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SP-8x10+ Daylight Tray: Lessons Learned

Tim Gilbert

Here's a list of the major lessons learned in the last four years:

1. You don't need 500 ml of solution. Frankly, the 500 ml was our upper design limit, we hadn't really thought about a lower limit! We've had photographers report excellent results with as little as 200 ml (sounds risky to us) but we like to use around 300 ml. 

Using less liquid can result in better agitation. This is because the "wave front" (wave action on the surface) is closer to the film.

2. When processing 8x10, you don't really need the hold down tabs. Film is heavier than water and we've never had any issues.  We've processed 5x7 with just the center tabs (to keep the film sheets apart.)

3. Don't over agitate! Originally, we agitated using the "gold panning" technique. While this works, it is easy to over do it. This results in swirl marks or other artifacts on your negative. Remember, the goal is to just get fresh developer to the emulsion!

The simplest method: just lift one side of the tray up about an inch and then lower it down. Lift the other side in the next agitation cycle. It's even less work...

Don't forget to pre-soak! Thirty seconds should be plenty. (We agitate until we hear the film "clicking" as it hits the sides of the tray.)

 Comments and feedback always welcome:


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