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3 Ways to Develop 4x5 Film at Home (2020)



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in this video I want to take you through

three ways of processing your four by

five film sheets now developing your

four by five film shots once you've

taken them can seem daunting at first

but I'm going to show you today three

ways of doing it three varying levels of

sophistication and cost and so let's get

cracking with the first one now this is

known as the SP four four five steam

impress developing tank now this is the

most recent tank I have got for

developing my film in my Thor by five

film and it is very simple and

straightforward it is literally just a

container in which you have a couple of

film holders now the film slides onto

these film holders bearing in mind all

this is done in the dark of course in

your darkroom or your your changing back

and you will be getting very used to

doing this sort of thing

once you've done it a few times now the

film is slid into position under these

little retaining Clips and you can put

two sheets of film onto each of these

little holders one on each side with the

emulsion facing out and then they slot

simply into the tank

and once they're in the tank and you

have loaded up your four sheets maximum

and close the lid and chemicals could be

poured in in the light so once you've

got it set up and you're ready to go you

don't need a darkroom you don't need to

be working in dark conditions anymore

you pour the chemicals in here you pour

them out when they're finished you rinse

with water at the end now that's a very

simple way of processing your black and

white and also color film now the nice

thing about this is you can sit it in a

water bath now the water bath will

maintain the temperature of the

chemicals inside at a constant amount so

if you put it in a decent body of water

and maintain that body of water at say

20 degrees the chemicals will stay at 20

degrees and you'll get even development

for black and white you can also do

color in it have yet to do color myself

but I have done color in very similar

ways using roll

in normal tanks such as these without

any clever thermostat to keep it warm so

that is a very very simple way of doing

black-and-white color and one of the

best things about it is it only uses

under 500 milliliters of chemistry so

less than half a liter which is very

economical for four sheets of film now

the next method is a bit of a usual one

because this particular device the

Paterson orbital was never intended for

processing film it was intended for

developing color ra4 which is your

negative process which is color it

prints if you like a now in the 80s I

did color printing in one of these

devices essentially it's another tray

with a light tight lid you put the

sheets of film this time again in the

dark into the tray maximum for again

emulsion side facing up and you can

close the lid and once it's closed its

light tight so now it's in a fit state

to take out into your normal litter

environment mix the chemicals and you

put them in the top here which is a

light tight entrance for the chemicals

now they do come with a little manual

base which allows you to rotate the

chemicals in a fairly even pattern now

if you follow a fairly slow pace like

this the chemicals won't slosh about too

much they will get across all the

surfaces evenly now there's also a motor

base you can buy now I have the motor

base sometimes you use it sometimes I

don't I tend to find I prefer sitting

this in a bath of water now again if I

sit this in a bath of water at the

correct temperature then I'm going to be

able to maintain the chemicals at the

right temperature which means I can get

an optimum processing time and the

quality is better if you use this

without a water bath the chemicals may

drift off in terms of their their

consistency now it may not be a problem

if you live in a warm country I live in

Britain it's not a very warm country so

in the winter I would typically not use

this device because it is a little bit

insistant best thing however you can get

by with just 200 milliliters of

chemistry so a

if the liter of chemistry it's a tiny

amount and that is enough to cover all

four sheets of film and develop them so

incredibly economical to use now if you

want to step up to another level of

sophistication shall we say you may want

to consider something like a rotary

process and now this is a bit of space

this is a the most basic Jobo processor

now these were incredibly popular in the

90s and into the naughties I used to

have a very nice one with an automated

lift on it and I sold it for about 80

pounds pretty worth about 700 now so but

it's a stupid move there this is the

most basic model and all it does is it

rotates a tank full of chemicals in a

water bath now the beauty of that is you

have a fairly large body of water in

this bath and this is constantly

rotating now because it's constantly

rotating you only have a small amount of

chemical which just about fills the

bottom part of the drum so you can get

away with a much smaller amount of

chemical than if you were doing to

traditional inversion methods okay you

can get away with under half a liter of

chemistry for this particular tank now

this tank has a spiral and this spiral

takes up to 6 sheets of film so so if I

have a sheet of film here I would load

it emulsion side down so it's not going

to catch on anything and I would slide

it very carefully and clip it into the

spiral you can see there it can't move

now it's just caught on this little lip

here now I can if I want to load up to 6

sheets of film into this particular

spiral there's two in there now I tend

to do four now the reason is the middle

slot it's very very close to the other

two and if you had any miss positioning

or alignment or you were a bit roughing

the handling

it is possible for one of the sheets to

move slightly and it could stick and

that would ruin the development so I

have done six in it but I tend to do

four just to be on the safe side so all

three methods I've shown you

at the moment take four sheets of film

and once I've loaded the sheets into

there I clip the lid on and it's

completely like tight and it can be

processed in the process of this full of

water set your temperature on these

dials here and it's a rotary process it

will rotate the chemicals backwards and

forwards following a cycle very

consistent very very easy to manage but

you know even second hand you probably

looking at a few hundred pounds to three

hundred pounds one of these and these

drums are becoming increasingly

expensive into spirals about sixty

seventy pounds so you are looking

upwards that may be five hundred pounds

five hundred dollars to get started with

this mechanism but this is the best for

color and the reason is best the color

is because it is temperature controlled

I can set this and keep it at a pretty

accurate temperature it's only the basic

model there are far better models out

there but you're looking at big numbers

big and big amount of money to get into

the better models this is quite

straightforward so I hope you found that

useful that very very brief explanation

of three ways I process my four by five

films there are other ways of doing it

there are tubes you can actually roll up

the film sheets in and develop them in a

water bath

there are also inserts that go into

typical film tanks where you can again

similar to this one flop them into

grooves uses a bit more chemistry but

very affordable now I would have to say

in summary that if you are getting into

developing four by five film probably

doing black and white to begin with I

would personally recommend a steam and

press 4 for 5 SP 4 for 5 it is around

about a hundred pounds which might look

like a lot of money for what it is but

there's quite a bit of engineering gone

into this it's it's quite complex inside

yet very easy to use keeps the light out

very small amount of chemistry used very

easy to keep the temperature constant so

I do like that that's fine my personal

favourites however if you want to use

the Patterson that's got a motorized

base so you can keep things moving

without attending to it do longer

developing sessions maybe 15 minutes for

some chemicals and there is a big

advantage to this for me as well and

it's something I've shown in a previous

video I can actually if I'd reconfigure

the pins in here

I can develop eight-by-ten film now

developing eight-by-ten is a completely

different kettle of fish I canna do one

sheet at a time but it's very economical

very simple it's the only way I've got

to develop my 8 by 10 films and finally

if your budget will stretch to it I

heartily recommend a rotary processor

with some sort of tank which fits that

model beauty of this is if you want to

get into color particularly color color

slide and the like where the times are a

bit longer and in multiple baths in

there and you've got to keep the

temperature of the chemicals pretty

consistent this is a better way of doing

it you can do color

in these two at a push but this is a

better way of doing it because you've

got a thermostatically controlled water

bath and the motor education is very

very even very consistent streak-free I

really do like that method but that does

take more setting up and there's more

initial investment obviously in as well

the black and white that is more than

adequate absolutely perfect for the most

needs so I do hope you enjoyed that no

doubt I'll do more processing videos we

are in lockdown at the moment so where

my hair is getting my hair is getting

longer and shag ear and but I've got a

lot of things I want to go through and

cover its loads and loads of things to

do with film photography I can get

through in the next few weeks and months

so thank you again for watching and I

will see you again soon