B&W film developing questions

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by G.T., Jan 5, 2008.

  1. I'd spend the extra fifty cents and get the motor base.

    I got my drum processor (Beseler Unicolor, made for color 8x10 prints,
    but I use it for 4x5 film processing) with the companion motor base for
    $cheap on eBay. Stuff like that comes up there all the time.

    And contrary to what I've heard here, I've never gotten any processing
    streaks on film from the machine agitation.

    It also uses a *lot* less chemistry, since you don't have to fill a
    whole tray.
    David Nebenzahl, Jan 8, 2008
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  2. Image degradation, and in extreme cases, silver reduction and image
    "bleaching"--but you'd have to leave the film in for a very long time
    for this to happen.

    Don't sweat it.
    David Nebenzahl, Jan 8, 2008
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  3. G.T.

    G.T. Guest

    Thanks, I'll do that before my next round of developing.

    They have a rental darkroom near downtown LA. $12 an hour or something
    like that.

    My bathroom is tiny, tiny. Not much room to stand while brushing my
    teeth and the toilet is in a space that I'm not sure I can fit an
    enlarger on the toilet seat. It would be very difficult to print in the
    my bathroom. And there is just too much light outside at night to close
    off my kitchen.

    G.T., Jan 8, 2008
  4. G.T.

    Ken Hart Guest

    And that period of time would be measured with a calendar rather than
    Ken Hart, Jan 8, 2008
  5. G.T.

    Ken Hart Guest

    That would be the gentleman I was thinking of (Sorry, Mr Erlick!). His site
    is very worthwhile, and the OP may find some tips to help his 'lack of
    space' dilemma.
    Ken Hart, Jan 8, 2008
  6. G.T.

    Ken Hart Guest

    I have a Unicolor 8x10 drum. It's about 4" in diameter and 8+" long. The
    bottom is sealed and the top has light baffles thru which the chems are
    poured. The Unicolor drum has "feet" so that it sits horizontally, the chems
    are poured in and go into a 'trough'. When the drum is rolled off of it's
    feet, the chems flow over the paper. According to the instructions, it
    requires only 2 ounces of chems. I don't trust this figure and I use at
    least 8 ounces, depending on the process. (I use mine for C-41 or RA-4) The
    drum will hold 1-8x10 or 2-5x7 or 4-4x5.
    If you go this route, find a roller base. Rolling this thing back and forth
    across the table gets boring Very Quickly!
    Check eBay; the drums and roller bases appear often. I bought my drum as
    part of a Unicolor color print kit back in the 1970's, and the drum cost me
    $15 a year or so ago on eBay. If you can, get more than one drum. They can
    be difficult to reload when damp-- the paper can stick to the sides and get
    hung up. If you have more than one, one can be draining while the other is
    in use.
    Ken Hart, Jan 8, 2008
  7. G.T.

    G.T. Guest

    Excellent advice. I assume the roller is just a base that makes it easy
    to manually roll the drum in place? Or is it motorized?

    I have my own easel, filters, grain checker, and a couple of trays so
    let me get a list together here of the rest of the stuff I would need:

    enlarger, lens, neg holder, timer
    paper developer
    2 drums
    I can use my two trays for the initial wash and hypo clearing?
    something to use for washing
    print wiper

    What am I missing?

    G.T., Jan 8, 2008
  8. G.T.

    G.T. Guest

    I should have read this post before sending my last one. So these days
    the used motor bases are quite cheap?

    G.T., Jan 8, 2008
  9. Motorized; rolls back and forth. And cheap (used, on eBay). I think I
    paid less than $15 for mine.
    David Nebenzahl, Jan 8, 2008
  10. I started out without a timer, I used a watch.
    Before that I used the the old "one-one thousand" method for
    timing exposure and developed by inspection.
    That's a touchy subject here. Safelight type, color and position vary a
    lot and as long as they don't fog your paper, it's a matter of money and
    personal preference. If you can figure out the electrical wiring a
    connection that turns off the safelight while the enlarger is on will
    make setup and focusing easier.
    Yes, though some people have said that rodinal works in a pinch.
    The more the merrier. You have to dry it completely between prints
    and that may take more time than anything else. A hair dryer?
    Sure, if you have a sink, you can rinse the print off in it and
    then soak it, which may use more water, or do the final wash in
    a bucket or a vertical washer.
    A while ago I mentioned converting an aquarium to a vertical
    processor, a leaky one could be used for a washer.
    I don't really think they are needed for RC paper, for fiber
    paper you would. RC prints dry nicely on a clothes line
    (indoors to prevent dust) or a dish rack.

    Tongs, stop bath and fixer. Gloves if you have skin problems
    with the chemicals.

    As for timing the processing steps, there is a nice freeware
    program for the Palm Pilot that does it and you could probably
    pick up an old one for free. From what I can see, anything
    without a color screen, MP3 playback, etc has long since
    be stuck in a drawer as too good to throw away and not
    good enough to use, but it would be perfect.

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jan 8, 2008
  11. [chuckle] I use mine for developing bw 4x5 film. And with four 4x5 sheets
    in the drum, I find 150ml - about 5 oz - to be ample. One point - don't
    screw on the lid tightly to the drum while in storage...if you do, you'll
    find yourself needing another gasket. And those things are darned hard to
    find - had to purchase another drum.
    Lawrence Akutagawa, Jan 8, 2008
  12. G.T.

    G.T. Guest

    I forgot, I still have some Clayton P20.
    I've got a ton of RC paper left and about 20 sheets of 8x10 fiber.
    Yeah, got those except for the gloves.

    G.T., Jan 8, 2008
  13. Gloves are for sissies.
    David Nebenzahl, Jan 8, 2008
  14. G.T.

    G.T. Guest

    Heh, nice motto.

    G.T., Jan 8, 2008
  15. I found that in the 1980's skin problems I had went away when exposed to
    developing chemicals, but other people have had severe reactions.

    I have a sensitivity to vinegar and switched to citric acid based stop

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jan 8, 2008
  16. G.T.

    Rob Morley Guest

    You could always make a blackout tent. This can consist of as little as
    a box (or fabric covered frame) in which to stand the enlarger on a
    table, and a hood of blackout fabric that you duck inside and close
    around your waist.
    Rob Morley, Jan 8, 2008
  17. G.T.

    Andrew Price Guest

    That's exactly what I use my old Palm III for. Works very well
    Andrew Price, Jan 8, 2008
  18. G.T.

    Rod Smith Guest

    For future reference, Freestyle sells several different products under
    their "Arista" label. You *MUST* pay attention to the specifics -- for
    instance, Arista.EDU, Arista.EDU Ultra, and Arista II are all made by
    different manufacturers. Many of these products have been discontinued
    (mostly because of manufacturers going under, such as Agfa and Forte), so
    Freestyle may not have much of some of these items left, but it's
    imperative that you pay attention to this detail lest you get the wrong
    developing time or provoke confusion in discussions with others.
    Your first post mentioned that you'd just finished developing your first
    three rolls "at home." If you've not been developing film elsewhere, going
    through as many developers as you mention after just three rolls is
    inadvisable; stick with ONE for a while. "A while" is rather vague, I
    admit; if you need more precision, I'd say 10-20 rolls before you start
    trying other things.
    Rod Smith, Jan 8, 2008
  19. G.T.

    Rod Smith Guest

    Most eBay auctions for enlargers include negative carriers, usually a
    lens, and sometimes a timer. A few enlargers (such as my Philips PCS130
    with PCS150 control unit) have built-in timers.
    You can buy a red bulb to turn an ordinary light fixture into a safelight.
    Painted tungsten bulbs are a bit risky that way, since the paint can get
    scratched off, but they're cheap. Red LEDs (such as those from
    http://www.superbrightleds.com) are likely to be safer. There are also, of
    course, traditional safelights, which typically take low-wattage tungsten
    bulbs and have amber or red filters.
    I once tried a hair dryer for this purpose. It ended up cracking the
    plastic (I could hear it crack). Now I use towels, except that I seldom
    use my drums any more.
    If you're using drums, you can do most everything in them. Hypo clear is
    only necessary when using fiber-based paper; with resin-coated paper, you
    skip the hypo clear.
    My high-tech RC paper dryer is wire-frame office folder separators from my
    local Staples.
    I use a pair of cheap 3-way kitchen timers. I can time three steps on
    each, which is handy (particularly for film processing). I'd worry about
    getting chemicals on anything expensive, although an older Palm Pilot is
    probably low enough in value that it's not worth worrying too much about.
    Rod Smith, Jan 8, 2008
  20. G.T.

    Rod Smith Guest

    My understanding is that the most common darkroom skin allergy is to metol
    (or perhaps manufacturing impurities that get into metol; I've seen
    arguments on this point). Using a metol-free developer can help minimize
    the risk of developing such allergies. For film, neither XTOL nor Rodinal
    contains metol, but many others (such as the popular D-76) contain metol.
    Most commercial paper developers contain metol. Agfa (now A&O) Neutol Plus
    and the Silvergrain Tektol line are both metol-free paper developers.
    (Note that some other Agfa Neutol developers do contain metol, though;
    it's only Neutol Plus that's metol-free.) There are also quite a few
    mix-it-yourself paper developers that lack metol.
    Rod Smith, Jan 8, 2008
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