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  1. #11
    David Goldstein's Avatar
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    Again, thanks to everyone for their thoughts. The next question is about temperatures during development. Ilford is pretty specific about development times based on temperature and dilution of the developer.

    I watched J Brunner's videos and I took away that temperature and time is pretty important - he did not get very specific about his developer other than it being a one shot. BTW, that was a great video series. :-)
    --
    David

  2. #12
    Worker 11811's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Goldstein View Post
    I watched J Brunner's videos and I took away that temperature and time is pretty important.
    Just about THE most important thing!
    Assuming you got the film into the can correctly and without exposing it to stray light, the only thing that is as or more important is using the correct chemicals, at the right dilutions and in the right order. (Develop / Stop / Fix / Rinse)

    Probably the best investment you can make for film developing is a good thermometer and a good timer.
    When developing black and white try to hold your temperatures to ±1º C. of the target temperature. That will give you a 2º swing to work inside of. (Yes, 2º is enough to make a noticeable difference.)
    If you look on the datasheets supplied by film manufacturers, their times are often listed in increments of 15 seconds. That means you can assume you have a 15 second window to work inside of when it comes to timing accuracy. (Remember, you have to account for the time it takes to pour the solutions into and out of the canister.)

    So... In my estimation, if you can hold your temperatures to ±1º and keep your times accurate to less than 15 seconds, you should be fine.

    Yes, time and temperature are important but, if you work efficiently in an organized manner and use quality tools you should have no problem keeping your process inside spec.
    Randy S.

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

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    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/

  3. #13
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    David,

    While Randy (Worker) is correct about small changes making a difference, in practice, the process taken as a whole, is incredibly forgiving. You could miss the time by 10-20% or temp by several degrees and still get very usable negatives. That amount of time or temp adjustment is used regularly to refine how a negative prints.

    If the negative ends up a bit under or overdeveloped, the paper grade (contrast) is simply adjusted to "fix" the problem. Adjusting contrast at the paper is normal and very often used even with "properly" developed negatives.

    This is not to suggest that you should be sloppy about your processes, just that it isn't worth worrying much about in the very beginning.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  4. #14
    Worker 11811's Avatar
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    I should probably clarify...

    A 2 deg. swing in temperature or a 15 sec. variance in time can cause a noticeable difference but not necessarily a detrimental difference. Sometimes, a desireable difference, even.

    Yes, photographers often vary their developing times and/or temperatures to achieve a desired result.

    My point was that, for your first couple-few rolls of film, do what the instructions say. When you get a feel for the process, then you can experiment with time, temperature or pH.

    You have to learn to walk before you can run a marathon.
    Randy S.

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

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    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/

  5. #15
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    I'm right where you are. I developed film when I was a teenager with a plastic spool, and when I was in college with steel spools. The last time was about 30 years ago. So I'm basically a total novice.

    I also got the 35 and 120 Hewes spools and the adorama tanks. When I took an old roll of practice film to try spooling, it went on easily and perfectly the first time (eyes open ), the 2nd time ( eyes closed) and the 3rd time ( in my changing bag. ). Just like riding a bicycle I thought... my hands seemed to know what to do from 30 years ago. I also practiced one last time just before I did it for real.

    So, the day before yesterday, I went to develop my first roll. Three things happened that I wasn't prepared for:

    1. I was using HP5+ and it "reverse curled" on me.... I got too much distance between the spool and my fingers holding the film, and it popped the curl the wrong way. I ended up messing up the spooling and the film was touching for some of the frames in the middle of the roll. This film was much harder to spool than the film I'd been practicing with... I think it would have been no problem if I'd been more careful, but I wasn't ready for how the film wanted to curl the wrong way. I think it will go OK next time now that I know what to be careful about.

    2. I was expecting my cold water to be too cold, and to add small amounts of warm water to bring it up to 20C. Well... my cold water was about 2 degrees too warm! I had to let my cold water run for a long time to get it below 20C. So getting all my chems to 20c took a longer than I was expecting. ( We're on a well and I use reverse osmosis filtered water to mix all the chems... the well water from the tap was for the tub to get all the temps right )

    3. My syringe for measuring the HC-110 syrup didn't fit through the small neck of the bottle I'm using to store it. I had to pour some out into a little paper cup in order to measure it. A rubber stopper with the right size hole for my syringe would be handy, but the paper cup method will work-- but now I know.

    Some things went better than I expected... I remember always having a few spills, but the adorama tanks pour really nicely and I don't think I spilled even one drop of anything during the whole process.

    I decided to use "Ilford agitation" and I started the timer as I poured the developer in, and started pouring it out 10 seconds before the end point. That all seemed fine... I think the point is to pick some approach and stick with it. I wrote down the times/temps/dilutions for future reference.

    The 25 or so negatives that weren't ruined look beautiful. I made a couple of proof prints yesterday and am looking forward to learning how to print them better with my enlarger setup.

    I'm sure I have a long way to go and a lot to learn, but it sure is fun. There is something about holding that print in your hand knowing that you did it all from beginning to end and it never went into a computer. I also think there is a neat symmetry with the light going through the camera lens onto the film, and then through the negative onto the paper -- not sure how to explain it, but there is a "balance" there that appeals to me.

    Have fun!
    Last edited by NedL; 09-16-2012 at 11:41 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #16
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    We've all been there Ned.One test I use to see if the film is threading properly in the stainless reel is as it is being reeled on every few rotations give the film a little push pull, the film should slide a little in the groove. If it doesn't slide the film is in a bind and the result is exactly what you describe, film touching and frames ruined. Another test only works for 36 frame rolls, you should run out of room on the reel very close to when you run out of film. If you have extra room on the reel or a lot of film tail left, you have a problem.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  7. #17
    NedL's Avatar
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    Yep... I know what you mean about the "loose feel" when it's in right. Sort of a slight backward pressure and you can feel it sliding easily in the tracks. I knew my HP5 was messed up somewhere in there, but I'd been fumbling with it for a while and I was afraid I'd mess it up even worse if I pulled it all out and started over. I'm not too worried... I just wasn't ready to be more careful with this film.. my old roll of "kodak gold" fooled me into thinking it would be easier. I'll be ready next time if the film wants to curl the "wrong way". Thanks!

  8. #18

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    Just follow the measurement ratios as specified and the specified times and you'll be fine. Don't forget to agitate as recommended (I do first 30 sec and 10 sec every 30 sec after.) Finally, if you're concerned about your water buy a bottle or two of distilled. Good luck!

  9. #19
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Control what you can as practically as you can. Holding water to +/- 1-degree C and holding times within 15 seconds... This isn't really hard.

    I agree with Mark Barendt, and I often say that you can be off by 15% and still have a perfectly printable negative.

    Controlling the variables tends to keep you within 5%, and when something goes awry... You still have a good chance of a successful shot. This means you approach 100% usable negatives in terms of technical qualities...

    The real problem to control is making the exposure occur at the right time in front of the right subject...

  10. #20
    michaelbsc's Avatar
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    Preparing to develop film for first time

    Like most are saying, it really isn't as hard or as overwhelming as it seems at first.

    Sure it's possible to screw it up, but if you're reasonably careful it's extremely unlikely.

    You're far more likely to screw up after about 40 rolls of film when you feel like you have it all licked and you don't label your containers well so you pour in the fixer first. (Three guesses how I know that!)

    Relax, and keep it in perspective that this isn't a job interview. Everybody here, and I mean literally everybody, is willing to help.

    Sacrifice a roll of film to figure out how to load the reel in the light. Try pouring water in and out of your tank so you know how the pouring is "really" going to go. Then measure the chemicals and go.

    if your negatives are a little hard print a little soft. If they are a little soft print a little hard.

    While it is true that superlative work can require exacting procedures, when you're just starting out this is a lot more forgiving than many activities. Blowing up a race car engine is real expensive.
    Michael Batchelor
    Industrial Informatics, Inc.
    www.industrialinformatics.com

    The camera catches light. The photographer catches life.

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