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6x9 (2.5"x 3.5") sheet film processing options

Steve Salmons , Jun 21, 2008; 07:49 a.m.

I have a few vintage cameras that I like to use use occasionally with NP22 cut film sheets. The 5x4 and half plate sheets are easily dealt with in a Paterson orbital Paper processor or and old 1/4 plate Envoy tank that I have. However the smaller 6x9 sheets are not really suitable for these nice economical methods. The only way I can think of at present is to feed the single sheets one by one onto a 120 spiral and process as a normal roll of 120.
The downside is that this is going to be fiddly and use a lot of dev if you only want to process a couple of negs.
Does anyone have any better experience of dealing with the smaller sheet film sizes that have been found to be convenient and economical?
Thanks, Steve


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Frank Schifano , Jun 21, 2008; 09:09 a.m.

Smalll trays?

Steve Salmons , Jun 21, 2008; 10:23 a.m.

Sorry, I should have specified daylight processing as I have no darkroom at present.

Martin Dake , Jun 21, 2008; 11:25 a.m.

You could use the Yankee Tank with the adjustable film holder. Not the best, but cheap. I just bought one from BH for $25. They can be used in daylight, but not for inversion. Or, the Jobo 2500 series has an adjustable reel that takes 6x9 also; but these are more expensive.

John Shriver , Jun 21, 2008; 11:41 a.m.

There was a Nikor Products miniature cut film tank, which provided an insert for the 16 ounce tank which would hold small cut film sheets in the sizes 2-1/4" x 3-1/4", 2-1/2" x 3-1/2", 6x9 cm and 6.5x9 cm. Not common, maybe shows up on eBay a couple of times a year. But it doesn't go for too dear a price. (In 1955, it was $4.95 for the loader and insert, or $12.95 complete with a tank back.)

There's also the Nikor adjustable 4x5 film pack and cut film tank, which can be adjusted for any size from 3A and 4x5 down to 2-1/4" x 3-1/4". They do show up fairly regularly on eBay, but go for $150 and up! That's my favorite since it is so flexible, and I shoot a lot of unusual sizes.

The Yankee or FR bakelite tank would work, but it's a miserable device, hard to use, hard to get good results.

You could also just "Taco" them in a 16 ounce Nikor tank. Curl it into a "Taco" emulsion side in, and put two rubber bands around it. Stand them up in the tank with no reel.

Nikor Products Miniature Cut Film Tank, Complete

Randall Ellis , Jun 21, 2008; 11:48 a.m.

I used to develop mine in two-reel tanks. Just slip them inside one per tank and process just like roll film, but it took too long when I wanted to process more than a couple of sheets in one session. I then hard about a method call 'taco' style, in which you put loose rubber bands around the films to cause them to curl so that you can put more than one per tank. Just be sure that the rubber bands are loose enough that they don't crease the film. This worked pretty well, but since I now use one of the bathrooms as a darkroom I develop them in 5x7 trays by hand. For what you are asking the taco method should work well I think. You should be able to find some info on it on this site in the forum history, or if not, try over on APUG.org

- Randy

Jay De Fehr , Jun 21, 2008; 01:30 p.m.

Hi Steve,

if you can find a way to keep your individual sheets from overlapping on the reel, you could use rotary agitation with minimum solution volumes in your standard daylight tank by rolling it back and forth in your sink, on your counter, etc. Good luck.

Nick Clarke , Jun 22, 2008; 09:24 a.m.

I put them into the Paterson orbital and so far have not had a problem - the pegs appear to stop the smaller sheets from moving about just like 5x4 until it comes to washing when I have to take the sheets out and wash in dishes.

Steve Salmons , Jun 23, 2008; 06:48 a.m.

Thanks for the suggestions; all very useful. I will set up a search on Ebay for Nikor and see what crops up.
I tried "taco" style this weekend and it seems to work fine although still requires a full dev tank. Definitely a good workaround though.
Nick, I was surprised you had no problems with the films sliding across one another during processing in the Paterson Orbital since there seems to be lots of room for them to escape the confines of the pegs. How many are you processing at a time this way? I will give it a try as I never considered this method to be a possibility.

Vlad Soare , Jun 30, 2008; 01:14 a.m.

I have a Jobo 2523 tank with a 2509n reel. The reel is adjustable and can take 4x5", 9x12cm and 6x9cm sheet film.

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