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Gritycityflicks
11-30-2009, 06:07 AM
Hi, my name is Ben and im new on the forum. I hope this is posted in the right place?

I recently got back into my photography with the aim of developing my own film. After reading, reading and reading some more I feel ready to bite the bullet and have a go. I have a pile of b&w 35mm film that I have shot on my slr but I feel those films are a bit too important for starting out with. I dont fancy wrecking what I beleive to be a lot of good shots.
I also own a Holga that I always carry in my bag at work ( I work as a courier in London). My job gets me all over the city, into all kinds of places and I get to spend my days watching the world go on around me. Its great for getting interesting shots. I figure that as Holga photography is hit and miss, I will start my developing experience with my growing pile of b&w 120 films. As I dont know if the shots even exposed/composed correctly I figure wrecking them in the developing stage would be less painful lol

Right, that brings me to my question (finally)
Dose anyone have any advice or tips for developing film that was shot on a Holga ie. maybe badly exposed. Should I develop for normal or high contrast times, more or less agitation, different temp and that kinda stuff. Basically, is there anything I can do to help get usable negs at the end. Or should I just follow the normal recommended instructions?

Obviously I will be taking notes along the way to come up with my own ideas on what helps, but a point in the right direction is always a good start.

For this start I will be using FD10 with HP5/Neopan 400 120 film in a Paterson tank.

Thanks for any help in advance and hello again to the forum ;)

ann
11-30-2009, 06:22 AM
unless you have kept track of the lighting conditions for each roll it will be a lottery. Just pick one and see what happens using the times recommended by the maker of the developer/film.

i have several students who use their holgas in different types of conditions, but they have various bodies for different lighting conditions and develop as necessary. When doing this one must devote the whole roll to the same/similar conditions.


just have fun, developing negatives is really very easy, check out ILford's website for specific directions, be consistent in your process, and go for broke :)

Dan Henderson
11-30-2009, 06:35 AM
it sounds to me like you are including too many variables when beginning to develop your own film. If you have no idea whether the film was exposed properly (which you seldom do with a Holga), how can you evaluate your development? I recommend you shoot a roll of film that you don't care so much about with your SLR, and develop it with a standard developer, and evaluate the results. When you get basic developing down then you can explore other films, developers, and cameras. Good Luck, and as Ann said, just have fun!

mooseontheloose
11-30-2009, 08:14 AM
I find that HP5+ in a Holga is my go-to combination for overcast days. If it's a little bright I'll put a filter on to cut the light a bit. For sunny situations I have a second Holga with 100 speed film in it. I imagine that in London the 400 will be more appropriate for you. If you have a light meter -- your slr will do -- it's easy enough to see if you have enough (or too much) light for you Holga/film speed. The Holga has an aperture of around f/11 and a shutter speed of around 1/100 -- once you measure the light a few times in similar situations you'll know if you're good to go or not. I develop in standard d-76 1+1 for the recommended times and the negs come out just fine. The film has enough latitude to useable if you are over or under a stop or two.

Gritycityflicks
11-30-2009, 12:54 PM
wow thanks for the speedy replys :)

ann- yea i didnt get round to keeping track of what films I used for what. Had considered it but shooting while I was working ended up in me forgeting to write bits down and before I knew it I was lost in rolls. Its all daytime and outdoor stuff so hopefully similarish levels. As you say, il grab a roll and see what happens (and have fun, cant wait)

Dan- It had crossed my mind that I would not be able to tell if the film was wrongly exposed in the camera or wrongly developed. I was more just wondering if there any little things I should do as standard when developing that kind of stuff. I think I will go and run off a roll or two on the SLR as you say and process them to get a better idea of how right or wrong im doing it.

moose- I chose HP5+ because as you say, it gives a bit of latitude to play with. I used to shoot FP4 on my SLR but London is not always super sunny making my shutter speeds quite slow. Plus I like to use red/orange filters alot of the time which made the speeds wayyyyyyy to low. Iv just added a filter ring on to the Holga so during the day I do use the orange alot, nicer look and controls the light a little. What you were saying about metering with the SLR is a good idea and when out shooting with the Holga I do try to think of the readings I have got in the past (I used to carry the SLR at work, bit too heavy tho)

winger
11-30-2009, 04:34 PM
When I develop film from my Holga, I just do it at the "book value". Basically, I just look up the film and developer combo on either Ilford's site or the massive developing chart. I figure that trying to adjust the developing for rolls shot in an extremely variable camera will be an exercise in futility. I pretty much just cross my fingers and go for it. Using HP-5 or Tri-X seems to work pretty well because both allow for some exposure screw-up anyway.

viridari
11-30-2009, 08:33 PM
You could always try stand development in Rodinal as an experiment. I think the approach is rather complimentary to the camera itself.

iamzip
11-30-2009, 09:05 PM
Diafine works really well with Holgas, as it is a compensating developer and will adjust for over / underexposure.

Rolleiflexible
12-01-2009, 12:09 AM
Load Tri-X and process in Diafine. Diafine
doesn't care about exposure with Tri-X,
so long as you get some light on the
negative. It's a bit flat for my taste
BUT with a Holga might be a virtue.

Shangheye
12-01-2009, 01:15 AM
Metering? With a Holga? Good gracious me! :D

Seriously, if you are shooting black and white and the film loaded is ISO400, you can not go wrong. Unless you end up in doors (in which case use Bulb and flash), just develop normally. A slightly thick (over exposed neg will be fine if you get the filter wrong...if you are inclined to use them).

A Holga is meant to take the stress away from worrying about exposure and allow you to get creative...and if it doesn't work out...shoot again.

My advice is just load it with the HP5 and develop normally...as a guide Holga shutter speed is 1/100, the aperture is actually f13 (ignore the sunny and cloudey symbol...they are only there for mocking you). That means at ISO400 the effective exposure will cover you for shade conditions at 1/100s. i.e. you can't screw up...and if you do, it will be FUN!!! :p

Rgds, Kal

Gritycityflicks
12-01-2009, 02:29 AM
Well, all the advice points towards were I thought it would. Just develop the buggers and see what u get lol. Il bear in mind the Diafine if my results are constantly disapointing.

On a slight tangent, Kal- what u were saying about the holga aperture settings not making a difference. When I first discovered Holgas (not that long ago to be honest) I read all I could find on them and kept hearing about this pointless aperture switch that didnt work. It sounded like they hadnt finished manufacturing the cameras properly. The arm that swings into place between the the lense aperture and the film had a larger (square?) hole in it. Therefore it would not make any difference to the light getting in. I bought my holga very recently, brand new from Chine (lovely ebay) and it seems like they have finished the cameras this time round. The hole in the aperture arm is SMALLER (and round) than the main hole (the one closest to the lense). Am I wrong in thinking that this should actualy work now? If you want a smaller aperture u just flick the switch, the arm swings into place and limits the level of light reaching the film. Anyway, thought Id just chuck that question out there while were here. Havent found any info on "new generation working holgas" anywere

Mac064
12-01-2009, 04:11 AM
I very much appreciate and advocate the 'less technical less worry' approach to Holga work. I have to say that returning to photography after a long layoff, the Holga is one of my favourite cameras and in the last 18 months, some of my personal best shots have been taken with my Holga.

All I do is load it with HP5+ (or in really low light Delta 3200 rating for development at 1600) and shoot away with little real consideration to exposure ratings. The quirks of the camera and the latitude of the film really more than compensate for anything more technical. Very ocassionally on a sunny day I rate HP5+ 400 at 100 or 200 in development but normally I simply develop at 400 (especially as I often have shots in lower and bright light on the same roll of film). I also am bad at recording on a film what was on it so I usually find myself simply developing at 400 weeks later.

I usually develop in Rodinal 1:50 with the usual agitation and fix for 4 mins and it seems to work for me.

Obviously there is a lot of hit and miss with the Holga but that really is the fun of the camera and it is amazing what you can retrieve from the thinnest or darkest of negatives.

As Kal and others say, the Holga is great fun but you will be amazed what really great shots you can achieve. The 'tag toy' camera does it no justice at all, you can get really surprisingly high quality shots that will be unique to your camera.

Good luck,

2F/2F
12-01-2009, 04:23 AM
For b/w, I suggest starting with manufacturer's recommended development time for the film and developer that you are using, and printing on variable contrast paper. Holgas are probably about '100 at f/8 or so, like most toy cameras. You could do quite fine with Plus-X or FP4 on a sunny clear day. 400 will work too, but be a bit thick...definitely printable, however. Ilford XP2 is a great option for Holgas, because it is b/w, but has the latitude and range of color neg film. Try to find it expired on E-Bay, as it can get expensive for a toy camera.

As for exposure, your film speed is the most control you have over that. 400 or 800 color neg is a decent all-around bet that covers a variety of lighting conditions. It will overexpose several stops, but be printable on a clear and sunny day, and will also give you a printable exposure in the shade. Less-than-sunny days bring the overexposure on these films down into a more normal range.

I find that gratuitous overexposure onto negative film (or cross-processed E-6 film) gives me the most "hits" with a Holga. You can recover from overexposure fairly easily, especially with a funky Holga picture...but underexposure will very easily kill a picture's chances at being printed.

Gritycityflicks
12-01-2009, 05:57 AM
Yea, I was thinking it is better to be overexposed than under, hence going for the HP5+. Using FP4 Id come out underexposed more times than over. Dont think id really use XP2 though due to it needing C-41 processing (unless im getting confused). The cheapest place I know still charges 5/6 pounds to develop just the negs, no printing. With a new baby in our house, even thats out of my price range lol. I got a few colour rolls developed there but as I rarely shoot colour, I can afford it.

I agree to keeping the Holga side of photography nice and simple and Im loving it. Its like when you were a kid with a cheap point and shoot 35mm compac. See something, shoot it ;) I just like to give a quick thought as to how my SLR would meter in a situation, that way I dont waste shots on something compleply under or over exposed.

markbarendt
12-01-2009, 06:22 AM
Dont think id really use XP2 though due to it needing C-41 processing (unless im getting confused). The cheapest place I know still charges 5/6 pounds to develop just the negs, no printing.

If you already have the stuff to develop B&W doing C-41 and RA-4 yourself isn't that tough or expensive and RA-4 paper is cheap.

What can be daunting, until you do it, is temperature control for the film and working in total darkness for the prints.

Get over those two hurdles and you can get fun stuff like this cheap. http://www.apug.org/gallery1/showimage.php?i=48266&catid=newimages My first ever, color contact sheet.


I agree to keeping the Holga side of photography nice and simple and Im loving it. Its like when you were a kid with a cheap point and shoot 35mm compac. See something, shoot it ;) I just like to give a quick thought as to how my SLR would meter in a situation, that way I dont waste shots on something compleply under or over exposed.

Beyond the point of thinking about the ISO when I load my Holga for a subject, I don't think about exposure.

I do though try to think about framing and I'm trying to shoot one one-subject-rolls so that the contact sheets make sense and so light leaks during storage on my front seat don't ruin stuff I've already done.

Shangheye
12-01-2009, 06:53 PM
On a slight tangent, Kal- what u were saying about the holga aperture settings not making a difference. When I first discovered Holgas (not that long ago to be honest) I read all I could find on them and kept hearing about this pointless aperture switch that didnt work. It sounded like they hadnt finished manufacturing the cameras properly. The arm that swings into place between the the lense aperture and the film had a larger (square?) hole in it. Therefore it would not make any difference to the light getting in. I bought my holga very recently, brand new from Chine (lovely ebay) and it seems like they have finished the cameras this time round. The hole in the aperture arm is SMALLER (and round) than the main hole (the one closest to the lense). Am I wrong in thinking that this should actualy work now? If you want a smaller aperture u just flick the switch, the arm swings into place and limits the level of light reaching the film. Anyway, thought Id just chuck that question out there while were here. Havent found any info on "new generation working holgas" anywere

Well I heard of this rumour too, but I found it complicated my decisions when shooting :p....stick it on cloudy and forget about it....K

markbarendt
12-01-2009, 08:40 PM
I do as Kal also, cloudy period.