8x10 film development

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After years of tray developing 4x5 film I wil be moving up to 8x10. Can I tray develop the same way with 8x10 as I do with 4x5? I use HC110 at 1:64 and develop 10-12 sheets at a time with a develpment time of 17 minutes (one minute for complete pass). Can I do maybe 5 sheets of 8x10 comfortably using the 1minute pass? Joel

-- Joel Brown (cambrow@earthlink.net), March 17, 2002


Joel, I develop 8x10s exactly the same way as 4x5s with one possible exception -- I usually develop just one negative at a time. I haven't gotten to the point where I can do more than one at a time, and in general I don't have so many to do... JDClark

-- JD Clark (jdclark@adnc.com), March 18, 2002.

Thanks JD Clark. I have never developed one sheet of film before. I'm not sure I could match the agitation to get a predictable contrast. I will add 3 or 4 clear sheets,(I'm always develping unexposed film by mistake) of film to the batch so that I may stay with the 10 - 12 sheets I base my agitation time on. With 8x10, I may have to change my developing habits as I too won't be developing more than a few sheets at a time

-- Joel Brown (cambrow@earthlink.net), March 18, 2002.

I also develop one 8x10 sheet at a time, but, besides the matter of maintaining uniform agitation from one sheet to the next, there is another, equally serious complication--the gradual exhaustion of the developer. Ideally, I think, with each successive sheet you should increase development time proportionally while holding everything else constant. Of course, the problem doesn't exist when all the sheets are developed simultaneously by shuffling.

At this point, I've not yet run any tests on my preferred film format & developer combination(s). One problem is that I don't yet really know what the manufacturer's capacity figures are supposed to mean. Kodak rates 1/2 gallon of D-76, stock solution, at eight 8x10's. What happens when the ninth 8x10 is reached? Failure to develop? Or is that the point when development time *first* must be increased appreciably? Probably somewhere in between, but it would still be helpful to know by what percentage the time should be increased for each single sheet as it enters the solution. Nick.

-- Nick Jones (nfjones@stargate.net), March 18, 2002.

There is no reason why you should not be able to develop multiple sheets of 8x10 film in a tray. As mentioned earlier, you do need to figure out the correct amount of developer for the number of square inches of film to be developed. Or put another way, "How many sheets of film can be developed in (for example) 2 liters of developer?"

You will need to test development times. I don't know if 4x5 emulsions and 8x10 emulsions are the same.

-- Joe Lipka (joelipka@earthlink.net), March 18, 2002.

My limit is 8 8x10" sheets per 11x14" tray with 2 quarts of chemistry, shuffling the stack once every 30 sec., but in practice, I rarely do more than 6 sheets in a batch. I guess I could do more if I were using a deeper tray and a film that liked to be shuffled once per minute. Start with fewer sheets and work your way up to be sure you're comfortable with it.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), March 18, 2002.

Hi all, I always seem to get scratches when processing multiple sheets in a tray. So I just do one at a time. But for a lot of film, group processing sounds great if I can eliminate the scratching.

-- Henry Suryo (henrysuryo@coopercarry.com), March 18, 2002.

With dip and dunk process I was never able to get even development when there were even tones over large portions of the negative - like the sky. I tried tray processing for a little bit but I hated the mess it made and I was always afraid that I'd pollute the developer with stop or fix - which makes this a very expensive one shot process.

So I got a Unicolor drum and roller and life has been good. With 8x10 I can do just one sheet at a time, but after loading the film, everything else is in daylight. I use about 250 ml of developer solution which I throw away, insuring that the developer is consistent and the process repeatable. There isn't any mess and I get wonderful even tones in those skies!

You are talking about doing a lot of film at one time and perhaps my way isn't feasible. But I'd hate to do all the shooting work and then mess up (scratches, uneven development & so on) by trying to process it all in a hurry. I also can do something else while the film is being machine agitated, so while I'm in the room, I don't have to sit there in the dark mindlessly rocking a try back and forth.

One of the strengths of large format is to fine tune the process for each negative. I use kind of a soft zone (the only kind of zone that makes sense to me) and I mark my film holders to indicate flat lighting, or contrasty or whatever so I can tweak the development somewhat.

I sure that for well under $200 ($100?) you could get a Unicolor roller and drum, and after you see the results I doubt if you'd go back.

-- David Grandy (dgrandy@grandyphoto.com), March 18, 2002.


The answer is yes you can. We usually develop 8 sheets of 8x10 at a time, but I have often gone to 10 or 12. Keep agitation constant. I have found it impossible to get the negatives even when only one at a time is developed.

-- Michael A. Smith (michaelandpaula@michaelandpaula.com), March 19, 2002.

The key to avoiding scratches and getting even results is to be sure to have enough chemistry--at least one quart or litre per four sheets in an 11x14" tray, and don't use a process that develops too quickly--more dilute solutions and lower tempertures are to your advantage in this regard.

When inserting the sheets into the fluid, don't insert edge first. Pass the sheet in from the front of the tray to the back in a sweeping motion with the leading edge bent up slightly, then pat the sheet down with your fingertips.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), March 20, 2002.

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