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Morse G-3 tank (developing your own 35mm film)


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#1 Henri Titchen

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 05:07 AM

Has anyone ever tried using a Morse G-3 tank to develop your own film? Did it work? What timings did you use?

These tanks will process 100' of film and pop up on e-bay all the time. They sell well so someone must be using them!

Thanks From,
Henry.
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#2 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 03:13 PM

Useful for E-6 or B&W home processing. Use good agitation and temperature control, or you could have non-uniformity. No way to remove rem-jet (ECN-2) properly.
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#3 Henri Titchen

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 04:59 PM

John,

Thankyou for your reply. These tanks are usually classed as a "rewind tank". Is there any Kodak literature that deals with rewind tanks? I haven't been able to locate anything, probably because these tanks are based on an antique concept.

For others on this list that are not familiar with rewind tanks they use two reels that are immersed in the chemistry. The film is rapidly wound from one reel to the other and then back again. This means however that not all of the film is being exposed to the chemicals for the same duration. The first portion of the film will touch the developer well before the last few feet (depends on how quickly you wind the film).
See this link for more info:
http://www.marriottw...th_pictures.htm

I am very interested in processing time/temperature recommendations for processing. Due to the issues with obtaining uniform processing in these tanks I wonder if longer processing times will even out any issues?

Thanks From,
Henry.
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#4 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 09:29 PM

Again, getting good uniformity can be an issue. You always want a good supply of fresh developer on the surface of the film to avoid streaking or mottle. Agitate!
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#5 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 02:08 AM

These tanks were used in WW2 to process gun camera film in the field. For that purpose they were fine, they could show the hits if any.

I have used a G3 tank in my younger days, I consider it a complete waste of time. Maybe for B&W very short sections, line tests for animations or similar, but nothing you want to show to a public.
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#6 Charlie Peich

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 02:26 AM

[quote]I am very interested in processing time/temperature recommendations for processing. Due to the issues with obtaining uniform processing in these tanks I wonder if longer processing times will even out any issues?

Henry,
Member George Selinsky has a great site with info and links about DIY processing. He also has a Yahoo Group that contains info/advice from the group's members. Have you looked at these sites? You can always do a search on this site. B)

Simply put, it's not longer processing times that will help, it's the fact that the developing film is tightly wound in a roll and is not getting enough fresh developer to the surface of the film fast enough to replace the exhausted developer on the emulsion. As John said in his reply "You always want a good supply of fresh developer on the surface of the film to avoid streaking or mottle. Agitate!". Yes, the roll is sitting in the developer, but the developer can't reach the emulsion while the film is wound in a roll. With machine processing, the emulsion is always exposed to the developer, constantly being refreshed by the movement of the film through the machine and by recirculating the chemicals in the tanks. Reel to reel tanks require some "practice processing" before you can get a half way decent uniform image. It can be accomplished with great care.

I recall you have to wind the film from one reel to the next in one minute. Try that with 100 ft of dummy film once. If one step of the process requires 5 minutes, that means 5 times of winding that 100 ft of film from reel to reel. The cranks turn in a 1 to 1 ratio. You have to keep turning at a very even monotonous pace. No slowing down to catch your breath and then speeding up to catch up with the timer. You can't get to within 30 ft of the end of the reel and then reverse the winding to keep up with the timer. No taking a sip of beer or wine while cranking (that's why I stopped doing this). Sure, it only takes one hand to crank, but the other hand has to hold the now vibrating, shaking, bouncing tank down because you are turning the crank so fast to keep up with the timer and trying not to forget which direction you're going and how many times you've gone from one reel to next reel. Get this, some developers may require 18 or more minutes of developing time :o. When this tank was designed, I don't think carpal tunnel syndrome was thought of.

You didn't mention what size of film you want to process or if it's b&w neg, reversal or color. Have you any darkroom/processing experience? If not, you might want to get some experience processing 35mm b&w stills first to learn about the process, mixing / handling the chemicals, controlling temperatures, times and drying (once you get your 100ft roll of film processed in the Morse tank, how are you going to dry it?). You'll need additional equipment for mixing chemicals, storing the mixed chemicals, temperature control, etc. It'll add up $$ wise, but that depends on how resourceful you are. Rewind cine film processing

Then there's the Spiral processing tank.

[quote]These tanks will process 100' of film and pop up on e-bay all the time. They sell well so someone must be using them!
[/quote]

My theory on this. Once these people get hold of a tank, try to figure out how it works, see how much work is involved, see how much it costs to get the material together to process a roll, then maybe process 1 roll with bad results, have sore wrists, haven't thrown them on the floor in anger and frustration destroying them, then they will put them back up on eBay. I figure there's maybe 3 or 4 of these tanks left in the world just recycling on eBay :D .

Look through some of the Super 8 sites. Some guys want poorly processed film for a look. You can process your film in a bucket if you want.

Charlie
(Still has his Morse G-3)
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#7 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 07:50 PM

My theory on this. Once these people get hold of a tank, try to figure out how it works, see how much work is involved, see how much it costs to get the material together to process a roll, then maybe process 1 roll with bad results, have sore wrists, haven't thrown them on the floor in anger and frustration destroying them, then they will put them back up on eBay.


I have been waiting to try the porcess as a posible future project, so I have a Morse, and a LOMO both sitting in the cupboard, waiting for the day I get room in my Hobby schedule to build a replica of a "superior Bulk Film" drying rack.

The LOMO looks like the best bet ot actually get some use. It takes 50 ft of film in a reel that resembles a giant still camera tank. It can be set, (I have the "big" model) for 8mm 35mm or 2*16mm, so My plan is to play with regular 8 first. I also have a LOMO sliting unit to separate the film.

MY guess having looked but not yet tried the Morse whild be to come up with a processing cycle that includes a pre-soak, or perhaps use a divided first developer. the trick is that you run the risk of the small amount of developer that is actually in contact with the film becoming exhausted before it gets refreshed. The instuctions do say to wind the film emuslion OUT on the tank which _SHOULD_ leave it a little springy, and less likly to wind up tightly.

I also get the impression that adding 10 feet of leader at each end might not be out of line.
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#8 kev5000

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 08:30 PM

Again, getting good uniformity can be an issue. You always want a good supply of fresh developer on the surface of the film to avoid streaking or mottle. Agitate!



This looks like its a very cool device if you have no money and need to get your film developed.
:lol: :D
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#9 Henri Titchen

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Posted 18 November 2005 - 04:06 PM

Thanks for all these great responses.

If I manage to obtain "acceptable" results I will let everyone know.

Thanks From,
Henry.
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#10 Steven Budden

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 02:31 AM

Thanks for all these great responses.

If I manage to obtain "acceptable" results I will let everyone know.

Thanks From,
Henry.


There is also a lomo tank that takes 100' rolls on the spiral, for lab quality results (except at the beginning and end of the roll).

I just got a G3. From what I hear it is better if you want the hand processed look, between the spiral and the bucket method.

Steven
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#11 Clive Tobin

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 01:59 PM

My theory on this. Once these people get hold of a tank, try to figure out how it works, see how much work is involved, see how much it costs to get the material together to process a roll, then maybe process 1 roll with bad results, have sore wrists, haven't thrown them on the floor in anger and frustration destroying them, then they will put them back up on eBay. I figure there's maybe 3 or 4 of these tanks left in the world just recycling on eBay :D .


You have hit the nail on the head. After developing one roll in one of these pieces of garbage, and taking note of the graininess, flickering, streaking, fogging and poor contrast, after hours of slavery, I swore off it forever.

The only excuse for using one would be if you were at the South Pole or in the middle of the Amazon jungle, with no mail service for years, to send the film to a real lab. Even then you would be better off unwinding the film into a bucket of developer sitting in your bathtub and agitating with a stick, to get at least a good image but with some scratches.
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#12 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 04:08 PM

You have hit the nail on the head. After developing one roll in one of these pieces of garbage, and taking note of the graininess, flickering, streaking, fogging and poor contrast, after hours of slavery, I swore off it forever.

The only excuse for using one would be if you were at the South Pole or in the middle of the Amazon jungle, with no mail service for years, to send the film to a real lab. Even then you would be better off unwinding the film into a bucket of developer sitting in your bathtub and agitating with a stick, to get at least a good image but with some scratches.


I've heard not to bother with the Morse tanks, the effort using them is meaningless because its impossible to get the timing right.

On the other hand the Lomo tanks are amazing... I've seen it used for the new Super 8 Echtacrome 64T film, which works beautifully with it... Infact its the only way to process that film in the UK and for a decent price. It seems easy enougth to control timing/temperature and agitation.

Its useful for steady and back focus tests on 16mm cameras as well, if you don't/can't use a lab.

Good with Colour reversal and black and white negative. I've heard of people doing colour negative, but you have to remove the backing afterwards with a sponge which I imagine will take for ever.

This guy sells them....
http://www.geocities...a/tank/tank.htm
though they are available on ebay... but be carefull which one you are buying.

There is the 35mm tank, but its an enormous quantity of film to be dealing with - maybe usefull with time-lapse work perhaps?
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#13 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 08:29 PM

My theory on this. Once these people get hold of a tank, try to figure out how it works, see how much work is involved, see how much it costs to get the material together to process a roll, then maybe process 1 roll with bad results, have sore wrists, haven't thrown them on the floor in anger and frustration destroying them, then they will put them back up on eBay. I figure there's maybe 3 or 4 of these tanks left in the world just recycling on eBay :D .

Look through some of the Super 8 sites. Some guys want poorly processed film for a look. You can process your film in a bucket if you want.

Charlie
(Still has his Morse G-3)


Oh Man! there is a wealth of information here! Thank you for such a complete answer to the question this gentleman asked, it's benifitted me tremendiuosly. These sites are great. I was wondering, why cant' these tanks be motorized? It seems to me that would solve a plethera of problems including film through developer speed consistency and being able to have a beer while your working. Does anyone make a motor setup for these or is there a motorized one alvailible? I can't believe I would be the only one to have thought of that, someone must have made one somewhere along the line with a motor on it.
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#14 dd3stp233

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 09:23 PM

A company called Micro-Record Corp. made a motorized rewind tank that held 200ft. There are also several other companies that have made rewind type tanks over the years.
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#15 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 09:59 PM

A company called Micro-Record Corp. made a motorized rewind tank that held 200ft. There are also several other companies that have made rewind type tanks over the years.


Thanks, I'll check it out. I still wonder if anyone has tried to adapt these Morse tanks with motorsIt couldn't be that hard or expensive to do. All you would need is a reversible motor, a switch that would rerverse polarity at 99.9 feet (Eather a timer or revolution counter would probably work)and a belt w/pulleys or gear drive adapted to the handles with the proper ratio to provide an optimum speed for the bath
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#16 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 12:31 PM

Thanks, I'll check it out. I still wonder if anyone has tried to adapt these Morse tanks with motorsIt couldn't be that hard or expensive to do. All you would need is a reversible motor, a switch that would rerverse polarity at 99.9 feet (Eather a timer or revolution counter would probably work)and a belt w/pulleys or gear drive adapted to the handles with the proper ratio to provide an optimum speed for the bath


It becomes a question of time and money verses 'Is it worth it?' It also depends whether you enjoy the challenge of a task, when another item already does the job significantly better.

You could have after all just buy a Lomo tank.... go on treat yourself.
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#17 Mark Dunn

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 01:29 PM

Charlie Piech said it all. I looked at one for 16mm. but then my brain kicked in and told me not to. You can't possibly get decent consistency. Most of the film spends most of its time just sitting with a tiny bit of developer squeezed between it and the next turn of film. That developer is giong to exhaust very quickly. And the film which is in between spools is going through developer which is being agitated only by the movement of the film. It's not enough.
By the way, the Russian chap doesn't have the 100' LOMO tanks any more, unfortunately.
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#18 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 08:03 PM

Charlie Piech said it all. I looked at one for 16mm. but then my brain kicked in and told me not to. You can't possibly get decent consistency. Most of the film spends most of its time just sitting with a tiny bit of developer squeezed between it and the next turn of film. That developer is giong to exhaust very quickly. And the film which is in between spools is going through developer which is being agitated only by the movement of the film. It's not enough.
By the way, the Russian chap doesn't have the 100' LOMO tanks any more, unfortunately.


what about the 50' tanks?
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#19 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 01:49 AM

It becomes a question of time and money verses 'Is it worth it?' It also depends whether you enjoy the challenge of a task, when another item already does the job significantly better.

You could have after all just buy a Lomo tank.... go on treat yourself.

I'm really not famillar with LOMO tanks but if there like everything else russian I've ever seen, they're probably rugged, reliable and simple to use. Are these tanks motorized or just a lot easier to oporate than the Morse? What's the major differences between the two?
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#20 Mark Dunn

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 04:40 AM

Andy, I emailed the chap recently and he only has the 33' tanks. Most of the ones on ebay are this model, meant for double-8, as with its leaders a spool of double-8 is 33' long.
Capt. Video, if you've ever used a spiral tank for stills, they're similar, just with a much bigger spiral, not motorised. The spiral is clear plastic so you can do the reversal re-exposure through it. There's lots of info out there which I won't repeat. Just do a Google.
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