I'm right where you are. I developed film when I was a teenager with a plastic spool, and when I was in college with steel spools. The last time was about 30 years ago. So I'm basically a total novice.
I also got the 35 and 120 Hewes spools and the adorama tanks. When I took an old roll of practice film to try spooling, it went on easily and perfectly the first time (eyes open ), the 2nd time ( eyes closed) and the 3rd time ( in my changing bag. ). Just like riding a bicycle I thought... my hands seemed to know what to do from 30 years ago. I also practiced one last time just before I did it for real.
So, the day before yesterday, I went to develop my first roll. Three things happened that I wasn't prepared for:
1. I was using HP5+ and it "reverse curled" on me.... I got too much distance between the spool and my fingers holding the film, and it popped the curl the wrong way. I ended up messing up the spooling and the film was touching for some of the frames in the middle of the roll. This film was much harder to spool than the film I'd been practicing with... I think it would have been no problem if I'd been more careful, but I wasn't ready for how the film wanted to curl the wrong way. I think it will go OK next time now that I know what to be careful about.
2. I was expecting my cold water to be too cold, and to add small amounts of warm water to bring it up to 20C. Well... my cold water was about 2 degrees too warm! I had to let my cold water run for a long time to get it below 20C. So getting all my chems to 20c took a longer than I was expecting. ( We're on a well and I use reverse osmosis filtered water to mix all the chems... the well water from the tap was for the tub to get all the temps right )
3. My syringe for measuring the HC-110 syrup didn't fit through the small neck of the bottle I'm using to store it. I had to pour some out into a little paper cup in order to measure it. A rubber stopper with the right size hole for my syringe would be handy, but the paper cup method will work-- but now I know.
Some things went better than I expected... I remember always having a few spills, but the adorama tanks pour really nicely and I don't think I spilled even one drop of anything during the whole process.
I decided to use "Ilford agitation" and I started the timer as I poured the developer in, and started pouring it out 10 seconds before the end point. That all seemed fine... I think the point is to pick some approach and stick with it. I wrote down the times/temps/dilutions for future reference.
The 25 or so negatives that weren't ruined look beautiful. I made a couple of proof prints yesterday and am looking forward to learning how to print them better with my enlarger setup.
I'm sure I have a long way to go and a lot to learn, but it sure is fun. There is something about holding that print in your hand knowing that you did it all from beginning to end and it never went into a computer. I also think there is a neat symmetry with the light going through the camera lens onto the film, and then through the negative onto the paper -- not sure how to explain it, but there is a "balance" there that appeals to me.
Last edited by NedL; 09-16-2012 at 12:41 PM. Click to view previous post history.