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  1. #1
    David Goldstein's Avatar
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    Preparing to develop film for first time

    Hi all,

    I have spent the last month reading threads throughout this forum while acquiring the bits and pieces to develop B&W film. It's funny, I have shot film since 1969, but never developed any. Better late than never I suppose.

    Anyway, I don't want to engage everyone in a long discussion on things that have perhaps been talked to death if there is a readily available link, but I am wanting to get clear in my mind about mixing my developer, (I bought Ifosol 3). I have read the Ilford datasheet and am wondering about a few things. Below is a cut and paste from the sheet...

    Developer dilution pH SG at 20°C/68°F
    ILFOSOL 3 1 + 9 9.75 – 9.85 1.005
    ILFOSOL 3 1 + 14 9.75 – 9.85 1.002

    My biggest initial question - How critical is precision of the pH reading to the posted development times for the two dilution ratios?

    Also,, I bought a Hanna pHep4 meter to take readings (along with the buffer solutions for calibrating the meter). I was wondering if there was any good sort of step by step for using the meter to check pH.
    --
    David

  2. #2

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    Most of us don't even bother with pH.

    Mix the stock solution per instructions using a reasonably accurate measuring device. Mix the working solution using a reasonably accurate measuring device.

    I don't use Ilfosol but when I dilute my stock solution, I just use a kitchen measuring cup. It may not be all that accurate but it really doesn't need to be. What's important is you do it the same way every time. I would imagine my measurements are off as much as 5 to 10%.

    Difference in dilution will affect your development time slightly which will affect contrast and density. Would you know say your film is a tad too dark or too light and just a tad too contrasty or not enough? Side by side comparison may tell it if you do that but in normal shooting, shooting variation is far greater than that.

    I'd say don't worry about it and just do it. You'd be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to get a reasonably good result - provided there were no major screw ups, like using fixer first and developer second.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  3. #3
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    The wild card that can mess things up for a fresh solution is your water. If your have normal city water you may be just fine. Well water has more variation.

    I take that worry away by using distilled water for all my chemicals. I use tap water for rinsing.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

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

  4. #4
    ROL
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    Distilled water. No worries.

    I can easily remember the first film I developed. What a feeling of accomplishment! Developing your own will give you the power to determine your own photographic destiny, with little commercial intervention. Next (for you): the Zone System!!

  5. #5
    MattKing's Avatar
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    David:

    Welcome to the wonderful world of film developing.

    I don't think I've ever encountered someone who bought a pH meter for use with their first development - that is impressive!

    As has been posted earlier, unless your water source is really challenging, you shouldn't have to worry about using the pH meter when you use commercially prepared photo chemistry. Most commercial chemistry is designed (with buffers?) to deal with the usual pH and other variations encountered by most users.

    With respect to your question about using the pH meter, I would suggest starting another thread for that purpose - if you use a title that is fairly specific, you are much more likely to receive replies from APUG members who have a lot of experience using pH meters in labs (of which there are a few).

    Who knows, your pH meter thread may end up on a number of "subscription" lists.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  6. #6
    Worker 11811's Avatar
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    Regardless of any other advice you get her or some other place, the most important thing to do is to go develop that film.

    We can tell you everything you need to know and a whole lot of stuff you probably don't even want to know but, until you put some film in the can and shake it up, you won't get the practical experience you need.

    You WILL screw something up at least once. That's the breaks. Everybody does it. I have screwed up and I will screw up again.
    The important thing is to learn from those mistakes.

    In a funny way, if you aren't making at least a few mistakes you aren't learning anything.

    Best advice: Just do it!

    Then come back, afterward, and show us what you did.
    Randy S.

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

    -----

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

  7. #7
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    Preparing to develop film for first time

    Always developer, stop, then fix! In that order only! good luck!

  8. #8

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    There is absolutely no reason why you need to measure the pH of this developer. I really don't know why Ilford bothers people by listing it. Processing your own BW is easy -- don't over think it. Enjoy.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  9. #9
    David Goldstein's Avatar
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    All,

    Thanks for the various replies so far. I do intend to start developing several rolls I shot just for the purpose of going through the process of development. I bought Hewes reels for 35mm and 120 film along with a stainless Adorama tank and lots of other bits.

    This forum has been really helpful so far from a pure reference perspective. I have read a lot of old threads that were really useful.

    I agree with the sentiment that it is time to start developing my test rolls. I will post my results and some scanned negatives for anyone to critique.
    --
    David

  10. #10
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Hi David Goldstein,

    It's fair to say few people use pH meters. I don't use one either, but I won't say it is irrelevant. It is relevant. pH is a variable you can easily measure. And by keeping notes you can keep a variable "in control". That's great. If you have a problem, and everyone has problems, you can check your notes to see if your pH was "wrong" that day. Not too many of us can verify that.

    For a specific example, I occasionally get pinholes in my negatives. When I do, the first thing I do is check the bellows and Grafmatics for dust.

    It would be cool to rule out whether my stop bath was too acid.

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