View Poll Results: what is the easiest BW film to develop for a beginner?
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Beginner Film Developer
I've been shooting film for years, but never developed the films by myself.
but now I'm eager to learn how to do it
I need to ask some questions here, regarding the chemicals needed.
1. what chemicals are the most important beside the developer itself (stop bath, fixer, hypo?). do I have to buy all of them at the beginning?
2. what are the best value for money chemicals (the brand, the type, etc) for beginner like me.
and for color films, can I use the same equipments as for BW ones?
I usually use Arista Premium 400, Acros 100, Lucky BW 100, Fuji Superia 400, and Kodak Gold 400.
I can't wait to experience the joy of film development
I'm interested in this as well. I'm starting serious film shooting and would like to develop my own negatives as well.
Tri-X, aka Arista Premium 400 is pretty forgiving to shoot and process. Tmax can be tricky at times but not too bad once you get a hang of it. But, asking which film and which developer is best is like asking which fruit or car is the best. It really depends on your preference and opinion.
Other than developers, nothing else is all that critical but you need to make sure they are fresh and active. In that sense, fixer is important. Using expired or bad fixer will leave you with film that'll stain badly in weeks or months. Really bad one will give you milky results.
You can do the materialistic processing with developer, fixer, and wash if you wish. But might as well start with the full process. It's not that much more.
My advise to you on economy is to forget economy. Chemicals are the least expensive part of this whole thing. You don't use all that much and the price difference in small quantity like this is minimal. I like Kodak. Ilford products are also excellent. I'd chose one based on availability and properties. For developers, I like D-76. Very standard. Very forgiving. Very good results. For fixer, I use Ilford Rapid Fixer. Quick and available.
I know nothing about Color or other films. I use Tri-X, Plus-X, Tmax 100 and Tmax 400. Tmax 400 is pretty much my standard film. Tri-X is another standard of mine. I use one or the other unless I have reasons to use anything else. (which is rare)
Most importantly, have fun. It's a very rewarding process.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
I have used T-max developer with no problems.
The only two chemicals you *must* have for b&w film developing are developer and fixer. I've processed film with just D-76 and Kodak fixer when in a hurry or if that was all I had, but I prefer to do the complete process. Hypo-clear especially is useful as it will shorten your film washing time. I've processed color film (E-6 and C-41) using the same metal tanks and reels I use for black and white, I just washed them off afterwards, didn't notice any issues later.
EDIT: And to answer the question about film - I voted for Tri-X (Arista Premium 400).
Last edited by rthomas; 02-09-2012 at 01:36 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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Developer, fixer and water wash are essential. Stop, hypo and wetting/washing agents are optional.
I recently developed my first roll of Delta 100. I used Ilford chemicals (ID-11 developer, Ilfostop, Rapid Fixer, but no hypo) at the temperatures, times, agitations and dilutions recommended in the data sheets (ID-11 at 1:1 dilution from stock for one-shot use). I used the Ilford wash sequence (three changes of water with 5 inversions, 10 inversions and 20 inversions). I didn't use any wetting agent in the final wash but hung the negative at a 45 degree angle to dry, so the water would run along the bottom (non-image) area of the strip - thanks to Roger Hicks for this suggestion. I don't see any streaking or drying marks on the neg.
It was simple, and I was very happy with the results. I just made sure that my temperatures, timings and dilutions were accurate, and used different measuring cylinders for the different chemicals to avoid cross-contamination. Like you I live in a tropical climate and found I needed to put the chemicals in the fridge for a while (stirring from time to time with the thermometer) to get them to 20C.
I'm not saying this is the ultimate process. I'm sure subtle improvements can be obtained from the different timings and more complex schemes that are discussed here on APUG. But as a baseline, the datasheet values certainly produced very usable results.
Last edited by andrew.roos; 02-09-2012 at 03:27 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Lucky has very thin anti-halation layer so it's tricky to tame. Highlights are easily blown out. Not an easy film.
In my experience, Ilford FP4+ is the most foregiving film. Very hard to get it wrong.
But from the list, Arista Premiun.
I started with T-Max 100 film in Kodak TMax developer and fixer, very easy to get photos and just follow the directions on the pack.
The film is pretty forgiving as well (can be pushed to 200 without changing anything really), fine grained and so on, imo a very good place to start if you have never done it before.
The most economical developers are imo Rodinal, HC-110 and Tetenal Ultrafin, they are long lasting concentrates which are usually used in a very diluted state, but they can require a little more research and care.
I always use water as stop bath, but if you want to be absolutely sure, you can use a dedicated stop bath chemical. (I believe Ilford paper stop bath can also be used with film, this stuff will last for a good while)
My two €'s ^^
Last edited by Helinophoto; 02-09-2012 at 03:41 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Well Ilford FP4 is the main film used in teaching dilm photography throughout the world. Go to any city or town where the Colleges and/or Uniniversities have darkrooms and you'll filnd Ilford films stocked nearby.
If you are hand processing in a small tank with inversion agitation, stop bath is way overrated. Use water.
Washing aid is unnecessary for film. You just need film developer, fixer and wetting agent.