Variables in b/w film development

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by /dev/null, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. /dev/null

    /dev/null Member

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    My teacher at the academy asked me to do a class on 'b/w development' (it's all digital), as I am one of the few ones that work analog mostly. Just very basic class, but the idea is to motivate other students to either start with analog photography and the ones that already work analog; motivate them to start developing the film themselves.

    I am wondering if I have the 'main' variables straight here in b/w film development that will influence the result, I know, very subjective and much more to tell, but I want to keep it very simple, so here they are:

    - Developer/dilution.
    - Development time.
    - Agitation.
    - Temperature.

    Any thoughts anyone?
     
  2. pentaxpete

    pentaxpete Subscriber

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    I think that is all you need
     
  3. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Member

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    To this beginner, it seems like a good list. Perhaps yuo should include film emulsion, though, since different emulsions may respond differently to different developers, and also will repond differently when pushed or pulled?
     
  4. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Those are the main variables (along with type of film obviously).
     
  5. /dev/null

    /dev/null Member

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    Thanks. Could you explain what you mean with 'emulsion'? I mean, how I could touch the subject, without going to deep into detail. I will also talk about t-grain vs 'traditional', is that something I can place under emulsion? As I wanted to discuss pushing/pulling too.
     
  6. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Member

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    By "emulsion" I simply meant what type of film you are using. TRI-X will respond differently to Delta 100 because they have different granularity and tonal curve characteristics. T-grain versus traditional would be a good place to start.
     
  7. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    The subject of T-grain vs more traditional grain would fall under emulsion as well. All of that can basically be grouped under "type of film" or "film characteristics" to keep it simple.

    As for pushing/pulling, technically that falls under the categories you've already listed, since it is controlled by development time, dilution and agitation. Assuming you're really just talking about film developing, and not exposure (which is part of the overall pushing/pulling process), pushing and pulling at the development stage is really nothing more than decreasing or increasing development.
     
  8. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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  9. /dev/null

    /dev/null Member

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    Yes, will add that too, so whole process from making the picture to the film storage. And checked some of the popular t-grain: Kodak TMAX, Ilford Delta, and the 'traditional' ones like Tri-X.

    Plus a list with handy things you need when you start developing, like a thermometer, tank, bottles, a darkbag etc.

    What I could use some help on, is an easy and cheap recipe. I thought about my 'own' recipe on TMAX400 in HC-110 and it is a nice one for scanning too the TMAX. I mean, X-tol is maybe a bit more 'difficult' and obscure. Or just a Delta or HP5+ in Amaloco, that one is an easy to use developer too, but I am not such a fan of Amaloco personally and why not start with HC-110 right away :smile:
     
  10. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    So far this all presumes a single use fresh chemistry then dump regime.

    Other variables can be stock solution usage, and degree of replenishment when not working a one shot system.

    Also using a large tank versus a small tank versus using a tray, can be a factor affecting development, although that might fall under agitation in some peoples mind.

    On to the more exotic, is the temperture response of the developing agents under consideration. They don't all work in exactly the same way with regards to activity versus a given temperature change, depending on where the temperature basis is started at.
     
  11. mr rusty

    mr rusty Member

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    I think what is needed here is to Keep It Simple.

    I am new to darkroom work, but what I have discovered is that it is very *easy* to get passable results without worrying too much.

    Read simple guide e.g. Ilford's.
    Mix chemicals to standard dilutions.
    get the temperature about right.
    Follow the instructions using each chemical in the correct order.

    Unless you do something very silly, you will get an image.

    Once you have emphasized how easy it is to process your own film, you can then go on to say how interesting and challenging it is to improve your skill and understanding of the processes. It would be very easy to get bogged down in technical detail that will just put people off.
     
  12. /dev/null

    /dev/null Member

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    Mike, I will just discuss 'one shot', as I don't have that much time, so have to do all in about 2hrs. One of my goals too, is to show them that developing is not that difficult. I mean, getting a result can be done with a TMAX 400 and 70 seconds in Eukobrom 1:4 if you know what I mean.

    And of course, getting a 'good' result is extremely difficult and so relative. Probably hours and hours to talk about, but I just want them to get started and also encourage them to go out there and read books, visit apug.org for answers etc. But if I overwhelm them with lots of theoretical stuff, they might think it is too difficult to do themselves.

    And yes, temp is discussed, but I don't thinks I understand the last part you wrote: "depending on where the temperature basis is started at. ". You mean, if you develop on 20c that after a certain amount of developing time the temp will drop?
     
  13. /dev/null

    /dev/null Member

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    Exactly! Keep it simple. First stick with the 'normal' development procedures like shooting boxspeed, following the instruction manuals and understanding them too. Some of them already have troubles when they read something like 1:19 to mix a stopbath.
     
  14. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Different developing agents can respond differently to changes in temperature. Some are more linear etc. I think this is way beyond what you're looking for at this point. Keep it simple. Continuing with keeping it simple, something like HC-110 or any other general purpose developer would be good to use, rather than more exotic, specialized, or home made chemistry.
     
  15. /dev/null

    /dev/null Member

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    Caffenol :smile:

    I also find HC-110 very cheap in use. I mean, if they start developing themselves, they should also see the financial benefits. Cause some already shoot analog, but pay U$10,- to have a roll developed. That was one of the reasons I started to do it myself, and after some rolls got messed up :sad:
     
  16. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    True, HC-110 is very economical. The concentrate also lasts a long time, and the developer itself is very flexible.
     
  17. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Member

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    echo 'The classic MQ developers like D-76 and ID-11 are also cheap, easy to prepare and use, and give good results with almost all emulsions.\
    However HC-110 is an equally valid choice IMO.' >/dev/null
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2012
  18. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    You could look up massive development chart.

    Jeff
     
  19. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    It's probably a mistake to ask such a question on a site like this, as you can be quickly led down the road of complete confusion. As some others have said you need to keep it simple. I think what you have put in your original post is fine, but you may emphasise that development in general is all about time/temperature.
     
  20. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I think this is important, to keep it simple.

    As the OP says, if it sounds too difficult the majority will probably not find it worth their time, or intimidating, or both. It's a real art to explain something difficult in easy to understand words. Thankfully, film developing in its own right, isn't rocket science. It's actually very simple.
    It's the combination of targeting a certain quality in the negative (to print or scan well according to whatever printing process is used), in combination with exposure, that is difficult. But film developing, on its own, is actually very simple, which works beneficially in this case.

    The list mentioned in the original post is fine in order to explain the basic steps. By keeping things simple you also leave a 'buffer' of your own knowledge in order to answer the inevitable complicated question, perhaps from someone that has taken a darkroom class before, or something along those lines.

    As an aside: visual tools help immensely, and I would recommend showing pictures of over-developed, under-developed, and normal negatives. In order for the audience to understand and relate to those results, it also makes sense to show resulting prints of such negatives, so that the audience can get a real feel for what happens when you start to push the boundaries of what's possible with film.
     
  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    You might want to add something about:
    1) keeping properties and storage of chemistry;
    2) ease and methods of handling of chemistry; and
    3) common sense safety precautions.

    Nothing incredibly detailed - just things like some chemistry is mixed from powder, other chemistry comes in long lasting concentrates while other chemistry is easy to mix and measure but will only keep for a few months once opened.

    And stress how simple it is to work safely and comfortably.
     
  22. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I agree with mr rusty,

    Keep it simple, concentrate on just development; stretching into other areas could easily overload your audience.

    That said be prepared for questions about film or whatever else.

    Here's an example article that shows some of what can be done along this line and where the conversation might lead. http://www.apug.org/forums/forum216/69617-shaping-tone-curve-rodinal-negative.html

     
  23. /dev/null

    /dev/null Member

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    lol!

    I will mention D-76, X-tol, ID-11 etc as alternative developers and then the students can check wether they will move to other developers or not. But many people tend to get all freaky when they have to start mixing powders and work with stock solution. Then I have to go deeper into the 'storing developer' part and I don't think they will be interested in that yet, maybe when I can do more classes, I can get more into detail.

    Thanks all for the replies, I even got a complete 'b/w development class' of one of the apug members. I think I have enough information now to put everything together and keep it simple indeed.

    Safety precautions, good one too.