Stand Development : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello, As a MF shooter (with a LF in the closet collecting dust), I have used the Photographers' Formulary FX2 developer in a 1 hour stand development process for my mf films. This seems to work well for me and has provided some excellent negatives. I was wonder if this same method could be applied to LF film also. I'm enjoying this site the more I read. I'm almost to the point of pulling the LF out of the closet and heading outside with it. I would like to read a bit more on development to try and decide which is better, tray or tank! Thanks for your thoughts concerning stand development and LF films. Rick

-- Rick Obermeyer (, March 28, 2000


I have little experience in LF developing but I'd suggest Tank developing if you do not have a 100% light tight darkroom or space, otherwise go for the tray process, it is much cheaper.

-- David Kirk (, March 29, 2000.


I've played around a little bit with stand developing. I'm not sure why, just because it intrigued me. I never got to the point of being able to use it effectively. Somebody named Sandy King who hangs out at on USENET seems to have done quite a bit. Sandy recommends to me using pvc tubes plugged with caps set on end. Says the thing about leaving the film flat is a myth if I remember right. Also recommends one or two quick inversions half way through.

I used extremely dilute Rodinal.

-- Erik Ryberg (, March 29, 2000.

Anchell and Troop 'The film Developing Cookbook' has some information on stand development. The 'no-agitation' might lead one to think of fairly extreme highlight starvation but thanks to interlayer agitation (sort of like diffusion), you get almost normal contrast. However, micro gradation is supposed to be quite different.

Tank or tray: Depends on whether you're OK about excessive handling of the film. If you don't like too much handling, you're left with the options of developing one sheet at a time in a tray or large tanks. I've never liked tanks because of bromide drag and I don't like excessive handling because I could never perfect my technique well enough to prevent damage to negatives. I've settled on rotary procesing as a result. Your options here are JOBO, print drum on a roller base or BTZS type tubes. JOBO automatic processors are expensive but their roller base is cheap and you can spin the tanks on this manually (its quite easy and the negs are nice). You can make your own BTZS type tubes for a song. The print drum route is really cheap as well. The other advantage to rotary processing is that every negative gets its own quota of developer (you don't need to worry about exhaustion). The downside to rotary development have to do with the continuous agitation. 1/ runaway highlights (I find it helpful to dilute the developer more than normal and extend times to deal with this; presoaks have also been suggested as helping) 2/ extreme contractions are tricky 3/ compensating development can't be done since compensation requires a period of no-agitation when the highlight areas can get starved (you can always go back to trays for these). I've found divided developers particularly nice with rotary development. In summary, I use rotary development (with more dilution or with divided development) for most negatives (normal, when I want to develop for higher CIs etc). They also work OK for mild contractions. For compensation, extreme contraction or for changes in curve shape, I process 1 negative at a time in trays. Hope this helps. DJ

-- N Dhananjay (, March 29, 2000.

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