4x5 processing tank

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Can anyone provide me with some suggestions regarding 4x5 B&W negative processing...would you recommend a tank over the newer reel processing approach...if tank, then what manufacturer would you recommend...? Thanks in advance.

-- Malcolm Fox (foxmalcolm@aol.com), July 19, 2000


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-- Jeff White (zonie@computer-concepts.com), July 19, 2000.

Malcom, Why are you ruling out simple tray processing? This gives great results, and I routinely processed up to fifteen sheets at a time in an 8x10 tray. I learned this technique from George Tice at a workshop many years ago when I was much younger and I have always had really good success (guess there is no such thing as bad success) with this technique, but it does require some testing for times. The negatives are placed in the tray emulsion down, after the last one is placed in the tray the bottom negative is pulled and placed on the emulsion up on the top, tap it down to ensure that the chemical solution is making good contact, and then continue your rotation. I taught this technique to a co-worker several years ago when he first started shooting 8x10 and it works well for him although he limits his processing to fewer sheets. Tice swears that at the end of the processing cycle, when it is time to remove the film, that the first sheet you put in is the first that you pull out. I never tested this, but I was never disappointed in my negatives. What developer do you use? I used the technique with D-23 and the Kodalk bath. My friend basically does the same thing with some modifications he has made to his formulae. I'm not sure that I would recommend this with a high energy developer like HC-110. I have used tanks and reels (didn't know anyone was still making the reel processing tanks or reels). If you want some more details let me know and I will try to help.

-- fred (fdeaton@hiwaay.net), July 19, 2000.

I have had good results using the CombiPlan tanks. I do not use a "fill and dump" method, but, rather a "dip and dunk" method. That is, I load the hanger in the dark (holds 6 4x5 sheets) and move the hanger assembly from tank to tank. Agitation by lifting and jiggling the assembly.

-- Jack Chase (jgchase@tenet.edu), July 19, 2000.

I'm with Fred. Tray is the way. Plus it seems to use less juice for a one shot thing. Dean

-- Dean Lastoria (dvlastor@sfu.ca), July 20, 2000.

I have used tray processing for years, one reason is that you can buy a lot of film and paper for the cost of a rotary processor. Pat

-- pat krentz (patwandakrentz@aol.com), July 20, 2000.

I prefer the tanks and the 4x5 racks. I had some stainless tanks made to hold about 20 sheets. It comes in handy when needing to process big runs. As you can see, everyone has there own way of doing things. It is all what you are comfortable with. Cheers

-- Scott Walton (scotlynn@shore.net), July 20, 2000.

I seem to be using some sort f hybrid tank/tray method - Paterson orbital colour print tank (one thing I don't know if it is IR tight can anyone help on this?), it only takes four sheets though, but is is currently sufficient as I don't have access to a darkroom currently.

-- David Kirk (David_J_Kirk@hotmail.com), July 20, 2000.

Malcolm When I started in large format film processenig was a major bugbear of mine. I eventually came up with a minature deep tank line made from Tupperware cereal containers using a Kodak hanger two sheets at a time extending development as more film was processed. It worked a treat. I tried I tried the Doran tank but it's hopless you can't agitate the damn thing properly. I have heard good reports about the Combiplan tank probably because you can invert it and achieve proper agitation. This is so important. I have never had any success with tray processing, I just don't have the gift. Having recently succumbed to the wonders of Jobo rotary processing I have to say I'm impressed, absolute consistency, and no standing around in the dark. I would suggest that first off you give tray processing try if you are successful you can be incredibly smug about it and save alot of money.

Matt Sampson.

-- Matt Sampson (mattsampson@btinternet.com), July 24, 2000.

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