developing negs only ... what do i need?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by bessa_L_R3a, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. bessa_L_R3a

    bessa_L_R3a Member

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    Hi,

    I've had it with paying for labs to do my negs. It's time to start saving money.

    1- Can I use one developer for Neopan/Tri-X/Ilford including ISO from 100 to 400 or is it better to use brand specific developer for each film brand?

    2-Should I buy a tent or seal my bathroom? If the tent is just as reliable, I´d rather do that than sit in the dark.

    3-How do I keep temperature constant? This has always been my fear.

    4-Finally, what equipment should I get?

    Many thanks in advance for feedback.

    Robert.
     
  2. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Robert,
    You do not say what format you intend to be developing. For 35mm and 2 1/4 stainless steel or plastic so-called daylight tanks are the norm. With them, you need total--and we mean total--darkness only when loading the film on to the reels and placing them in the tanks. After that step, all else may be done in room light. Some facile people don't even have a darkroom, just a changing bag for the loading step.

    Use one developer for the films mentioned. Your best bet is D76/Id11 as a starter. Keep it simple.

    You can put the tank in a sink of water at the proper temperature. It will hold the temp long enough for the development step to be completed.

    You need a tank or tanks, a good thermometer, two bottles for chemistry--developer and fixer--and some clips for hanging your developed film up to dry. Do everything in the bathroom. It is made for use of water and is probably the most dustfree place in the household.

    The processes are simple and straightforward, and the quality of results with proper technique shall be as good or better than what you have been getting from labs. There is also great pride to be had from seeing your negatives and feeling "I did that myself."

    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
     
  3. IOS

    IOS Member

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    Im only a begginer but this is how i do it. I use a changing bag and sit in my livingroom loading the reels. i have never been in the dark at any process of film development. I use jobo tanks and reels. When i develope the film i use a 4" deep by apx 24" tub that is actualy a tub from my wet saw that is for cutting ceramic tile. I place the tub on my slopsink in the basement and fill it with water at 68f. If the water temp drops a little i just ad a little hot water to it. I never had issues with the temp dropping because i only develop one or two rolls at a time. I always use Kodak hc-110b developer but some times i use Calbe r09. Again im a begginer and im sure everyone out here will say im doing everything wrong. Developing b&w film is very easy.

    Hope this helps !


    Jim

    P.S There is so much excitment waiting for the negatives to dry and looking them with pride knowing that you did it your self !!!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2008
  4. IOS

    IOS Member

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    Also there is a photographer on APUG that has a video of the process posted on Youtube, his name is jbrunner ( i think ). The video is of 120 film but the process is the same, you will also find the videos he post very entertaining.

    Jim
     
  5. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    Uhm.... you can click the link to the video in my sig. There are four parts. It's designed to be helpful. (hopefully)

    (Jim, your five bucks is in the mail)
     
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  6. Uhner

    Uhner Member

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    I think you got some good advice Robert. But I might add that it’s a good idea to buy an introductory book on the subject of photography. When I started to develop my own film and make my own prints a few years ago I found that studying “Basic techniques of Photography” by John P. Schaefer helped me a lot.

    Claes
     
  7. Shiny

    Shiny Member

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    Before i had the space for a darkroom, i used to load the reels under my duvet, lights off, curtains closed! Not the best way to do it, but it worked fine.

    Practice loading a dud film in daylight first before trying it for real.
     
  8. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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  9. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    A Web site I've got bookmarked with basic information is The Black and White Darkroom. It'll give you a good overview of the process. A few more random thoughts:

    • The number of chemicals (and therefore bottles you'll need for temporary storage) varies depending on the details of the process -- for instance, whether or not you use a wash aid.
    • Some products will require additional storage bottles for long-term storage. For instance, you might get a packet that makes a gallon of developer, so you'll need one big or several small bottles to hold that gallon, plus a temporary bottle to hold the diluted working solution when you develop a roll of film. You can buy bottles from various sources or re-use bottles intended for other purpose, such as soda bottles. (The latter is risky if you've got kids in the house or if you use your kitchen for developing film.)
    • Different books, Web sites, and other resources will provide slightly different instructions. Don't fret too much about these differences, but always favor the manufacturer's instructions for times. For instance, if a Web site says to fix film for 2 minutes but the fixer manufacturer says 5 minutes, use the 5-minute time.
    • Most of the hardware you need is common stuff, such as measuring cups. Items intended for use in a kitchen, laundry room, etc., can do fine for this -- but don't use a single vessel for both photochemistry and food! The developing tank and reels are specialized photo-only products. I've seen kits, such as this one or this other one at Freestyle, that package most of the hardware you'll need together for easy purchasing. You'll still need bottles and chemicals, though. When I started I bought a "student kit" of B&W chemicals from somebody on eBay, but I don't recall ever seeing such a kit at regular Internet photo retailers. (Such kits are common for color film, though.)
    • You specified you want to develop negatives only. How do you intend to proceed from there? Scan them yourself? Take them to a 1-hour lab for printing? You can certainly do these things, but you may eventually find that you want to print them yourself in a traditional way. This will require more hardware (mainly an enlarger, but also trays, tongs, a safelight or two, and a few more odds and ends). You'll also need a space that can be made completely dark. This can be surprisingly small -- many people use bathrooms or even closets or blackout tents for this purpose.

    Best of luck beginning your own processing!
     
  10. bessa_L_R3a

    bessa_L_R3a Member

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    Wow, you guys are great .... many thanks for the info.

    I´m developing 35mm BW only. I´ll go with D76/Id11 (same product or equivalents?). I´ll get the tanks, reels, and I´ll do it in a sealed bathroom. I´m just afraid I´ll get the dilution proportions wrong, I´m terrible at chemistry. I´m very good at repeating processes over and over, but not with fractions, yikes.

    I have a coolscan which is great and an ultrachrome k3 ink epson so the other half of the darkroom process I don´t need to learn (YET).

    Will check out JBrunner´s video, thanks!
     
  11. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    D-76 and ID-11 are both based on the same published D-76 formula, but one or both deviate from this formula in proprietary ways. I've only used D-76, not ID-11, but I doubt if you'd be able to discern much difference between the two, as a practical matter. In other words, my recommendation is to use whichever one is more readily available and/or less expensive.

    As to fractions, with D-76 one common way to use it is diluted 1+1 -- that is, one part of stock solution to one part plain water. This is pretty easy. If your tank uses 300ml of chemistry for one roll of film, just use 150ml of stock solution and 150ml of water. Some developers are commonly used with stranger dilutions, but if you stick to D-76 and 1+1 dilution, it's pretty simple. Alternatively, you could use D-76 at full strength, but that'll either cost you twice as much or bring you into replenishment territory, which is a bit of a nuisance.
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    YES!
     
  13. Neanderman

    Neanderman Member

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    I don't disagree with anything anyone has said, but I would suggest an alternative developer: HC-110. The main advantage here is that the solution as you purchase it will last essentially forever. On the other hand, D-76 or ID-11 will last about 6 months once you mix it from the powder.

    So if you're not processing a lot of film, it may save you a bit of money in the longer run.

    Ed
     
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  15. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council

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    Let's be methodical...

    Yes, if you're doing what the average photographer does: pictures of people, places that are "realistic." D-76/ID-11/XTOL/HC-110 are "average" developers. They work for most applications, have similar (albeit slightly different) image properties, and will be easy to buy, use, and master.

    You need darkness only for loading spiral reels (by your handle, I guess you do 35mm). Go with what is cheapest, easiest. And trust me, you don't even need perfect darkness! I've loaded 400 ISO film in a room with light leaks, and as long as your film is not directly in line with the leaks, you're fine.

    You're only doing B&W, not E6, so don't panic! Just leave everything at room temperature! Most homes average 20C. The only temperature that really matters is the developer. You should make sure you always use it around the same temp. You can vary of a few degrees (+/-2C, let's say) without big troubles. If your developer is too cold/hot before you use it, just put the bottle in a tub of hot/cold water until it reaches the temperature. It won't vary significantly while you use it.

    Go for Paterson tanks and reels for 35mm. They're cheap and plentiful on the used market, well designed, and easy to use.

    Hope it's helpful!
     
  16. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    Your apron makes you look fat. :wink:
     
  17. DBP

    DBP Member

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    I would second the suggestion of a one-shot developer if you don't do a lot of developing. There are some good instructions for use of HC-110 here http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/hc110/, including the exact amounts of water and developer for various tanks.

    One other item I find useful is a large Slurpee cup. I punched a few small holes around the bottom and use it as a washer by placing the reels in after fixing and slowly running water in the top so it stays at a constant level.

    As for temperature, the only really critical factor is to make sure the temperature is constant throughout the process.
     
  18. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    Ray told me it wasn't the apron!!!
     
  19. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council

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    Doesn't it scare you that Slurpee cups are large enough to hold film rolls?

    Modern popcorn baskets would probably count as deep tanks...
     
  20. Xia_Ke

    Xia_Ke Subscriber

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    Robert, congrats on deciding to start processing your own. It's very rewarding and now you will have full control to get the results that you want. I was in your same position about 5 months ago. To me, developing B&W seemed like such a huge, daunting task. Once you see how easy it is, you will curse yourself for not starting earlier...LOL I second the recommendation for Patterson tanks/rolls and also agree with the recommendations for HC-110. The Patterson System is very easy to use and cheap as hell on Ebay. HC-110 is easy to find and last forever. Using both dil. B and dil. H I got about 15 rolls of 35mm and 35 rolls of 120 out of one bottle. I use a changing bag for loading reels and usually load mine while sitting in front of the tv, then do my developing in the bathroom. I haven't had any problems developing in various temps ranging from 65F - 76F. I just adjust my dilutions and developing times to suit. Good luck and let us know how you make out :smile:

    Aaron
     
  21. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    This is one approach to handle temperature variations. Another is to adjust your development time up or down for lower or higher temperatures, respectively. There are charts and tables to help you do this if you prefer this method. (I'm afraid I don't have any URLs handy, though.)

    Note that development tank type and design is a topic that brings up lengthy discussions. Some people prefer plastic, others prefer stainless steel, and there are brand preferences within each group. Note that these are personal preference issues; although the reasons for particular preferences can be stated, ultimately it's a matter of what you find convenient or easy to use in practice. As the OP is a beginner, it's impossible to judge what this will be for the OP. I wouldn't want to either encourage or discourage a beginner from getting a specific type or brand of tank. For all the gory details, try doing a search on keywords like "plastic stainless tank reel." That'll turn up a bunch of threads in which this topic has been thrashed to death.
     
  22. stillsilver

    stillsilver Member

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    Robert, another thing I would suggest is to do a practice run first. Take a roll of film and pull out half. Cut it and trim a leader on the remainder of the roll. Use blank piece to get the hang of loading the film onto the reel. Start out in the light until you get the hang of it. Then do it in the dark or with your eyes closed. With the partial roll of film shoot the trash can, laundry pile, dog laying (lying?) down, etc. You don’t want to experiment with your masterpiece. The quote about film and chemistry being tuition is dead on.

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

    Mike
     
  23. bessa_L_R3a

    bessa_L_R3a Member

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    thanks guys, very helpful info indeed ... Of course for my first roll I'll take a 5 minute walk around the block and shoot 36 non-masterpiece exposures and then get down to business!

    As I only expect to do two 35mm rolls at a time (I'm mainly experimenting with Fuji Neopan and Kodak Tri-X), here's my recap of what I'll get based on your collective suggestions:

    -Tent/changing bag/sealed pitch black bathroom (not yet decided)
    -Developer: D76 or HC 110
    -Fixer (Any brand will do I'm guessing?)
    -Wash Aid (essential or not essential?)
    -Tank/Reels
    -Some sort of tub to fill with water at desired temp to keep tank in during development (like a Bain Marie)
    -Measuring vessels for dilution
    -Clips to weigh down negatives after hanging them up
    -Accurate thermometer

    Am I missing anything essential?

    Feel like I'm going to have a baby and you will all be there to witness the newborn ... Gestation will last approximately one week starting today!

    Robert.
     
  24. IOS

    IOS Member

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    Stop bath !
     
  25. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    Yep, Stop bath and add a graduate and a swizzel stick for mixing and measuring the chemicals. A Betty Crocker plastic measuring cup from Walmart work if you can find a big enough one for the quantities you'll be mixing, otherwise Patterson makes a good 'un. Oh, and if you've got funky tap water use distilled water for mixing your brews.
     
  26. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    FWIW, I've never had the need for a "bain marie" when souping B&W. Wooden clothes pins and a bit of line you can string up for hanging the negatves up to dry...and don't for get one of those lil' film retriever dohickies that grab the leader and pull it out so you can start spooling onto the reel, or else you'll need a "church key" to pry the end of the cartridge off if the leader gets sucked waaaay down in there. Plus a clock or timer so you'll know when to change the brew :smile: