Advice for developing Holga negs
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
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
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!
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.
My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus
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)
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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.
You could always try stand development in Rodinal as an experiment. I think the approach is rather complimentary to the camera itself.
Diafine works really well with Holgas, as it is a compensating developer and will adjust for over / underexposure.
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.
Metering? With a Holga? Good gracious me!
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!!!