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  1. #1
    adelorenzo's Avatar
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    I unexpectedly find myself a large format shooter and need processing advice

    I just walked out of our local camera swap with a complete Toyo CX 45 setup in as-new condition. I wasn't planning to jump into larger formats at this time but I couldn't leave it there as the price was extremely low. I'm still kind of in shock, actually.

    I am hopeful that I can fumble my way through loading and actually shooting this camera. I think I'll just try processing in my 8x10 printing trays for now, but I'm looking for suggestions for film processing?

    Other than trays I also have various Cibachrome/Unicolor/Jobo drums and tanks in various sizes and configurations along with some kind of agitator system that I believe were used for color printing. Could I use that for sheet film?

    Otherwise I'd like to know what people would suggest for a simple, efficient way to process black and white 4x5 film at home. If I do any color I'll send it to the lab.

    Regards,
    Anthony

  2. #2
    Stephanie Brim's Avatar
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    I've been doing the film taco method, but what I suggest, if you have Paterson 3 reel tanks laying about, is the Mod54 system. It looks to be something that is *very* easy to use and it's not horribly expensive.
    No idea what's going to happen next, but I'm hoping it involves being wrist deep in chemicals come the weekend.

  3. #3
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    I was able to pick up a Jobo processor from APUG for $150 and bought a Jobo 3010 Expert Drum [up to 10 4"x5" negatives] new for $300 from FreeStyle. The money was well worth it and I gave up tray development without shedding a tear! Nope, nope, I have never looked back.
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  4. #4
    Stephanie Brim's Avatar
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    Those expert drums are now going for almost twice that, which is why I didn't suggest it. Heh.
    No idea what's going to happen next, but I'm hoping it involves being wrist deep in chemicals come the weekend.

  5. #5
    brucemuir's Avatar
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    I started with 2x3 sheet film and playing with those little sheets was a hassle. I was doing 4 at a time in an 8x10 tray.

    I then moved up to 2 /4x5's at a time in an 8x10 tray. I keep my fingers in there almost the entire time to keep the sheets from scratching…and scratch they will.

    I went the tray method because thats what I had and the "taco" method wasn't that talked about back then so I didn't really know of it.
    I eventually got my tray technique down and thats the way I go for b&w.

    You will flip when you see the detail when you start examining the negs/chromes with a loupe.
    I was using all old/tattered vintage lenses and the image quality was just stunning.

    There is no substitute for film area

  6. #6
    tony lockerbie's Avatar
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    It's a long and slippery slope it is! You will be amazed when you get your first negs, it's not just the sharpness (you will get that with your med.format) but the tonality which makes the difference.
    I have used a few methods for processing, but always come back to the tray method. BTZS tubes are ok, and I have one of those Mod54 racks for the Pateson tanks. The Mod54 is a good idea but I occasionally find that the film will jump out and two sheets will stick together...not good! I still use it when I'm doing a quick job and just load with four sheets.
    Once the tray method is mastered I can process 8 sheets at a time using 8x10 trays and a liter of chemistry.
    Good luck with your 5x4, and all you need now are those extra lenses!

  7. #7

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    Congrats! I just got into MF and I'm trying to learn that but I admit when I see those speedgraflex cameras on the bay it gets tempting Good luck....I'd like to hear your experiences

  8. #8
    sly
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    I tried using drums meant for print processing for 8x10 negs. A short lived experiment as the negs got scratched both on the way in and out.
    Tray developing has worked well for me for years, but I did scratch a neg every now and then - always something I couldn't reshoot of course. I'm happy now using a slosher tray for 4x5 sheet film - 4 sheets at a time. I've seen various plans for trays, but went for cheap and easy - a plastic letter tray and clothes pegs from the dollar store.

  9. #9

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    Tray processing takes practice but is the cheapest way to go.

  10. #10

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    At least you didn't have to agonize for months over what LF camera to buy. It sounds like it sort of followed you home like a stray cat. Now you have to feed it!

    Possibly you have equipment enough already to do the poor mans Jobo rotary processing:

    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/unicolor/

    You must have a drum like the 8X10 Unicolor with ribs inside to hold the film in place. Not all print drums have this. This article is aimed at color processing, but it works fine for B&W. Possibly you must reduce developing times slightly when doing rotary processing, but I can't remember for sure. I've used the Unicolor for several years and it works well (cheap too - both equipment and amount of chems used).

    Len

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