Processing - beginner - where what how.

Discussion in 'UK All Regions' started by talkingfish, Jul 16, 2009.

  1. talkingfish

    talkingfish Member

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    Hello there

    I've had a good look/search around the forum but I cannot see anything on starting your own processing only, especially in the UK, so here's my question:

    I am thinking of buying one of the starter kits for processing 35mm black and white (made by AP I think, from shops like Firstcall or Nova) but I cannot find any 'starter kits' for the chemicals. I have watched a couple of youtube clips and there seems to be four of them that I would need.

    So if I buy the measurers and reel etc, I assume that I have to buy the bottles individually. Should I try for the same manufacturer for these or just pick and mix, and what sizes (based on how long they will keep) should I start with? I would appreciate just a list of what bottles to put on my order with the starter kit or any suggestions at all.

    Thanks in advance, Jonathan.
     
  2. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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  3. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    We published a beginner's processing article in the July issue of Creative Image maker magazine.

    The link is in my signature. It's not the processing Bible but it lays out a workflow that is easy to pick up and run with. As to chemistry, I would look into Ilford chemistry. The folks at AgPhotographic could be of immense help.
     
  4. c.w.

    c.w. Member

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    Generally you need developer, stop and fixer for film but depending on your budget and how much space you have you can forget the stop bath. You don't need to buy everything from one company.

    My first developer was (and the one i still use for the most part) Kodak HC110. Mostly because it lasts a long time, and is cheap per roll. Ilfotec HC is pretty much the same thing.

    I'd forget the stop - i didn't use it for years and only use it now because it's a little faster and i have it around. Just fill the tank with water, vigorously agitate and dump 3 times.

    You can pretty much buy whatever fixer, unless you plan on using old style emulsions that benefit from a hardener. Then you should get one with a hardener. Fixer lasts quite a long time, so i wouldn't worry too much about it - just replace it every so many rolls (should say how many on the bottle, just keep a tally on the container) or about every 6 months.

    I had issues with water spots on my film, so i'd reccomend buying some Photo-flo (that's what kodak calls it, can't remember the term for it) with the money you saved on stop bath. What i do is after i've washed my film, i mix up about 2ml Photo-flo with enough distilled water to cover the reels. I pour that in, swish the reels around a bit, and pour a bit of rubbing alcohol on the surface of the water to get rid of any bubbles. Photo-flo lasts pretty much forever, which is good since it'll take you forever to use up a bottle.

    I'm sure someone will come along with reasons you should do stuff differently from above, but that's what i did starting out, and stuff seems to have turned out ok.
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Jonathan:

    Welcome to APUG.

    I'd suggest looking through the "Getting Started" section which is in the "Applications" section of the Ilford/Harmann website.

    Here is a link:

    http://www.ilfordphoto.com/applications/page.asp?n=9

    In that section, under the link "Processing a Black and White Film" you will find a link to a pdf document with the same title. There are specific recommendations there for appropriate chemistry, plus information about capacity.

    There are a lot of other good suggestions (I myself am quite partial to many of the Kodak alternatives) but the Ilford information is excellent for beginners, especially those who are in the UK.

    Hope this helps - and have fun!

    Matt
     
  6. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    And if you look here, http://www.ag-photographic.co.uk/ a new online supplier in the UK that was just announced in a thread here, you can order whatever you need. :smile:
     
  7. talkingfish

    talkingfish Member

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    Thank you for the replies.

    Pinholemaster: I remember seeing that author's books in Borders. I have put it on my list. I presume the most recent edition is not crucial.

    ChrisW: I clicked through to your mag a while ago but forget seeing that. I will peruse some more.

    CW: I will come back to what you said when I get it all worked out in my head. My worry about not using 'the stop' would be forming a bad habit at the beginning, so I will probably choose the lengthy method and drop anything redundant later on.

    Matt: Thanks for that. I actually printed the pdf out late last night and looking at it now, it does mention the four liquids, all with Ilford names, which, providing they still sell them, should be exactly what I need. Hopefully they still sell them in small bottles (the pdf is from 2003) as well.

    Bob and Chris: I noticed the Ag darkroom equipment advert in this month's B&Wmagazine (I'm getting into film just as they are getting out - smiley). It struck me because it shares the same name as Ag magazine, which I have started subscribing to (because B&W is going downhill with the rest of them and I remember Ag being quite good).

    So, I will start with keeping it simple: going for the Ilford set if I can and following their method in the pdf. I also noticed last night that the auction site has lots of different collections of used darkroom equipment. I figure if I can match the essentials, which are listed on the nova darkroom site, included in those 'starter kits' for processing, I can save a bit of money and maybe get some extra things for when I hopefully go on to setting up or borrowing a darkroom.

    Cheers everyone. This is exciting.

    Jon
     
  8. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    There have been many books written on the subject of film processing, many of them in the 1970s and 1980s. As you suggest, having the most recent edition is not important as the process hasn't changed for many years.

    Have a look in secondhand book shops. I have picked up quite a few good photography books from Oxfam shops.


    Steve.
     
  9. bill spears

    bill spears Member

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    Welcome to the dark side Jonathon. It's good to see newcomers getting into this wonderful craft. Takes me back to when I first started and the never ending search for knowledge and info (still looking after 20 yrs!!).

    With regards to equipment, the big auction site is the best place to go. Prices in the shops, even for secondhand can be alot more expensive, although I guess it may be more convenient if you find all the stuff a bit confusing. The new ag business metioned above would be very helpful with getting you started.
    As far as chemicals .. I'd suggest Ilford for everything, at least to start with. The supply and distributuion is 1st class here in the uk and while there's no problem with using other brands, I think it keeps it simple and less confusing for a novice.

    Trial and error is probably the way most of us have learn't but it does have a lot of frustrations along the way ! Ideally, some one-to-one hands on tution is the way to go but with few people still practising these ways it's not easy to find.

    Good luck!
    Bill
     
  10. talkingfish

    talkingfish Member

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    Thanks again for the responses.

    For the record, I went with Silverprint. I would have tried Ag but they didn't list anything under 'Wetting Agents' and thus no Ilfotol. Firstcall have a good website, they had a handy sized bottle of fixer (500ml) and their prices are competitive but when I checked the Apug sponsor list, only Silverprint was listed.

    It is pretty convenient really, to just look up the list online, browse a few websites, and sit back and wait for the magic chemicals. Now all I need are a few badly-exposed negatives, which I shall get to work on straight away.

    All the best, Jon.
     
  11. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Personally, I don't think it is worth spending vast amounts of money to buy a "Starter Kit" - It would invariably contain assorted odds'n'sods that you would never use, and the remainder could be acquired elsewhere for much less.

    You don't say if you have a darkroom, so a minimal kit would consist of:
    Smallish changing bag.
    Daylight tank & reel.
    A 1 litre bottle to store stock developer.
    Two or three 0.5 or 1 litre bottles for working solution.
    A large graduated measuring cylinder (0.5l).
    A small graduated cylinder (100-150ml).
    A couple of plastic jugs.
    Stop Clock - Not essential, but handy to have.

    For chemicals, something easy to use such as ID11 and RapidFix - If you were to use a liquid developer, then a small syringe would need to be added to the equipment list.
    A wetting agent is not essential, but even a small bottle will last a lifetime.

    Have you seen the videos from Mr Brunner ?
     
  12. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Yeah, go to you tube and search brunner black white develop.

    As to AgPhotographic, we were refering to Matt's brand new start up business. It is in the thread link mentioned above.

    Glad you got a good start. Post any and all questions.
     
  13. talkingfish

    talkingfish Member

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    Thanks, Paul and Chris.

    I was looking for that exact series of youtube videos (someone had emailed me the link a while ago) but it wasn't coming up on the searches, so great.

    I am going to slow down on the 'starter kit' and not order it until I have worked out what I can get easily, locally, and what I really need to mail order. I am finding the collections of stuff on ebayuk a bit irrelevant to my purposes: they either have bottles of stuff I don't need or they don't have the right kind things that I think I need. And the kit on firstcall uk has what appears to be a dual use (35 and 120) tub if I order the print and process kit but only 35mm tub for the process only kit; and other bits that are in the process only kit don't actually make it over to the process and print kit, which is all kind of funny.

    You get the idea. I will work out what I need by using this forum and looking round and about, then maybe collect it off ebay over the next few weeks bit by bit or even order it new bit by bit (such as getting the 35mm starter kit and adding an ebay 'universal' tub).

    Incidentally, the mention of a syringe for measurements is a first. I assume when Ilford's pdf talks about a small 50ml beaker, that the syringe is going to serve the same purpose.

    Anyway, I plan to develop the film (35 and later on 120) in a walk-in cupboard or a changing bag if needs be. The idea of a darkroom is just that for now but it is the goal in the end.
     
  14. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Hi Jonathan & welcome to APUG :smile:

    The standard Paterson or Jobo Dev Tanks are able to be used (once loaded with film) in daylight - with light baffles to allow the chemicals in but keep the light out.

    So you only need to load the film in onto the reels in the dark, pop it/them into the tank, screw the lid on and the rest can be done in daylight.

    For years I loaded my reels and tanks in a changing bag but a walk in cupboard (at night, if all the lights in the vicinity are off) would work equally as well.

    You will need to sacrifice a single roll of film to practice loading a film spiral, start by doing it in the light with your eyes open, then with them shut and finally when you have the hang of it in the dark before you do it for real the first time – sadly, there are no short cuts on this one - practice, practice, practice

    Good luck

    Martin
     
  15. delphine

    delphine Member

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    Jonathan, I organized a film processing workshop and I wrote these comprehensive notes for the attendees then. It is packed with info on the material/chemicals and also links/address as to where to get your supplies. The links references will be very relevant to you as you are based in the UK.

    I hope this proves useful to you. Let us know how you progress and best of luck.

    Delphine
     

    Attached Files:

  16. namke

    namke Member

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    It might be worth subscribing to your local 'Freecycle' list, and seeing if anyone has old darkroom kit to give away (I received my enlarger, some 12x16 developing trays, a developing tank (paterson with two spirals), paper, cameras - you name it!)...

    I'm a relative newcomer to this as well - a couple of years or so! There's nothing quite like the first time a developed film comes out of the tank!!
     
  17. delphine

    delphine Member

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    That's a good point Namke about freecycle. I never think about it.
     
  18. talkingfish

    talkingfish Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions, all.

    I read the article in Chris's magazine, and have noted down the extras that popped up there, such as brown glass bottles, and will keep a look out for them. I got impatient with fleabay (and I am not too keen on the place anyway) and just ordered a new processing kit and an extra 120 daylight tank (from Firstcall - Nova site wasn't loading at the weekend). So I am going to sit back and wait for the stuff and read some more here and about. Thanks for the file, Delphine, I will take a look at that.
    I'm going to use my nikon on auto to make sure the exposures are correct and with all the processing gear being new and the chems fresh, I should be able to eliminate everything except human error, which is never in short supply. I'll use the bathroom steam for drying, though my brother has sent me instructions for building a film dryer which looks like something off Blue Peter (though it works superbly). I've also got one of those 'airfix' Plamodel camera kits, from Fred Aldous in Manchester, on the way, as a back up for my SLR - smiley. Should be fun.

    Thanks again, Jonathan.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2009
  19. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Give this one a go. It's been started by one of us( that is, an APUGer and analogue user first and businessman second) but if he continues to excercise his business skills on prices he will knock most other retailers for six as they say at Lords. He is selling Kodak D76( the Ilford ID-11 equivalent) for £0.99 a litre. Yes that a penny under a pound:smile:.

    pentaxuser
     
  20. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    So Jonathan, how did it go? Have you developed your first film yet? Do you have any questions? This thread could make a useful starting point for other beginners too...

    Cheers,
    David.