I'm a noob, wanna help me?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by funkpilz, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. funkpilz

    funkpilz Member

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    I'm sorry if this has been posted before, but I felt like I should have a thread of my own :tongue:
    I'm relatively new to photography, I only started last summer, but I've been trying to learn as fast as I can. Now I want to advance to the next stage and develop my own B&W film.
    I have a load of Agfa APX 100, and three 17m rolls of Pan F+ and HP5+, the former of which I would like to experiment with (it was the cheapest out of the batch). Now I've googled for developing times and found some useful charts, but I still have some questions. Here we go:
    Is there a specific amount and timing of the agitations as you develop? I'm looking at 9 minutes of stock diluted (whatever that may be) Microphen.
    I hear you can wash the film three times instead of using a stop bath, so that's what I intend to do, but how do I use the fixer?
    How far can I push APX 100?
    Thanks for answering any of these questions, and again, I'm sorry if this has been posted before.
     
  2. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    1: Most standard agitation routines call for agitating constantly for the first 30 seconds, then 10 seconds each minute.

    2: You can use water instead of stop bath. I stopped using stop bath when I started using an alkaline fixer. I dump my developer at the end of the time, fill the developing tank with water at my developing temp, and agitate rather vigorously for about 10 shakes, dump the water, refill, shake, for a total of 5 cycles (changes of water.) There are undoubtedly other ways that work just as well. I cannot answer your fixer question in detail since I do not know what you are using, but in general, after the rinse/stop stage, add the fixer for the time specified by the manufacturer, agitating per their instructions.

    3: If, as you say, you are just starting out, I would not recommend pushing your film. Keep things as simple as you can until you get a really good handle on developing 1 kind of film in 1 kind of developer. Then experiment later on. When things go awry you will have a foundation to go back to.
     
  3. trexx

    trexx Member

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    Consistency with the way you work is the most important on agitation. Most do 5 sec every 30, or 10 sec every minute.

    After develop do 3, I do 5, exchanges of water then add the fix. Fix for 5 to 10 min depending of fixer.

    Walk before running. Learn to use are rated speed before trying to push. Save that for another time and thread.
     
  4. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I recommend you get a book on basic darkroom procedures (I started with The Basic Darkroom Book, 3rd Edition by Tom Grimm) and/or read some Web pages (such as The Black and White Darkroom by Barry McCartney). These sources will answer most or all of your general questions (both those you've asked here and those you haven't), such as how to agitate, how to load film on a spool, etc. Questions about specific products, such as Microphen developer, are best answered by the product's manufacturer. Usually there's a data sheet or label that provides details about dilution, capacity, and development times. The Massive Dev Chart is a useful resource for development times -- it lists times for quite a few oddball developers and films, some of which don't appear on product labels.
     
  5. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Hm... I guess my question is why in the name of pete you'd want to push a gorgeous film like APX 100???? Is it 35mm or 120mm? either way, if you are planning on pushing it, send it to me instead... it will be in a good home with someone who loves it. :wink: :D

    As for the rinse between wash & fix, its sole purpose is to stop the action of the developer. I've never used anything but water for this, and never really spent a great amount of time with it. I rinse maybe three times with "at temp" water. I do, however have my fixer mixed & ready to go before I am done developing so I can get it right into the can after rinsing.

    For the developer (and it really depends on the developer itself... some are more forgiving than others) it is best to follow the agitation recommendations you will find here doing a search on the name of the developer, or on the label of the developer. For example... pyro developers love agitation... the more, the better while Rodinal agitation is more of a 'suggestion' than an agitation.

    The book recommendation is a good one! do some internet searches on developing B&W film, too! And definitely search here. This place is like a 'library of congress' for all things film!
     
  6. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Good advice, with another note that APX 100 is not a great film to push. Pushing reduces quality. There are some great 400-speed films out there (APX 400 comes to mind here :smile:, or Neopan 400, or Tri-X, or HP5 Plus, or...) that you can shoot without pushing. Pushing makes sense when you need ultra-fast EIs (user-overridden ISOs on film are called EIs, or Exposure Indexes) and you can't get film of that speed.
     
  7. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Since APX was made by Agfa and they are no longer in business, not sure where you could get info on it, the Massive Developing Chart should give you processing times, but you can also check the processing times on the developer itself. For example stock Microphen lists 9 minutes for APX 100. This would be determined using the standard Ilford methodology and agitation methods. If you go to the Ilford Website, click on product catalogue, select microphen and then fact sheet, it will load a PDF file with 9 pages of information on Ilford Powdered developers. Print a hard copy of this file, and you have the information long term. Ilford has similar documents for all their products. They used to have printed versions and at one time you could buy a small binder that had all of them, I still have the 1982 version here somewhere.

    Best place to start is with the box speed, using the recommended times, temperatures, processing instructions. This establishes a base line, so when you get experience and do start to experiment you have something to compare the result to. As a rule never vary more then one factor at a time.

    For pushing, the APX, it's probably easier to pull the HP5, in other words rate the HP5 at 200, some people actually like a little denser negative so, keep the processing time as is, to start, if they are too dense then cut developing time. For actually pushing HP5 is very pushable, people have pushed it to 1600 with success.

    Most developers like to be in an alkaline environment, so they use an acid, typically acetic or citric acid to stop the development immediately. This is important with very short development times, like with paper when it's sometimes developed to completion in 60 - 90 seconds. As the developing time gets longer, the abruptness of stopping development becomes less critical. Washing the developer off with a plain water rinse can work just as well, empty the developer out, fill the tank with water at the same temperature agitate it a couple of times and dump, repeat twice and move to the fixer stage.

    I always use the same agitation as for developing, so if you agitate for 5 seconds every 30, or 10 every minute, do the same with your fixer. It's one less thing to try and remember.

    As for washing, there is a huge debate over what is the best method, some people say the Ilford method works well, others say they have scientific proof it doesn't. It was developed in the 1970's and some people have negatives that they used it with at that time, that are still in very good condition. I doubt that if the fixer hasn't affected a negative in 30 years it probably will not....
     
  8. mbsmith

    mbsmith Member

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    Though a water rinse for stopping works fine, I wouldn't be afraid to use a stop bath. For around $6-7 US you can get a 16oz concentrated indicator stop bath that will last for quite a while since you can reuse till it "indicates" that it's exhausted. It speeds up the stop process and saves a bit of water, which can be an issue in some parched areas of the world :wink:
     
  9. funkpilz

    funkpilz Member

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    Alright everybody, thanks for your help!
    I need to correct myself, I was talking about pushing APX 400 before. The reason for my question is that I shot a whole roll of 400 at EI 1600 without noticing. The shots on there are very important to me and I don't really have a place that does push processing around here.
    The developers I have are Ilfosol 3 and Microphen. My fixer is Ilford Rapid Fixer. I'll dev a roll of APX100 today and see where it takes me. I don't want to print yet, so would scanning the negatives give me a basis for judgement?
    Right now, the only book on the subject I have is Michael Langford's Basic Photography. Good book, but I found it to be a little too unspecific on the developing procedure. Mostly, I'm just a little confused with all the different dev times, but I guess that'll work itself out the more experience I get.
     
  10. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Since you say the photos you mistakenly took at EI 1600 are important, I'd say that if you've got another roll of APX400, you should shoot it at EI 1600 and test your push processing time. I don't happen to see Massive Dev Chart times for APX400 at 1600 in either Ilfosol 3 or Microphen; however, there are Microphen times at both 400 (11:00) and 6400 (a whopping 55:00!). You could pick a middle value, but that's a huge range. There are also Massive Dev Chart times for APX400 at EI 1600 in some other developers, so you could acquire one of them. XTOL might be a good choice for this (18:00 in XTOL with 1+2 dilution).

    As for scanning, my experience is that scanners often respond differently than photographic paper to a negative. Scanners can sometimes help pull out both shadow and highlight detail that's difficult to print -- but scanners also sometimes produce poor results with more easily printed negatives. Both scanning and direct examination of the negatives will tell you something about whether you've got good development, but the final determination must be by whatever means you use to make your final image. That could be a scan, or it could be a darkroom print or perhaps something even more exotic.

    What is it you find confusing about development times? Each film/developer combination has its own time, which can vary from a couple of minutes up to tens of minutes. (It's even possible to use times measured in hours if you use a very dilute developer, but as you're new, it's best to stick to more conventional procedures.) Most people like to work with times in the 5-15 minute range, since that's short enough to not get bored out of your skull but long enough that a 5-second difference in adding or draining the developer won't be a big deal.
     
  11. funkpilz

    funkpilz Member

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    The thing that I find confusing is simply the amount of different combinations of films and developers, and the times and agitations that you have to use and so on and so forth. It's just that it looks complicated, but I suspect it's not that bad if you keep it simple.
    Looks like I'll have to find a lab to push process my APX400. At the moment, I'm not willing to take the risk of ruining it.
    Anyway, more questions:
    I have two bulk rolls of Pan F+ that could be well over 10 years old, always stored in the fridge and sealed. Will this still work, and should I develop it in the Microphen?
    Second, is Ilford Ilfosol 3 and Ilfosol S the same thing? Or is there a difference?
    Also, I have a roll of Delta 3200 that has dev times inside the packaging. What does 1+0 mean?

    Thanks again for all your help so far.
     
  12. Huub

    Huub Member

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    Hence the advice to start with one film and one developer and work from there. Don't change more than one thing at a time!

    I would only trust very specialized labs one such a job. It's probably better to buy a second role of APX400, use it in more or less the same lighting conditions as the first film and develop that one in something like Microphen or XTOL. Both are excelent developers for pushing films.

    The PanF will even be fine in another 10 years. Slow films lose quality very slowly and can be kept years passed their expirency date. You can develop it in Microphen, but i would choose a more general developer like XTOL or D76 / ID11. Rodinal as also a very good choice for this film. Microphen is a developer used for pushing films at the expence of creating more grain. Pushing and grain is probably not what your after when using PanF. XTOL has also the advantage that it has good keeping qualities - in full and closed bottles at least half a year. Rodinal has even better keeping qualities: probably something like centuries.
    Can't help you with your questions on Ilfosol 3 vs. S.
    Microphen and Delta3200 is a good combination. 1+0 means it should be used as undiluted stock solution. 1+1 means you should use as much water as stock solution and 1+2 means twice as much water as stock solution.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2009
  13. gwatson

    gwatson Member

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    As far as your Pan F is concerned: there's only one way to find out. It may have lost something, but to what extent.... Give it a go, but if it is still OK, you may need play around with dev times to get the best from it. Since you are fairly new to this, it maybe worth waiting a while until you get the fresh stuff straight.

    As far a Microphen and Pan F is concerned, I would not say that it is a recomended developer. Pan F is a very fine grain film. I use it quite a lot and find that high acutance developers like Rodinal (if you can get any - I stockpiled) will give you sharper images. I've not tried it, but you might even find that using a fine grain developer on a fine grain film may reduce edge sharpness to a point where that image could look fairly soft. Might be wrong - it's just a guess.

    1+0 (if you looking at the dev dilutions) means that the given times are for the stock solution. That is the full strength solution made up from the instructions on the box (i.e. 1+1 would be equal parts stock and water - 1+2: one part stock to 2 parts water, etc.), if that makes any sense.

    Geoff
     
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  15. gwatson

    gwatson Member

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    Edit: Sorry, looks like Huub and I were typing at the same time.
     
  16. Larry.Manuel

    Larry.Manuel Member

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    I have a 12 page Agfa PDF of technical data on their B&W films. Email me if you want me to send you that file.

    There are good tutorials at Ilford's website. For film developing, for example.

    larry.manuel@sympatico.ca
     
  17. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Agitate every 30 seconds, fix 5 minutes while agitating every 30 seconds
     
  18. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Fixing times vary with the fixer, how many rolls have been put through the fixer, and even the film. Rapid fixers (based on ammonium thiosulfate) typically fix in about 2 minutes when fresh. A 5-minute fix time, if that's accurate, probably indicates use of a non-rapid (sodium thiosulfate) fixer.
     
  19. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    My thoughts too!

    If you've only got APX 400, well do what you wish with that! I suggest you start your developing career with the HP5, much more forgiving than I remember PanF to be.

    If the APX 400 @ 1600 is important, get another roll and try a time you deduce from data in the MDC. You could do pieces of the roll to zero in on an acceptable time, however don't expect miracles, those negs will exhibit some undesirable qualities.
     
  20. wogster

    wogster Member

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    You can probably go close to 10 times over the required fixing time, without causing harm, so 5 minutes in the fixer is not unreasonable, even if it only needs 2 minutes.

    Best way to determine fixing time, is the clear test, take some fixer, put a drop on a scrap piece of unprocessed film, wait 30 seconds, put the scrap piece of film in the fixer start timing, when you can't see where the drop was placed, that is the clear time. Double this is the fixing time, when the clear test means a fixing time over twice what it would be with fresh fixer, toss the fixer and mix up fresh. So if the clear time with fresh fixer is 1 minute, your fixing time is 2 minutes, when it reaches 4 minutes, toss the fixer, and make fresh. You don't have to test each roll, just test the first 2 or 3 to see how long to extend the time for each roll, then add that time on if doing multiple rolls, test the first roll each session, and your good to go.
     
  21. funkpilz

    funkpilz Member

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    Okay, I finally got my head out of the dark bag, and I'm back with results!
    Thanks to all of your competent help, I can now proudly claim to be a home developer. I just developed my first roll ever, it was a test roll of the APX 100. I developed at 24°C, 1+9 Ilfosol 3, for 5 minutes. I agitated 5 times (not seconds, my timer isn't accurate enough) every 30 seconds. I stopped with (roughly) 24°C water, three runs of it, agitating constantly (and fiercely) every time. I fixed with Ilford Rapid Fixer diluted at 1+9 as well (is this correct?). Then I wiped the negatives down and hung them up to dry. Now I'm waiting for them to be scannable.
     
  22. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Wanna help you? Sure, but not by answering your question. Good Christ, man. This is stuff you learn the first week in a photo class. If you want to learn well, and properly, go to the library. Take a class. Read some manufacturers' publications on film processing. At least try picking up some knowledge using ANALOG methods before you expect people to hand you scattered, piecemeal, effectively random instructions for EVERYTHING on the Internet. There is too much Information (MOST of it crap) and distraction on the Internet to use it as an effective basic learning tool for this stuff. (Additionally, as you stated, there are about a million threads and Webpages that already have the information you need.) At the very least, go to the library and read a basic photo textbook cover to cover. You will learn more basic knowledge by doing that than you will in many years of asking the questions on the Internet as they come up, and having a bunch of short, often off topic, and more often just plain wrong answers from any old Joe. "Photography" by Upton and Upton (or London and Upton, depending on the edition) should be in any library, and will give you a nice read packed with basic information and more.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2009
  23. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Well, it's not exactly wrong, but film strength fixer dilution is 1+4. Get the data sheet for your fixer and give it a glance. It's not that the 1+9 dilution can't fix film, but you'll need to modify fixing times. Finaly, search APUG and many of your questions will be answered within minutes.
     
  24. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    After the fixer, the film needs to be washed. Or did you just forget to mention it?
     
  25. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I've put a few 120 rolls through at 1:31: 500ml of solution.
    I later standardized on 1:24 as my concentrate aged. The
    fixer is used one-shot. As dilution increases so does time
    but capacity decreases.

    Film strength only exists because a film's emulsion has
    a great tolerance for dissolved silver and other by products
    of fixing. Paper on the other hand has less tolerance so the
    1:9 Paper strength. At 1:9 capacity is less and so too is the
    solution's build up of dissolved silver and byproducts. Dan
     
  26. funkpilz

    funkpilz Member

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    Hey everyone, I'm back with scans!
    I've developed quite a few rolls lately, mostly APX100 and HP5+. The developing times seem to be right, but I think I'm doing something wrong. On pretty much all of my scans (this one's HP5+ at EI200), I get weird contrast-y shadow areas that look like this:
    http://img60.imageshack.us/my.php?image=blacksw.jpg
    Another thing that I noticed when I developed HP5+ at EI400 was that the texture was very much off, sort of like after you apply a Photoshop filter to a picture to make it look more artsy. Note the texture on these jeans:
    http://img60.imageshack.us/my.php?image=filter.jpg
    Now, my suspicion is of course that this is due to the Fixer being diluted at 1+9 (5 minutes fixing), but can anyone comment on whether this mistake will go away if I dilute at 1+4?