To develop my 4×5 b&w sheet film, I am using the MOD54, an excellent tool for home developing sheet film in a Paterson tank. It can take up to 6 sheets of film and requires a 1 lt of solution. Shooting large format is not like any other format, you are very selective with your subjects since it takes time to setup and make an image and also it get very expensive.
Most times I will return home from a trip and only have a couple of sheets for development. I can wait until I shoot some more but usually I can’t wait, so I develop them as soon as get home. My favorite developer, Ilfotec DD-X requires 200ml for a 4×5 development session, so developing only a couple sheets gets really expensive. I don’t like using trays, so what I did, is purchase R09 developer which is cheaper and most important, requires only 25ml per session. The difference is quite large.
I did a couple of test shots (nothing artistic about them) and used the R09 (8 minutes at 20C). I found the results to be very good, and although the R09 adds more grain than DD-X, in a 4×5 sheet film that is not so important as it is with 120 or 135 film due to its large size. I also see very sharp results, so its a very good (and much cheaper alternative) when I only want to develop a couple of sheets.
Here’s one more example.
Although I usually overexpose my b&w films, I had good results shooting the TMAX at 100 ISO, so I’ll stick at this speed when developing with R09.
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