pulling the trigger...

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by BimmerJake, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. BimmerJake

    BimmerJake Member

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    so i'm definitely going to start developing my own black and white film. shooting ilford pan f+ and fp4.

    i gather that hewes is a general favorite for a reel. is there a reel that will work for 35mm as well as 120 (for future use)? i'm totally lost on the tank.

    also, someone mentioned a bag that is light proof. can someone give me more details on that?

    and i'm also totally a n00b with chemicals and the amount of variety is somewhat overwhelming. any suggestions for a guy just getting started?

    are there any really good standard books i could read relating to b&w film and development?

    is there anything else i need that i'm not mentioning?

    thanks :tongue:
     
  2. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    I'm not aware of any adjustable reels on the current market - but I know my Mom had several for some plastic tanks she got in the 1960's. They could do 35mm, 120, and 127 sizes; you might find some used if you look hard...

    Henry Horenstein wrote a great book entitled Black and White Photography.

    Most of all, experiment and have fun!
     
  3. BimmerJake

    BimmerJake Member

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    no doubt about experimenting, i'm looking forward to it. just looking for a starting point really.

    if i need a different reel for the 120 down the road that's not a biggie, for some reason i thought i had seen reels that did both. could definitely by my mistake.

    thanks for the book suggestion, i'll check it out.
     
  4. Alan W

    Alan W Subscriber

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    Congratulations and welcome to the (highly addictive) world of B&W! I've been using Patterson system reels for over ten years now and find them ideal as they'll take 35mm and 120 and 220 film all on the same reel and they're easy to adjust,just be sure to get a tank big enough to hold at least 4 35's or 2 120's (it's probably called the system 4).Readily available on e-bay.My own preference is for Ilford 100 and 400 depending on the application and I've also settled on Ilford dd-x as a developer.Remember,it's all good,and,experiment.Good luck!
     
  5. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    Love the Patterson system!
     
  6. BimmerJake

    BimmerJake Member

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    the paterson system looks pretty nice and is in the budget range. we might have a winner.

    how about film changing bags? any experience.

    thaks again.
     
  7. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Plastic reels usually adjust, stainless steel do not. Pros & cons to each. I like both. Prefer SS for manual processing, plastic for rotary (Jobo). Some say you need Hewes SS to load easily, myself, never found most brands SS a problem. For me, plastic would cause more loading problems, except the Jobo seem to work fine. YMMV

    Good Luck
     
  8. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I'm a big fan of patterson reels, but they need to be bone dry to work well. I learned on SS reels and converted later.

    If you can, avoid using a changing bag. It works, but I think it will be harder to learn with. If you can manage to light proof a closet or bathroom, you will be much happier. I used a closet and did film loading at night so I I didn't have to worry about light leaks around the door.

    If there is one recommendation I can make, it is to get a few rolls of film (cheap is fine) and learn how to do it in the light before venturing into the dark.

    For developer use something simple like D76 or HC110. Stop bath really isn't necessary...just rinse with a few fills of water. Any brand of rapid fix is fine.

    Lastly, go to your local library and get a basic darkroom book to understand all the steps needed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2009
  9. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.167 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

    Check out the July issue of CiM. We published a beginners series and this month is processing your own black and white film. It should cover the basics really well and give you a good starting point.
     
  10. WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    I have plastic reels that collapse and expand to be used with 35mm and 120. I cant remember the name of the tank and reels. I bought them at a photo store, and there's not a name on it anywhere (and I threw away the box when I opened it). Might can find something similar on ebay if you want plastic. You shouldnt have trouble finding metal reels and tanks, either. :D

    For a developer, I use Rodinal. It lasts forever, and it can be used at 1:25, 1:50, 1:100 (or higher) dilutions. It's not a fine grain developer, but it'll work well with fine grain films like Pan F+ and FP4+. I use it with 35mm HP5+ and dont have problems with big grain (but "big grain" is a subjective term, though).

    You'd also need a stop bath and a fixer. I use the Arista stop bath and fixer from Freestyle because it's cheap (and so is Rodinal, btw), and they're also a sponsor of APUG.


    I dont use a changing bag. I just turn out all the lights in my room, go in the closet, stuff a towel in the crack under the door, and load my film in there. That works perfectly for me.

    that's really all the advice I can give. I know it's not very helpful, but that's my two cents :D
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Freestyle is an APUG sponsor, and this kit might give you some ideas if you decide to go the plastic reel route:

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/5056-Arista-Film-Processing-Kit?cat_id=1603

    Browsing through this section of the Freestyle site may give you a sense of what things look like, as well as some of the costs involved. Don't worry, you don't need or want everything there :smile:.

    I'd suggest you get a good book. In the meantime, take a look through the Ilford site, especially the "Getting Started" topics:

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

    There are lots of other good internet resources. The Kodak publications list has some of my favourites:

    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/databanks/filmDatabankIndex.jhtml?pq-path=13700/14472

    Have fun!

    Matt
     
  12. Denis K

    Denis K Member

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    If you don't mind dropping just shy of $200 on a changing bag I can say that the Harrison Tent is a great outfit. The arm sleeves are at just the right angle and the construction and materials instill confidence. They call it a tent because it's shaped like one and uses the same type of flexible fold-together rods that tents use to make a self supporting structure. You can get other bags for much less, or even do the closet thing at night until you decide that darkroom work agrees with you.

    Denis K
     
  13. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    You can get perfectly serviceable dark bags off eBay for about $20.
     
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  15. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    Any double-layered changing bag should do nicely. I'd recommend going with a 27x30 inch bag. You should be able to get one from B&H, Freestyle, or Adorama for about $30 or so.
     
  16. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Hmm, lots of stuff here, so lets pick out some pieces to deal with.

    There are two kinds of reels, stainless steel and plastic, unless you drop one (bending it out of shape) , stainless steel reels should last virtually forever, so don't buy cheap ones, some of the cheap SS reels come pre-dropped. You need separate SS reels for 35mm and 120, you want a tank big enough to do 120 though, and often you can stack 2 35mm reels in the same tank.

    Plastic reels are usually adjustable, but they may then take up more space, if there is ever a chance that you could do multiple rolls one after another, then make sure you have twice the number of reels as space in your tank. For example if your tank can accommodate 2 reels at a time, then you want a minimum of 4 reels. Plastic reels must be completely dry before using them or the film will stick to the reel. So having an extra set means not having to sit there with a hair dryer trying to get the reel dry,

    Tanks tend to match the reels, so plastic tanks and plastic reels or stainless tanks with stainless reels. Either way, pick up a roll of cheap expired film at your local shop and practise loading the reel, first time in the light, second time with your eyes closed, third time with the lights off or in the bag.

    Changing bags, get the largest one you can afford, they are all pretty much the same. I always turn the lights down when using the bag though.

    For a first attempt use a normal developer like D76 or ID11 (they are really the same), other then that you need fixer, any will do. I suggest though the first time you mix the chemicals, do a clip test to make sure they are working and you have not goofed anything up, some guys doing it for years still do this.

    Books, don't know what is current, go to the Ilford website, there is lots there.
     
  17. GJA

    GJA Member

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    I'm sorry, but I think that there are so many better ways of spending two hundred bucks than on a changing bag, tent whatever. For that much you could easily buy a real tent, a lot of opaque fabric and some thread and make yourself a portable darkroom. Patent Pending on that idea, but ill let you use it.
     
  18. fotch

    fotch Member

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    There are reasons to buy a Harrison and those that need them buy them. For starting out, a regular changing bag will work. I use to put a modified card board box inside to keep the cloth from laying on everything inside. I would cut the top off and one side so it was like a bin. Eventually, I got a darkroom and not longer used this bag. After moving I no longer had a darkroom and got out the old changing bag again.
    Unfortunately, its rubber coating was dried up and crumbling. So, I went on a quest to replace it. I now could afford to get a better one. Since I wanted to do larger format and wanted a bit more luxury, I purchase a Photoflex. Although it was nice it was a bit insane to set up. I finally decided to buy a Harrison and I have to say, it’s great. I lucked out and got it for $125 from a fellow APUGer who purchased new and never used it.
    That said, starting out, a regular changing bag, large as possible, will suffice. A darkroom or a closet would be the best.
     
  19. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    The Patterson is the best by far.
     
  20. JPD

    JPD Member

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    Paterson with one 't'. :wink:

    I've used the Paterson System for 22 years and have no complaints. Hey, the reels are adjustable for 127-film too. :smile:
     
  21. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I have quite a collection of plastic tanks that I've accumulated over the years. Among them are a couple of Paterson tanks, and these are really very good. They fill and drain quickly; the reels are easy to load and of good quality construction. I recommend them. With a minimum of care, they will last practically forever.
     
  22. WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    A former photography instructor of mine used to work at a newspaper. To get his film to dry quicker, he cut a cylindrical tube of pve pipe big enough for I think four steel reels to fit in. He built a lid that would hold the nozzle of a hair dryer. Somehow, the bottom reel was raised off the bottom a little so that it wasnt standing in a pool of water. I cant remember how he did that, though.

    You might can build a similar contraption to dry plastic reels if that's the way you want to go. You could probably dry the film on the plastic reels, too.


    As a side note on this subject, he took the film out of the reel and reloaded it backwards. According to him, it helped the film dry flat. I've never had a problem with film drying flat, though. That's a good thing because there's no way I'd be able to wind the wet film backwards on the wet plastic reels. :D








    I'd suggest using one developer until you get used to how it works. I'd offer the same advice with film. Use one or two kinds of film until you know how they'll look in a given situation.

    My problem in my early days was wanting to try every black and white film I could find. All I ended up with was prints of underexposed negatives :smile:
     
  23. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Yeah, that would be quick, but inconsistent with producing high quality negatives. Too much risk of blowing dust onto wet emulsion where it will stick and be impossible to remove once dry. What's the rush?
     
  24. WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    It apparently worked for him. I'm assuming he had a pretty dust free darkroom. I just run hot water in the shower for a few minutes then hang the negatives up on the shower curtain rod. That works good enough for me. :D
     
  25. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    [ suggest using one developer until you get used to how it works. I'd offer the same advice with film. Use one or two kinds of film until you know how they'll look in a given situation.

    *********
    Amen, brother!!
     
  26. BimmerJake

    BimmerJake Member

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    is it best, or easiest, to stay within the same brand? after some of the suggested reading, i'm thinking about using ilford fp4 and dd-x as my starting combo. any thoughts? will this be a good starting point?
     
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