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  1. #1

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    What equipment do I need to develop 35mm B&W film (besides the chemicals and film?)

    Hi guys, I've finally decided to get some B&W processing done to save $$$ and save my self from scratched negatives.

    I've read a multitude of tutorials, but I'm not sure what beakers, grads, syringes, etc that I will need.

    Besides Dev/Fixer/PhotoFlo (Jetdry?)


    I KNOW I will need

    1. Dev. Tank
    2. Reels
    3. Changing Bag
    4. Something to pry open a 35mm cartridge
    5. Distilled Water for the final rinse
    6. Sink to pour liquids out into
    7. Thermometer

    I plan on starting with HC110 (I figured that since I can barely make myself a hot chocolate from powder without having clumps on the bottom, I should play with powders later), so I will need small glass vials to store it in.

    First: what do I need to get my developer up to temperature?
    Second: what size graduates will I need to mix up my fixer?
    Third: What size graduates will I need to measure out the necessary amounts of developer/fixer during development?

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    You may add to your list film hanging clips. You could also use spring loaded clips that you can weigh down further.

    You have fixer, I presume. Some hypo-clearing agent will shorten wash times, and some wetting agent will help prevent drying streaks.

    For measuring, I use a 1 liter kitchen jug with 50 ml interval markings for the water, and a 45 ml graduate for the concentrate. You could as easily use a syringe for the concentrate. HC-110 at dilution H (twice B) is what I normally use. I use it as single-shot developer, but you may also go with multiple uses of lower dilutions. In that case, the typical 500 ml or 1 liter coke bottle makes a good enough storage bottle.

    It is easier to heat developer up than cooling it down. For the latter I use ice packs that I immerse in the developer until the temperature is correct. You could also use those plastic "ice cubes" that one gets for children's cooldrinks. It is essentially a plastic capsule containing water, which one re-freezes after use. Of course, once the developer is mixed, you cannot add ice directly as it will dilute the developer.

    Hope this helps.

    Regards

  3. #3

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    Black and white developers work at 20C, room temperature. You can adjust the development time for any temperature between about 18C and 24C. The other chemicals are not temperature critical and will work anywhere in this range. So you do not need any special equipment or techniques to get your chemicals to the proper temperature. Most developing tanks require 500 ml of chemicals. Ordinary kitchen measuring cups - those with markings on the side - are accurate enough for developing film. You can order darkroom graduates of appropriate sizes from a photo supply store if you want. I would suggest a one litre size and a 100 or 125ml size for small quantities of chemicals that you want to dilute.

    An additional consideration in your planning is to determine where and how you will hang the film to dry. (You can dry film on the reel, but it is a long and uncertain process.) You need a dust free spot, with about 5 feet (about 1.5 m) of vertical space. I strung a clothesline in my darkroom. A wire hanger could be pressed into service. You will also need some clips to hold one end of the film on the line and to weight the other end. Wooden clothespins work well, but so do other things.

  4. #4
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    A normal bottle opener will open a 35mm film can real easily. I usually use the edge of scissors. A timer is kinda important; There's an app for that, or you can get a cheap digital kitchen timer for a couple of dollars. If you have a room with no windows and can wait till night, you can skip the changing bag.

    I'd second your suggestion to stick to liquid concentrate chemicals. It's much easier unless you have shipping difficulties.

    Your list is pretty good except you'd want something to measure the hc110 with. A little nyquil/dayquil cup will do for small quantities of one-shot developer concentrate like hc110. I'd suggest using pyrocat-hd (liquid version). It's two part, so each liquid lasts forever on it's own till you mix it at developing time. You would use water stop bath with it, saving an additional chemical. tf4 or tf5 fixer is a liquid concentrate that makes a gallon that lasts a very large number of re-uses. Have a safe place to store your chemicals out of reach of kids and where it won't be mistaken for a beverage. I use wide mouth juice bottles for chemicals.

    I use clothespins to hang the film up to dry.

  5. #5
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Photoflo (or a competing product) should be your final chemical - not distilled water. Although many use distilled water to make up the working strength Photoflo solution.

    Definitely not Jetdry!

    If your room temperature is between 19C/66F and 24C/75F you just need to use room temperature water to mix everything, and then adjust your developing time accordingly. It doesn't take long to prepare a few liters of room temperature water.

    I use a 45ml graduate with some water in it to measure HC110. I add 6ml/roll of the HC110 syrup to the small graduate, and then dilute the resulting mix to the dilution I want (e.g. dilution E - 6ml syrup diluted to ~ 290 ml working solution).

    My larger graduates come from the kitchen section of the Dollar store, or are old darkroom supplies I've obtained through Craigslist.

    If you indicate where you are, there is a good chance there would be someone on APUG nearby who has some extras (I know I do).
    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
    cliveh's Avatar
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    You don’t need a cassette opener, as when you rewind the film, listen and feel for it coming off the take up spool and then stop. In this way when you open the back of the camera some of the film leader will still be visible. You can then pull out about 6”, as you probably wasted this amount when loading the film into the camera. Cut the leader off and load the first 6” into the spiral in daylight. Thus making it easier to do the rest when in the bag.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  7. #7

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    Cliveh is right: much easier to load a film on a reel when you can fix the leader in the spiral by dayligt. When your camera doesn't have a manuel rewind option: there is a special tool made for getting the filmloader out of a cassette without destroying it.
    Then you will probably need something to store your nagtives into. I use pergamin paper sleeves that fit into a four ring binder, but there is a multitude of options here.

  8. #8
    ann
    ann is offline

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    go to Ilford's website, they have very good PDF's about what you need and how to do's
    http://www.aclancyphotography.com

  9. #9

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    Thanks!
    Forgot to add stop bath to the list


    I already have lots of archival sleeves from print file that I bought to store my dad's old negatives that he took over the years

    Clothes pin and hanger: Check

    What size(s) graduates do I need (at least 1L one to mix enough for my tank, right?) and how many will I need (one each for dev and fix?)?

    Should I put my fixer into a few small bottles and use 1 at a time til it runs out? Or just keep 1 large bottle and dump back into it?

    Also: just to check my math: HC 110 Dilution B (1:31) in a 600mL tank would be 18.8 mL HC-110 and 581.2mL water and that would go directly into the tank?

    I read somewhere some one actually used jetdry as a wetting agent (will spend the few $ on Photo flo)
    Also, I heard that photo flo ruins plastic reels?

  10. #10
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I like to have extra graduates, so I buy them cheap, in quantities of 5.

    I mix 1.25 liter of working strength fixer at a time, and then re-use it until my calculations and tests indicate it is exhausted. My preference is to divide it into two equal batches, and then use each batch, one after another, for the clearing time.

    Your tank will indicate how much chemistry you need to cover the film sufficiently in order to ensure even development. Use that amount. I would be surprised if you will need 600 ml, unless you are shooting 120.

    Your dilution calculation is done correctly, but I doubt you will be able to measure the HC 110 that accurately, unless you use unnecessarily expensive equipment. If you do actually need 600 ml, 19 ml of syrup diluted to 600 ml in total should be fine. You may want to consider, however, using a higher dilution such as E (1+47 or 1+49 for simplicity) or H (1+63), in order to use longer times, and less syrup per roll.

    Photo-flo needs to be cleaned carefully from plastic reels, because otherwise it can gum them up. I and many others tend to take the film off the reels before it goes into the Photo-flo.
    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

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