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Photography Question 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
 

I just got my developing thingys


Well, I pushed the button and three days later, I have my stuff. I am going to develop TMax 400 with HC110, Kodak Indicator Stop and Kodafix. I mixed the chems as follows: HC110 1:15 w/ 68F water (Dil A, as per directions on container) - Kodak Indicator Stop Bath 1:63 w/ 68F water - Kodafix Fixing agent 1:3 w/ 68F water. Now, I have a few questions.

All of the processing times for HC110 are listed with Dil B. Should I just break down and water down the Dil A or how can I adjust the time for Dil A?

Kodafix is soak for 5-10 minutes or twice the time it takes the film to clear, which I can check for after three minutes. What is clearing and how will I be able to tell?

'Agitate the film frequently during fixing.' How frequently?

I may come back with more. But this is what I don't know right now. I have downloaded all of the .pdf's and am narrowing in on the order of steps to take for processing. And I can hardly wait until I get it.

(Note to self. Calm down, have some dip)

Thanks, Chris


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2/13/2008 7:41:45 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Congrats Chris !

Allow me please to offer you some suggestions. Next time you buy chemistry, I recommend the following:
Always make sure your reels are perfectly dry before loading. You'll find it easier initially to do that when they're dry.

For T-max film, try T-Max R.S. (replenishment system) developer which is made specifically for t-max. It also works great on Tri-X 400 pulled 1 stop to ISO 200 or even just 250.

I prefer water over stop bath. Some guys agree that stop bath can increase grain in faster films and just cool water at about 70 degrees will stop the action of the developer. Just 30 seconds or so once the tank is filled.

For fixer, I like Rapid Fixer (Kodak) liquid. It clears in about 30 seconds or less and has a separate hardening agent you add when you mix it up. One quart makes a gallon of fixer stock solution. You can dilute it for paper printing also.

THEN, rather than just water bath after fixing, get some "Hypo clearing agent" to shorten your wash times by about 75%. HCA neutralizes fixer. So after fixing, 30 second rinse, HCA, then a few minutes in water bath after. Get some photo-flo, a wetting agent to avoid water spots on your drying film. A capful in the tank after washing, add water, agitate for another 30 seconds and you're done.

Agitation during all steps is important. Most manufacturers say about 5 seconds every 30 seconds is adequate, developer, water, fixer, all the same agitation times. Gentle agitation is the rule, like James Bond, stirred gently not shaken. :>0)

Since you're starting with HC110, whether you use dilution A or B is largely a matter of personal preference and I suggest you experiment. Try one and then the other. I prefer not to reuse developer, just toss it after I use it once. If you switch to the T-max R.S. system (also a liquid) you just use the replenishment juice you'll mix up after each roll of film run through a stock solution made to manufacturer specs. T-Max R.S., IMHO, provides a bit more contrast, (depends on what kind of enlarger or printer you've got) and gives a bit more detail in the shadows with somewhat brighter highlights (cleaner whites).

To experiment, shoot a roll of T-max on the same subject, same lighting. Then process half the roll (store the other half in a black film can or leave it in the cartridge). Process one in dilution A and the other half in B and look at the negs on a light box. Check the shadow areas for details. THEN later, do the same with the T-max R.S. See which one you like.

Now as for the dip...take 1/2 pint of sour cream, a packet of onion soup mix, shaken gently first, and then stirred into the sour cream...chill shortly and enjoy with a favorite beverage.
I gotta go.
Latah.
M.


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2/13/2008 9:02:55 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Forgot: For a real visual treat, try pulling Tri-X to 250 and putting that through T-Max R.S. (Not D-76 or HC 110). Trust me...you'll like it perhaps even better than the T-Max.

Once again, cograts buddy !!! I think you'll really enjoy this part of photography. Next we can talk about printing techniques AND then shooting with filters. :>)) You ARE your own Photoshop ! LOL !!!
M.


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2/13/2008 9:07:30 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Might like it better to print with contrast filters.
Get some hypo-check so you can test the strength of the fixer. You can keep reusing fixer until it starts to get too weak.
And clearing means that unfixed film is cloudy because the fix hasn't had time to dissolve away the unexposed parts yet. Which is what fixer is for. It hardens and makes permanent(fixes) the emulsion that was exposed to light, and dissolves away the part that wasn't.
Invite Sam over so he can see how photoshop is similar to what you'll end up doing when you start printing.


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2/13/2008 10:16:30 PM

 
Alan N. Marcus   Hi Christopher

Use only dilution B. Dilution A renders the developing time too short for reliable control.

Unfixed film is opaque. This opacity is due to an underlying base coating of dye known as an anti-halation coating plus the natural color of the silver salts. As the film soaks in the fixer unexposed areas such as areas between the frames and both top and bottom edges clear i.e. they become transparent. You will have no difficulty observing this clearing action. After three minutes in the fixer has elapsed, quickly remove the cap from the developing canister and examine the film in normal room light. You will see these unexposed areas appear milky. The film will complete the clearing process and these areas become transparent. The rule-of-thumb is, keeps the film in the fixer agitating as per normal for twice the time required for the film to clear (100% longer than that will not harm the film in any way).

Agitation: Agitate continuously for the first 30 seconds of immersion in any of the processing chemicals. Agitate for 5 seconds every 30 seconds thereafter. This procedure is critical only for the developer solution. It is impossible to over agitate while in any of the other solutions. However it is possible to under agitate.

Alan Marcus (marginal technical gobbledygook)
ammarcus@earthlink.net


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2/13/2008 11:43:17 PM

 
Alan N. Marcus   Likely you will be developing using a daylight developing tank. This is the preferred method. The developing tank is a light tight container with a lid to permit fluids to enter/depart while preventing light entry. The tank features a spiral reel to hold the film by the edges. The spiral winding allows fluid to freely circulate while preventing the film from touching itself. This only works if the film is properly loaded. Should film touch film damage will occur as wet film is sticky meaning film will adhere to itself if allowed to make contact. Thus you will need a practice roll or two. Practice and practice in the light. Practice until you are sure you can load the real and put the loaded reel into the canister in total darkness. Modern films are sensitive to all colors so the idea of a safe light is only that and idea. You can have a safe light but it will be too feeble to be of any use.

The practice film changes stiffness so maybe you can get 20 attempts. At some point, pour water into the tank with the reel inside to get a handle on how much fluid is needed to cover the film completely. You will be pouring liquid into the tank blind thus you need to pre-measured or likely you will be short.

After lodging the film into the canister in total darkness, turn the lights on. Have all solutions pre-measured and available for pouring. Have a funnel handy. Best you practice a wet run-through using water. Timing is critical so have a good timing method or a friend call out elapsed time. Temperature of the fluids is also critical. Attempt to achieve an accuracy of degree for all solutions including the wash water. Better to have all solutions at the wash water temperature and adjust developing time for this condition. OK if not achieved 5 degree accuracy is better than 10 degree accuracy.

Start the clock, pour the developer into the canister. Tap the canister smartly to dislodge air bubbles that might form on the film. Agitate continuously for 30 seconds. Thereafter 5 seconds every 30 seconds. Swiftly pour off the developer and pour in stop bath. No stop bath? Use a solution of one teaspoon vinegar to a quart of water or use plain water. Dont forget to agitate. If you use plain water, go to the next step quickly.

Pour off the stop, pour in the fixer agitate. After thee minutes open the tank and inspect. Film may be clear or clearing. A fix time of twice the clear time is the minimum safe fixing time longer is OK. Dont forget to agitate

Wash in running water 30 minutes. The running water is doing the agitation. After washing use a wetting agent like Kodak photo-flow or a drop of liquid dish soap in a quart as the final rinse. Hang up with weighted clamp on the bottom of the film an allow to air dry. Wet film is soft and easy damaged allow to completely dry before handling.

Good luck.

Alan Marcus
ammarcus@earthlink.net


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2/14/2008 10:16:01 AM

 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  OK. Check me on this.

TMax 400 120. HC110 Dev. Indicator Stop Bath. Kodafix. S/S single 120/dual 35mm tank with S/S 120 reel.

Mix 8 oz Dil A with 8 ounce 68F water for developer to get Dil B. Load film. Pour in developer. Agitiate first 5 seconds. Rap tank on counter. Agitate 5 sec every 30 sec of dev time. Total dev time 6 minutes. Discard dev. Add stop. Agitate once. total time 30 sec. Discard. Add fixer.

- Agitate every 30 sec?

Check for clearing and double that time for fixer. Discard. Water rinse.

- Cap on or off tank?

20 minutes. Hang, wipe off excess water and let dry.

- Overnight?

Think I got it.

(mmph, gulp) Dip's great.

Thanks
Chris


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2/14/2008 10:20:32 AM

 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  Hey, Alan, looks like your last and my new posts crossed in the mail. I think I got it. I'll scan the first batch and post it and let you all know how it went. You know, if the price of everything hadn't gone up do to the price pf a barrel of crude, I never would have done this.

GOD BLESS OPEC.

Thanks
Chris


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2/14/2008 10:24:03 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  A couple of more tips. A lot of darkroom work will fall into personal preference after some experimentation and deciding what processes produce which results that are most pleasing to you in terms of printability or print quality in your view. Being able to personally control the process is just one factor that makes processing your own film so rewarding.

In addition, some folks like to presoak the film for 30 seconds, essentially rinsing it, before dumping the water and adding the developer. I always do that under a theory that presoaking helps prepare the film for the developer. I don't have any proof of that but it doesn't seem to hurt the process. I'd be curious to see what Alan thinks about it. It also keeps the emulsion tinting agents out of the developer, but since I use it one-shot anyway, it's kind of a moot point.

And to be clear about hypo clearing agent, it cuts your wash time significantly by neutralizing fixer or "clearing" it from the emulsion of print or film. It's not an additive for fixer to help it "clear" the film of I believe it's sodium thiosulphate.

Now for the REALLY important question: How's the dip?
;>)
M


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2/14/2008 10:52:52 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  You don't have to discard the fixer. You can pour it back into the gallon jug and reuse it.


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2/14/2008 1:26:06 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Well, my own preference is to have working solutions and stock solutions of various chemistries. The stock solution is what you get when you mix up a batch of whatever it is out of the package. Then as you need it, pour off a quantity of the stock into say a quart or 1/2 gallon bottle, diluting that to whatever dilution you need for whatever you;re processing, film or paper. The one-shot stuff doesn't matter like either developer or if you choose to use it, stop bath.

As for drying, I once used a set of drying tong/sponges on a roll of film. There was a chunk of grit inside the sponge apparently and that scratched the emulsion side on nearly the entire roll of film, top to bottom. So, I never use them. If you do, make sure they're thoroughly wet never dry.

Instead, I prefer the photo-flo I mentioned. It's a wetting agent that promotes sheeting action to help water run off the negs and without mechanical means that may promote scratching the negs. One capful per tank mixed with cool water out of the tap is more than enough. Thirty seconds, brief agitation then dump the tank and hang the film to dry on its own with a weight like a clothes pin on the bottom to prevent curling.

You can touch the edges to see if the film appears dry. With photo-flo, negs usually dry in an hour or so at room temp an standard household humidity.
In a hurry? Gently use a hair/blow dryer held maybe 12 " from the film hung up to dry.
Latah.
M


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2/14/2008 3:22:21 PM

 
Alan N. Marcus   With regards to a pre-soak:
Absolutely does no harm. Gelatin is the binder that holds (glues) the insoluble silver salts to the film base. Gelatin swells substantially when wet. It is the swelling that make gelatin the most desirable binder. This action allows the water based solutions of the process to percolate in around and through the structure and bathe the imbedded silver salts. . Thus the gelatin can be thought of as a dry sponge soaking up fluids. This has plus and minus factors. This action contributes to a loss of fluid that must be taken into account when calculating the strength and amount of a replenishment solution. Actually this amounts to a carry-out of about 5 milliliters per square foot. Thus this is the minimum amount of replenishment that will maintain the solution level in an automated system. Aside from that nonsense a pre-soak is desirable if the developing time is short as time is needed to allow the swelling to take place. Thus a pre soak promotes a more uniform developing action. Additionally a pre-bath always guarantees that air bells will not form while in the developer. One more bit of trivia: Cine films have an anti halation coating on the base side consisting of an acid plastic binder and carbon black. This coat is necessary to prevent light from the viewfinder of a SLR movie camera from fogging the film from the rear should the photographer move his head away during filming. To process the film is pre-soaked to soften and then the backing is buffed off with spinning rollers.

The classic hypo eliminator is a dilute solution of hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. This neutralizes residual fixing salts which are sodium or ammonium thiosulfate by oxidation forming non staining sodium or ammonium sulfate salts. A time honored method was to soak the materials in sea water followed by a fresh water rinse (works almost as well).

Film soon to be found only at the museum. It will be next to Civil War medical instruments.

Alan Marcus (more gobbledygook)


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2/14/2008 3:42:35 PM

 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  Drumroll please.

FIRST ROLL DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No, hold the applause. No circles on the film, no air bubbles to inhibit processing. Negs look clear. Where I can make them out. Some of the film didn't fit into the reel quite right. A bunch was in contact with other loops of film. Three usable neg out of 10 or 11. Apparently I loaded it teribly. About two negs, or where they should be, are tanish and magenta where the film was touching.

But I still love it. I learned that I have the process more or less down pat. Presoak in 68F water for 30 sec., dev for 6 min, stop for thirty sec., fix for 8 minutes (film cleared after three), water rinse for twenty. The negs are drying as we speak. I'll scan tomorrow and post it.

Now, when I loaded the film I was seperating the paper backing as I went and it was cumbersome going in and damned difficult to check for slack. Should I roll the film out, cut the backing, roll it back up and the feed it into the spool? AND THAT DAMNED CURLING! I dunno, first roll and three usable negatives. . .

Lemme know what you think. I want ideas.

P. S. My son Ethan who has Aspberger's Syndrome asked my why I was twisting my hands and banging on the sink. I told him I had to agitate the tank to get chemical to all surfaces of the film and I had to rap the tank to dislodge any air bubbles. Then I said, 'At least it's better than picking on it to agitate it and then letting loose a 'Vrip. Vrip. Freaky-freaky-fresh. Yo, Dog! It's a tank.' '

Thanks all.
Chris


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2/14/2008 7:56:47 PM

 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  Here is a link to the negatives in my gallery.

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=5648938&catID=556&contestCatID=&rowNumber=4&camID=

so you can see what happened. Everything looks good that can be seen, it's the film touching other film that killed me. But hey, I developed my first roll of film. I'm happier than a peach.

Thanks
Chris


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2/14/2008 8:58:02 PM

 
Alan N. Marcus   Buy several spare rolls to practice with. OK if they are outdated and or a type you would never use. Practice and practice some more. You Start (in the dark) by completely separating the film from the backing (this is called stripping).
Nothing wrong with pre-soaking but not required. I advised you that it is better to have all solutions at the same temperate so wash water is adjusted to 68F. In summer this might not be easy in some environments to get the wash water down to 68F.
Congratulations you are on your way.

Alan Marcus


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2/14/2008 8:59:06 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Lemme get this straight, Chris: You said you were ". . . twisting my hands and banging on the sink." And then you were agitating? Were you doing these things in the dark or did you have the lights on? What ELSE were you doing? YIKES !!! I thought this was a family-oriented site.

BTW, Alan's suggestion to try loading a throwaway roll of film is a good one. It takes practice. I suggest you start in a room with the lights on so you can watch what you're doing, then after you get good at that, turn the lights out and practice some more, checking your results.

OR, buy a Yankee type tank with a plastic reel that accepts different sizes. I use Nikkors now but I started with Yankee. I don't recall if Patterson reels are adjustable or not. Yankee reels are almost mistake-proof and you load them with a ratcheting type action with your hands.
Enjoy the ride !
M


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2/15/2008 9:20:41 AM

 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  I will practice. I'm one-shotting the chems. For now, anyhow. Simpler is better. I ordered some photo-flo and 4oz glass amber bottles to better store the chems in as-needed quantities. And the dip . . .

KINDA STICKS TO THE ROUGH OF MY MOUTH.

Oh, and got a new (for me) Vivitar 28-200mm macro zoom MD mount for my sr-T101. The G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) is really kicking in lately. There's nothing like a good piece of glass.

Thanks
Chris


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2/15/2008 9:30:38 AM

 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  By the by, refixed the negs for about 4 minutes and water rinsed for about 15, good as new. Now to practice loading. Thanks guys.
Chris


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2/16/2008 9:10:25 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Christopher,
Just a few comments. 120 or 220 film is much more difficult to load than 35mm. I am assuming from the backing paper comment you are using the medium format film. Practice with a test roll with the light on first. I use the Jobo system, it is a tribute to what you can build out of plastic. I use Kodak Xtol developer, the last developer Kodak brought onto the market. I think it is easy to work with and provides many good qualities. Good luck. John Siskin


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2/16/2008 10:44:50 AM

 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  Yeah, tell me about it. There's only one thing about loading 120 roll film onto a spool. It's film who's number is up.

Hey developed roll two last night. (Huddled in the dark in the downstairs bathroom while the wifey's asleep) SOUNDS LIKE ADDICTION! It came out perfectly. Answer to some of my loading woes, I couldn't get it to clip into the center of the spool, just bent back those wire thingys so they didn't hang down and no problem. As to the vicious curl at the end of the reel,, I take the scissors I use to cut from the tape, insert them under the end that is not touching, run them across the underside of the end of the film and then pull it over ever so slightly and slide it into place.

I love this. I would kept puttin it off and puttin off if things hadn't gone the way they did.

Thanks guys.
Chris


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2/17/2008 10:48:49 AM

 
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