How do you develop B&W film?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by thisispants, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. thisispants

    thisispants Member

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    Hi...sorry to annoy people who may read posts like this regularly.... but Ive searched and am struggling to find a simple explanation of what I need (chemicles and hardware) to develop B&W film.

    Maybe Im choosing the wrong search words.

    Any advice...or if you know of previous threads on apug that answer the question would be awesome.
     
  2. mbsmith

    mbsmith Member

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  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Paul Sorensen Member

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    DannL Member

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    Christopher Walrath Member

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  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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  8. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Poorly.
     
  9. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Film developing is pretty simple. There are some good references above, but you can probably find a book at your public library that has detailed instructions with pictures. That helps. For equipment, you need a developing tank. Developing tanks are available at moderate prices from all the mail order photo stores (e.g. Freestyle, Adorama, etc.). It's a good idea to sacrifice a fresh roll of film to practice loading the tank in the light before you try it in the dark. Loading the tank isn't hard, but it can get tricky and frustrating. You obviously need a place that you can make completely dark so that you can load the tank without getting light on the film. If you do not have a closet or somewhere you can make completely dark (no light leaks at all), you can buy a "changing bag" from the same suppliers. That will give you a safe, convenient place to load film. You will need a place to hang the film up to dry. I use an indoor clothesline. A coat hanger in a spacious closet will also work. The drying area should be as dust free as possible. You also need clips to hang the film. Clips are specially made for this purpose, and they are excellent, but I generally use clothespins (the wooden ones work best). You will probably find that a small plastic funnel will come in handy, too. A two cup measuring cup (standard kitchen equipment) will be needed for measuring the solutions, and a couple of quart containers will be needed to hold them. You do not need a formal darkroom. A kitchen of bathroom sink will do fine for film developing. For chemicals, you need film developer and fixer. The liquid concentrate types are easiest for the beginner. (HC-110 is a good developer, and there are several liquid fixer concentrates out there that you can use.) You can use either a stop bath or a water rinse between the developer and fixer - both work.
     
  10. Aurum

    Aurum Member

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    ^^WHS^^
    My 10p worth as a bit of extra colour, is that Developing tanks can come in both Stainless steel and plastic.
    Stainless is supposed to be more robust, however, the plastic ones tend to be a bit cheaper, and I personally find the plastic reels with the "Ratchet action" easier to load. Either way it comes down to familiarity and practice. If in doubt, get you hands on the cheapest roll of film you can and practice on something disposible.

    Also, changing bags might sound a bit of a faff, but compared to having to blackout an area to work in, its easy. When I load film into developing tanks using a changing bag, I sit on the sofa watching the TV. One hint, often overlooked. Take your watch off while using a changing bag. ESPECIALLY if it has a luminous dial, or is a digital that is backlit (Don't ask!)

    Also a tip if you need to open a 35mm cartridge when the leader has been wound in. You don't need a fancy opener or piece of kit. A bottle opener that pings the crown caps off beer bottles is ideal (Ones with sound effects optional)
     
  11. thisispants

    thisispants Member

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    Thanks for all the advice. Im reading the ilford pdf on how to develop and it mentions using stop bath and rapid fixer solution. I seem to remember reading that one of these isn't that necessary.... is that true or am I making things up??
     
  12. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Acid stop bath is unnecessary, you can use 3 good rinses (3, 5 and 10 inversions, respectively) of plain water instead. You must fix.
     
  13. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    I personally do recommend stop, but it is true that it is not necessary. I believe that you will get more predictable results, especially starting out, by using stop. There are many here who disagree and it is not at all necessary.
     
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  15. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Start with using a Stop Bath.

    Stop is cheap and you have lots of other things to control which are far more important to the outcome

    Something others seem to have overlooked is temperature of the chemicals.

    Developer temperature is as important as time (the two are related) - and try and keep all the chemicals and first wash water within 1 or 2degC of each other.

    Never subject the film to Thermal Shock - where the emulsion can micro-craze - each step should be within 2C of the previous one.

    Starting to develop your own film is great fun and fairly easy to do - its just needs a bit of practice

    Good luck

    Martin
     
  16. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Get a basic photo textbook. Seems like a logical place to start, no? They are dirt cheap everywhere as long you buy used and old. Try "Photography" by London and Upton, or Upton and Upton in some editions. You will learn from a textbook so much better than from piecing together hints, trick, and tips from the Internet...and then you get to read the whole rest of the book as well...and you get to stimulate your local economy (or the national one, if you get it on the Internet).

    This question is far too common. I wonder if the Internet has made people forget how to read a real book...or think that since they no longer have to, they no longer should.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2009
  17. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Keep a notebook and take notes of when the chemical were mixed, how many rolls processed with the set of chemicals, temperatures and development time. What you did right, what you did wrong ... everything. You will find this is one of the best things you can do.

    Steve
     
  18. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    Really nice welcome there. Why not make him feel welcome here on APUG instead of getting on a soap box? I personally would welcome more questions like the OPs as it means APUG is viewed as the defacto source for traditional film and paper processing on the net. Give the guy welcoming advice or don't post anything at all.

    Regards, Art.
     
  19. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Surely he can handle one traditionally-minded grump among the sea of enablers without caving in. Teaching is not just giving out desired information. It is also teaching people the art and practice of learning. If he can't just take my post for what it is - an opinion - then he should stay away from Internet forums.
     
  20. nocrop

    nocrop Member

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    "Maybe Im choosing the wrong search words."

    2F/2F offered the best advice. Short of a comprehensive course at a local h.s. or college (good luck with that!), a textbook will be the most efficient method for a motivated student wanting to learn how to manage the multifarious variables that make up photography, with film development being only one important component of the the process.

    I don't use a stop bath.
     
  21. DLawson

    DLawson Member

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    Pre-Amazon, I would walk into a book store, look around, leaf through the selections and buy the book that seemed best suited to my need.

    Post-Amazon, I drive past the empty places that used to have book stores, wander through B&N without finding anything related and go home disappointed. Then I'll hit google, find 1200 titles that may or may not work and then, maybe, play credit card roulette and order one.
     
  22. mbsmith

    mbsmith Member

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    Try looking at your local library for these and other traditional photography books. The library where I work has loads of titles ranging from beginner (camera, darkroom, repair, etc.) to more advanced and alt process. Chances are... they won't be checked out. And by checking them out, you could possibly prevent them from getting "weeded" from lack of circulation :smile:

    Second-hand and Z-type stores often have copies for CHEAP. I have four or five different books on basic photography and paid no more than 20USD total.

    Plus, there's nothing quite like curling up on the couch with a fine beverage and a photography book :D
     
  23. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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  24. WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    I'm one semester away from finishing my photography degree, and I still sometimes have trouble loading the reel :D . I think it's a tie between loading the film on the reel and getting the developer at exactly 20 degrees. I still ocassionally drop a roll on the floor or try to put the film backwards in the plastic reel (when I get in a hurry and dont feel for the flat side :smile: ).
     
  25. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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    I the below thread I explain my method of loading 35mm film with a few accompanying photos. Never had a problem since I perfected this approach. Maybe not for everybody but you may want to give it a try. I repeat, stay away from Paterson or other cheap tanks which use the tiny ball bearing thingy. Try to find a Jobo if you can.
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/31599-first-roll-film-true-story.html
     
  26. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Wonderful thing with photography books, I have one title that was published in 1959, and another that is a 1960's update of a book that was originally written in the 1930's, these books apply just as well today as when originally written. Contrast that to the digital imaging books that have a life span of until the next model comes out. Although what I found interesting is that the techniques of getting image to film or sensor applies equally, so these old books still apply, just don't tell the digi crowd, or all our wonderful old books will get real expensive real fast.