Beginner's Guide to B&W Processing

Beginner's Guide to B&W Processing

  1. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    Christopher Walrath submitted a new resource:

    Beginner's Guide to B&W Processing - Beginner's Guide to B&W Processing

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2016
  2. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    I would like to take this opporunity to thank all of you for reading this article. I hope I was able to help some of you.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It would be helpful to standardise the system of measurement.

    The international standard is Metric, so Litres, not Gallons/Ounces etc would make the most sense. Same goes for thermometers metric Celsius is more appropriate. Using older Imperial/US sizes can only lead to confusion & mistakes particularly when the US short measure gallon is significantly smaller than an Imperial gallon.

    Measuring cylinders and jugs should all have dual scales because some developers etc are still sold in US measure, while most are metric.

    Also a note that Developing tanks and reels should be bought as sets, they aren't often interchangeable between makes/types.
     
  4. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    Thank you for the note, Ian.
     
  5. pierods

    pierods Member

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    Thanks for the effort.
     
  6. unibonded

    unibonded Member

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    A very useful guide for those setting out into black and white film processing.

    I'm interested on your thoughts about pre-soaking, it's not something I do but what do you find the benefits to be – more even developing. Do you think it is more important when using shorter developer times (say, under 6 minutes)? I believe that some films should never be pre-soaked as it removes a required chemical on the surface of the film (it escapes me which film that is). Are there any developers that react badly to pre soaking? And what about rotary processors, still a good idea to pre-soak?

    Be good to hear what you think.
     
  7. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    A note on the pretzels: WASH AND DRY YOUR HANDS WELL BEFORE AND AFTER EATING.

    Before - chemical contamination, not a good idea to be ingesting this stuff

    After - greasy fingerprints
     
  8. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    My thought, other than the 'more even developing and 'resists air bubbles staying on the film' arguments is that it brings the film and the container up to processing temperatures and brings in developing accuracy just a wee little more.

    And the bath really brings out the tang in the pretzel mustard.
     
  9. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    Oh, and thanks for the notes. And the reads.
     
  10. kodachrome64

    kodachrome64 Member

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    Thank you so much for this article. It helped me get on the path of processing negs myself. Everything is great but I want to note one thing: when you mention Photo-Flo, you say to rinse it from the film afterward. I did this the first time and it canceled out the Photo-Flo step, and water beaded up on the film and left spots. I read more posts and realized that Photo-Flo should be added to the final rinse, and it allows the water to sheet off the film. This worked much better. I think rinsing it off will render the Photo-Flo step useless.

    Thanks again for the great article!

    Nick
     
  11. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    You're right and I must have missed that one 'cause I don't. Sorry about that. Thanks for the comment.
     
  12. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I read it and it looks like good info for someone starting out.

    I would emphasize to beginners that for FILM processing a light-tight darkroom is NOT needed. A changing bag or changing tent will be fine. I actually prefer loading film reels with the tent; I have never dropped anything on the floor that way :smile:
     
  13. fmajor

    fmajor Member

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    Thanks so much Christopher! It's a great article and when i get my processing "stuff", i'll be committing it all to memory!!!
     
  14. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    Glad I could help, fmajor.
     
  15. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    A good intro! Thanks!

    A few comments from some long-ago experience. I recently set up an upstairs bath for darkroom work and it revived some old memories.

    Absolute black is good, but not always obtainable, and printing processes are much more forgiving than film. Even with film it seems that a few tiny leaks, not visible from your film loading surface, aren't very dangerous. I closed things up in the darkroom and sat for a timed 10 minute in the dark. The tiny points of light, invisible from the counter, seemed to have no effect on ASA 400 film.

    I've had good luck with cutting the film tongue squarely, and leaving the film on the spindle, or even in the cassette housing and then when it's all on the reel, cutting it off the spindle, or tearing the tape. Fewer chances for finger prints. Your mileage may vary.

    BTW, if you peel the tape off the film you get a lovely blue-green static discharge. I've never had it fog the film, but YMMV.

    A changing bag is a good idea for your field kit. If you somehow rip the film off the spindle or if it breaks mid roll (I had that happen with my MX and a winder) you can at least unload it. In the dim days of antiquity Kodak put up its film in METAL cans, color coded by emulsion. So the film retrieved in a changing bag could be put in an opaque container. Those days are long gone....

    Ah, the smell of hypo in the morning....
     
  16. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    Thanks for the input. The more hints and tips, the better.
     
  17. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    BTW, I love your slogan, "Its never too early to panic." Great!
     
  18. rivetr

    rivetr Member

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    Good job, Chris--thanks!