Tray Processing, Roll film, black and white

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by tommarcus, Jul 11, 2020.

  1. Its the oldest way, hold an end in each and and sweep back and forth. Not the greatest if you use film that cant use a safe light. And length of time to boot.

    How much complication does it make if you use classic SHEET film practice to develop roll film in a tray? IE just lay it in, and fill with developer and once in a while use something to swish the film around?
  2. I suppose - haven't tried- quite a few? I'd expect a tendency of the film to roll up. so how are chemicals supposed to get where they are need?
  3. Try it and report back.
    Or don't waste your time and film and just use a spiral tank; they weren't invented for no reason.
    ajkocu likes this.
  4. Tray processing for roll film is useful for development by inspection but a pain in the ass for anything else. Buy a reel and tank off of craigslist and enjoy your processing and printing.
  5. going to try caffenol. and well you can make huge amounts of that all you want for little.

    i still need to get reel and tank stuff, but i got alot of trays floating around the house.
  6. It doesn't matter if the developer is as cheap as tap water. If the film is ruined by stuck-together frames, air-bells and scratches, you're still out of pocket and out of pictures.
    AJG and Jochen like this.
  7. The illustrations I've seen of developing roll film in trays show "see sawing" through the tray. Bear in mind that many of these were planned around roll film(120 or other sizes) which are usually ~3ft long. 35mm-36ex is around 5 feet, so you have a fair bit more to handle.

    It CAN be a handy trick if you're trying to develop ancient film in an oddball sizes for which you don't have a reel, but then the cheap little Yankee Clipper tanks and some other adjustable size plastic reels can often be modified to work with an odd size.

    Tanks and reels are cheap and easy to use. Even a simple Yankee Clipper(which is not my favorite tank despite being my first) is serviceable and with current film prices, a few messed up rolls developed in a tray would pay for it.

    Also, I'll give the same advice I often give with caffenol and other home-brew developers. When you're learning to develop film, IMO you're much, much better off with a commercial developer. A packet of D76 is around $10, and dissolved in a gallon of water will develop a lot of film, A bottle of HC110 syrup is more expensive, but will last you forever(both in terms of how little you use and the infamously long shelf life of the concentrate). These two developers are so ubiquitous that you can find developing times for virtually any film you can imagine.

    For your own sanity, get your developing process down with a known good, repeatable chemistry. When something goes wrong(it most likely will sometime in your first couple of rolls) fresh, good chemistry can rule out a lot of problems.

    Once you've done that, experiment with alternative chemistry to your heart's content. They're fun if you like doing that, and even more fun if you understand the chemistry behind them and understand how all of them affect the developing process. I'm a chemist, so enjoy the first and am slowly building my knowledge of the second.
    conrad_hoffman likes this.
  8. That's not what the OP was proposing to do Ben.
    Nobody, since flexible film was invented, has ever suggested that as a sensible and consistent way to develop it.

    That's not even the way to develop plates or sheet film properly.

    Get a tank!
  9. As a

    As a chemist can you name one company that sells to private individuals Caffeic Acid? I can find places that sell 20 pound containers of the powder to LABS,,, but not private individuals. As thats the heart of caffenol... thats where the actual research needs to start.

    I made a sort of slime that turned into a sort of glue. I used bergger pancro.. i did get developed film, but i got a crap load of stuck frames. Sadly i used the wrong method, i used agitation. All the bergger and caffenol remarks i see NOW, afterwords only mention stand development
    glen_h likes this.
  10. And I am sure as hell they mean inside a proper reel? if you wanted to tray process film you'd need a tray as long as the film + something + means to straighten the film inside. hanging tanks (professional scale) were like that.
    Coffee doesn't seem cheap enough to brew a quarter bathtub for a roll of film. (<-even in coffee-tax free countries and considering that I exaggurated a little bit; a gallon seems quickly needed with "tray" solutions that might work.)
  11. Falls under the category of "this is what you do if you can't do it any other way..." Tanks are far better. Getting old now, so going to tell you an old man's story: I started my professional career in photography as a U.S. Coast Guard photo-journalist (1972-76). We did B&W in every format, used some Speed Graphics, Hasselblads, Bronicas, and of course Nikons. A training assignment that had been used in some places was to send a photographer off on a ship for a few weeks with nothing but a camera and B&W film, and the instructions were to bring back PRINTS. Of course that meant a knowledge of chemistry, where else on a ship you would find ingredients to make a developer and fix (example: kitchen for vinegar, Marie Science lab for other chemicals, corpsman for anything useful you could scrounge from medical kits, etc.). Dark compartments were the easiest part to find...something to project the film with and how to build an emulsion and a paper that would hold it was a little tougher, but most managed to do it. Just for the record, I didn't do it; we got so busy I didn't have time.
    Jochen likes this.
  12. I don't know how much that has actually been studied.

    Rodeo Joe speculated on it being the active ingredient, and I did a quick sloppy benchtop experiment that showed it. There's a thread on that somewhere here.

    With that said, I haven't seen any published formulae on using pure caffeic acid. If you want to go that route, I'd suggest following the published recipes exactly rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.

    To be honest, with this entire thread, you seem to be doing that, and I suspect when it's all said and done you're going to spend more and have more aggravation and ruined film than if you'd bought some used tanks and reels on Ebay, and then some D76 or the like and got comfortable using that.

    As for not shipping to individuals, that's true of most chemical companies. I just did a quick check of the big three, and I'm not sure where you're seeing 20lbs, but the only mass quantity I see is 25kg(~55lbs) from Spectrum through VWR. That's $13K logged in with my institution credentials, which is typically a pretty decent cut of retail(VWR is who the higher ups tell us should be our preferred supplier). The other two typically sell 5g-25g quantities at various purities, and a typical price I'm seeing is $200-300 for 25g. Again, that's our contract price through work, and not necessarily what someone else would pay. The most common use I know of for it is as a matrix for MALDI-MS, which you need both high purity and small amounts.

  13. ive seen it listed as a advanced research compound for anti cancer research. Even seen it listed as being used for experimental cancer treatment already. I cant even get companies to give me a price on it.

    the acid content isnt a given with instant coffee. its why the volume is so much.
  14. You can make a good Rodinal substitute using paracetamol (acetaminophen) tablets and sodium hydroxide (caustic soda drain cleaner). The cost is probably even lower than caffeinol, and a darn sight more repeatable and reliable.

    Spend a bit more to buy some Phenidone and Ascorbic acid (vitamin C powder) and a whole world of reliable and repeatable developer formulae open up to you.

    The trouble is that you're still stuck with film as the limiting factor to image quality. And for the price of a slack-handful of caffeinic acid, you can buy a very good digital camera that will kick the snot out of anything short of using 5"x4" film.
  15. film is not the limiting factor, just developing.
  16. So why the opposition to a commercial developer, or at least Joe's formula for Rodinal?

    BTW, I've made Rodinal using acetaminpophen/sodium hydroxide and it works beautifully. Rodinal is a great developer and tends to be very sharp, but comes at a cost of looking more grainy than the same film developed in a solvent-type developer like D76. Both developers have their place in my darkroom, although I usually prefer the softer look of solvent developer.
  17. i wanted to try my hand at something low smelling first
  18. What do you mean "low smelling"?

    Caffenol is far from what I'd call pleasant smelling, and that's coming from someone who usually drinks 3-6 cups of coffee a day. The smell is vaguely reminiscent of badly burnt coffee, but a whole lot worse than that.

    Classical developers can smell some as they age, but they tend to not be particularly strong at least to my nose.

    Stop bath you can safely skip with modern emulsions. I usually use it, but a while back I switched to citric acid because I don't get along so well with glacial acetic acid or other high concentrations of it and won't handle it at home(where ventilation is a lot worse than in a lab-I can tolerate it there partially because I have to and partially because I have fume hoods). Citric acid usually has no smell, or might have a faint citrus smell.

    The real stinker of the bunch is fixer, and if you value your negatives at all there's no real way to get along with it. All common fixers use some sort of thiosulfate salt. I don't mess with plain "hypo" fixer(sodium thiosulfate) anymore as it's too slow once you've gotten use to rapid fixers(ammonium thiosulfate), doesn't wash out as easily, and is really inefficient at fixing T-grain films. I've made my own rapid fixer from sodium thiosulfate and ammonium chloride, and also bought a lot of the Ilford concentrate. Fresh fixer isn't too bad, but as it gets used(even once) it tends to build up sulfur compounds that make it stinky. None of your home brew developers get you away from having to use fixer, nothing I know of works anywhere near as well as thiosulfates, and even plain hypo still smells with use.
  19. For the real smell of the darkroom, Urinol development can't be beat!:rolleyes:

    My first developing experiences were with orthochromatic 620 film with a nice red safe light. You could really process by inspection. Panchromatic films weren't nearly so much fun
  20. After using the stuff for over 50 years, in formats up to 5x4, and comparing it to a modern high megapixel digital camera, I can assure you that film is very much a limiting factor to image quality.

    The developer used has very little effect. And if you're only going to end up scanning your film; using it to only arrive at a digital file is a totally pointless exercise.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020

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