1st time shooting and developing 4x5.

Finally got around to shooting and developing my 4x5 film.

So, I brought some Ilford Delta 100 4x5 film for my Zero Image 4x5 pinhole camera (I had normally used Light sensitive darkroom paper) I also picked up a Paterson Multi-Reel 3 Developing Tank with a MOD54 so I could develop 6 sheets of 4x5 at once. This was back in February 2017.

Paterson Multi-Reel 3 Developing Tank with MOD54 and Ilford Delta 100 4x5 film

So why has it taken me so long to shoot this stuff??
Ive been using the tank loads with 2 rolls of 120 film at once, mostly from my Mamiya RB67, Yashica D and sometimes my ONDU Multi-format Pinhole Camera.
When I first loaded my 4x5 holders with film, I got out and shot a couple, then a few months later maybe shot one more, at lot of it has been down to time and enthusiasm. 3 young children and a full time job take up a lot of time, towards the end of last year I started loosing interest in my photography, mostly due to not getting a lot of time to get out and so many projects I wanted to get done, photography and non photography related.

But I finally got around to finishing of my 6 shots.

Lessons Learned Shooting and Developing 4x5

  1: Loading
Its easy, if you do it right.
Loading the film into the actual holder is easy, sliding the dark-slide back in is easy....as long as you put them in the right way. There is a white side and black side. White indicates not exposed, Black indicates Exposed. I had put some one way and some the other when loading, and dragging this out over a year, you forget which you have shot and which you haven't, especially when you haven't tried to alter this, either with marking the exposed slides, or readjusting them..

  2: Remember which holders you have loaded.
I have 4 holder which means 8 shots, I only loaded 3, as the MOD54 holder only holds 6, through this would be a easy place to start. However without releasing I put all 4 holders back together and then forgot I had only loaded 3. Was a bit lost when I opened up the holder in the darkroom and couldn't find the film inside.

  3: Keep your film holders away from your children.
I have 3 wonderful children that love to find things and see how they work or dismantle, when they find a loaded 4x5 film holder its truly fascinating to them, it has sliding parts, little metal clips and stuff. Thankfully they only found 1, my fault for leaving it within reach.

  4: Practice using the MOD54
I did this and I'm glad I did, loading it was a breeze, after lots of practice runs.

  5: Developing
Same as you would any Black and White film. I used Ilford Ilfosol 3 Developer.

The Final Results

I had 2 sheets that hadn't been exposed at all

and 1 that was totally blown out (must of been the one the children found)

I had this one I doubled exposed (accidentally)
One shot if of a sign post, the other is a selfie with me and my youngest

A tree on top of the South Downs 

Looking up through long grass

Considering these have taken me almost 15 months to complete, and I only have 2 fulls shots and a 2 in 1, I'm glad Ive finally got around to getting it done.
Ive reloaded 3 of my holders, which I have kept away from the 4th,.
Ive put all the Dark-slides in the same way.
And I will be getting out with my Zero Image 4x5 again very soon 👍


  1. Will - how are you scanning the 4x5 negatives?

    1. I have been using an old Epson v600 scanner which can only scan up to 120 film, BUT, I just scan 2 halves and merge back together, more recently I have a digital camera set-up and Pixl-latr which seem to work well.
      I did a write up for them which may help - https://www.pixl-latr.com/wills-compact-and-low-cost-5x4-large-format-film-digitisation-setup/


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