Good Morning,

Decades ago, when I first started shooting 4 x 5, I tried the Yankee tank. Results were not very satisfactory and a large volume of solution is needed.

Then I tried shuffling a few sheets in a tray and had problems with scratches, sheets sticking together, etc. Admittedly, most of this was probably due to my beginner status, but just couldn't see much future in the tray method. With hindsight, I think that if I'd just had the sense to subdivide the tray into several sections so that simple rocking could have substituted for shuffling the sheets, it might have worked out.

Around the same time, I had been working a little with the then-new Cibachrome, using a Cibachrome drum and a Beseler motor base. A rare flash of intuition gave me the idea of processing black and white sheet film in similar fashion. At the time I had never read of any else doing that, although I now assume that I was hardly the first. The Cibachrome drum wouldn't work, because it is internally smooth and has no spacers or dividers. But I acquired a Chromega 8 x 10 drum which neatly holds four sheets of 4 x 5. Bingo! Processing problem solved! Almost thirty years later, I still use the same drum and motor base; I've never had scratches, leaks, or uneven development. Since I don't do heavy-volume processing, the four-sheet capacity is fine. The only problem I recall is that I once had a sheet of thin-base film (Tech Pan) come loose during rotation.

Drum processing involves very low-cost equipment, small chemical volumes, minimal skin contact with chemicals,full-light working conditions, and highly consistent results. I strongly suggest than any LF beginner try this method first.