Stearman 445 tank

Darren Lewey

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Of course the one inconsistency across the 3 test recordings was the level of exterior brightness. The first and largest problem occurred in the brightest sun, the second(portrait) late afternoon light and the last pool Foma shot, when the camera was set in the shade. I will try an ever present dark cloth. Thanks.
 

David M

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I believe that people have refurbished their light traps, but we must look to other members for advice. There is almost certainly someone who knows. They are an astonishingly clever bunch.
 

David M

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Something to encourage you, I hope.
Here is someone who has more problems than you and he's giving instructions to others!
Copal 1, 2 and 3 indeed! (In the Q&A.) As for his explanation of the blank sheet...
He does seem to be very enthusiastic about adjustment layers.
A discussion about what constitutes a Fine Art Print belongs elsewhere.

I came to this after watching one of Ben Horne's videos. He's getting very fond of showing us his journey.
 

Ian Grant

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Those welding rod storage tubes are really cheap unless bought as BTZS tubes - the make is on the bottom :D

In another thread I mentioned recently buying a second 5x4 Dallan tank. I posted images of my first when asked for examples of LF developing before the Stearman tanks were designed and produced. I think what's different it the way the film sits in the holders at the edges with the Dallan tanks it's a V shape fairly open and has less effect on agitation and unevenness.

Ian
 

Darren Lewey

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The latest images... Fomapan 200 rated at 100. 10 mins, 20 degrees. 1/15, f 5.6. 1/8 is too slow for portraits but 1/15 seems to just about control subject movement in non-pro sitters. The first image works for me in terms of tone so a tick for Fomapan. I'm still getting some casts in the top left as seen more in the second. These are present on 2 of the 4 from the same shoot and same tank development. Very odd.
 

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David M

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Characterful portraits.
The marks look like light leaks from somewhere. It seems very unlikely the the tank is causing them unless the light-trap plates are in the wrong order and even then, they seem to be in the wrong place for that.
This is the top of the image so it would be at the bottom of the frame in camera. Possible causes: worn-out hinge tape; imperfect seating in the camera back; bellows not perfectly fixed in place; undetected shiny surface inside camera. That's all I can think of. Keep up the excellent work. Does it extend into the unexposed margin?
 

Darren Lewey

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Thanks David. No fogging in the margin. Why 2 out of 4? The camera position was the same. I've checked the camera and nothing seems amiss but I'm not familiar with the workings of 5x4. The camera itself was bought in near mint.
 
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David M

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No fogging in the margin suggests that it must have happened while the film was in the holder. It it had been in the developing tank, the whole surface would be uncovered and any fogging light could reach the whole surface.
Can you track if the two were in the same holder?
 

Darren Lewey

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There's a strong possibility, I can't be sure but 75% likely. The holder itself appears to be fine, but I can run some tests tomorrow with it in bright sun.
 

Darren Lewey

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I've developed two from the salt basins I took a while back. No issues with the tank of blue stains or fogging. There were with different holders.
 

David M

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Yes, it would only need a very small fault over a relatively long period to produce the slight fogging. It's had much less exposure than the image itself.
 

Darren Lewey

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Hi David. Two new ones. The portrait with the same holder that caused problems and the wider shot with a confirmed good holder. The only difference is the lens. The wider shot with a 300mm needed the bellows extending from the back.
 

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David M

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Hello again,
Apologies for not responding earlier. I've been preoccupied with some DIY. The smell of paint lingers...
Have you done your testing on the holders? Today looks like a perfect day for it. For testing purposes, you can cut off one, two, three or four corners of the film. You might extend the system by making big cuts and little curs or making notches. Endless possibilities.
It might seem wasteful to use film, but wasting exposed images is even worse.
Have we ruled out faulty film? Have you checked the camera itself as fully as possible? Anything slightly loose? Can you disassemble the back for a thorough clean? (I'm not suggesting dismantling with tools – just what can be taken apart manually.) BIs anything warped? Bellows? Photons will creep in anywhere and they are very cunning.
Best of luck. It's worth persisting in all this because you're making some fine images.
 

Darren Lewey

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Thanks David. I'm in Morocco so it's always sunny! Further checks reveal all holders working perfectly. Images attained with Fomapan and T-Max and 180mm lens all good. I've covered the top of the camera with the dark cloth for exposures made in bright sun. The only two possible areas for the problem source are: I have switched to using a different box of T-max 100 and I have not used the 300mm Nikkor. These are the only two possibles. In terms of tank issues and fix. The conclusion I've reached is that Fomapan suffers from no issues of the film backing not clearing on back to back loaded images whilst the T-max often does. As per your suggestion I'm opening on clearing and adjusting the films slightly to free them up and fixing for a further 3 mins. I am also washing as per Ilford's recommended low water usage of 10, 20 and 30 inversions as I do not have a clear running water supply. Attached: Fomapan 200, rated at 100, f5.6, 1/15. 10 mins, 20 degrees. Pyrocat. T-max 100, rated at 64. f11, 1/30.
 

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David M

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Only one check I can think of and it seems unlikely to me. Does the lensboard of the 300mm lens fit properly to both shutter and camera? Clutching at ever smaller straws now.
There is another problem that I once suffered. The lens-closing lever (does it have a name?) sometimes didn't close the blades absolutely perfectly and there was occasionally a very, very small, non-round gap. A service put it right. It did take me some time and a good deal of squinting against a bright light to find this.
Enjoy Morocco.
I'm waiting for the Gas Man. (Usually a man, but we have had the boiler serviced by a very competent young woman.)
 

Darren Lewey

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I've attached a file from today. I exposed 4 images of which only one was blemish free. As you can see, there's significant fogging. I exposed all 4 with the dark cloth over the camera, all in bright sunlight, all in the same conditions, all developed together. The confusion is that this problem is getting worse. Some weeks ago I had no such issues. What kind of fogging does this suggest do you think?
 

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Darren Lewey

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It appears after testing the bellows at night with a flashlight that the source is there. Quite porous. Usage in bright sun in the last couple of months must have worn the material which was already fading. If someone can suggest a UK fitter of new bellows that would be fantastic and in the meantime would placing a cloth over the top suffice? Thanks.
 

David M

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Custom Bellows.

I've had bellows made by them for an old Gandolfi and they are excellent. I found them very helpful. The US LF website's members often recommend using them, despite American patriotism.
They may need your old bellows to make an exact copy so your camera would be out of action.
Meanwhile, a temporary repair would be to spray the inside of the bellows with a matt black aerosol paint. Obviously, this needs to be done with care. Fully extend the bellows, mask off very carefully and apply thin coats with plenty of drying time between them.

Wet Plate supplies sell various things that might be useful.


If you are going to use the darkcloth as a temporary solution, it needs to be wrapped all round the camera, over and under, for every instant that the film sheath is withdrawn. Photons are very cunning. This means you'd need a second opaque cloth to wrap right round. An old darkroom apron or a cannibalised changing bag, perhaps?

 
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mpirie

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I can vouch for Custom Bellows too.

They replaced the bellows on my TK45 frames in around 10 days to Norway, so very good service and quality.

Mike
 
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