3x4 daylight film development

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noseoil

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Jay, you might want to give tube development a try at some point. After using various methods for a couple of years, I've found it to be simple, efficient in it's use of chemistry, cheap & easy to make the tubes, lights on most of the time and super even development each time. I won't be going back to trays at this point for anything from 2x3 to 8x10.

There's an article in the "How To" section on making them which you can use as a guide. Not much to it and 1 1/2" ABS will work for both 3x4 and 4x5. $20 and an hour's time should give you enough for what you need to do, with enough left over for a reasonable sink installation. tim
 

ChuckP

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Those Nikor (or is it Nikkor?) 4x5 Sheet film tanks are adjustable and should work for the 3x4. I use mine for 2 1/4 x 3 1/4. Can be expensive but the price should holdup over time so you wouldn't lose any money. Something to think about.
 

David A. Goldfarb

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Jay--I have a Nikor Tank, and I use it for 4x5" without difficulty. You just need to be sure the reel is in good shape, it should have the metal band, the height needs to be adjusted properly so there's a little play when you insert the sheets, all sheets should face emulsion side in, and be careful as you remove the wet sheets so you don't accidentally scratch them. The reel is adjustable to any size up to 4x5", so 3x4" will be no problem.
 
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BradS

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These nikor stainless steel reels and tanks for sheet film are kinda hard to find. Do any retail outlets still carry them?
 

David A. Goldfarb

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They've been out of production for years. I wrote to Hewes to see if they would consider manufacturing them, and they said to look at the Jobo plastic 4x5" reels. Used Nikor 4x5" tanks in good condition run around $130.

If they were available new, they would be REALLY expensive. The reels have more than 100 spot welds.
 
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BradS

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Does anybody know what's in the 4x5 developing tank/kit at Calumet ? I've heard it was the Jobo 2500 series tank & reel...if so, the price seems pretty good - no?
 

Donald Qualls

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I develop my 9x12 cm sheet film in home built daylight tubes made from 1 1/2" ABS pipe and caps, with light traps fabricated from gray PVC pipe and 1/8" ABS sheet mounted in one cap. Just as easy to use as putting one sheet in that Nikor dual-120 tank, and uses 6-8 ounces (might be as little as 4-5 ounces for 3x4 with a minimum length pipe section) for a sheet, instead of something like a quart. A little more work to build, of course. Also, you can fit two 1 1/2" ABS tubes in that quart size tank, or 4-5 tubes cut from clear T-8 size fluorescent tube protectors (the smaller ones), if you can find that size protector -- the tube protecors are flexible and will conform to fill the space. That would let you do more sheets with the same amount of developer...
 

Donald Qualls

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My tubes are not BTZS type. Theirs require all fill-drain operations through filling with fixer be done either in total darkness or, for initial developer fill, via the inverted cap. Mine are daylight-fill, just like your Nikor, but I can fill with six ounces of liquid for 9x12 cm in around ten seconds -- ability to pour from a graduate without spilling is the limit, not the flow capacity of the light trap.

I'm curious how you can fill your Nikor tank fast enough to avoid unevenness with minimal liquid in constant agitation -- which I presume you're applying by rolling the tank? Mine (I have dual-135 and 4x135 Nikor tanks, and one of the large ones, though only with a pair of large diameter 220 reels, not the sheet film cage) fill slowly enough, with the liquid entering around the periphery of the light trap, that I'd be concerned about getting it full, capped, and rolling fast enough.
 

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Hmmm.

Well, if it's working for you, I won't say it's impossible, but I cringe at the thought of inversion agitating with a single sheet in the tank and only a few hundred ml of working solution -- I wouldn't be confident of getting the sheet evenly wetted before the first minute is out, much less in a few seconds after capping the tank.

Induction time is pretty much just the time it takes the developer to soak into the gelatin -- and you're still (it seems to me) developing part of the sheet by a significant percentage longer than the rest. Of course, if you're carrying development to completion with your Rapid Universal, induction and fill time don't matter, so long as you leave the film in the soup beyond the minimum completion time; however, developing to completion produces very excessive contrast with most film/developer combinations.

So, bottom line, I'm still puzzled as to *how* this can work well for you, even though I don't doubt you when you say it does (I've seen enough of your images to believe you know good development from bad).

Meantime, I'll stick with full immersion and intermittent agitation in dilute developer, which (for me) works well to control contrast and gain maximum film speed.

I did, however, take an important step toward mixing my own developers just the other day -- I found my reloading scale, which has been in a box for the past 16 months, since the move before last. Now I can accurately measure amounts down to about 65 mg (1/10 grain). Next thing I need to do is make up a conversion chart of milligrams to grains and keep it with the scale, and then I need money to buy chemicals with...
 

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OK, another solution...

I use a Patterson System 4 tank with four inner tubes cut from the protectors of flourescent light bulbs. You get 4 sheets in a tank, 1 liter (litre for you continental types) of solution per load. Agitate as if you were doing roll film. All daylight processed after loading the film. Super results, very uniform. And cheap. About $1.39 for the protector, System 4 tanks are pretty cheap used these days.


tim in san jose
 
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BradS

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Guys!

Doing 4x5 sheets in ordinary paterson tanks....my ears are perked WAY up! Please elaborate...I have the System 4 Universal tank and reel. How do I do 4x5 in it?
 

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I've done sheet film in tubes inside a regular tank before -- I can get 3 tubes of 1 1/2" ABS inside my big Nikor (the one that should have a 4x5 cage in it, but came with a pair of large diameter 220 reels), and there's enough internal length to do 4x5 easily; with larger tubes and thinner tube walls or flexible tubes I could probably get three 5x7 sheets in that (large) tank. Two of the inch-and-a-half tubes will fit in my regular dual-120 Nikor. It hadn't occurred to me that my Paterson might accomodate a 4x5 (4" direction for height, using the standard size tube protectors instead of the smaller T-8 I can't seem to find?) -- but if it will, I'm tempted to take it with me next time I'll be somewhere that might have a Jobo 2509N reel and see if the Jobo reel will fit over the center spindle in the Paterson tank (you must use the spindle, it's part of the tank's light trap). If so, I'll be set for developing my 9x12 and upcoming 4x5 in batches instead of onesies in tubes (and the Jobo reel alone isn't that expensive, as I recall, it's the combination of tank and reel that gives my wallet the cold sweats).
 

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Donald Qualls said:
-- but if it will, I'm tempted to take it with me next time I'll be somewhere that might have a Jobo 2509N reel and see if the Jobo reel will fit over the center spindle in the Paterson tank (you must use the spindle, it's part of the tank's light trap). If so, I'll be set for developing my 9x12 and upcoming 4x5 in batches instead of onesies in tubes (and the Jobo reel alone isn't that expensive, as I recall, it's the combination of tank and reel that gives my wallet the cold sweats).

I'll check it out tonite Donald. I have both the 2509n and the Patterson stuff. It might be the diameter of the 2509 that is too large for a system 4 tank.

The problem I have with the Jobo is I don't like how small the tanks (Jobo) are heightwise with that reel. The margin of error is pretty slim. Of course they are suppose to be used in rotation form, but I haven't gotten there yet. Another layer of process qual to do before I get there.


tim in san jose
 

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jdef said:
Tim,

thanks for the tip. It seems that agitation might be fairly limited inside the tubes, especially with a full tank. I'll definitely give it a try.

Jay

Jay,

Since the bottom of a system 4 is angled, the tubes don't sit flat and there is a fair amount of fluid exchange between the inner tubes and the rest of the tank. Developer Exhaustion is not an issue. You also have a fair amount of room in the tank to allow for air to help your inversion fluid movement.

tim in san jose
 

k_jupiter

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GaussianNoise said:
Guys!

Doing 4x5 sheets in ordinary paterson tanks....my ears are perked WAY up! Please elaborate...I have the System 4 Universal tank and reel. How do I do 4x5 in it?

The flexible tubes are a little over 1.25 inches inner diameter. 4x5 film fits in exact in this tube. The only issue I have is because it is so tight, the backside doesn't get developer so the antihalation film is always still present. It takes an extra step to clear the film after you bring it into daylight. I have used a lights off presoak in a 5x7 tray before loading the negative, but you're getting tricky there.

3x4 film (remember the thread) fits in these tubes and doesn't squeeze tightly against the tube. I have little problem with AH layers in the 3x4 and 2x3 sheet film formats.


tim in san jose
 

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k_jupiter said:
I'll check it out tonite Donald. I have both the 2509n and the Patterson stuff. It might be the diameter of the 2509 that is too large for a system 4 tank.

The problem I have with the Jobo is I don't like how small the tanks (Jobo) are heightwise with that reel. The margin of error is pretty slim. Of course they are suppose to be used in rotation form, but I haven't gotten there yet. Another layer of process qual to do before I get there.


tim in san jose

Not even close to fitting. The 2500 tanks are much bigger. I'm not sure what you're saying about the height of the tanks? The big tanks are HUGE. The smallest tanks aren't much cheaper then the bigger ones.

Used Jobo tanks aren't that bad. You can often find a used tank for less then a new 2509N reel.
 
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Oh, I think I get it now. You're putting the sheets in tubes and then putting the tubes into the tank...simple enough. Thanks.
 

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Nick Zentena said:
Not even close to fitting. The 2500 tanks are much bigger. I'm not sure what you're saying about the height of the tanks? The big tanks are HUGE. The smallest tanks aren't much cheaper then the bigger ones.

Used Jobo tanks aren't that bad. You can often find a used tank for less then a new 2509N reel.


Yes, but I have the small tank. 2530 I think. I suspect if I run across a 2540 it would be just right. Of course I am at work and I could have all the numbers wrong.

tim in san jose
 

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Nick Zentena said:
I'm not sure what you're saying about the height of the tanks? The big tanks are HUGE. The smallest tanks aren't much cheaper then the bigger ones..

I have the single reel tank (it would accept two reels set to 35 mm, but only single for anything larger), and have that only because it came to me for free; I was out of the market after getting a set of 1-, 2-, and 4-reel stainless tanks with 6 35 mm reels (one damaged, one for a short roll like 126 or Bantam) and two 120 reels. It looks, from some careful measurement using the existing reel and friction, that if there were a suitable reel 3x4 film would fit, and 9x12 might with long edge horizontal, in the smaller System 4 tank. The 4x5 is right out; the internal clearance inside a reel is no more than 3 1/2 inches. 4x5 might still work in tubes, as without the reel the only issue is clearance of the funnel shaped cap, and a small amount of flexibility in the tubes would allow the tubes to go well up under the broad part of the funnel -- though that would require filling the tank much higher than is normally done for film on a reel.

Even with a Paterson, I prefer inversion agitation, and have the cap to support this. I just don't trust the twirly stick after seeing one too many scans of rolls with "extra density" in the middle that turns into and underdeveloped middle after refixing to remove the undissolved halide. If I could find one of the T-8 size fluorescent tube protectors, I could fit five to seven tubes large enough for my 9x12 in my large Nikor tank, and be able to handle the larger batches more elegantly than I do with my existing setup.

I guess the other thing I should check is whether the Jobo 2509N reel will fit in my large Nikor, but I seem to remember it's something like 1/4 inch too large in diameter.
 

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k_jupiter said:
Yes, but I have the small tank. 2530 I think. I suspect if I run across a 2540 it would be just right. Of course I am at work and I could have all the numbers wrong.

tim in san jose

I guess the 2551 tank would be the best overall choice. It's big enough that it will fit on a motorbase if you want to rotate the tank. It will handle up two 2509N reels with head room. It's a five reel 35mm tank.
 

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jdef said:
Being impatient, I decided to try another approach to developing sheetfilm in my Patterson tanks. My solution was to use a rubber band around each sheet of film, leaving a gap at the ends, forming a lopsided cylinder with a vertical slot. Works great, allows plenty of agitation, and none of the antihalation backing issues described above. I can only get 4 sheets of film in with this method, but that's an improvement over the single sheet method that I've been using. Thank you all for the inspiration.

Jay

Ah HA!! I just asked about that on another thread -- obviously I'm reading in the opposite order to what you wrote.

Okay, now I'll have to try that with my large Nikor (the one that would fit the 4x5 cage, if I could afford one); I should be able to get at least seven 9x12 or 4x5 sheets in that tank with this method. It takes 1350 ml to fill that tank, but I need at least 90 ml per sheet at my usual dilution anyway, so I'd only be using about twice the minimum with seven sheets, and no significant excess if I can get ten in there -- that tank is pretty big; in fact, I should be able to fit at least five in my 4x135, 950 ml tank. Downside is I'd be concerned about using too few sheets (and having them shift around during agitation), but if I have fewer than six for the same development I'd just do them in my tubes anyway. And it would be very unusual for me to need to process more than ten at a time -- I only have ten holders for my Ideal (and three for the Kawee Camera, but I use them for different kinds of images).
 

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jdef said:
Have you ever ended up with a knock-off plastic reel that just won't load properly? I have one, and I've decided to try to modify it for sheetfilm use. If I'm careful, I can make the modification so that I can use both 3x4 and 4x5 film with the same reel, by way of the width adjustment feature. If it works, I should be able to get 5 sheets of 4x5 or 9 sheets of 3x4 on the reel. Anyone else ever tried this?

Jay

How do you keep the films from overlapping while processing? Those suckers will slide around while fluids are surrounding them.

tim in san jose
 

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k_jupiter said:
How do you keep the films from overlapping while processing? Those suckers will slide around while fluids are surrounding them.

When I was planning to something like this with a 122 size reel and 9x12 cm film (before finding out the sheet film was about 3 mm narrower than the rolls and thus wouldn't stay in the reel), I envisioned small plastic clips -- like two pieces of the backing on a plastic report cover -- to hold the sheets together in a strip. You'd put the clip on the end of a sheet, insert the sheet with the clip last, and then slip another sheet into the clip (with another clip on the tail of the next sheet), and push them in. Or, you'd insert the first sheet under the spring in the center of the reel and spring it into the grooves (like loading roll film into a stainless reel), then clip the second sheet on down between the grooves.

Both would have been a pain to do, however; the quick way with a plastic reel would be to slip the first sheet in, slip the second sheet behind it, and tape the two together (on the base side), push them in a ways, slip in the third sheet and tape it on, and so forth. Sheet film is enough thicker than roll film that sheets sliding past one another in the grooves of a plastic reel shouldn't be a big problem anyway.

Long term, I may just get sufficiently annoyed with the methods I'm using now to fabricate a plastic reel preset for 9x12 cm, and another for 4x5, from sheet polystyrene or ABS, effectively in imitation of the multi-spiral Nikor and Jobo designs. I should be able to do both for about $6 worth of plastic, and I already have suitable cement; keeping the film from sliding out of the reel seems like the biggest issue, and I think I can do that with a right angle slip lock at the outer end of each groove (film will slip past that, but only if flexed, and if pushed in past the lock will unflex and block itself from sliding). Curved grooves will hold the film from contacting adjacent layers without a middle support and I should be able to get a dozen sheets of either size into my large Nikor tank.
 

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jdef said:
I've seen several Nikor 4x5 tanks on ebay, and a few other odd model sheetfilm tanks that look interesting.

I've seen lots of the 4x5 Nikor tanks -- with auctions completing for upwards of $150. For that money, I can buy a heck of a lot of film, or finish making the stuff I need to use the bathroom for printing. I've been figuring ways to make the end plates for 4x5/9x12 film reels from the 1/8" ABS sheet I have around (left from making my daylight tubes). I think I can make a radius cutting attachment for my Dremel or spiral saw to cut the actual film grooves, use my lathe to cut circular grooves in the opposite side to allow developer circulation through the plate and to bore the center hole and true up the outer edge -- the only fully manual operation might be cutting the entry slots where the film gets flexed into the ends of the grooves in the plates.

In fact, now I'm starting to wonder if there'd be a market for these things, at about half the price of a Jobo reel, sized to fit (something like eight sheets) in standard dual-120 stainless tanks? I might have to make up a few and put some on eBay to see how they fly...
 
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