How many volumn of solution do I need to smoothly process print paperin a 12x16 tray?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Steven Woody, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. Steven Woody

    Steven Woody Guest

    How many volumn of solution do I need at least to smoothly process
    print paper in a 12x16 tray? I am afraid my 2 liter bottle is not
    enough to do this. Thanks.

    Steven Woody, Apr 30, 2008
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  2. Steven Woody

    Peter Guest

    How much you really need is somewhat dependent on the tray and your
    technique. I have a very smooth and flat 8x10 tray and can actually
    do fine with 100 ml., although I often use a bit more. Your tray is
    about 2.5 times the area. If it is smooth and flat and you are not
    much more clumsy than me, you should be able to do it with 300 ml.
    Even so, 500 ml should be generous. If your tray has, for example,
    deep grooves as some of my larger trays do, you will need a bit more.

    Why not take a sheet of plain white paper the size you will use and
    try a test? Put your best estimate of the amount you will need of
    water in the tray and try to keep the paper wet (in daylight so you
    can see what is going on). What you need to do is keep the paper wet
    and the upper side fully in contact with fresh developer by agitation.

    Generally speaking the runway behind you is of no practical use in an
    airplane and the liquid (more than a few molecules) above the paper is
    not of much use, either. Still, you have to keep it evenly wet and
    circulating (normally with intermittent agitation) for even

    A problem that occurs when trying to use the minimum developer is
    initially wetting the paper evenly. There is a bit of surface tension
    in liquids and some curling in older paper. Consequently, I deal with
    this (usually) by tipping the tray and putting an edge of the paper
    first in the deep end while lowering the tray so the developer flows
    over the paper. Sometimes (particularly if there is a lot of curl) I
    simply put it in emulsion side down for a few seconds and then turn it
    over with a few seconds of continuous agitation. Either can work.
    Peter, Apr 30, 2008
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  3. Steven Woody

    Steven Woody Guest

    only 2mm deep, amazing!
    Thanks a lot with your information. Now I come with confidence ready
    to buy and use some 12x16 papers.

    Steven Woody, Apr 30, 2008
  4. Steven Woody

    Pico Guest

    Two liters should do even if it represents the diluted solution. If your
    concern is the capacity of the solution, how many prints you can make with
    it, then we need to know the developer in use. Fresh developer, of course.
    Stop (if you use it) and fixers (2 baths) will work. It's best in a
    situation with little solution to use a tray that has a flat bottom, or
    minimal expressions. Take care not to let the paper get 'stuck' to the
    bottom. (Stiction to be technical.)

    Drifting a bit - I was lucky to have aquired several NIB 8"x10" curved
    (commonly called 'canoe' shaped) stainless trays intended for processing
    color paper. They are stainless in part to conduct heat, but they clean up
    nicely too. They won't fit your paper unless you were speaking of
    centimeters. They permit the use of very little chemistry. One 'rocks' the
    tray on it's curved bottom. I use them for sheet film. One-shot chemistry.
    Pico, Apr 30, 2008
  5. Are you using your developer one-shot, or reusing it? With such small
    solution volumes you run the risk of changes to the paper's characteristic
    curve because the developer itself can become exhausted over the course
    of developing a single sheet of paper, giving different contrast in shadows,
    midtones, and highlights.
    Thor Lancelot Simon, Apr 30, 2008
  6. Steven Woody

    Peter Guest

    Perhaps I should have mentioned that point, as well. I understood he
    was asking what the minimum was. I often make only a few prints and
    then might only use 100 or 150 ml for an 8x10. If I will print all
    day, I would use more and might add developer. Even so, 2 liters is
    way more than needed for quite a few 12x16's (each eq. to 2.5 sheets
    of 8x10). Kodak gives a fair summary of the capacity of their
    Peter, Apr 30, 2008
  7. Steven Woody

    Steven Woody Guest

    oh.. i thnk i lost the answer. i think i should ask this way:
    what's the usual height of solution required for smoothly develop
    16x20 papers in tray? i hope this way you experts can understand me
    Steven Woody, May 1, 2008
  8. Steven Woody

    Ken Hart Guest

    There are two answers:
    1. You have to use enough chemistry to make the chemical reaction work. With
    most developers, this isn't an issue, but with very small quantity of
    developer it is possible to exhaust the chemical after a lot of prints. The
    manufacturer's specifications will tell you how many prints can be made with
    a certain amount of chemical.
    2. You have to use enough chemical to quickly wet the paper. If you use a
    very small amount, it will be difficult to get the developer to flow over
    the entire surface evenly.
    My trays have very tiny ridges on the bottom. I like to have at keast about
    1/2" of developer in the tray. (I use developer one-shot and throw it away
    after a session). I like to have the stop bath and fixer trays nearly half
    full. I re-use those chemicals.
    Ken Hart, May 1, 2008
  9. Since nobody else here can seem to understand, let alone answer, what's
    basically a simple question, might I suggest that you answer it
    yourself? Assuming you have the trays you want to use, just fill them
    with water to the minimum height you think you'll need, then pour out
    the water and measure it. (If you don't actually have those trays, then
    you'll have to do a volume calculation, based on the area of the tray
    multiplied by the height of the developer solution, which you can again
    determine empirically.)

    This is what you wanted to know, right?
    David Nebenzahl, May 1, 2008
  10. Steven Woody

    ____ Guest

    2 liters is easily enough but it depends how many sheets. One liter
    should be adequate for about 25 B&W FB based prints in an 11x14 tray.
    ____, May 3, 2008
  11. Steven Woody

    dan.c.quinn Guest

    Pre-wetting the paper is another way when using minimal
    solution volumes. A minute or two will do. Pour out the water,
    pour in the developer. I process using one-shot very dilute,
    developer and fix, no stop. My solution volumes are the
    surface area of the paper in square inches times four
    equals the volume in ml. Likely three times would
    still provide easy processing; eg, 8x10, 240ml -
    12x16, 576ml

    A second tray is used for holding. The processing and
    hold trays are used for alternate tray washing. Dan
    dan.c.quinn, May 4, 2008
  12. Steven Woody

    Steven Woody Guest

    that means you use 50 mm heigth of solution.
    Steven Woody, May 4, 2008
  13. Steven Woody

    Steven Woody Guest

    Steven Woody, May 4, 2008
  14. Steven Woody

    Steven Woody Guest

    sorry, typo. i meant to say 5mm.
    Steven Woody, May 4, 2008
  15. This is a very bad idea, as a general-purpose development technique --
    it will dramatically change the characteristic curve of the paper, or,
    at least, the papers I was using when I tried it (Kodabromide III,
    and the last-generation Oriental-manufactured Seagull the second time I
    gave it a shot) exhibited this effect unless given extremely long
    development times.
    Thor Lancelot Simon, May 4, 2008
  16. Steven Woody

    dan.c.quinn Guest

    I'd suppose the same could be said for pre-wetted film although
    I've never heard it mentioned. In both instances one might think of
    pre-wetting as water bath development but with one pre-development
    bath. Perhaps my use of very dilute one-shot developer and some
    what extended development times preclude the effect.
    Usually I've enough solution volume so skip pre-wetting. IMO, one
    wetting couldn't possibly make any more than an insignificant
    difference; taking into account my very watery developer.
    I will though look out for pre-wet effects. Dan
    dan.c.quinn, May 4, 2008
  17. I still don't see why you can't determine the volume you need by simple
    experimentation; you only need enough solution to cover the paper
    completely, which should be very easy to determine visually. Forget
    "solution height" in mm; just figure out how much liquid it takes to
    completely submerge a piece of paper. We're not talking about
    high-precision processing here.
    David Nebenzahl, May 5, 2008
  18. Steven Woody

    Pico Guest

    Some paper has developer in the emulsion coating. Wouldn't it be washed out
    with pre-soaking?
    Pico, May 5, 2008
  19. It would be activated, not washed out. No doubt one of the things that
    contributes to the ill effects Thor commented on.
    David Nebenzahl, May 5, 2008
  20. Steven Woody

    Steven Woody Guest

    Thank you. This makes sense: "Yonly need enough solution to cover
    the paper
    Steven Woody, May 5, 2008
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