SP-445 Interesting Discovery

Discussion in 'Talk About Developing Film' started by Alan9940, Sep 30, 2018.

  1. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member Registered User

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    Like Ian B, I have had issues with the v3 film holders leaving gouges in the film emulsion. I spent quite some time recently to sand the corners and edges of each film holder clip to remove any sharp corners and burrs. The issue improved somewhat, but it remained. If I scan the film, I can easily fix these problems with the healing tool, but analog printing in the darkroom would be challenging, to say the least. On a lark this morning, I tried my v1 holders (the solid ones) and not a single mark!!

    I have a theory about why the v1 holders may work better for me vs the v3 holders... The long empty slots behind the film allow too much turbulence during agitation cycles, thereby pushing/rubbing the emulsion against those clips. Whereas the original v1 holders allow agitation only along the surface of the film with very little motion along the base side. Since I'm using the same development technique in each case, the holders seem to be the only variable.

    Hmm.................
     
  2. David M

    David M Well-Known Member Registered User

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    How do you agitate? Which axis do you rotate around? Rotating around the shortest horizontal axis should reduce this effect. Using the longer horizontal axis might force liquid between the two films causing them to ballon in the way you describe. (This assumes I have understood you correctly.)
    I've had no trouble with the Mk I holders but I have drilled holes between back and front and cut thumb notches to make extracting the film easier, as well as smoothing the lugs.
     
  3. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Admin Staff Member Registered User

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    Hmm... Interesting. I developed one yesterday in the V3 holders and there was a piece of the emulsion missing right at the point of the bottom lug. The sides were fine. maybe need to do more sanding in this area.

    As for agitation, I rotate as shown below followed by a twist at the bottom to move the liquid in 2 directions

    sp445.jpg
     
  4. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member Registered User

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    David - agitation is top-to-bottom, then bottom-to-top vertically. IMO, agitating (or spinning) around the shorter horizontal axis wouldn't provide enough agitation. The only issue I ever had with the v1 holders--and why I stopped using 'em--was, occasionally, I'd see a couple very faint lines along the base side of the film; basically, the ridges molded into the v1 holders. Today, I changed to a 5 min pre-soak and no faint lines! This could be film dependent so I'm reserving judgement in this regard until I've processed a few other film types.

    Ian - even after painstakingly sanding each and every clip, I only eliminated one or two marks. I still had one from a side clip and, of course, the bottom clip. To be fair, I had the most issues with Fomapan 100 which seems to have a very soft emulsion; and I don't use hardening fixer. But...I, also, got "clip marks" when developing Fomapan 100 with Pyrocat-HD which hardens the emulsion during development. These kinds of issues always frustrate me a bit because they're hard to pin down exactly. Regardless, I'm going to continue using the v1 holders until (or if) I see a problem. If you continue getting marks, you may want to think about buying a set of v1 holders to see how you get on with them.
     
  5. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Admin Staff Member Registered User

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    When I bought the SP-445, it came with the V2 holders so I missed the party on the V1. Later, I ordered a set of V3 holders which are still giving me issues now and again. Do we know why Tim went from V1 - V3 ?.
     
  6. David M

    David M Well-Known Member Registered User

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    Foma seems to crop up each time.
    Is there some way to harden film before developing? Would it alter process times? Somebody on this forum is sure to know.
    An alternative would be to admit defeat and look out for a Combiplan, where the slots do not touch the surface of the film at all, because they are V-shaped. I think the Combiplan is no longer in production so if you find one, make sure it has the top clip in good condition and look after it carefully because they can be a bit fragile. Although there's a rack that seems to be holding the clips in place, they are really held down by the lid. (For 5x4 film.) No need to force them.
    You will hear tales of slow emptying and filling with the Combiplan, which are all true, but in practice, this has caused me no trouble.
    As a last resort, there's always FP4.

    The open holders were a response to people worrying that the back of the film would not clear fully and that the ridges would impress themselves on the film. I've seen lines on the wet film, but they vanished when dry and were not visible in the image. I drilled 6mm holes in my MK I holders to improve flow to the backs but I don't know if this has had any real effect. I've had no problem from the holding lugs, but I use FP4 for 5x4. I do have some Foma 5x4, so perhaps I'll give it a try.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  7. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Admin Staff Member Registered User

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    Out of all the films I have used, Fomapan seems to be the one which is giving the most issues. The issue always appears to be from the bottom finger tab. I have no proof that this is happening during the agitation process or when I am removing the film from the holder. My gut feeling tells me its happening during agitation.

    sp-445-scratched-film.jpg
     
  8. David M

    David M Well-Known Member Registered User

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    Not good. Composing the image to exclude this area would be rather defeatist.
    I find that to remove the film from the holder, I pull the centre away from the plastic plate so it's bowed outwards. This breaks the surface tension. Then I pull it upwards to remove it. Sliding it out flat seemed to risk tramlines. As I said above, I use FP4.
    Another thought: would it be possible to file down the tab, so it fitted within the film margin? This sounds drastic, but the film-holder uses this amount of gripping area. It might be possible to remove the overlapping part of the tab altogether, so that the residual stump acted as a back stop with no gripping function at all.
    It is very curious that the side tabs are causing no problem.
     
  9. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member Registered User

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    Ian - my guess why we progressed from v1 - v3 holders probably revolves around two issues: 1) I saw many comments regarding faint lines along the film base side due to the ridges behind the film. I suspect the holes in the later versions are to mitigate this issue and to provide better chemistry flow along the back of the film. 2) It seems that quite a few folks had difficulty removing the wet film from the holder so the notch was added. Since I never even saw a v2 holder I can't speculate.

    David - Nowadays, I pretty much only use the SP-445 when testing something. For "serious" film development, I rely on my Jobo, tanks 'n hangers, or a B&W King tank, depending on process used for development. To easily remove wet film from the holder, I submerge it into water and the film pretty much falls out. FWIW, in my experience it's not only the bottom tab causing the issue; I had the problem with a side tab or two, too. And, for me, it's not just Foma film, though that emulsion seems to be the most affected. Switching to FP4 may not be the solution. I use this film quite a lot and seen the same problem when using the SP-445.
     
  10. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Admin Staff Member Registered User

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    Well, I have just spent the best part of 60 minutes cleaning every finger on all my holders, v2, v3. I shall test it with Fomapan tomorrow. If this continues, I may end up going back to the MOD54
     
  11. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member Registered User

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    I'd be very interested to hear how you get on from here. If you're successful, perhaps I'll spend more time on my v3 holders as I like the idea of better chemical flow around the film. I had a thought earlier today that, perhaps, a nail file or similar slim file would enable me to contour the tab corners better. I really think these corners are where the problem lies.
     
  12. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Admin Staff Member Registered User

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    I actually used a small metal nail file. I have tried to round off the corners and then finished it off with some very fine wet and dry sandpaper
     
  13. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones New Member Registered User

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    Interestingly I purchased the v2 holders as I had issues when using Foma film - I recently swapped over to only using FP4 but started to have issues with film touching the middle bar, so I hack-sawed them away only to have issues then with sheets touching each other. I now only process one sheet per holder and so far all is working ok. I might go back to trying the v1 holders just to see how they perform.
     
  14. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Admin Staff Member Registered User

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    Maybe we ought to ask the maker to test them with FomaPan film to see how they get on
     
  15. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Admin Staff Member Registered User

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    I have emailed Tim at Stearman Press explaining the issues with Fomapan. I see he sells FomaPan in his store so hopefully he may try a few sheets for us.
     
  16. Stephen Batey

    Stephen Batey Well-Known Member Registered User

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    From memory, it went out of production because one of the moulds used to make then wore out, and it was too expensive to make another.

    From what I heard from both Mike Walker and a Paterson rep, the Walker Titan SF and the Paterson Orbital processor both went out of production (or in the case of Paterson, production couldn't restart now) because the company holding the moulds threw them away :eek:
     
  17. David M

    David M Well-Known Member Registered User

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    Moulds wearing out is to be expected, but the Walker story is tragic. I suspect that the Orbital would have been killed off by digital printing anyway.
     
  18. Stephen Batey

    Stephen Batey Well-Known Member Registered User

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    The Orbital probably was. I was told the story because, given that many people use one for processing LF film, I asked if there were any plans to bring it back. It seems that they did look into it, and then discovered that they couldn't...
     
  19. David M

    David M Well-Known Member Registered User

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    This made me think.
    I have a paper safe for 10x8 paper that I now use when unloading film. In essence it's a shallow 10x8 box with a lightproof lid, and it's made from vacuum-formed components. Naturally, there's no provision for adding chemicals but surely, that could be devised.
    The tools for vacuum-forming are very much cheaper than those for injection moulding, and can be much less perfectly finished. Vacuum-forming machines are cheaper too. It might be possible to devise a 10x8 (or 4-up 5x4, of course) tank along these lines.
    Does Intrepid follow this forum?
     
  20. JimW

    JimW Member Registered User

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    Sounds like a Kickstarter project.... That way one would find out the demand before committing to too great an expense.
     

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