I’m happy to report that as a follow on to the Printing Disaster, I have a success. Those who read my previous post will remember that the first attempt, had some minor imperfections in the lower right-hand corner, the second was the print shown below, and the third was nearly as bad as the second, but without the big stripes.
First Failed Print
Thanks to the help of the folks that are part of the Traditional FILM Photographygroup on Facebook, I was able to determine what I’d done wrong. One problem I had was that the Ilford Multigrade developer I was using had been open too long. Thankfully I had a new bottle. The other problem was the brownish staining of the prints. This was apparently caused by fixer residue remaining in the drum, I’m embarrassed to admit, I didn’t think to wash out the drum after the first and second prints when I tried this the other day. Finally I had mixed up 500ml’s each of developer, stop bath, and fixer, that’s way too much. Tonight I mixed up fresh chemicals, and only made up 100ml’s of each. Though I went with 500ml’s of water. The 100ml amount is still more than the 50ml that Jobo says is needed, but I think it’s better to have a bit more due to how the 5×7 paper fits in the drums. The nice thing is it’s really fast to get 100ml of solution in or out of the drum compared to 500ml. For tonights tests, I did a 1 minute 30 second soak with the 500ml of water, prior to doing the actual film processing. Once I was done with a sheet of film I rinsed the drum out good.
Tonight I did a total of three test prints, and each of the three turned out well from a processing standpoint. Please pardon the photo above showing tonights test, the quality isn’t the best. The blotchiness is a combination of water that’s still on the prints, and the light reflecting on the glossy prints. The borders are nice and white, and the development of the prints looks to be pretty even.
Now for my thoughts on the process. Does it work, most definitely. Am I going to use this process again for 5×7 prints? Only when I the temperature in my darkroom area is such that I can’t use trays, and I really want to make some prints. The problem I have with the drum is that it isn’t suited to doing test strips. A drum seems like a good solution for processing 8×10 or larger prints. The Jobo 1525 drum I have is only good for up to 8×10 prints. It seems to me that if I take my small 5×7 trays for developing test strips or 5×7 prints, and the drum for 8×10 prints, I can handle both sizes, and use a lot less chemicals than if I mix up a batch to tray process 8×10. In fact I’m inclined to look for a Jobo 2850 drum for doing up to 16×20 prints.