy in some situations, but I don't know how well this design works in practice.

  10. #10
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern-Lights View Post
    Wow. So many different ways to develop the film.

    @Martin Aislabie: So does that mean that the pro film photographers use something besides a daylight tank to develop their film?

    When you do the dip and dunk method, do you use a reel like you would in a tank?
    Being a professional photographer has nothing much to do with the type of development process you use - it is more about film throughput v time v investment.

    I don't know that Method A produces greater evenness or consistency than Process B

    I know a professional who develops all his 5x4 in a Jobo CPE with a standard daylight tank and plastic reels.

    However, many old seasoned Lab Rats do tell that seasoned and replenished neat stock B&W Developer give far more evenly toned Negs than when Dev is diluted 1+1, used and then discarded – which is a process that is equally applicable to daylight and deep tanks.

    If you are using the Large Tank method of development, it is done in complete darkness, usually using stainless steel reels, loaded into an open cage, which is manually lowered into a large and deep tank - again usually made from stainless steel.
    Timing is done by an audible clock system, which bleeps at regular intervals.

    Have a look at these two links to help understand what I am rather feebly trying to explain

    http://www.hewes.co.uk/

    http://www.richards.uk.com/index.htm

    Martin

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