Which chemicals?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Andy K, Jul 26, 2004.

  1. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Having been a hobbyist photographer for many years I have now decided to take the plunge and start my own b+w developing. For the moment I will not be producing prints although this is planned for the future.
    I will be using a changing bag and daylight developing tank.

    My question is this-

    Are there any of you in the UK who can give me the basic information on which chemicals to buy? I have been reading 'Ilford Monochrome Darkroom Practice' by Jack H Coote, but the book assumes a familiarity with processing. I understand the procedure to process a negative, but which chemicals to buy is not explained anywhere, just general terms like 'developer', 'acid stop bath' and 'fixing solution'.

    I have been to the Jessops site, and they have an enormous and confusing list of chemicals available! Unfortunately no-one seems to sell a 'beginner's chemical kit'.

    I need a basic 'You need these chemicals' (brand names please!)

    Thank you in advance!
     
  2. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    Andy

    As a starting point you cannot go far wrong with the following

    Developer - Ilford ID11 comes in powdered form dead easy to mix. Alternatively Kodak D76
    Stop Bath - Ilford do an odourless indicator stop bath - not sure of the name but it is easily identifiable.
    Fixer - Ilford Hypam - dilute 1:4 for film.

    A useful site is www.silverprint.co.uk - who give a reasonable description of each processing chemical they sell.
     
  3. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    Should you prefer a one-shot developer, go for Agfa Rodinal. Cheap and keeps very well.

    For dev/film combinations: www.digitaltruth.com The Massive Development Chart.
    Good luck
    Hans
     
  4. 127

    127 Member

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    OK - I had posted some stuff sugguesting Jessops own brand as the easiest way to start.

    However following a darkroom emergency (out of paper again!), and another bad experience with their level of service ("Do you have XXX? No one buys it... Maybe I would if you stocked it!!") I'm going to remove that recommendation (they only had ONE box of fibre paper in the entire place).

    Easiest of easy... Call Nigel at Retro on 01869 240345. Tell him you're clueless, and what film you're using. Give him your credit card details, and the stuff you need will turn up in the post the next day. He'll be able to timings and dillutions over the phone, along with a lot of other good advice.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2004
  5. sparx

    sparx Member

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    I use ID-11 and Ilfosol S to develop. My stop is some generic film/paper stop in a red bottle and my fix is Ilford Hypan.
    I shoot mostly FP4 & HP5 and use Ilfosol most with these films but when i am pushing the HP5 or shooting Konica IR750 then its ID-11.
    As an aside, i have just shot a roll of Kodax TMax 400 dev'd in ID-11 and was quite disappointed with how grainy it was compared to HP5 or Delta.
     
  6. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    I prefer Rodinal over D76/ID11 as a beginner's developer, be cause mixing isn't that easy when you are a darkroom beginner. The price is, as said, good and it's keeps forever.
     
  7. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    For beginners' purposes I'd suggest:

    Developer : Ilfosol S - Liquid (easy to mix), available in 250ml bottles (recommended as it's cheaper and you don't have to worry about shelf life as much) from Jessops, Jacobs and pretty much everyone else.

    Stop bath : Ilford Ilfostop Pro or Jessops own (Econostop?) - Brand and type not critical. Widely available in the high street.

    Fixer : Ilford Hypam or Rapid Fixer (it's the same stuff) - It does the job, no complaints. Again, readily available over the counter. I'd get 500ml of this as it dilutes half as much as the Ilfosol.

    Wetting agent : Ilford Ilfotol or Kodak Photoflow. Optional, but useful for avoiding drying marks. Ilfotol is usually easier to find over here and usually cheaper. (Buy a small bottle, a little goes a very, very long way!)

    Film : I'd recommend Ilford FP4+ (ISO 125) or HP5+ (ISO 400). Both are very forgiving of errors in time, temperature and dilution.

    See the data sheets on Ilford's website, especially the washing process (but note that Les McLean extends the number of wash cycles over and above Ilford's pattern).

    All the best,

    Frank
     
  8. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    For someone just starting a darkroom I always advise using liquid chemistry to begin with. Easy to use, just dilute, no excessive storage required after mixing a stock solution from a powder. Ilford is probably the best to start out with for film and paper developer and rapid fix. Stop bath you can use Kodak.

    As someone else pointed out Rodinal is an excellent developer to begin with, concentrated, lasts for ever and about a million posts about using it on the web.
     
  9. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Hi Andy!

    You are talking about film developing, right? I think it might depend on what film you shoot. I shoot Ilford Delta ISO 100 and I use:

    * Ilfosol-s liquid (because it is good for fine grain)
    * water stop bath (because water is cheap and is fine for film stop bath)
    * Ilford Rapid Fixer (because...well, because that's what I bought!) :D
    * I do my final rinse in distilled water (2x)...seems to work better that photo-flo for me

    I have had great results with these! Hope this helps!
    BTW - I do use an actual stop bath when I develop prints, bt not when I develop film. Everything I've read says it is not necessary.

    Jeanette
     
  10. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Thank you! Such a large response and so quickly! I like APUG!! :smile:

    The two films I am currently using are-

    Jessops pan400sx and Ilford FP4 plus 125.

    Thanks again everyone!
     
  11. matthew

    matthew Member

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    I hate mixing powder, but if I shoot smaller than 4x5 I still use D-76/ID-11. Its cheap and readily available. I tossed the stop bath a long time ago. I just use water. Some people say you need it, others don't. I have found I don't and its one less chem. to keep in stock. I prefer rapid fixer (ilford or arista)...I get a bit impatient inverting my tank for more that 5 or 6 minutes.
     
  12. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    Andy,

    I would suggest that you consider using Rodinal as a film developer, it is relatively cheap, it's an excellent developer and it's liquid and it lasts forever. As you are at the beginning of your photographic journey you are not likely to be shooting huge amounts of film and other developers do go off if stored for too long. Use plain ordinary water as a stop bath for both film and prints, I've done so for years and have experienced no problems whatsoever. Ilford or Fotospeed fixer is OK. You may want to call Fotospeed at 01249 714555 and ask for their price list they do some good chemistry that I use regularly. Silverprint are also worth looking at although they can be expensive for some products.

    Don't purchase anything from Jessops, they tell you they are the cheapest but the Jessops brand stuff they sell is junk, so it's not that cheap in the long run. I know this because I've visited their warehouse in Leicester and talked to the purchasing director about their policy and I've seen the specs for their chemistry and they use the minimum raw chemicals possible.