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  1. #1

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    Developing starter kit...

    I know this question has probably been asked many times, and I apologize for asking it, yet another time.

    1- I'm trying to put together a basic kit to develop my own film. I'm doing mostly b&w. How do you chose the right developer, the stop bath and so on?

    2- I've got a 35mm reel and a daylight developing tank...what else am I missing to make my own prints?

    3- How expensive to make enlargements, equipement wise and material wise?

    Thanks,
    Fred.

  2. #2

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    Firstly, welcome to our world Fred - the good news is that these days you'll be able to pick up most of the equipment you'll need for processing and printing from ebay or privately..and you should get some good deals. My first advice is that you scour the secondhand bookshops and buy as many 'how to' books on analogue photography as you can find - '' Darkroom Basics and beyond" is a great book by Roger Hicks and Frances Schultz and will give you detailed info on just about everything.
    It can all be so bewildering without someone experienced to guide you...have you thought about contacting other analogue users in your city to help get you started?
    Having someone mentor you from the very start will save loads of frustration, time and money. Not sure if any of the photographic groups in Montreal have analogue users but the camera stores and suppliers of analogue materials will probably have information on who to contact..I'm sure that even in a large city most of the analogue users will know each other. Maybe someone here at APUG in your city can reach out and help you.
    I say all this because I can remember being in the very same position over 30 years ago and would have been totally lost without having another experienced photographer guide me along for the first few rolls of film and finished prints - the added benefits of going this route is that you'll meet like-minded people with loads of other contacts.
    Good luck with it.

  3. #3
    RPC
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    The above is good advice, and finding beginner books on the subject shouldn't be that hard. Books are organized and structured. If you try to learn the basics from posts here, you are likely to walk away confused and your learning incomplete. There are different ways to develop film and everyone has different ways of doing things.

    Get the basics down, then the people here will be happy to answer specific questions.

  4. #4
    Rick A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPC View Post
    .

    Get the basics down, then the people here will be happy to answer specific questions.
    Buying books and borrowing from libraries is a good way to learn the fundamentals of developing. There are videos available here on Apug for developing, check out JBrunner's videos in particular.

    I don't agree with the quote above, never hesitate to ask any questions you might have , at any time---Thats what we are here for, to answer and aid one another. Welcome to the family and relax, this is supposed to be fun.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  5. #5
    RPC
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    Of course he can always ask questions here, I simply meant that if gets some background first on this particular subject, he will be able to asked less broad and fewer questions here, then answers will likely be brief and easier to make sense of.

  6. #6

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    Well I have to start somewhere, that somewhere happens to be buying the equipement needed. Sadly we aren't 20 years ago, so it's not like I can go to a Public Darkroom and get experience from a fellow photographer there.
    Also I believe in learning from your own mistakes...it might be more expensive but if I leave it in the developer or whatever chemistry I'll need longer than I'm supposed to or not long enough I'll know what it does to the picture and I might understand better than if I hadn't made these mistakes...who knows, these mistakes might develop into "my own style"...

  7. #7
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    1) Click on the exclamation mark at the bottom left of your first post in this thread;
    2) Even though it refers to "Reporting an Offensive Post", it can also be used to ask moderators to do you a favour;
    3) Make a request there to change the thread title to include the words "how to find in Montreal, Quebec"
    4) Check for local responses .

    There are APUG members in Montreal and they would be much more likely to give you practical advice than I can here at the other edge of the country.

    In the meantime, here are useful links from both Ilford and Kodak:

    a) Ilford: http://www.ilfordphoto.com/applications/page.asp?n=9;

    b) Kodak: http://wwwtr.kodak.com/global/en/pro...bs/aj3/aj3.pdf
    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

  8. #8

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    1)

    My suggestion would be to start with "tried and true" and "basics". To me, that meant using developers like D-76 and Kodak everything. Sure, there are more modern, faster, better, cheaper, tastier, and with more interest and dividends (what are we talking about?), but tried and true and basic gives wonderful results. Mistakes and errors are very well documented and easier to identify. I'd start there.

    2)

    A LOT of things.... things as large as an enlarger, enlarger lens, easels, timer, trays, etc and things as small as tongs, thermometers, chemicals, measuring stuff, cleaning supplies, etc, etc, etc.... You are really better off getting some basic photography book and reading up. You'll get better bearing than somewhat disjointed and often personal ideas you might get from Internet. "Photography" by John and Barbara London is sort of a classic. You are welcome to ask questions here but when one is just starting out, systematic approach may be better.

    3)

    As cheap or as expensive as you want to make it.... You can buy just about everything cheaply or sometimes free. My enlarger 1 was 45 dollars. My enlarger 2 was free. What ended up being more expensive is miscellaneous stuff like trays and other junk because I bought them new. I'd imagine I easily spent about $1000 at start. You don't have to, of course. I often see "entire darkroom for sale", "make an offer" kind of deals locally here.

    By the way, if you get an enlarger and are missing a lens.... let me know, I'll give you one or two so that you can get started.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  9. #9
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyHours View Post
    I know this question has probably been asked many times, and I apologize for asking it, yet another time.

    1- I'm trying to put together a basic kit to develop my own film. I'm doing mostly b&w. How do you chose the right developer, the stop bath and so on?

    2- I've got a 35mm reel and a daylight developing tank...what else am I missing to make my own prints?

    3- How expensive to make enlargements, equipement wise and material wise?

    Thanks,
    Fred.
    Hi,

    Welcome.

    To develop, you need a tank and reels and thermometer first. You need graduated cylinders. A pint/half liter one and a quart/liter one are a good set to start with. You need a mixing paddle or spoon, either non metallic or stainless steel. You need a timer or a wall clock with a second hand. Then you need a good drying area that is free of dust. In lieu of that, a steamed-up shower works well. Clothespins and a wire hangar or a line will work to hang the film, but stainless clips are a nice luxury that cost almost nothing on the used market.

    For chemicals, you need developer and fixer at the very least (and running water, of course). Most people also use stop bath, hypo clearing agent (Hypo is a nickname for fixer.), and a wetting agent. Check out a basic photo book from the library to learn the process.

    I would use HC-110 to start. It is one of the easiest to store and use. It is pretty economical (though not the most economical developer) and keeps darned near forever. To use it, you don't need anything other than those two graduates I mentioned, and a few 4 or 8 oz. (or 250 or 500 mL) juice bottles with sealing lids for storage.

    The way HC-110 is used is explained on the bottle. There are three "states" of HC-110. The first is the concentrate (AKA "syrup"). That is what is in the bottle when you get it. You do not ever use that alone for developing film. You have to dilute it in two stages first. You first make a solution of 1/4 concentrate and 3/4 water (known as a 1:3 dilution ratio). That creates the second "state" of HC-110, which is called stock solution, or just stock. You also don't develop film with the stock solution (except in special cases, which you don't need to think about right now). The stock is put aside in an air-tight bottle until you are ready to develop. When that time comes, you dilute only as much stock solution as you need with water to make the third "state," which is called working solution. That is what you use to actually develop the film. To make the standard HC-110 working solution (called dilution B), you mix 1/8 stock with 7/8 water (known as a 1:7 dilution ratio).

    You don't need to mix up the whole bottle of syrup first thing when you get it. You can do only a quarter of it, for instance. Doing so means you don't need to get large storage bottles, and you don't need to worry as much about wasting stock solution due to not using it before expiration.

    It sounds complicated in writing, but I find it easier than mixing up a whole gallon of powdered developer, like D-76. Some prefer the powder route, though.

    You can use Kodak Indicator Stop Bath concentrate for your stop bath. It costs very little, ad lasts forever. I am still working on the bottle I got nearly four years ago for $7.00 or so. This chemical can be reused. It is orange, but changes purplish blue when it loses it's effectiveness. You will need a storage bottle that holds the same capacity as your developing tank. Juice bottles will work fine.

    You can also use water for a stop bath. You can read all about why you should or should not do this by searching the forums. But don't skip the stop solely for economic reasons. It makes no sense to cut corners here of all places, given the almost nonexistent cost of stop bath concentrate. As I mentioned above, I reckon I spend a little over a dollar a year on stop bath.

    I would use Kodak Flexicolor Fixer, as it is cheap as dirt. Mix it 1:4 or 1:3 for film, and 1:9 for paper. Look up how to do fixer clip tests, and do that each time you develop.

    Hypo clearing agent is a very simple chemical. Legacy Pro makes a very cheap version of it, which is available at Freestyle. By helping to break down the fixer, this chemical preps the film for rapid washing, so you don't need to use as much water or time to wash the fixer out of the film.

    After washing, a wetting agent is usually a good idea. Kodak Photo Flo 200 lasts forever. I always spill my bottles long before they ever run dry.

    Enlarging has become quite expensive in recent years, because papers have really gone up in price. But that is just more incentive for you to become an amazing printer who creates less waste than the average printer!

    So, in summary:

    basic college photo textbook
    tank
    reels
    thermometer
    juice bottles, 8, 16, 32 oz. (250, 500, 1000 mL)
    graduates, 16, 32 oz. (500, 1000 mL)
    line/hangar and film clips
    stirring rod
    timer or wall clock with second hand

    A chemical shopping list for film developing:

    Kodak HC-110, 16 oz.
    Kodak Indicator Stop Bath, 16 oz.
    Kodak Flexicolor Fixer, 1 gallon
    Legacy Pro hypo clearing agent, to make 1 quart (get several pouches of this to have on hand, as is can go bad if it sits unused once mixed)
    Kodak Photo Flo 200, 16 oz.

    Ideally:

    A separate graduate for each different chemical
    A high-quality thermometer such as a Paterson
    A high-quality darkroom timer such as a used Gra-Lab
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 08-09-2011 at 11:21 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)



 

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