Single-roll developing tanks

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by BetterSense, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I have a single-roll developing tank, that only holds one 35mm reel. I believe it holds about 250mL. My plastic tank requires nearly 500mL to cover one reel, so I had favored this stainless tank as a way to save chemicals. However, the Kodak D76 data sheet suggests increasing development time by 10% when using an 8-ounce tank. My question is, if you have and use a small tank like this, have you ever noticed longer development times as a result of using this reduced amount of chemistry? At 1+1 dilution, we are talking about only 125mL of D-76 stock. Not to second guess Kodak's information, but if I have to use different development times with this small tank, it might not be worth it for consistency's sake.
     

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  2. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    FWIW, I was advised years ago to avoid those little tanks because of inconsistency problems--not enough room for proper agitation, I was told. Whatever, I have always used at least a double tank. And when souping one roll, always putting an empty reel on top; and always filling the tank. Economy is just not an issue because I use replenished D23 most of the time.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    You were talking about that D23 in another thread. The concept appeals to me, especially the cheapness of it all. What I don't understand, never having seen or used replentishing, is the actual workflow. Let me try to get this straight.

    So I suppose you mix up, say, 1L of D23, and 1L of D23R

    You use some random amount of of the 1L D23 when you develop a roll(s) of film. After development is finish, instead of pouring the used developer down the drain, you pour the developer that you used back into the 1L bottle of D23, and then add the appropriate amount of D23R to the 1L of D23 for however many rolls you developed? Is this correct? And then, when the D23R is all used up, you toss out the D23 and start over?

    With such a development routine, the small tank would no longer have much appeal. The things that concern me over the D23 route is how much the chemicals cost to order (startup cost) and how long the D23 and D23R last in bottles. If they only last 6mo I'm not sure it would end up being cheaper than my current 1-shot D76 routine.
     
  4. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I'm too lazy to do the numbers, but using HC110 syrup measured by syringe and diluted as a one shot will do many, many rolls per bottle also.

    DaveT
     
  5. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    BetterSense: I would give it a try with a roll of film that has not the utmost importance.
    By the look at the shape of this tank you will get enough movement in your fluid to get an even development (the dome-shape)

    I prefer the 500ml tanks aswell, holds 2x 35mm reels or 1x 120 reel.
    As with Anscojohn I have an empty reel on to when just developing 1 reel of 35mm film.

    Don't forget that with a 500ml tank filled with film you will have not too much spare space for the fluid to move either.

    Peter
     
  6. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    My $0.02: I'd never before heard that D-76 1+1 development times should be increased when using small solution volumes. I know that some developers/dilutions are pretty near the edge, though -- you do need a minimum amount of the developing agents to get the job done, and if you drop below a certain dilution (which of course varies from one developer to another), you'll need to use a minimum amount of solution volume to get consistent results. I don't happen to know what the limits are for D-76. FWIW, I started with D-76 in a plastic tank that required 350ml to do a single roll of film. I generally did single rolls with that volume, but I didn't do enough double rolls to say if there was a single/double roll consistency problem.

    I have heard the claim that small tanks don't permit enough fluid motion for proper agitation. I've never seen this claim substantiated, though. If you're doing inversion agitation, there would obviously be significant differences in the nature of the fluid flow when doing a single roll with 250ml of solution in a single-roll vs. a two-roll tank -- with the two-roll tank, all that air will make a difference in the fluid flow. Whether this translates to a real difference on film, though, I don't know. I've not noticed differences between doing one or two rolls in my two-roll SS tanks, though, so I expect any differences would be pretty subtle.
     
  7. ITD

    ITD Subscriber

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    IIRC you need at least 250ml of stock D-76 per roll of 35mm film (source: Darkroom Cookbook I think), a fact which I was unaware of for far too many years! I always wondered why my results were so poor when using D-76 1:1

    Once I switched to using double the solution, my results and consistency improved a great deal.

    I only use the single roll tank for stock (or when using Diafine)
     
  8. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    Developer is cheap. Film is expensive. Photographs are priceless.

    Big tank. Fill it full. No worries!

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
     
  9. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I've had no problems using my single roll tank. That being said, I don't use it much since I'd rather develop at least two rolls at the same time to gain efficiency.
     
  10. Fred Aspen

    Fred Aspen Member

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    Per 80 sq. in. of film: 135-36, 120-12, 4 ea. 4x5, 1 ea. 8x10.

    Anchell: "Undilute developers - at least 250ml (D76, Mic-X, Xtol),

    Dilute developers - at least 500ml (D76 1:1, Rodinal 1:25 to 1:50, FX1, FX2, HC110 1:31 from concentrate, PMK,

    Very dilute developers - 1 liter (D76 1:3, Rodinal 1:100, FX2 1:1, HC110 1:90 from concentrate).

    These amounts may sound extreme to some. But saving on developer is penny wise and pound foolish."

    I discovered this the hard way...by losing film that could not be re-shot.

    Anchell: "Although it is true, as Kodak claims, that 100ml of undiluted D76 is sufficient to develop 8x10 inches of film, it may not always be enough to develop the film to its fullest potential. The amount of solution required to cover the film's surface should not be confused with the amount of developer required to fully develop a roll of film."

    -F.
     
  11. jolefler

    jolefler Member

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    Not to buck the trend, but...

    I used one fairly regularly when I did 35mm a lot in the past few years. I chose it for portability. I also had a two reel tank, and used them at the same developer time with no noticable difference in density or contrast.

    You can also just half-fill your two reel tank, with no noticable changes.

    (just my humble first hand finding using one-shot chems, not to come off anti-scientific).


    Jo
     
  12. ITD

    ITD Subscriber

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    Just found the Kodak reference I was after - Tech Pub J-78, 2002:

    "If you use D-76 Developer diluted 1:1 ... [y]ou can develop one 135-36 roll (80 square inches) in 473mL (16 ounces) or two rolls together in 946mL (one quart) of diluted developer. If you process one 135-36 roll in a 237mL (8-ounce) tank ... increase the development time by 10 percent"

    That was always my finding when I was trying to test for development time when using the single-reel tank - the time was always longer than the manufacturer's recommendation, which fact always seemed counter-intuitive to me. Once I doubled the volume, times made more sense.
     
  13. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Been using 8 Oz tanks for 50 years without a problem other than when I deviated from best practices.

    1 Drop film reel into tank already full of developer. Second best- Pour in developer with the tank tipped 20 degrees. Do not rotate around as you pour or you will get marks. But the time you get to 4 reel tanks, dropping the reels into full tank is a must. Two reels tanks can still be done by pour in, but again it is not best practice.

    2 Use no more developer than it takes to cover the reel. Over filling limits developer movement and you get marks.

    3 Agitate 5 to seven inversions in 5 sec, Place on table and rotate 60 degrees. Alturnate - twist and rotate to inversion, twist and rotate back. Twice in 5 sec. Plave in water bath and rotate 60 deg.

    4 oz D76 + 4 oz water. No more no less.

    Plastic tanks are more foregiving for filling and inversion, but plastic reels can be harder to load. Trim leading edge corners 45 deg cuts 1/8" in back. Use twisty stick for first agitation immediately after filling. All subsequent agitation is by inversion ( Patterson instructions, not mine, follow them ).
    I believe 320 ml is correct amount, not 500. Again do not fill to the top. Only cover the reel.

    You can not over agitate the fix so give lots.

    Plastic tanks fill thru a funnel from bottom up and film never get marked so long as you do not stop and start.
     
  14. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    Different strokes...

    ...for diffeent folks. Variety is the spice of life.

    My mileage varies.
     
  15. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I have a Jobo 35mm tank that is designed to hold only 240ml for inversion agitation and a Durst 35mm tank that is the same. Hadn't heard of problems with small tanks before using them. Ignorance is bliss as they say and in this case it prevented me from thinking there would be any problems with a small tank, so no inhibitions and guess what? There wasn't any problems.

    pentaxuser