Quote Originally Posted by John Snyder View Post
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The idea of having six sheets of 12X20 film—that is, ten square feet—exposed and vulnerable in a tray makes me uncomfortable—especially with the long development times (in some cases up to twenty minutes) required to provide the proper densities for the printing processes I’m using. My hat is off to those who can complete such an operation to their satisfaction, but my results with 4X5 and 8X10 were never so impressive that I want to take the risk to a higher level. At $13.00 a sheet I don’t feel like I have the luxury of practicing. How consistent is tray development batch to batch? Warmth of fingertips, variations in ambient room temperature—surely, these must affect the evenness and consistency. The only way to test this would be to make identical negatives, develop them in different runs, and read them for consistency. What I want is a constant that I can rely on and adjust as needed. I prefer developing one or two negatives under controlled conditions, with the opportunity to adjust density as required. Though it may take more time, I’d rather fine-tune a negative in hopes of saving time and frustration in printing later.

After learning to correctly tray develop in a Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee seminar I have not looked back because you can develop any sized sheet film in trays with absolute consistency on par with any rotary methods. I do multiple sheets of 12x20, 8x20, 11x14 and 8x10 in trays and it is a day at the beach for me. I have learn to accept that some folks just are not conditioned to work with trays and that is just fine. But there are no moving parts that need replacement or service with trays.