What equipment do I need to develop 35mm B&W film (besides the chemicals and film?)

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by GarageBoy, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    Hi guys, I've finally decided to get some B&W processing done to save $$$ and save my self from scratched negatives.

    I've read a multitude of tutorials, but I'm not sure what beakers, grads, syringes, etc that I will need.

    Besides Dev/Fixer/PhotoFlo (Jetdry?)


    I KNOW I will need

    1. Dev. Tank
    2. Reels
    3. Changing Bag
    4. Something to pry open a 35mm cartridge
    5. Distilled Water for the final rinse
    6. Sink to pour liquids out into
    7. Thermometer

    I plan on starting with HC110 (I figured that since I can barely make myself a hot chocolate from powder without having clumps on the bottom, I should play with powders later), so I will need small glass vials to store it in.

    First: what do I need to get my developer up to temperature?
    Second: what size graduates will I need to mix up my fixer?
    Third: What size graduates will I need to measure out the necessary amounts of developer/fixer during development?

    Thanks!
     
  2. dorff

    dorff Member

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    You may add to your list film hanging clips. You could also use spring loaded clips that you can weigh down further.

    You have fixer, I presume. Some hypo-clearing agent will shorten wash times, and some wetting agent will help prevent drying streaks.

    For measuring, I use a 1 liter kitchen jug with 50 ml interval markings for the water, and a 45 ml graduate for the concentrate. You could as easily use a syringe for the concentrate. HC-110 at dilution H (twice B) is what I normally use. I use it as single-shot developer, but you may also go with multiple uses of lower dilutions. In that case, the typical 500 ml or 1 liter coke bottle makes a good enough storage bottle.

    It is easier to heat developer up than cooling it down. For the latter I use ice packs that I immerse in the developer until the temperature is correct. You could also use those plastic "ice cubes" that one gets for children's cooldrinks. It is essentially a plastic capsule containing water, which one re-freezes after use. Of course, once the developer is mixed, you cannot add ice directly as it will dilute the developer.

    Hope this helps.

    Regards
     
  3. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Black and white developers work at 20C, room temperature. You can adjust the development time for any temperature between about 18C and 24C. The other chemicals are not temperature critical and will work anywhere in this range. So you do not need any special equipment or techniques to get your chemicals to the proper temperature. Most developing tanks require 500 ml of chemicals. Ordinary kitchen measuring cups - those with markings on the side - are accurate enough for developing film. You can order darkroom graduates of appropriate sizes from a photo supply store if you want. I would suggest a one litre size and a 100 or 125ml size for small quantities of chemicals that you want to dilute.

    An additional consideration in your planning is to determine where and how you will hang the film to dry. (You can dry film on the reel, but it is a long and uncertain process.) You need a dust free spot, with about 5 feet (about 1.5 m) of vertical space. I strung a clothesline in my darkroom. A wire hanger could be pressed into service. You will also need some clips to hold one end of the film on the line and to weight the other end. Wooden clothespins work well, but so do other things.
     
  4. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    A normal bottle opener will open a 35mm film can real easily. I usually use the edge of scissors. A timer is kinda important; There's an app for that, or you can get a cheap digital kitchen timer for a couple of dollars. If you have a room with no windows and can wait till night, you can skip the changing bag.

    I'd second your suggestion to stick to liquid concentrate chemicals. It's much easier unless you have shipping difficulties.

    Your list is pretty good except you'd want something to measure the hc110 with. A little nyquil/dayquil cup will do for small quantities of one-shot developer concentrate like hc110. I'd suggest using pyrocat-hd (liquid version). It's two part, so each liquid lasts forever on it's own till you mix it at developing time. You would use water stop bath with it, saving an additional chemical. tf4 or tf5 fixer is a liquid concentrate that makes a gallon that lasts a very large number of re-uses. Have a safe place to store your chemicals out of reach of kids and where it won't be mistaken for a beverage. I use wide mouth juice bottles for chemicals.

    I use clothespins to hang the film up to dry.
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Photoflo (or a competing product) should be your final chemical - not distilled water. Although many use distilled water to make up the working strength Photoflo solution.

    Definitely not Jetdry!

    If your room temperature is between 19C/66F and 24C/75F you just need to use room temperature water to mix everything, and then adjust your developing time accordingly. It doesn't take long to prepare a few liters of room temperature water.

    I use a 45ml graduate with some water in it to measure HC110. I add 6ml/roll of the HC110 syrup to the small graduate, and then dilute the resulting mix to the dilution I want (e.g. dilution E - 6ml syrup diluted to ~ 290 ml working solution).

    My larger graduates come from the kitchen section of the Dollar store, or are old darkroom supplies I've obtained through Craigslist.

    If you indicate where you are, there is a good chance there would be someone on APUG nearby who has some extras (I know I do).
     
  6. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    You don’t need a cassette opener, as when you rewind the film, listen and feel for it coming off the take up spool and then stop. In this way when you open the back of the camera some of the film leader will still be visible. You can then pull out about 6”, as you probably wasted this amount when loading the film into the camera. Cut the leader off and load the first 6” into the spiral in daylight. Thus making it easier to do the rest when in the bag.
     
  7. Huub

    Huub Member

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    Cliveh is right: much easier to load a film on a reel when you can fix the leader in the spiral by dayligt. When your camera doesn't have a manuel rewind option: there is a special tool made for getting the filmloader out of a cassette without destroying it.
    Then you will probably need something to store your nagtives into. I use pergamin paper sleeves that fit into a four ring binder, but there is a multitude of options here.
     
  8. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    go to Ilford's website, they have very good PDF's about what you need and how to do's
     
  9. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    Thanks!
    Forgot to add stop bath to the list


    I already have lots of archival sleeves from print file that I bought to store my dad's old negatives that he took over the years

    Clothes pin and hanger: Check

    What size(s) graduates do I need (at least 1L one to mix enough for my tank, right?) and how many will I need (one each for dev and fix?)?

    Should I put my fixer into a few small bottles and use 1 at a time til it runs out? Or just keep 1 large bottle and dump back into it?

    Also: just to check my math: HC 110 Dilution B (1:31) in a 600mL tank would be 18.8 mL HC-110 and 581.2mL water and that would go directly into the tank?

    I read somewhere some one actually used jetdry as a wetting agent (will spend the few $ on Photo flo)
    Also, I heard that photo flo ruins plastic reels?
     
  10. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I like to have extra graduates, so I buy them cheap, in quantities of 5.

    I mix 1.25 liter of working strength fixer at a time, and then re-use it until my calculations and tests indicate it is exhausted. My preference is to divide it into two equal batches, and then use each batch, one after another, for the clearing time.

    Your tank will indicate how much chemistry you need to cover the film sufficiently in order to ensure even development. Use that amount. I would be surprised if you will need 600 ml, unless you are shooting 120.

    Your dilution calculation is done correctly, but I doubt you will be able to measure the HC 110 that accurately, unless you use unnecessarily expensive equipment. If you do actually need 600 ml, 19 ml of syrup diluted to 600 ml in total should be fine. You may want to consider, however, using a higher dilution such as E (1+47 or 1+49 for simplicity) or H (1+63), in order to use longer times, and less syrup per roll.

    Photo-flo needs to be cleaned carefully from plastic reels, because otherwise it can gum them up. I and many others tend to take the film off the reels before it goes into the Photo-flo.
     
  11. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    fotoflo is harmless to plastic reels, one 1-pint bottle will last you about 5 years. maybe 10. Mine has. I use 1/4 capful per tank with 3 films.

    I use corning glass 1- and 2-cup measures -- and a 4-cup. They're glass, they wash, use them for dev or fix, wash again then you use them for cooking, 35 years and nobody's been poisoned.

    pour the fixer back into the 1-gallon bottle and use until it is expired. You know it is expired when it takes longer than 5 minutes for the milky look on your film to clear. When it does, dump the fixer out of the film container and into the sink, pour more in from the gallon, repeat until the film is clear (it will) and then dump the rest and mix new.
     
  12. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    You only "need" one graduate to hold enough developer to fill the tank.

    Soon as I fill the tank with developer and finish initial agitation, I rinse out my only 32-ounce graduate and start to fill it with water that I will add a few cc of stop bath to...

    But it wouldn't hurt to have two more, separate graduates for stop bath and fixer, so you don't have to juggle.

    I tend to put my stock developer and fixer bottles in a larger tub of water to get to temperature. The developer gets mixed 1:1 at the last minute, with running water that is already up to temperature.
     
  13. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I think it's a good idea to have only one.

    If you mix up developer, fixer and stop (if you use it) before you start then you have the potential to use them in the wrong order.

    If you mix the developer first then the stop whilst the developer is in the tank followed by the fixer whilst the stop is in the tank, you eliminate that possibility of error.


    Steve.
     
  14. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Wow, glad you stopped me before I made that mistake. No wonder I never pour the stop into the tanks first. It would have baffled me no end if I bought another beaker and suddenly started doing that all the time.
     
  15. derwent

    derwent Member

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    Until I got some film clips I used clothes pegs. Fiddly but worked.
    Before I got a change bag (actually a dark box but same idea) I used to go into the bedroom and close the curtains, turn off the hall light, prop up the blankets and reach under to load the film.
    Never had an issue but yes it was fiddly and a change bag is easier.

    For temp control I use a plastic tub and half fill with water just over 20c and put chems bottles in there.
    Add hot or cold to get it about right and after a while the chems are close enough.
    If they're slightly off I use Ilford's correction chart for my dev and adjust time accordingly but always get it within one or two degrees.
    The longer I do it the more gadgets I get such as extra grads and 1l jugs with lids for each chem, permanently marked with the type of chemical, fitted with lids so each can be made up and the jugs put in the tempering bath in advance, and now I have a plywood drying cabinet to cut down on dust (and bloody cats! They LOVE chewing up fresh negs!).
    Also I'm moving Into stainless tank and reels which are harder to load but easier to clean.
     
  16. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    What Clive says is true in terms of ease of loading the spiral the first few times, but IMHO it's well worth practicing doing the whole process in the dark and removing the film by dismantling the cassette. As it is, the film gets dragged through the light trap twice anyway on the way out and then back in, each time having the potential to cause tramlines/scratches if the trap has picked up any particles of crud. Taking the cassette apart avoids hauling the film through the cassette jaws a third time. For that reason, I always wind the film right back into the cassette if it is to be processed commercially (as with slides for me). Against all of this is the argument by some that the light trap is more effective when film protrudes through it....... !
    Best wishes,
    Steve
     
  17. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Subscriber

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    I keep my chemicals in the fridge and use the microwave to bring them to temperature, just being careful not to overheat them.
     
  18. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    To mix and store my stop, fix, and HCA, I use 1-liter plastic Datatainer bottles. They're rather inexpensive. I label the bottles AND the caps so I don't accidentally grab the wrong chemical.

    Another neat thing for measuring out very small quantities of HC-110 or Rodinal is a baby's medicine spoon. They look like plastic test tubes, with spoonlike ends, and can be found easily in drug stores. They hold about 10mL and are super easy to read with precision.
     
  19. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    Thanks guys!
    I have a dispensing syringe that I use for filling up fountain pen ink cartridges that is 30mL. I heard that HC110 is syrupy, so will it pour of of those kid medicine spoons completely? (i.e. is it thick enough that I won't get all of it into the water?)

    Also, I noticed that Kodak's fixer powder package makes a full gallon. So I dump the contents into a bottle, fill it to the brim and shake it up? Or should I do that in another container to ensure more even mixing?
     
  20. edibot42

    edibot42 Member

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    The syringe is the way to go. I use HC110 as well, and it was a real pain until I got one.

    As for the powder fixer, definitely mix it in a separate container. Don't dump it in all at once, add it slowly while stirring. On second thought, why use powdered fixer at all? Kodak (or Ilford) Rapid Fixer is easier to mix, doesn't have to be made all at once, and it's faster, which really helps when working with TMAX films.
     
  21. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    Thanks! One more quick question, with TMAX developer, it says that 1 Gallon is good for 48 rolls of 135-36, so does that I mean I should dilute the entire bottle and use it as is? If not, how do I tell if its exhausted?
     
  22. AgX

    AgX Member

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    -) rubber handgloves

    As, with decent working habit, they are only for accidental protection thin latex or preferably nitrile single-use gloves would be sufficient.
     
  23. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Don't dilute the entire bottle - mix up just what you need when you need it.

    Is this T-Max developer, or is it T-Max RS, and if it is T-Max RS, are you using it in a replenishment regime?
     
  24. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    I'd like to keep things as close to 1 shot as possible, so regular TMAX (I picked up some TMAX P3200 film and realized HC110 won't give me as much speed)

    Probably will just use it 1 shot
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2012