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Trevor Crone 21st February 2011 11:14 PM

Developing Sheet Film in a Paterson Orbital Processor
 
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I use a Paterson Orbital for processing 5x7 and 8x10 film and if I only need to process one or two sheets of 4x5. I have two processors, one with the fins still in place and one where Iíve removed them and all I can say is film processed in either are identical, very evenly developed. However some folk have found the fins to be the cause of odd processing marks so it may be prudent to remove them. To date Iíve only used two developers with the Orbital, Rodinal and PMK pyro. My agitation plan is identical with both developers. I keep the processor flat, no manual base is used, I just tilt it gently L to R and corner to corner. I do this sequence about every 2-3 seconds throughout the development, that is tilt to the L, leave tank level for 2-3 seconds then tilt to the R and again leave tank still for another 2-3 seconds. I then tilt it to one of the corners then the opposite corner. When all four corners have had their tilt I revert back to L-R and so on. I use 250ml of working solution to be certain the film is evenly covered because my agitation is fairly gentle. Too vigorous agitation can give an increase to edge density - developer bouncing too much off the sides of the tank. The only time I've had problems is when I initially used the motorised base - this caused under development to the centre of the film. I always pre-soak the film in 600ml of filtered tap water for 2-3 minutes with occasional agitation before starting development..
Make sure you also keep the tank scrupulously clean. I always wash and dry mine after use.

A test I did some time ago was to place a dead sheet of 8x10 film in the tank without the lid and covered it with 250ml of water to see how the film physically responded to various methods of agitation, the tank needs very little movement to create an effective yet gentle flow paten and not once did the film float to the surface of the water.

Because the base of the tank is smooth it needs some form of modification so the film is fixed and washed properly and is clear of dye and anti-halation layer. Many folk have scored fine grooves in the base of their tanks which works fine, however on my tank I have stuck small self-adhesive clear plastic domes (see photograph) available from art supplies and not one has come unstuck or decolourised after over two years of use.

Please note these are my working methods which work well for me, they may not suit you but hopefully will provide a starting point to attaining your own level of complete satisfaction.

Xpres 21st February 2011 11:40 PM

I like the 'domes'. Good idea which I think I'll try... thanks.:)

Neil Smith 22nd February 2011 11:22 AM

Thanks Trevor excellent article it will be useful to myself and I am sure many others, thanks very much it is appreciated.

Neil

vanannan 22nd February 2011 08:05 PM

Hi Trevor
Thanks for the interesting and helpful article, just curious as to how you control the processing temperature, I float my orbital in a large washing up bowl full of tempered water, this also makes the agitation very smooth only needing to lightly touch the sides and corners.

Trevor Crone 22nd February 2011 08:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vanannan (Post 47670)
Hi Trevor
Thanks for the interesting and helpful article, just curious as to how you control the processing temperature, I float my orbital in a large washing up bowl full of tempered water, this also makes the agitation very smooth only needing to lightly touch the sides and corners.

Hi Vanannan, that's an excellent idea. My darkroom is in the house so temperature is fairly constant at around 20C and as my development times are rarely more than 12 minutes temperature remains pretty steady.

SteveW 23rd February 2011 09:10 PM

Hi Trevor
I have a vague recollection of an article in the long gone and much missed Darkroom magazine from Ed Buziak regarding the use of the orbital. if I remember correctly he took a Dremel and roughed up the base with a grinder. I will have to try and dig it out.

Dave miller 24th February 2011 08:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SteveW (Post 47784)
Hi Trevor
I have a vague recollection of an article in the long gone and much missed Darkroom magazine from Ed Buziak regarding the use of the orbital. if I remember correctly he took a Dremel and roughed up the base with a grinder. I will have to try and dig it out.

It was an article by Roger Hicks who modified one to develop 10x8 sheet film. It was his article on which I based my own trials but ended up with a slightly different solution to the suction problem to his or Trevor's. Of them all I think Trevor's is the best simply because the modification is reversible.

Alan Clark 24th February 2011 09:35 AM

I think the question of what you do to the base of the processor is quite a complex one. I glued cocktail sticks to the base of mine (flat, not sticking up!) and this worked very well with 5 x 4 and 10 x 8 film. But when I started developing 5 x 7 film I was getting lines of overdevelopment across the negative. At first I thought these were caused by the fins then I realised they lined up with the cocktail sticks. Removing the cocktail sticks and scoring the base with a knife has cured the problem. I have no idea why these lines of overdevelopment occured, as the film had its emulsion side up.

Why should different film sizes make a difference? all I can think is that because of the curved base of the processor each size sits in a different relation to the curve of the base. 5 x 7 film sheets also have more room for side-to -side movement than the other sizes.
The main thing is that scored lines in the base, about 5mm apart, in two directions, making a diamond parrern, seems to have done the trick.

Alan

Michael 24th February 2011 11:26 PM

Back in the middle of '09 I posted pictures of a couple of removeable mats I made - see here. They do me fine, with just the occasional trace of AH left on the outer corner of the odd sheet from time to time - which washes off in a quick rinse under the tap.

So my one processor can be used for either film or paper.

Neil Smith 4th March 2011 11:41 AM

Trevor I processed in the Paterson Orbital using your method for the final tests for the Fomapan, worked a treat, processing was perfect with the fins attached. I used the self adhesive clear plastic domes you suggested on the base, brilliant.
So simple and economical it was easy using your method, thanks:)


Neil

Trevor Crone 4th March 2011 11:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Neil Smith (Post 48367)
Trevor I processed in the Paterson Orbital using your method for the final tests for the Fomapan, worked a treat, processing was perfect with the fins attached. I used the self adhesive clear plastic domes you suggested on the base, brilliant.
So simple and economical it was easy using your method, thanks:)


Neil

That's great news Neil. But sorry to read that the Fomapan 400 still has issues.

Gavin 14th July 2012 12:43 PM

Great article Trevor. Regarding the plastic domes, are they glass like or soft in texture?

Trevor Crone 15th July 2012 10:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gavin (Post 70588)
Great article Trevor. Regarding the plastic domes, are they glass like or soft in texture?

Thanks Gavin, hope you found it of some use?

The plastic domes are hard but very smooth.

Dave miller 15th July 2012 11:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trevor Crone (Post 70614)
Thanks Gavin, hope you found it of some use?

The plastic domes are hard but very smooth.

could try these draw stops.

Gavin 15th July 2012 12:10 PM

Of great use Trevor. I received an orbital in the post this week and was surprised to find that it was new/unused, so I want to get this right first time. I tried local art shops but as yet have found nothing although there's plenty of time to get it right.

I'll take a look at those door stops Dave but I was imagining something harder, probably because I had it in my mind that they were glass at first sight.

Michael 15th July 2012 10:59 PM

The smaller the better, Gavin, as they're hemispherical. Hardware shops should have them. Just ask for wee plastic domes that protect doors from hitting cupboards :) . And they're self-adhesive.

I have become a disciple of Trevor's since starting to use an Orbital for 7x5 processing.

Gavin 16th July 2012 10:03 AM

Thanks Michael. I've ordered the dome shaped door stops as the ones I have are not shaped the same and would probably be more restrictive to the fluids.

Dave miller 16th July 2012 10:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gavin (Post 70673)
Thanks Michael. I've ordered the dome shaped door stops as the ones I have are not shaped the same and would probably be more restrictive to the fluids.

I don't think that their shape should matter as they are there simply as spacers to prevent suction making removal of the medium difficult. Because they are on the non-emulsion side they have no effect on the developing process but do allow washing water to circulate under sheet film.

numnutz 16th July 2012 12:56 PM

I use a Patterson Orbital - I found I have to remove the fins as some negatives suffered from bromide drag in sky areas (Foma and Rollie IR). I used little drops of fish tank silicon sealant to keep the film from the base. I also use the motorised base as I feel this give a more uniform (although continuous) agitation. At the moment I am using 200ml of solution(s) although I did start by using 100ml. Any one using more or less? Mostly I develop 4 sheets of 5 x 4 film, only occasionally 10 x 8.

nn :)

Steve Smith 16th July 2012 01:09 PM

I haven't removed the fins on mine but I think I will. And I scored the base with a Stanley blade on mine to prevent the film from sticking.


Steve.

Dave miller 16th July 2012 01:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by numnutz (Post 70683)
I use a Patterson Orbital - I found I have to remove the fins as some negatives suffered from bromide drag in sky areas (Foma and Rollie IR). I used little drops of fish tank silicon sealant to keep the film from the base. I also use the motorised base as I feel this give a more uniform (although continuous) agitation. At the moment I am using 200ml of solution(s) although I did start by using 100ml. Any one using more or less? Mostly I develop 4 sheets of 5 x 4 film, only occasionally 10 x 8.

nn :)

I suspect that the bromide drag that you refer to may be caused by the use of the motor base giving a regular repeting flow pattern rather than the fins; have you tried using it with manual slopping?

paulc 16th July 2012 02:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by numnutz (Post 70683)
At the moment I am using 200ml of solution(s) although I did start by using 100ml. Any one using more or less? Mostly I develop 4 sheets of 5 x 4 film

I usually aim for 300ml of developer regardless of the number of sheets being processed. Of late though, I have been using 400ml - In both cases, on a motorised base.

numnutz 16th July 2012 05:03 PM

Quote:

...bromide drag that you refer to may be caused by the use of the motor base giving a regular repeating flow pattern
I haven't had any Bromide drag since removing the fins although I have noticed that when processing the processor actually rotates slightly on the motor base whereas I didn't notice that before...

nn :)

Dave miller 16th July 2012 05:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by numnutz (Post 70690)
I haven't had any Bromide drag since removing the fins although I have noticed that when processing the processor actually rotates slightly on the motor base whereas I didn't notice that before...

nn :)

All mine have fins and they slowly rotate on my motor base.

Adrian 17th July 2012 12:13 PM

I have an orbital developing tank. I had streaks from the fins on every negative. I just removed the fins. You might need more than a stanley knife to do it though. I used a modeller's saw. First I tried cutting the fin off from the underside in one piece - this is not very easy to do neetly. The other I cut off from the top in three sections - diagonals then cut off the bit left in the middle - much easier. A bit of emery paper finished off the job. No more marks! :)

Whilst on the subject, the other modifications I made were the little round stick-on feet in the base - that works well. However, I replaced the red "golf tees" with platic Printed Circuit Board (PCB) mounting pillars which have larger "heads". This stops the negatives from occasionally riding up over the top of each other.

Gavin 17th July 2012 05:28 PM

3 Attachment(s)
I went with the door buffers as Dave suggested. After cutting around one dome I realised that the domes are pre cut inside the sheet :slap: I've never come across this before but hey ho.

Because these are much smaller than Trevor's I used more than I first imagined to.

Thank you to Trevor and Dave. Not long now and I can get it fired up.

Trevor Crone 17th July 2012 07:27 PM

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Looks the ticket Gavin hope all goes well.

If you find the film starts to drift over the little red pegs that come with the Orbital there are several suggestions on the Forum for over coming this problem. Adrian mentions PCB pegs, others have used match sticks, etc.

I fashioned a set from 3mm acrylic rod bought on Ebay for a few 'bob'. I than caped the rod with 'tiddly wink' counters someone gave me. They are 25mm tall and each counter was drilled using a 2.5mm drill. The rods were then carefully filed at the tip to ensure a tight fit. No glue was used.

Gavin 17th July 2012 08:38 PM

Thank you Trevor. Can I ask, are the new pegs 25mm high from the tray bottom or 25mm pre fit? I imagine post fit but I'm crossing the T's here.

My apologies for making your article a thread Trevor but hopefully this process will benefit new readers.

Trevor Crone 17th July 2012 09:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gavin (Post 70723)
Thank you Trevor. Can I ask, are the new pegs 25mm high from the tray bottom or 25mm pre fit? I imagine post fit but I'm crossing the T's here.

My apologies for making your article a thread Trevor but hopefully this process will benefit new readers.

Gavin they are 25mm pre-fit. Don't apologise, I agree all input may prove helpful to new readers.

big paul 4th July 2017 12:03 AM

this site is a mine of information ..thanks FADU and all the members

GoodOldNorm 15th February 2020 06:57 PM

Paterson orbital for 4x5 sheet film what developer?
 
What films/developers are you using in your Paterson Orbital processor? Starting times/temps., agitation routines, amount of developer used, tips and suggestions for your favourite film/developer combinations PLEASE.

mpirie 16th February 2020 07:59 AM

For me Norm, i float my Orbital in a tray of water at about 22 ˚C, (it's a cold darkroom) using 300ml of each chemical, i develop FP4+ in Pyrocat HD at 2+2+100 for 8 minutes (N). A water stop is used for 1 minute, Hypam fix for 10 minutes, wash for 10 minutes and wetting agent for 2 minutes.

I have small rubber bump-stops in the base to avoid the film sticking to the base and making sure the AH layer is fully removed.

My timer gives me 30sec beeps, so my agitation sequence is 2 full rocks fore and back, then 2 full rocks left to right.

Mike

GoodOldNorm 16th February 2020 11:38 AM

Thank you for that Mike, do you pre_soak the film for 5mins and do you add 1-2 drops of wetting agent to the developer?

mpirie 16th February 2020 12:18 PM

I used to pre-soak, but was experiencing strange marks on the film-base which disappeared when i stopped pre-soaking.

Ilford do not recommend pre-soaking FP4, so i stopped.

No need for wetting agent in the developer.

Mike

Alan Clark 16th February 2020 01:18 PM

Norm, what film are you planning to develop in your Paterson Orbital? If you already use this film in 35mm or 120 format, just develop it the same way in the Orbital. Same developer, same time. One difference I would recommend. I don't know what magic Mike evokes when he does intermittent agitation, but whenever I have tried this I got uneven development. So I agitate continuously, BUT VERY GENTLY. This doesn't seem to require a reduction in development time. For Foma 400, for e.g. , for N-1, I develop in ID11 diluted 1:2 for 14 minutes, same time as I use for the same film in 120 or 35mm.

Alan

GoodOldNorm 16th February 2020 02:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alan Clark (Post 130929)
Norm, what film are you planning to develop in your Paterson Orbital? If you already use this film in 35mm or 120 format, just develop it the same way in the Orbital. Same developer, same time. One difference I would recommend. I don't know what magic Mike evokes when he does intermittent agitation, but whenever I have tried this I got uneven development. So I agitate continuously, BUT VERY GENTLY. This doesn't seem to require a reduction in development time. For Foma 400, for e.g. , for N-1, I develop in ID11 diluted 1:2 for 14 minutes, same time as I use for the same film in 120 or 35mm.

Alan

Foma 200 just because it is good value for the money, 4x5 is very new to me so I am expecting a fair amount of blunders on my behalf to begin with. Ilford films are my first choice in any format. Is alternating the rocking essential, backwards and forwards then left to right, forward and back, right to left?

mpirie 16th February 2020 03:53 PM

You're right Alan; by the time i've rocked the orbital twice slowly from left to right on the minute; and then twice slowly front to back on the thirty second beeps, it's almost like continuous agitation.

I started out with a pre-soak because i was getting uneven development, but the markings on the film base forced me to think again.....so i refined my agitation technique and dropped the pre-soak.

I have to say i've seen a huge improvement in the neg quality since taking this approach. YMMV though!

Norm - I'd suggest the mixed agitation direction.....left/right and forwards/backwards is essential to avoid bromide streaks from doing it in one direction only.

Mixing the rocking direction emulates the motorised base.

Mike

Alan Clark 16th February 2020 03:58 PM

Norm, like you I also prefer Ilford films but the high price of their sheet films caused me to switch to Foma. I have used quite a bit of 5x4 Foma 200. For N-1 development I have found 7.5 minutes in Fomadon RO9 at 1:50 works well. The developer seems to suit the film. I get almost identical but slightly sharper results with ID111 at 1:2. Film rated at 100.
Agitation...you need to become a random rocker. Lift one corner up about half an inch. No more. Lower it then immediately lift another corner. Choose randomly. No pattern.

Alan

GoodOldNorm 16th February 2020 05:33 PM

Just need it to stop raining and blowing, can't wait to get out and make some photographs, Thank you for all the advice and tips gentlemen.


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