Thanks everyone for the responses. That was a lot of good information. We do have the tanks that you can dip the photos into but we never got a demo on how to do that so I want to stick with tray developing for now. Thanks for the advice about the chemicals. I wasn't aware that just coming into contact with them could be bad. I'll be sure to use a little bit more developer than I need.
On that note - should I start off with D-76 or HC-110? I've heard that the Arista stuff comes out pretty nice with D-76 and I also heard that if I was to use HC-110, then it should be diluted to a weaker dilution to lengthen development time since it's very quick for Arista.
What kind of gloves should I be using? Latex?
As for agitation and scratches and number of photos - For a beginner at this, would it be better to develop one at a time in a tray or do multiples in one tray? If I'm doing multiples, then should I do the shuffle method instead of rocking the tray? And if I'm doing a single sheet, the agitation would either be rocking the tray or just lifting the negative out and putting it back in, correct? Can't really shuffle with just one photograph. Lastly, the emulsion side should be face up? Seems like it would get less scratched that way.
I'll definitely look into the slosher trays - maybe we have some of those in the lab.
I've tried tacos and sloshers and deep tanks and hangars and I'm back to tray processing for all around even development and convenience. I use a liter of developer in an 8x10 tray. HC110 50:1 or 100:1 is cheap enough or you can use a replenished developer. I alway pre-soak for at least 30s. I use the shuffle method emulsion up, moving the bottom sheet out, then draining it from the corner, and putting it back on top. Just concentrate on what you are doing and realize there is no hurry and you can avoid scratches. The shuffle method is much easier with an 8x10 tray because you can slide a sheet completely away from the rest of the stack before moving it vertically. I don't wear gloves, and I don't worry about chemical temperature changing while I'm developing. With 1L of developer, I don't think my process control is tight enough for it to matter.
As for gloves, I would recommend Nitrile (but not the powdered ones). I buy them cheap from Costco.
I just tray developed a sheet of Arista 100 the other day. I used HC110 at dilution "E" (1+47) and 6.5 minutes, right in the middle of the range they suggest for D76 straight. It was pretty decent, maybe slightly thin, but I think the developer was a bit cooler than 68ºF (and for whatever reason, didn't check). 5 mL of syrup to about 240 mL of water was enough in a standard 5x7 tray for one sheet. If doing a bunch I might want a little more to cover carry-over loss.
I usually grip the tray by a corner and gently lift with alternating motions between side to side and end to end. Keeping time is my biggest PITA, but I have a silly cardboard thing with a small neon lamp that tapes over my ancient mechanical stopwatch. The top of the container has about a 1/4 inch hole to peep through at the watch. It works, though it was easier when my eyes were 20 years younger!
If you do multiples in the same tray, I highly suggest against rocking the tray. A basic photo textbook should explain the "shuffle" method.
Originally Posted by aaronmichael
You can use HC-110 or D-76, or whatever else. X-Tol is a good choice too. I prefer HC-110 because it is easier and just as good IMO. But D-76 is easier to replenish if you ever go to the tanks and hangers. HC-110 Replenisher has been recently discontinued.
You are 98 percent likely not going to have any major problems with chemicals, but minimizing your exposure won't hurt. If nothing else, it'll keep your hands from reeking of fixer.
The Arista sheet film is rebranded Foma, I believe, though that may have changed since last I checked.
For tray developing, or anything else where I need good dexterity, I use a single nitrile glove. I keep my dominant hand gloveless and dry in case I need to do something else without getting chemicals all over stuff. For printing, spiral tank film developing, or tanks and hangers sheet film developing, I use dish gloves (on both hands). They are less wasteful and give better protection, since they cover the forearms. A pair can last years. I just turn them inside out and scrub the insides with Dial every now and then.
A basic photo book will also show how to develop film in tanks and hangers. I honestly think this is the best way to go if you will be shooting a lot. But that is because I am biased against the shuffle method due to the fact that I stink at it.
Thanks again everyone for all the tips and personal preferences. I think I'll just have to do some shooting and developing and see how it goes. If it turns out bad then I can see what went wrong and revise it for next time. There's only so much you can learn online and in books.
I recently developed 4x5s for the first time. I started off with two negatives in a tray and shuffled them. They weren't scratch free but they were pretty good over all. I still haven't printed any yet - my exposure was way off with some and the others were only decent as compositions go - but I was surprised at how easy it was over all. For my second pair, I decided to take the negatives out of the holders instead of unloading the holder and putting the negatives directly into the tray as I went. That was a mistake as my hands were still damp and they stuck together. :) At least that was one lesson learned.
The next round, I tried shuffling sheets to the bottom of the tray, with the emulsion up. I had fewer scratches with that batch.
I process 4x5 film in a 5x7 tray, which I place in an 8x10 tray to catch the chemical which sloshes over the sides.
You can fill the 5x7 tray with developer and shuffle the film, or you can use a minimal amount of developer and use the tilt method, formerly known as ASA agitation. Either way, the 8x10 tray will catch your spilled chemical for reuse.
If you find that a 5x7 tray in an 8x10 tray doesn't give you enough "elbow room" when shuffling, try an 11x14 tray instead.
I use a slosher tray if I'm processing 8 or more, which is most of the time. It has all the benefits of tray processing, with zero risk of scratches. The only downside is I use more chems, because I use a 4 sheet slosher in 11x14 trays.
8 oz for a single sheet is the minimum if you don't want to run into under-development problems from developer exhaustion at some time.
Originally Posted by 2F/2F