Taking the plunge.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Christopher Walrath, Nov 16, 2007.

  1. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    I am gonna be developing my own film. No printing yet. Could someone give a basic list of essentials that I might need? I have a little list I'm going by but I wanna make sure I don't miss a thing. I shoot TMax 400 120 roll film. Thnak you all.

    Chris
     
  2. ben-s

    ben-s Member

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    Tank and reels suitable for 120.
    Graduates for measuring chemistry
    Thermometer
    Timer of some kind
    Changing bag or darkroom for loading
    Film clips for drying film
    You might also want a film squeegee - although some people suggest it's better not to use them.

    Scissors for cutting negs into strips
    Something to put your negs in (as in filing sheets and a folder).

    Developer
    Stop
    Fix
    Wetting agent
    Something to store the chemistry in.

    Have fun!
     
  3. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    You need developer, fixer, wash aid, and rinse aid (Foto-Flo), a tank and reels, a thermometer, chemical storage bottles, and graduated cylinders to mix your chemistry in . Oh, and some kind of clips to hang the film to dry on. You can use an acid stop bath, or you can just use water. As to tanks and reels, well, I personally recommend stainless steel reels and tanks. Some folks feel they're harder to load than plastic reels, but with a little practice they're quite easy to manage. The upside to stainless is that it holds temperature better, so if you need to use a long development time, it won't cool down as fast. There's good stainless and there's cheap stainless. DO NOT TRY TO ECONOMIZE ON YOUR STAINLESS REELS. You will hate yourself and you'll wreck film. Hewes and/or Jobo stainless reels are the best. They are smooth, the spirals are consistent, and they're easy to get the film under their clips in the center of the reel. They're also made of a heavier gague of steel, so they won't bend or break if you inadvertently drop them (which you probably will, in the sink, while unloading your finished film, or worse, on the floor).
     
  4. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, Ben,

    From the post above: "Hewes and/or Jobo stainless reels are the best." Hewes are indeed the best; in my opinion, Kinderman comes in a close second.

    Konical
     
  5. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    You have to hang that wet film somewhere to dry. I got a roll of wire and a bag of wooden clothes pins. I drilled a little hole in the end on one side of the clothes pins and strung the wire through the holes so all the pins are permanently hanging on the wire. Then you just need a box of clips to weight down the bottom as the rolls dry.

    You will also want a small light box if you don't already have one. And your own pair of scissors.
     
  6. dxphoto

    dxphoto Member

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    there is a very good instruction on ilford website. That was the one I used when I first started. Check it out.
     
  7. David William White

    David William White Member

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    One frustrating thing

    Winding film onto reels is the trickiest bit. I never quite mastered the steel reels (guess I'm not a real man) and switched to plastic 'walk-on' reels and the nylon ones.

    My best advice is to pick up a couple of different style reels second hand and try them with a spare roll and see which one goes smoothly for you. You'll see what I mean.

    My plastic walk-on reels extend from 35mm to 127 to 120, making them quite versatile.

    Steel reels are the only ones that will load when wet, so I have a few for when I'm doing more than one roll at a time.

    David.
     
  8. matti

    matti Member

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    And the darkroom could be just a dark room, of course. Like a closet. To me that is easier than the changing bag.

    Good luck!

    /matti
     
  9. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    In addition to the other stuff, you'll need a roll or two of film that you can sacrifice to learning how to load the reel. If you don't have a darkroom (seems likely) a dark room (really dark!) will work for loading the film when you get to that point.
    Practice loading the reel a few times by looking at it, then several more times with your eyes closed, then you'll be ready.
     
  10. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Check The Black and White Darkroom for basic information on B&W film developing. There are also plenty of books and other Web sites; I just happen to have that one bookmarked. Note that there is no one single "correct" way to do it; there are lots of variants that work equally well. I recommend you find one procedure and stick with it -- but regarding times for various steps, always follow the chemical manufacturer's recommendations rather than anything you read on a Web site or in a book. Later, when you learn more, you'll be able to fine-tune your procedure based on experience and things you learn about different types of chemicals, the reasons for variant procedures, etc. I also recommend you start with a single brand of chemicals (Kodak, Ilford, Paterson, whatever). That way you're less likely to be confused by conflicting instructions for times and procedures, and if something goes wrong you won't end up with a finger-pointing contest between two chemical suppliers. As you learn more, you can easily mix-and-match chemical suppliers. I started out with a complete "kit" of chemicals from an eBay seller. I found this easy because the complete list of stuff can be confusing when you peruse a Web site like B&H's or Freestyle's -- there are just so many different choices!
     
  11. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    Thank you dpurdy. There I woulda been with nowhere to hang the film. Pretty much was planning on everything else. Thanks for the list folks.

    Chris
     
  12. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    glad to have thought of something so obvious. Probably a lot of film gets hung on shower curtain rods. Good thing about the bathroom is you can fill it with steam and take the dust out of the air that way before you put your sticky film in there.
    Dennis
     
  13. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A large kitty litter tray with an unbreakable aquarium thermometer, and a small powerhead to keep the water circulating, is a great way to have a tempered water bath for your chems, so you can keep the sink to work over, pouring chems, etc. Make sure to drip loop the cords.
     
  14. haziz

    haziz Subscriber

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    I too can strongly recommend the Ilford PDF.

    http://www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/200629163442455.pdf

    It is well written and explains the process well. It is written for 35 mm but should be very easy to adapt to 120 MF film. The reel is the same if you are going to use plastic, you just have to "expand" it, or you will need separate 120 and 35 mm reels if going with stainless steel. I personally prefer stainless steel and would also strongly second the recommendation for Hewes reels in both 120 and 35 mm sizes. Expensive but definitely worth it. Be careful not to drop it (or if buying used) since they can be difficult to load if warped. Practice loading with an expired roll (or sacrifice a roll) first in light then with your eyes closed to get the feel for it. It is very easy.

    Ilford's PDF discusses some of their films and chemicals initially but it is also transferable to whichever chemistry you use. Ilford and Kodak are obviously excellent, I can also highly recommend Sprint Systems. Their chemistry is easily available at least on the US east coast and is popular in many colleges.

    http://sprintsystems.com/

    Sincerely,

    Hany.
     
  15. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    Bookwise, The Darkroom Handbook by Michael Langford is an excellent nuts and bolts guide. Our very own Roger Hicks also wrote a good one [title escapes me at the mo].
     
  16. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I've a Kindermann with a center lift grip which I've
    taken a liking to and one other with another center
    grip arrangement. At least one other Kindermann has
    yet another grip. Kindermanns have the heaviest of
    steel in their reels. I do have a Hewes and second
    it's also first rate quality.

    I do as many others fear to do, I squeegee my film
    using an eight blade film squeegee. Kept just for the
    purpose it sees a rinse in the Phot-Flo solution right
    after the film is removed. With the film hung by an
    upper clamp it is drawn slowly downward. Jobo is
    my brand but the same squeegee is marketed
    under other brand names. Films dry fast. Dan
     
  17. Fabian

    Fabian Member

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    just because I'm curious. Are the steel reels, realy that much better?
    The effect of holding temperature more constantly, makes this interesting. Is it worth to buy new reels?
    Since I'm using the Jobo tanks, would any stainless steel reel fit into it?

    I feel the jobo reels are soaking in the chemistry. (The color changes over time...) Would this problem be erased?
    (any short tip on how to clean them?)

    Any idea where to get them? I've never seen steel reels in a shop in austria.
     
  18. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I like the steel reels because they are easier for me to load. The temperature properties are a minor issue, once you have your developing times established, they will be factored in.

    Some persons have no trouble with plastic. I think they are a PIA. I gave my last ones away.
     
  19. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    That's a matter of personal preference. My own personal preference is for Hewes SS reels; I just find them easier to load than plastic reels. Others have other opinions. The only way to know for sure is to try both -- but be sure to try good reels, not junk ones. I've got a couple of used generic SS reels that are harder to load than the plastic ones I've got!

    I'm not positive, but I expect the temperature effects have more to do with the tank than the reels. Usually SS reels are used with SS tanks and plastic reels are used with plastic tanks. There are exceptions, though; see below....

    The US NYC and mail-order retailer B&H has a page with Hewes SS reels made specifically for Jobo tanks. Presumably they're available from other sources, too, but I have no other references. I believe B&H ships internationally, so if you were desperate you could mail-order from them; or if you know somebody who'll be visiting New York, you could ask them to pick you up a reel or two. I doubt if there'd be any problem carrying film reels back in checked or carry-on baggage.

    SS reels certainly won't discolor over time the way plastic does. They have their own care issues, though. The one that gets the most mention is handling care -- if you drop a SS reel, it can get bent out of shape, making it difficult to load. Hewes reels are made out of thicker metal than generic SS reels, so this is less of an issue with them, but it could still happen.