Large Format Photography How Many Trays Do I Need For Developing?

By | 17/10/2022

SP-8x10 Daylight Processing Tray Initial Review by Tim Layton

In this article today, I am sharing my initial review of the
SP-8×10 Daylight Process Tray.

I develop multiple sheets of big format pic virtually every calendar week whether I am in my darkroom or on the road.  At the time of this article, I accept adult over xl sheets of 8×10 and 4×10 large format sheet film and 8 8×10 dry plates in the

The SP-8×10 can be used for any size large format sail film or silver gelatin dry plates up to 8×10.

Bottom line up front, I admittedly dearest the
and use it multiple times per week to develop my large format canvass film and dry plates. I highly recommend it to whatsoever big format photographer that is looking for a cost effective and trustworthy way to develop sheet motion picture and silvery gelatin dry plates.

SP-8x10 Daylight Processing Tray Review by Tim Layton

I will share my initial thoughts with you in this commodity and after I develop more film, I volition follow back up with another article to share a longer term review.

I take always loved developing large format film and dry plates in trays versus rotary systems because the method is uncomplicated, constructive, and proven.

Until the
was available, there wasn’t a big format daylight tray development option other than using standard darkroom trays which requires total darkness for the entire development process and a lot more chemicals.

I accept been using Paterson Orbital Trays for several years at present that were designed for developing RA-4 color prints because I needed a daylight method for developing large format canvass picture show and dry plates.  I but accept too much going on in my darkroom at any given fourth dimension to be shut downward in total darkroom for a single task.

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For the boilerplate big format photographer, the need to develop a lot of picture is exceptional at best and paying for an expensive rotary processing system like a Jobo, just is out of the question.

If yous have a mass book of sheets to develop at once and yous tin justify thousands of dollars for a rotary organization, so this tin can be a skillful method as well.  It just isn’t practical or cost constructive for 99% of big format photographers and this is why the
is such a adept selection.

is a versatile and price effective solution for developing whatever size of canvas motion picture or plates upward to 8×10.  The system comes with dividers for the most common sized films to include 4×5, 4×10, 5×7, and 8×10.  Those formats will cover the vast majority of contemporary large format photographers.

I use a diversity of vintage cameras that use odd sizes compared to today’due south standard picture sizes like iii 1/4 10 five 1/2 and 4 ane/4 x vi i/2 and others.  The
volition be a proficient solution for developing these films and plates too.

You volition need a dark tent/bag or dark room to initially transfer the picture show to the
tray from your holders.  Since a large format photographer already has a solution to load their film holders, a method for transferring the picture show from the holders to the tray is already solved.

MY Development PROCESS

8x10 Large Format Negative of Klepzig Mill by Tim Layton

I use all of my processing chemicals (water, developer, stop, fixer) at 20C/68F.

I have a warmer bath to keep all the development chemicals at the correct temperature.

Once I place the solution into the tray, I don’t employ any boosted method for maintaining temperature.  I keep all of my solutions in the warming bath until about xv seconds before I need them.

I use 200ml of solution for every step in my procedure at 20C/68F
which is a divergence from the recommended 500ml.  I have establish that 200ml provided a perfect development and this uses considerably less chemicals.

I start with a pre-wash for two minutes with distilled h2o.

Then, I develop my film or plates for the proper times established by my formal testing process.  I also mix my developer with distilled h2o.

I utilize a very simple and continuous agitation method by gently lifting the forepart of the tray up, sitting it back downwards and repeating that for the entire development time. This is a gentle and simple motility.

I similar to employ TF-5 then I don’t demand a finish bath or hypo clear subsequently fixing, so I become directly from development to fixing with TF-5.  This is a huge fourth dimension savings for me.

Then I do a one minute wash in the tray with regular tap water after the TF-5 before placing my film or plates in my archival moving-picture show washer.

I then place the washed film in a tray of distilled water with a few drops of Photo-Flo 200 for about ane infinitesimal and so hang to dry.

It literally could not be easier.


SP-8x10 Daylight Processing Tray Review by Tim Layton

When I received my first SP-8×10 tray I did glance at the directions to brand sure I loaded the tabs in the tiptop part of the tray in the right position.  I advise you practice the same, but pay attention to the directions.

I should take read the directions a little bit closer because I loaded one tab in the wrong direction and I put a small-scale scratch on my first examination film.

To exist clear, it was 100% my mistake and I should have reviewed the directions more closely.  I share my error with y’all and then you won’t do the same thing.

In the photo next to this text, I have the tabs installed for developing 8×10 picture.  You only need the center tabs for developing 5×7 or 4×5 films.

SP-8x10 Processing Tray Review by Tim Layton

In the illustration to the left, the tabs are a little easier to meet because of the colors.

The directions advise 500ml of chemical science and I did not find this to be the case.  I tested with 200ml vs. 500ml and all of my films developed absolutely perfect.  This is a huge savings in chemistry over time and makes the SP-8×10 an even meliorate value in my opinion.

Based on my personal experience, I highly recommend the SP-8×10 for large format photographers because I know it works perfectly and will literally pay for itself with the savings in chemicals over fourth dimension.

I make very big silvery gelatin prints and contact prints likewise, so if there were any issues with my negatives developed in the
SP-8×10, it would be immediately recognized and obvious to me.

SP-8x10 Processing Tray Review by Tim Layton

In the illustration to the left, yous volition encounter the center divider.  This is only needed for developing 4×5 moving-picture show or 4×10 film.

In the instance of 4×5 motion picture, you would also add the center tabs in the lid as shown in the illustration above.

For 4×10 film, you would non need the tabs in the lid.

Also, you lot will come across the baffles at the front of the tray where you fill and empty your solutions.  The baffles are conspicuously marked and so you won’t become them confused when installing them.

I have several of the
trays because I launder the tray after each use and and so allow it air dry with a fan bravado on it.  After it is dry out, I reassemble it and place it on my shelf until it is ready for utilize next time. While the electric current tray is drying, I am developing more film in the new tray.

I personally have 5 trays considering I typically shoot 4 to 6 sheets of 8×10 motion picture per outing and both Tim Jr and I developing film at the aforementioned time.  Nosotros are usually developing with ii trays at the same time staggering the times by ane minute.

I am thankful that we take organizations like Stearman Printing that proceed to design and create new tools and solutions for analog photographers in our digital earth.

If you decide to get an
SP-8×10, transport me a note and let me know how it works out for you every bit well.

-Tim Layton

Join me and photographers from around the world in the
Handmade Argent Gelatin Emulsions Community
and learn more than almost how to make and use silver gelatin emulsions.

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Originally posted 2022-02-12 20:00:01.