A drum developer?

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I would like some suggestions for a 4x5 developing drum. I had used trays and racks in a tank in the past but I don't have access to that particular darkroom space anymore.

-- Jeff Hall (jhall@d8.uscg.mil), August 11, 2000


I have switched back to tray development (by inspection), but in the past I used the "poor-man's JOBO", processing four 4 X 5's two 5 X 7's or one 8 X 10 in a Beseler or Unicolor daylight print drum with 125 ml's of solution using either a Beseler or Unicolor motor base. Since I have ceased doing this, if you are interested, you could have one of my bases and two or three drums for a nominal amount plus shipping.

The system is cheap and effective but of course you can't process as many sheets at a time as you can with tray or tank processing and with 8 X 10 at least, you have to be cautious as you can get uneven development. I never had that problem with 5 X 7 or 4 X 5, don't ask me why. You can rinse, hypo-clear and wash the film in the tank, provided you use the plastic spacer thingies to keep the back side of the film off the tank sides.

If you can't do it that way or it makes you uncomfortable for archival reasons, you can remove the film from the tank, but you must be careful to avoid scratching the emulsion.

It uses very little chemistry and space but takes more time. It's also handy to have a hair dryer to hand to speed drying of the tanks.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), August 11, 2000.

Just to add to Sean's comment, I have never had uneven developing problems doing 2 8x10s at a time in the Beseler 11x14 drum with a liter of developer. I use Rodinal which lends itself to high volume/high dilution of developer. Perhaps that assists in preventing uneven development. I don't know. But it works for me.

-- Erik Ryberg (ryberg@seanet.com), August 11, 2000.

Check out the BTZS Film Tubes here. I really like them. Have fun.

-- Jeff White (zonie@computer-concepts.com), August 11, 2000.

I use the Unicolor print drums for 4x5 and 8x10; they work fine.

Note that if you want to develop more than two sheets in the 8x10 drum (for 4x5) you must have the little rubber divider to keep the sheets from sliding together and overlapping.

I take the film out of the drums and wash them in a tray.

Although I haven't had any problem at all with unevenness, Fred Newman has noted that D-76 1:3 was the best developer he found for good evenness and lack of streaking for the mammoth formats.

-- John Hicks (jbh@magicnet.net), August 11, 2000.

Not the cheapest solution but one that works. I use a Jobo 2500 drum and the insert kit for 4x5 negs. I use the tank on a Uniroller. I can do a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 12 negs. I use for the latter TmaxRS A+B as my stock. That I dilute 1:9. I use a total of 900ml water + decveloper. I prewet the film for 5 minutes at correct temp and then [proceed. The negas are developed evenly. Note: I only do B/W. Ihave compared this method to using a Jobo processor and according to prints I've made, and neg density I have measured, I find no significant differences. Bob

-- Bob Moulton (bobmargaretm@home.com), August 12, 2000.

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