So a brief update, I have discovered that a mate has a darkroom that he wants to get rid however I think I will just see if I can get a developing tank off him to make sure I am prepared to go all in with b+w developing.
So I had a brief look in vanbar and I was thinking about which developer to get; I think I would prefer I liquid developer that keeps for at least 6 months as I will be going overseas at the end of the year. So I think that has left me with a choice between adonal (i think this is rodinal) and ilford dd-x. Is any of these better for a beginner? I will mostly be shooting at iso 400 I have a couple of rolls of hp5, neopan and tri-x, although I might consider pushing the film for low light shots to something like 1600.
I picked up the Eurogon Dichroic 35mm -> 4x5" colour enlarger with stabiliser, inserts, ANR glass, neg carriers, light mixers, everything apart from lenses for $60 off ebay.
Adox Adonal is Rodinal, I picked up 3 bottles of it on monday from Vanbar that I had on back order.
It's very good for neopan and Tri-X, and Tri-X @ 1600. HP5+ I don't think is crash hot in it.
I've also gotten back onto Xtol and like it again, that's a powder you mix into a developer, 5L bag, mix and separate into 5 litre containers, and just use it replenished, should last.
What do you want out of your developer? Ilford call DD-X a full-speed fine grain developer, which would be more ideal for 400 speed films and pushing technically.
There's also tetenal Emofin at Vanbar, which is one of the fine grain full speed developers (along side Xtol (powder), DD-X (liquid concentrate), Microphen (powder) etc etc, it's a powder, but unlike the others it's a split bath developer etc.
Depends on what you want
Last edited by Athiril; 06-28-2011 at 10:48 PM. Click to view previous post history.
All the developers work very well and the differences between them are subtle. They all have pros and cons and you'll need to try a few of them to get some idea of which one you like (i.e. which one best executes what you want out of your final image), then stick with just one or two and get to know them really well. I've settled on XTOL and Rodinal myself but I could probably get by with just one of those and I'll happily use D76 (at 1+3 for no solvent action) if it's laying around.
Originally Posted by Green_Blue
I would recommend trying Rodinal, D76 (ID11 is practically identical) and XTOL. Rodinal keeps practically forever as concentrate and the powder developers likewise if they remain as powders. D76 stock in full, properly sealed PETE (softdrink) bottles will last for a year or more. XTOL, a few months, so perhaps try that once you get back and your D76 has run out. There are many others to choose from and they all have some special benefit (better speed, "finer" grain - usually means more solvent action and softer images, longer life, foolproof processing times, whatever); it's up to you whether any of these is worth it over a general-purpose developer.
If you're buying Rodinal from Vanbar, beware that they generally don't actually have it because it's kind of hard to get hold of now; you usually have to preorder and wait a few months until they get a batch in.
DD-X is an excellent general developer and works well with a wide range of film speeds. I would choose it in preference to Rodinal for 400 speed films, but DD-X does often tend to be a bit pricey...
Originally Posted by Green_Blue
Thanks for the advice guys, I have come up with a list of the chemicals I will be buying from vanbar (if they have stock) on Friday. I picked liquid developers because although I'm sure it would be straight forward to mix powder developers I thought I would just minimise the amount of things I could stuff up. Also I do intended to give push processing ago and from what you guys have said either these developers should be able to push film up to 1600iso.
Developer - either rodinal or dd-x 1L
Kodak stop bath 473ml
Ilford rapid fixer 500ml
Kodak photoflo 473ml
Would it be better to get all the chemicals from the same company or are they basically the same thing? Also would the quantities I'm getting be enough to go through 30 rolls of film?
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You can mix and match suppliers within a B&W process freely.
Don't bother buying stop bath, just use 3 changes of water with vigorous agitation. Photoflo may last you 500 rolls. Put one drop in with your dev too to help prevent bubbles on the reel and use about 1/500 dilution (depending on water hardness) for your final rinse.
If you want to push, Rodinal is in general bad for that unless you do semi-stand. I recommend not doing that until you've done at least 20-50 rolls with normal once-a-minute agitation and have everything well under control; if you need to push in the meantime, use a speed-increasing dev (xtol, ddx) and longer processing times.
Quantities...1L of fixer mixed up to 5L of working strength (make 1L at a time though) will do about 100-120 rolls if you're careful and do 2-bath fixing; datasheet. DDX I don't know the capacity but you'll find datasheets by googling. Rodinal you use about 10mL per roll; 6mL is possible but the highlights suffer. LC-29 is another easy liquid option, uses about 10mL per 35mm roll.
Go to your local pharmacy and get a few 5mL and 10mL syringes for measuring the liquid concentrates; should be about 50c each. 10mL is more convenient but won't fit into some bottles.
The trick they don't tell you for mark-free drying is to peg the film at each end at about 30 deg from vertical so the drips run down the edge of the roll instead of running halfway down the face of the film and leaving a mark in the middle.
Last edited by polyglot; 06-29-2011 at 09:50 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Ok so I have finally got some of the equipment. A friend has given my LPL 66-SII enlarger unfortunately the astron lens seems to have a bit of fungus and haze but I haven't been able to test it out to see how it works yet. However since at this stage I am only going to be doing 35mm what would be a good lens to get? I know that it is generally recommended to get 50mm but some people say to get a longer lens and to be honest I have no idea why! The max enlargement of this enlarger is x12 if that is important, I think the max size I would consider printing would be 11x14.
Although all this wet printing stuff I will be leaving on the side for now because I will practice a bit with the developing of negatives first.
In regards to developing I have a patterson system 4 which is 290mL, the chemicals I have got are rodinal, ilford stop bath, ilford rapid fixer. I haven't got any beakers or measuring cylinders yet but I thought maybe I should do some preliminary calculations to see what I would need.
I was thinking of getting 3 500mL beakers to store the developer, stop bath and fixer. In order to measure the rodinal I would get a 10mL pipette, for the stop bath a 50mL measuring cylinder and for the fixer a 50mL measuring cylinder.
I made some calculations for developing one 35mm tank. I thought instead of making amounts for 290mL it would be best to dilute for 300mL just in case.
Developer - rodinal 1:50 so 6mL rodinal and 294mL water
Stop Bath - ilfostop 1+19 so 15mL stop and 285mL water
Fixer- rapid fixer 1+9 so 30mL fixer and 270mL water
Have a made these calculations right? Also do you think that practically speaking just being able to develop one roll at a time will get frustrating and I well eventually have to get a bigger developing tank and therefore I should invest in larger beakers and measuring cylinders?
Try and unscrew the lens elements in that enlarger lens. Sometimes it's just a matter of twisting one end. You may find you're able to to clear that fungus.
Also, in my kitchen, I use rapid fixer 1:4 just to be safe.
Yes, definitely do the 300mL thing. I just use a 500mL pyrex kitchen jug for measuring water out, it's close enough and since I always use the same jug, it's consistent. Cheapest place to buy measuring stuff is the kitchen section of Kmart/Target/Big-W I think; just a single 500mL container with markings every 50mL will be OK. Another option is a $20 5kg/1g electronic scale off eBay and keep in mind that water is 1g=1mL; fixer is a bit denser.
Rapid Fixer must be at 1+4 dilution for film, not 1+9. The higher dilution is an optional thing for RC paper only; not recommended for film or FB paper. The usual approach is to store the working-strength rapid fixer in PETE softdrink bottles (1.25L coke bottle), very clearly labelled with permanent marker. The economy you get from it is by reuse anyway, so there's no benefit to diluting it further. You get about 20 rolls from 1L of working strength.
Don't pour fixer out of that coke bottle until AFTER your film is developed, which will help prevent the possibility of you putting in fixer before developer, which will destroy your images. What I do to prevent chemical-ordering stuffups is:
- mix up dev in jug
- stop with water (you don't need Ilfostop but it will work fine)
- pour fixer straight from coke bottle to paterson tank, fix film
- rinse the jug out
- pour fixer into jug (it's big and you won't spill any)
- wash film
- pour fixer back into coke bottle
- wash the jug really thoroughly before next use as the tiniest fixer contamination will ruin the next developer put in there
Likewise for fixer, you reuse the stop. Mix up about 1L (50mL+950mL) and keep reusing it until it changes colour.
If you need a new enlargement lens, I have a good (can't remember the brand, perhaps a Rodagon or similar) 50/2.8 for sale since I don't do 35mm anymore; you can have it for $30. People recommend using a longer enlargment lens designed for larger formats because that means you're using only the central sweet-spot but that's not necessary unless you have a crappy 4-element lens and it reduces the max enlargement you can make: a longer enlargement lens means a smaller image on the paper. It's better just to buy a good 6-element lens of the right length.
Multiple rolls at once is good, but consider that many people have just the 2-roll tank and put one roll of 120 in it. In my case (6x7), that means just 10 frames at a go, and it's generally OK but it sucks when you come back from a big holiday with 30+ rolls. Either way, you'll probably spend more time making contact sheets or scanning, so development time shouldn't be a huge issue for you.
I took so long to reply that I've edited my reply to remove all the repeatitive stuff I would have said after polyglot's post! So what's left that may be of interest...
50mm. The major effect a different focal length would have is the height the enlarger head needs to be to make a given print size. A longer lens comes in handy when making very small prints (eg postcards) as it gives more room under the enlarger lens to get your focus scope in or room to do dodging and burning.
Originally Posted by Green_Blue
no. However there are times you might want to developer two rolls at once (if you have a two roll tank) so probably best to plan for that (get 1L beakers, bottles). A good source of cheap bottles with wide necks good for pouring back into without having to use a funnel is glass fruit juice bottles available from the supermarket.
Also do you think that practically speaking just being able to develop one roll at a time will get frustrating and I well eventually have to get a bigger developing tank and therefore I should invest in larger beakers and measuring cylinders?
Whereabouts in Melb are you. We have a Traditional Printmakers Group at the Melbourne Camera Club (clubrooms ar in Sth Melb.. look it up on the web) that you might be interested in. One of the guys runs a Introduction to B&W course over a few weeks on a fairly regular basis. Otherwise, the group meets once a month and you can listen to us wise old (also not so old) print makers and query their long forgotten knowledge. Guests are welcome and if you decide it's for you, membership to the MCC (need to be a member to regularly go) is pretty cheap.