Some simple questions about Single-Tray Processing

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Steven Woody, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. Steven Woody

    Steven Woody Guest


    Since I've not managed to reache Lloyd Erlick's web site, so I like to
    ask some basic questions about how to exactly do single-tray printing
    here. Hope you professionals be kind to give me some clear answers.
    Thanks in advance.

    I already have basic ideal about single-tray, i.e. pouring-in,
    pouring-out in only one tray, but I don't know ( For both RC &
    Fiber ):

    1, Does basic processing steps keep unchanged? i.e., Develop, Stop,
    Fix#1, Fix#2, Rinse in wash acid if Fiber, Wash? Is there any
    additional step needed? ( In searching google, I found some people
    likely do extra Rine before Fix#1 and after Fix#2 and he do each Rinse
    three times )

    2, Because Developer is always one-shop usage, so I think dillute it
    more would be reasonable. If I use Kodak D-72. What's a you suggested
    dillution and starndard developing time?

    3, What's the suggested Rinse time ( if Fiber ) and Wash time?

    Steven Woody, Feb 20, 2008
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  2. Steven Woody

    Guest Guest

    In my most humble opinion, single-tray processing for B&W is not worthwhile.
    If you have an area large enough area for three or four trays, it's
    downright silly. For color, on the other hand, it is the rule.


    I use the old single-use rocking 'canoe' trays for up to 8x10 film, but only
    for the developer. For prints, well it might be a good approach but so slow
    and overall not worthwhile, IMHO again.


    And I've tried it
    Guest, Feb 20, 2008
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  3. I agree. I'm curious; why are you (asking the O.P. here) interested in
    single-tray processing? Are you working in a closet where you only have
    room for one tray? Or is it, as I suspect, because there's some kind of
    mystique to the Single-Tray Method, the One True Way to Process Photo
    Paper? (At least, that's the impression one gets from Mr. Quinn's many
    posts on the subject.) Do you think you'll get better results from it?

    Myself, I really don't see the point.
    David Nebenzahl, Feb 20, 2008
  4. Steven Woody

    Steven Woody Guest

    I interested in single-tray because,

    1, My room is not large, even thougth it's capable use three trays,
    use one tray only is attractive to me;
    2, Using one-tray method means I need to pour solutions back into its
    container, this is easy to maintain solution temperature in a water
    3, A well built, larger, dedicated photographic tray is not cheap.

    I like to hear more your thoughts on the subject. Thanks.
    Steven Woody, Feb 20, 2008
  5. Consider using a tray ladder, as per
    Lawrence Akutagawa, Feb 20, 2008
  6. Well, that seems like the only compelling reason to use just one tray
    (although the "tray ladder" suggested here might be a workaround).
    But that's what makes this method much more a pain in the ass, in my
    view; all that pouring in and out of bottles. And in black & white
    processing, who cares about "maintaining solution temperature"? (You
    aren't processing color paper, are you?)
    Really? At least here (the US), trays are probably the cheapest items in
    a darkroom. Where are you?
    David Nebenzahl, Feb 20, 2008
  7. Steven Woody

    Martin J Guest

    This may very well be true for small sizes (up to 20x25...).

    For larger sizes the single tray method is excellent. I use a Durst Printo
    for all proofs and test enlargements (with RC paper of course) and make the
    larger baryta prints using a single tray (up to 100x70cm...)

    Martin J, Feb 20, 2008
  8. Steven Woody

    Steven Woody Guest

    Yes, I do B/W. But if solution temperature is not ranged around 68F,
    i am not sure how many minutes I should put a paper in the developer.
    B/W print is really develop-to-complete? I am afraid if I develop a
    paper too much, it will goes darker than it should in normal.
    Buy a Jobo AP 8x10 plastic tray in China, you need about 8 dollors,
    and 16 dollors for 16'' tray.
    Steven Woody, Feb 20, 2008
  9. Steven Woody

    Ken Hart Guest

    How much does the temperature vary in your darkroom? If your darkroom is in
    a "comfort range", perhaos 65-75F, you shouldn't have any problem. Color
    RA-4 and film processing would be a different matter, of course.
    Just because you are using it for photo processing doesn't mean it must be a
    photo tray. (Actually for a 16x20 Jobo tray, that's probably not a bad
    price!) I don't know what's available in China, but in the USA, you can
    find a lot of darkroom usable stuff at WalMart and HomeDepot.
    Ken Hart, Feb 20, 2008
  10. Steven Woody

    Rob Morley Guest

    I've wondered about using things like cat litter trays for processing,
    but the proper dishes supposedly have a hard/dense surface to better
    resist chemical damage/contamination.
    Rob Morley, Feb 20, 2008
  11. Steven Woody

    Henry(k) Guest

    Dnia Tue, 19 Feb 2008 22:01:19 -0800 (PST), Steven Woody napisa³(a):
    Use "tray ladder" suggested by David or maybe you can use vertical
    tanks instead of trays (only problem to solve is how to mix solution
    during processing to have even development).
    But you have to wash tray between each bath.
    Once as a tray I used kitchen box with a foil inside to keep it tight
    - no difference to dedicated photographic tray, except that bottom was too
    flat and sometimes was problem to raise paper with tongs).
    So you can use anything what is able to keep paper in developer (tray, box,
    PET bottle, trough, processing tank, etc.) - you will miss some comfort,
    but not so much.

    Henry(k), Feb 20, 2008
  12. [This may have been answered already]

    Yes, one develops b&w prints to completion; no timer necessary, unless
    one is trying to match previous prints made in another session (and in
    that case, temperature could be a factor). It's a matter of learning to
    judge the print density in the darkroom. Generally, you'd make a test
    print or 5 or 6, look at them under good light, and choose the best one
    and use that exposure. Then print and develop to completion.
    David Nebenzahl, Feb 20, 2008
  13. Actually, it was Lawrence Akutagawa who suggested the tray ladder.
    David Nebenzahl, Feb 20, 2008
  14. Steven Woody

    Henry(k) Guest

    Dnia Wed, 20 Feb 2008 11:58:57 -0800, David Nebenzahl napisa³(a):
    Right, sorry Lawrence :)

    Henry(k), Feb 20, 2008
  15. Steven Woody

    dan.c.quinn Guest

    Single tray processing is a great space saver. I would
    need six trays to duplicate the results I obtain with one tray.
    And that is just basic high quality processing. Conventional
    six tray processing includes a developer, stop bath, fixer 1,
    fixer 2, rinse, and hypo clear. I can do that with One tray
    and need only two of the above six steps; develope -
    fix. Both are Very dilute and used only once.
    The little processing needed is done conveniently using
    One-shot very dilute chemistry. I believe that is where Mr.
    Nebenzahl fails to connect; One-Tray + One Shot chemistry.
    There is No reason to use more than One tray if the Chemistry
    is used One-Shot. I'm sure David is familiar with the rotary
    process and the fact that some who do use One Tube
    also use One-Shot chemistry. Dan
    dan.c.quinn, Feb 20, 2008
  16. Yes, I'm familiar with tube processing, as I use it for sheet film (4x5
    & 9x12). For film, it makes a lot of sense to me, at least compared to
    tray processing, with which I've had little success. (I would prefer
    tray processing if I weren't such a klutz, since I belive it yields
    superior results.)

    And tube processing and one-shot chemistry aren't necessarily tied
    together: I use both 1-shot (diluted developer) and reused chemistry.
    Plus, the tube is a *lot* easier to pour in and out of than a large
    print tray.
    David Nebenzahl, Feb 20, 2008
  17. Steven Woody

    ____ Guest

    Just the point though, most people are kind of klutzy, drums or tubes
    provide most of us mortals with better results. Then there is that AA
    wannabe thing going on, that says if some xyz great photographer could
    or can do it so can I - it takes years of practice-but then so does
    camera work in general.
    ____, Feb 21, 2008
  18. Steven Woody

    Guest Guest

    There are very large, tough plastic trays that are put under washing
    machines, and so-forth to capture spills. All can accomodate a drain to save
    the trouble of tipping it to empty. And they are inexpensive. Check out a
    large building supply shop. They are often near the water heaters.
    Guest, Feb 21, 2008
  19. Steven Woody

    Guest Guest

    Insert here: "Dry it so you can see the dry-down state."
    Guest, Feb 21, 2008
  20. Steven Woody

    Guest Guest

    Keep your eyes open for those 'canoe' or rocking stainless trays once used
    for color processing. I ran across three NIB for $5 each. Very good for
    8x10" film. And short print runs.
    Guest, Feb 21, 2008
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