Recommended size of developing tank


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Mar 13, 2018
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I am getting ready to start developing black and white film for the first time since 1961. I now shoot both medium format and 35mm. Would it be beneficial to get a tank large enough to process 2 medium format roles at once? If I do it and only have one roll or one roll of 35mm in a large tank, does that create a problem with the film reel flopping around or is it held in place with a center spindle? Also, is there a disadvantage in using different numbers of rolls in the tank with respect to determining developing time? Do you just fill the tank completely with developer whether there is only the lower third occupied and if so, does that speed up developing time? Or what I just be better off with a tank that holds one role of 120 or two rolls of 35mm?
I use stainless steel tanks/reels. I have tanks that hold 2-35 or 1-120, 4-35 or 2-120, 8-35 or 4-120 and one that holds 14-35 or 8-120.
I sometimes use those tanks not full of reels but still fill the entire tank with chem. Flip'n flop'n has never been an issue, I just make sure the rolls are attached to the reels using the spring clips for 120 and hook points for 35mm (I have hook points for 35mm rather than spring clips because I use "Hewes" reels).

If I need to do multiple dev times I use the big tank for shorter dev times and use a small tank to "start' the process on longer times then transfer those reels into the big tank to continue dev.
Say I have 6 rolls of Tri-x and 2 rolls of T-Max. Start the 2 rolls in a smaller tank (holds 2) then transfer to the Tri-x tank (holds 8) to continue.
Thanks for the reply. So it would be ok using the patterson that holds 4 35 or 2 120 and not always filling it with film, just stacking extra empty reels to fill the tank with reels? Then fill the tank with chemicals? Would that allow me to develop 1-4 rolls of 35 or only one roll of 120 just stacking an empty spool in the tank to prevent flopping spools as agitation is done?
Yes, I would add extra reels in that case, just to be sure. But still fill the tank full of chem.
Thanks for the responses.
I use SS tanks. I have and use THREE tanks:
#1, one 35mm reel.
#2, two 35mm or one 120 reel. A single 35 roll can be developed, with an empty 35 reel as a spacer.
#3, four 35mm, or two 120 reels.

Empty reels are used as spacers, if needed.

I prefer to NOT use a large tank (#3), for what could fit in the smaller tank, as it is heavier and bulkier, and thus more of a hassle to use.
Tanks today are CHEAP. Get the right size.
I try to use the smallest size tank possible to reduce too much aeration.
I have a number of different sizes ... and I do use empty reels to keep the filled ones from moving.
I shoot 35mm & 120 so I use a single 35mm Stainless steel tank and a single 120mm Stainless steel tank. For reels I have (2) 35mm so I can double those up in a 120 tank as needed, and I have a single 120 reel.

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