I'm a noob, wanna help me?
I'm sorry if this has been posted before, but I felt like I should have a thread of my own :P
I'm relatively new to photography, I only started last summer, but I've been trying to learn as fast as I can. Now I want to advance to the next stage and develop my own B&W film.
I have a load of Agfa APX 100, and three 17m rolls of Pan F+ and HP5+, the former of which I would like to experiment with (it was the cheapest out of the batch). Now I've googled for developing times and found some useful charts, but I still have some questions. Here we go:
Is there a specific amount and timing of the agitations as you develop? I'm looking at 9 minutes of stock diluted (whatever that may be) Microphen.
I hear you can wash the film three times instead of using a stop bath, so that's what I intend to do, but how do I use the fixer?
How far can I push APX 100?
Thanks for answering any of these questions, and again, I'm sorry if this has been posted before.
1: Most standard agitation routines call for agitating constantly for the first 30 seconds, then 10 seconds each minute.
2: You can use water instead of stop bath. I stopped using stop bath when I started using an alkaline fixer. I dump my developer at the end of the time, fill the developing tank with water at my developing temp, and agitate rather vigorously for about 10 shakes, dump the water, refill, shake, for a total of 5 cycles (changes of water.) There are undoubtedly other ways that work just as well. I cannot answer your fixer question in detail since I do not know what you are using, but in general, after the rinse/stop stage, add the fixer for the time specified by the manufacturer, agitating per their instructions.
3: If, as you say, you are just starting out, I would not recommend pushing your film. Keep things as simple as you can until you get a really good handle on developing 1 kind of film in 1 kind of developer. Then experiment later on. When things go awry you will have a foundation to go back to.
Consistency with the way you work is the most important on agitation. Most do 5 sec every 30, or 10 sec every minute.
After develop do 3, I do 5, exchanges of water then add the fix. Fix for 5 to 10 min depending of fixer.
Walk before running. Learn to use are rated speed before trying to push. Save that for another time and thread.
D-76 is a standard developer, although not one I use.
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I recommend you get a book on basic darkroom procedures (I started with The Basic Darkroom Book, 3rd Edition by Tom Grimm) and/or read some Web pages (such as The Black and White Darkroom by Barry McCartney). These sources will answer most or all of your general questions (both those you've asked here and those you haven't), such as how to agitate, how to load film on a spool, etc. Questions about specific products, such as Microphen developer, are best answered by the product's manufacturer. Usually there's a data sheet or label that provides details about dilution, capacity, and development times. The Massive Dev Chart is a useful resource for development times -- it lists times for quite a few oddball developers and films, some of which don't appear on product labels.
Hm... I guess my question is why in the name of pete you'd want to push a gorgeous film like APX 100???? Is it 35mm or 120mm? either way, if you are planning on pushing it, send it to me instead... it will be in a good home with someone who loves it.
As for the rinse between wash & fix, its sole purpose is to stop the action of the developer. I've never used anything but water for this, and never really spent a great amount of time with it. I rinse maybe three times with "at temp" water. I do, however have my fixer mixed & ready to go before I am done developing so I can get it right into the can after rinsing.
For the developer (and it really depends on the developer itself... some are more forgiving than others) it is best to follow the agitation recommendations you will find here doing a search on the name of the developer, or on the label of the developer. For example... pyro developers love agitation... the more, the better while Rodinal agitation is more of a 'suggestion' than an agitation.
The book recommendation is a good one! do some internet searches on developing B&W film, too! And definitely search here. This place is like a 'library of congress' for all things film!
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Good advice, with another note that APX 100 is not a great film to push. Pushing reduces quality. There are some great 400-speed films out there (APX 400 comes to mind here , or Neopan 400, or Tri-X, or HP5 Plus, or...) that you can shoot without pushing. Pushing makes sense when you need ultra-fast EIs (user-overridden ISOs on film are called EIs, or Exposure Indexes) and you can't get film of that speed.
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Since APX was made by Agfa and they are no longer in business, not sure where you could get info on it, the Massive Developing Chart should give you processing times, but you can also check the processing times on the developer itself. For example stock Microphen lists 9 minutes for APX 100. This would be determined using the standard Ilford methodology and agitation methods. If you go to the Ilford Website, click on product catalogue, select microphen and then fact sheet, it will load a PDF file with 9 pages of information on Ilford Powdered developers. Print a hard copy of this file, and you have the information long term. Ilford has similar documents for all their products. They used to have printed versions and at one time you could buy a small binder that had all of them, I still have the 1982 version here somewhere.
Originally Posted by funkpilz
Best place to start is with the box speed, using the recommended times, temperatures, processing instructions. This establishes a base line, so when you get experience and do start to experiment you have something to compare the result to. As a rule never vary more then one factor at a time.
For pushing, the APX, it's probably easier to pull the HP5, in other words rate the HP5 at 200, some people actually like a little denser negative so, keep the processing time as is, to start, if they are too dense then cut developing time. For actually pushing HP5 is very pushable, people have pushed it to 1600 with success.
Most developers like to be in an alkaline environment, so they use an acid, typically acetic or citric acid to stop the development immediately. This is important with very short development times, like with paper when it's sometimes developed to completion in 60 - 90 seconds. As the developing time gets longer, the abruptness of stopping development becomes less critical. Washing the developer off with a plain water rinse can work just as well, empty the developer out, fill the tank with water at the same temperature agitate it a couple of times and dump, repeat twice and move to the fixer stage.
I always use the same agitation as for developing, so if you agitate for 5 seconds every 30, or 10 every minute, do the same with your fixer. It's one less thing to try and remember.
As for washing, there is a huge debate over what is the best method, some people say the Ilford method works well, others say they have scientific proof it doesn't. It was developed in the 1970's and some people have negatives that they used it with at that time, that are still in very good condition. I doubt that if the fixer hasn't affected a negative in 30 years it probably will not....
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The greatest advance in photography in the last 100 years is not digital, it's odourless stop bath....
Though a water rinse for stopping works fine, I wouldn't be afraid to use a stop bath. For around $6-7 US you can get a 16oz concentrated indicator stop bath that will last for quite a while since you can reuse till it "indicates" that it's exhausted. It speeds up the stop process and saves a bit of water, which can be an issue in some parched areas of the world
Alright everybody, thanks for your help!
I need to correct myself, I was talking about pushing APX 400 before. The reason for my question is that I shot a whole roll of 400 at EI 1600 without noticing. The shots on there are very important to me and I don't really have a place that does push processing around here.
The developers I have are Ilfosol 3 and Microphen. My fixer is Ilford Rapid Fixer. I'll dev a roll of APX100 today and see where it takes me. I don't want to print yet, so would scanning the negatives give me a basis for judgement?
Right now, the only book on the subject I have is Michael Langford's Basic Photography. Good book, but I found it to be a little too unspecific on the developing procedure. Mostly, I'm just a little confused with all the different dev times, but I guess that'll work itself out the more experience I get.
Since you say the photos you mistakenly took at EI 1600 are important, I'd say that if you've got another roll of APX400, you should shoot it at EI 1600 and test your push processing time. I don't happen to see Massive Dev Chart times for APX400 at 1600 in either Ilfosol 3 or Microphen; however, there are Microphen times at both 400 (11:00) and 6400 (a whopping 55:00!). You could pick a middle value, but that's a huge range. There are also Massive Dev Chart times for APX400 at EI 1600 in some other developers, so you could acquire one of them. XTOL might be a good choice for this (18:00 in XTOL with 1+2 dilution).
As for scanning, my experience is that scanners often respond differently than photographic paper to a negative. Scanners can sometimes help pull out both shadow and highlight detail that's difficult to print -- but scanners also sometimes produce poor results with more easily printed negatives. Both scanning and direct examination of the negatives will tell you something about whether you've got good development, but the final determination must be by whatever means you use to make your final image. That could be a scan, or it could be a darkroom print or perhaps something even more exotic.
What is it you find confusing about development times? Each film/developer combination has its own time, which can vary from a couple of minutes up to tens of minutes. (It's even possible to use times measured in hours if you use a very dilute developer, but as you're new, it's best to stick to more conventional procedures.) Most people like to work with times in the 5-15 minute range, since that's short enough to not get bored out of your skull but long enough that a 5-second difference in adding or draining the developer won't be a big deal.