Home processing workflow
Thanks to some encouragement from the kind people here at APUG, and a sincere desire to take responsibility for my art from beginning to end, I am almost ready to develop my own B&W negatives at home. For what it's worth, I've been shooting film for a while, so I know what a good negative is supposed to look like. Now is the time, though, to take ownership of the process.
There is one main purpose to writing this post:
There is a difference between reading someone else's instructions and being able to communicate what needs to be done. I am hoping that some on the forum might read through my plan and see if there are obvious flaws in my planned workflow.
I have on hand:
one medium-sized Dark-Bag
one Patterson Super-System 4 Tank
one bag of D76
one 1-Litre bottle of Ilford Rapid Fixer
one 16oz bottle of Photoflo
one 1-gallon opaque jug in which to mix the developer stock
three 500ml graduates
a good thermometer
the Massive Development Chart app on my phone (for the timers and recipes)
Several rolls of exposed film
Here's my plan as I see it in my head:
- Mix up the D76 in the 1-gallon jug using the directions on the bag, and let that cool overnight.
- (The Next Day) Mix the Developer stock with water (1+1) to fill one 500ml graduate.
- Mix the Rapid Fixer with water (1+4) to fill one 500ml graduate.
- Mix the Photoflo with water (2.5+500) to fill the last graduate.
- Fill extra large container with 20-Degree Celsius water.
- Load the film into the spool(s) of the Paterson tank in the Dark-Bag.
- Verify 20-degrees Celsius with the thermometer in each graduate, being careful not to cross-contaminate.
- Make ready the timer in the Massive Developer Chart app.
- Pour in the Developer, start the timer, and invert/agitate when appropriate.
- Empty the Developer as the timer is going off.
- Fill tank with 20* water stop-bath (5 times) and empty.
- Fill tank with Rapid Fixer, start timer, invert/agitate.
- Pour fixer back into appropriate gradient for reuse.
- Wash with 20* water 10 times over 10 minutes.
- Fill tank with Photoflo, start timer.
- Pour Photoflo back into appropriate gradient for reuse.
- Remove film from tank/spool, hang to dry somewhere the kids won't touch it.
So, that was it. As I can see it in my head, that's what I plan to do.
What did I forget, what am I missing, what else do I need to know?
Thanks in advance!
Re: Home processing workflow
I'd use less photoflo. Just a couple of drops.
Then dump it. Mix it with distilled water.
Good to know. Thanks Tim.
+1 on less photo-flo. I use 10ml to a gallon of distilled water. I think that works out to 1:380 but my math isn't that good. . I just poor a little down each side of the film after putting the clips on and hang the film. I also run the shower for a while to knock the dust down and hang the film over the bathtub. Good luck and have fun!
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Looks to me like you will do well.
One suggestion to consider though:
If the ambient temperature is close to 20C (e.g. 19C - 23C), it is an excellent idea to use the ambient temperature as your target temperature.
You will need to adjust your development time according to the manufacturer's instructions, but otherwise everything will work the same, and temperature control becomes much simpler.
“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
What film are you using? If you are using some of the more classic emulsions like Efke 25 or Rollei 25 a hardening fixer like Kodafix may be of some benefit. I don't really know if there are long term downsides of using hardening fixers as long as you rinse your film thoroughly. The reason I like Kodafix is it is easy to mix up. It is a liquid. All I do is buy a a gallon of distilled water. Dump out and save half the water. Pour in the whole bottle of Kodafix concentrate. Then top up the gallon container. Then I have a separate bottle where I pour out a big enough volume of fixer to fill my larger tank. Fixer can be resused several times. So I just use that fixer in that bottle for something like 15 rolls of film. Then I dump it and get some more from the gallon container. Some people skip the small bottle and just use the fixer straight from the gallon container. I just like to segregate it. It takes me months to get through a gallon of fixer and I don't want to keep track that long. If I lose track of how much I've used a small container of fixer I just toss it. That's only a third of my stock thrown away.
Originally Posted by rwreich
You also don't need to obsess about temperature so much. Temperature is very important depending on the developer, film, and type of developing you are doing but I never measure the temperature of the water stop bath, fixer, or final wash. I just use tap water for the stop and make sure that it is cool to the touch. It doesn't have to be 20C. Just don't make it too warm or the emulsion on some films with be damaged. During the final rinse I sometimes increase the temp of the water to the point it feels a little warm to the touch. That helps dissolve contaminants and wash the film faster. So I will actually use some warm water and let the film soak in it for several minutes and then rinse it in some cool water. I will alternate back and forth.
I agree with this. If you live in a temperate climate a good strategy is to set your thermostat at 68F or 20C and leave your chemicals out over night. Everything will be 20C in the morning. I don't process as much during the summer because it would be expensive and irresponsible to cool my home to 20C. And I don't like trying to get developer to the right temperature using other means.
Originally Posted by MattKing
Excellent idea, Matt - my chart does allow for temp customization, so that could be very helpful. Thanks!
go for it and enjoy the best negsyou've ever had.
Noble, thanks for the advice. I'm using several types of film, mostly Tri-X, Arista Premium 400, and some Ilford HP5 & Delta 3200. I also was not planning on wiping down the film because I have been cautioned against scratching it using that method. My plan was to just let it dry in a well ventilated area. That may not work, but I want to see if I can get away with it before touching the emulsion side.
I appreciate the word about not being too sensitive about temperature control during the final stages. That has been one of the unknowns in my thoughts. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.