First time developing: Gear help.
Hey everyone, I was just wondering if you can help me complete my 'to-buy' list for first time developing supplies. I'll be developing 120, so things like a film cap remover won't be necessary.
I have a few bits and pieces so far, and I was just wondering if you can help me sort the remainder of what I need, so I can write up my list and buy it all in one foul swoop. I'm notorious for leaving things out!
-What I have:
Scissors (who doesn't?!)
Pegs and a line, ready to hang negatives
-What I need:
Developer (any recommendations?)
Fixer (again, any recommendations?)
Measuring cylinders (50ml and 500+ml)
Negative storage sleeves
I hope that's it. Now for a couple of questions regarding a few bits and pieces.
Will I need a stop bath? Will I be able to get away with just using water, or does paying the minimal price for stop bath far outweigh the possibility of having something go wrong? If I should get one, what's a good place to start?
Will I need storage containers straight away? I vaugely remembering reading something somewhere that 'beginners' chemicals are best kept to one use only, making storage containers useless for me at the momnent.
For a timing device, will a standard stopwatch do for now?
Any light anyone can shed on anything put forward here will be greatly appreciated. I have a 4 day weekend this weekend, so I'm eagerly looking forward to getting out and taking some photos, just as much as I am getting to develop my first film/s!
A minute timer, or a clock with a second hand will be needed also. The stop watch would be fine. No stop bath is needed for film. D-76 by kodak is a good all purpose developer that is easy to use. For a starting fixer, just about any will do, so long as you follow the directions. Once you get comfortable with the procedures, that is the time to experiment with other devlopers. The developer is a one shot developer, so no storage container for it. You might want to get a good plastic gallon jug for your fix. If you are using an old plastic bottle a beverage came in, make sure you lable it all over the thing so you know it is not a beverage that has been placed somewhere else. With that you will be set. Oh and one roll of film even if the store you go to has some old film they want to sell very cheap is good. You will sacrifice it so you have film to practice with in the dark cloth. First do it in the day light without the changing bag. Then do it in the changing bag once you are comfortable with it. Better to do it with a practice roll you don't care about than a roll you shot something on to keep.
You might want a bit of hose you can attach to your tap so you can flush water through the tank easily for washing. Not essential but usefull...
Depending on the water in your area you might want to add a drop of wetting agent (basically washing up liquid) to the final rinse to avoid water marks, but you don't need it - it's probably best to not worry about it for the first few goes, and see if it turns out to be a problem.
Water for stop bath. I rinse once with vigourous agitation, dump, fill again and take a bit longer to swish it around (hey, you gotta add a bit of your person style to the process!), then dump that. Speaking of water, I find filling a big bucket (std household style) with water at the desired temp (eg. 20C) prior to starting development means I have ample correct temp water handy for rinses. You won't make an error of adding boiling water straight out of the tap!
For fixer, I'd recommend Ilford Hypam. Here in Oz, it's much cheaper to buy in 5 litre containers. Use it at different dilutions for film and paper. You should keep it for multiple uses otherwise your just wasting money and possibly the environment.
For measuring devices, check your tank for the amount of chemicals you need. For one film it's usually 250-300ml. For two, usually double, so get a jug that lets you mix up enough in one hit. I have one jug for mixing chems and a seperate one I use for moving water around (rinses, filling mixing jug). For measuring the actual chemistry, I use a syringe (5ml), a 30ml medicine cup or the mesurements in the mixing jug (for quantities like fixer at 1:4 might need 150-200ml so I just go with the mixing jug scale...) It all depends on what developer you decide on and what dilution your use. If you went for D76, you would use the stock solution straight, 1:1 or maybe 1:2, so the quanities are in the 100-300ml range and superfine measurement isn't really that critical. Start using Rodinal 1:100 and you want to measure it accurately.
Film Developers... I'd probably recommend a liquid concentrate as you just mix it as you need. Something like D76 needs to be pre-mixed into a stock solution and stored in bottles. However, everything is compared to D76 in one way or another so starting with that isn't a bad idea IMO as you'll have a good base to experiment from later. I've only used D76 at 1:1 dilution so can't add any info about the merits of the dilutions. I also generally use a liquid concentrate although I've been trying XTOL and Microphen recently, both powders.
I have a funnel but rarely use it. Pouring open trays of chemicals into bottles is a skill For neg storage, I like the ones that get put in ring binders but depending on format can required special wider binders or they poke out and can get damaged. Of course you can buy the folders at photo stores, but they charge for them as a unique item! Try a office supplies as you can get wider ones though those places but they might have to be ordered. I use a std glass thermometer as it goes down the Paterson System 4 tank for measurement during development which can be handy at times.
For the final rinse I buy 4 litre bottles of distilled water. After washing the film with tap water I fill the tank (just over the reels) with the distilled water , add 1 or 2 drops of wetting agent, stir and let sit for a minute. Lift reel(s) out and shake sideways into sink to displace the majority of the water. Remove film (usually by unlocking the reels for my plastic ones) and hang up to dry, either in the shower or over my sink. Spotless negs.
In general, get everything set up and in order before starting developing. Know your development time. Get a bottle for the diluted fixer (mix up before starting) and leave the lid on until the developer is the tank, that way you can't do the fatal Fixer-Rinse-Developer combo! For your 1st roll, run around taking shots of the backyard, street, whatever for truely replaceable negs.
And finally, lets us know how you got on!
I guess about all I can add is to base what developer you buy on two things...first: what film do you shoot? A good developer for Delta 100 may not be so good for TechPan! Second: how often will you be developing film? If you will develop a roll this week and maybe a roll a couple weeks later, make sure the developer you get has a fairly good shelf life after opening (or mixing in the case of powders).
Aggie probably pointed out one of THE most important items missing from your list: a clock with a second hand (which you can usually get for pretty cheap)! I bought mine at good old "K-mart" for $4US, stuck a battery in it, and hung it up over the basement sink.
The other thing I did when I first started was when I decided which developer and fixer to use, I went to the website of the manufacturer and printed out the 'instructions' for the products. I keep them in a binder for reference.
I also sat down and wrote out instructions for the process...measuring, agitation, time for fixer (developer time will vary by film). I printed that up, and put it in a plastic sheet protector. That got hung up in the basement, too! Once you get your process down, you probably won't need it, but it's reassuring when you first start...even if you've done it before at a school or class or something.
Hope these give you some ideas to help you get going! Good luck & we'll be here when you need us! (Actually, we'll be here whether you need us or not! haha)
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Here are my steps:
1. D76 1:1 (per manufacturers instructions) find your film here:
2. Water for stop bath (fill the tank swish for 30 sec.'s then dump)
3. Fixer (I use Ilfords rapid fix)
4. Permawash 1:7 ratio
5. Final rinse in water (10-20 minutes)
6. 1 drop of dish washing soap in my Paterson tank. Fill with water, remove suds drop roll in tank, swish for 10 seconds then soak for 30 seconds.
7. Remove roll, open roll take off negatives, squeegee with fingers, clip (Kalt clips) hang in shower for 24 hours.
After 12 rolls of film so far no spots.
For supplies, I have 2 glass thermometers, 2 metal (came with kit from Ebay), 5 plastic meauring cups.
I measure everything out before I process my film, each cup is labelled ( I bought them from the $1 store).
I have one 1 liter beaker and one 4oz. shot glass (no not for the Capt Morgan's), I have 2 funnels, coffee filters (when I pour back my fix - I filter it through the coffee filters.
I have an 11x14 tray for my supplies.
I also have my wifes tupperware trays. I usually fill them with water and ice then place the measuring cups in there to bring down the temp if its too high. I will even add hot water if its too low.
Here are the sleeves I use for the negatives:
I think that's it for me...
Thanks alot for all the help guys. It's been a big plus.
I'm going to head in tomorrow morning to pick up everything I need from my local store, then enjoy my 4 day weekend by taking photos and (hopefully) getting some good developing time in!
Just a question about developer and fixer. I was browsing my local store's website earlier, and they don't seem to be advertising anything in the way of Kodak chemicals. I do have an old friend who used to be a pro who now works there, and he'll help me out should I have any questions, but he's not always there and the young people who are often on always seem a little short on information. Just going from what's here in this link, what would be a good developer to start things off with? Just so I have a reasonable product knowledge before I head in tomorrow. Seeing as they have Ilford Hypam listed, and it's been reccommended I'll give it a shot.
When it comes to film, I've only just reciently picked up medium format, so I have no rolls at the moment (I sacraficed my last roll playing around with my tank and spiral). So I'll be buying a reasonable amount of film tomorrow too, and I can 'match' it to the chemicals I get, or vice versa. If I get Ilford chemicals, would Ilford Delta 100 be an ideal way to start?
Sorry for the abundance of questions, but there's just so much out there to choose from!
Thanks once again!
from that list you could buy Ilford LC29 (I use this regularly.. not sure why they list Plus seperately I believe LC29 is Plus, it was called Plus here until recently now it's labelled LC29, but since they charge less for Plus, get that instead ), or Rodinal. Both are economical as you dilute them considerably and both a liquid concentrates which makes life easy to start with.
For Film, Delta would be fine, but I'd suggest FP4+ (125iso) & HP5+ (400iso) to start with. Grab a couple of each and see what you like.
Also grab some (250ml) of the Ilford Wetting Agent (similar to Photoflo) if you haven't got any Photoflo or equivalent. I like spending other peoples cash
I think that the guide to developing film produced by Ilford is very helpful if you are going to use their chemicals (and I think their rapid fixer is really good and their stop bath doesn't stink like most). You can print it out and follow along as you go.
I like having one 8x10 tray to use as a constant temp water batch for all of my mixed chemicals. Also, get 500ml bottles (usually 16oz) from the grovery store. They will have those screw on lids with the little cap that snaps open and closed and have measurements right on the side. Get 4 - one for dev, one for fixer, one for stop, one for washaid. Should cost about $6-8 US.
"I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America." -- Alexis de Tocqueville
One other item which I find invaluable in the darkroom is a talking timer or two. They're easy to find here in Oz at electronics shops such as Dick Smith, so presumably you can get them in NZ too. They cost about twenty bucks and have a countdown feature. It means you don't need to keep an eye on the clock, but you just listen to the lady - she counts down in minutes, then below one minute it's every ten seconds, and below ten seconds it's every second. Using two together is even better.