Patterson System 4 - Dalight Safe?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by cleeo_wright, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. All,
    I've acquired an older but apparently in good condition Patterson system 4 tank for a song. Looks clean and free of wear. It doesn't feel solid though. When I twist the funnel on it clicks into place fine but I would expect it to be very tight. It doesn't appear to be so. So... Some questions

    1. Is this normal?
    2. If it is are these tanks really daylight safe?
    3. I seem to recall having read somewhere that the little agitator stem is part of keeping this light safe. Is that true?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. 1) Yes. It is light tight because light travels in a straight line. The funnel fits in such a way there is no straight path into the tank. The funnel cannot fit tightly or you could not pour liquids in and out.
    2) Yes, at least mine is. Most of the negatives for the pictures in my portfolio were developed in Patterson tanks.
    3) No, the agitator stem is not required. The center column the reels fit on and that the funnel fits into is required. See this illustration
    The part that is required, the center column, is the part the reel is on in the upper illustration; the agitator is laying beside the reel.
  3. Second that. Normal, daylight safe and I prefer inversion to agitation anyway. I would recommend the Paterson Super System 4 though, as the funnel in that one is as large as the tank (easy pouring). But rereading your post you mention the funnel clicking into place, so you probably already have a Super and not the older 4.
  4. Another vote for Paterson Super system 4. I've been using them since they first became available and they are excellent. I don't use the 'twirler', I use inversion agitation.
  5. I lost the twister rods for mine about 10 years ago. I too prefer inversion.
  6. Thank you all. It is a super system 4 tank. Two follow up questions...

    1. The bottom of the tank says that it needs 290ml of developer for 35mm film. Is that per roll? So if I put two rolls in the tank do I need 580ml of fluid?
    2. Is it OK to develop with just the one reel or do I need something else in there to stabilize the reel during agitation?

    Thanks again.
  7. 1) You are correct, BUT be generous with the developer. Be sure there is enough to cover the reel completely with a safety margin. Then, too, some developers require a minimum amount of stock solution (as opposed to the diluted working solution you measure in the tank) per roll of film. Read the developer data sheet. Developer is cheap compared to ruining a roll of irreplacable photos.
    2) Yes, in fact I usually develop only one roll. Just be sure to push the roll all the way to the bottom of the tank when placing it on the center column. The reel and column have a friction fit to keep the reel at the bottom of the tank and the film on the reel covered with developer. When you load the tank, push the reel down until you feel it bottom out in the tank.
  8. I use 300ml per roll as it makes the math easier for dilution.
  9. Thanks again Brooks. You mention keeping the film covered with developer but it seems that the tank holds a lot more that 290ml of fluid so if I'm using the inversion method of agitation, as recommended by many doesn't that expose the film to the air?
  10. BTW... I appreciate your patience in me asking multiple beginner questions like this. I did some developing in High School but that was many decades ago. I guess I'm a little more paranoid than I was in my youth.
  11. Having the film exposed to the air in the tank is not a problem. It is only exposed a short time,it is already saturated in chemical and it gets recovered quickly.
  12. My Paterson Super System 4 is collecting dust right now I rather use the older version that I got from eBay. It's smaller and more convenient, at least to me.
  13. If you have a tank that takes two reels at the 35mm position, and use it with one, that reel may slide up the axis as you invert the tank. That will indeed leave the film exposed to air, not developer, when you put it upright again (the reel may not slide back). To prevent this:
    - use the nylon ring provided for this purpose to block the reel, if it's still with the tank (usually not the case)
    - use a second reel, so the lower one can't slide up
    - no second reel or ring? use a rubber band or buy an o-ring at your hardwarestore (cost not worth mentioning)
    Now go for it!
  14. I agree with Brooks in adding more developer than the minimum amount. Inverting the tank does allow air to circulate briefly over the reel but the liquid is always wetted to the film surface and the latter doesn't contact air. The Patterson tank can be left with undeveloped film in it for days and never lets it exposed to any light, so the light leak possibility is nil. A great system, but you should be sure any recycled reels are clean and dry before re-inserting a new film charge into them. Cut the lead end of the film to remove the less wide leader part or that with the adhesive to the original film reel at the opposite end, and make a small bevel cut on each side of the front edge to make travel into the reel more easy to accomplish. I also make sure that the film enters the reel completely, leaving an outside unfilled track, to avoid any contacting or hang up with the inside walls of the tank. Lambertus makes a good point about reel position on the centre shaft and inversions.
  15. This advice isn't specific to Paterson tanks but whatever tank you are using, as a general rule, always ensure the film is immersed in liquid, i.e. have your chemistry prepared so that as soon as one solution is poured out, then next goes in. Ditto washing (I recommend the Ilford Method for economy and efficiency) - don't leave the film sitting around with drops of water hanging on it. The film should then come straight of of the final rinse in water and wetting agent and into the dryer.

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