my two cents
Hi, ive used a few of the kits and was happy with the results but some of them are a bit complicated and i find the cost of a kit a little silly considering the small yeild.
Ive dabbled and come up with my own method which is cheap and seems to give good and consistant results.
I use fairly cheap ingredients as follows -
Developer - Fotospeed PD5 "print" developer (mixed 1-9 parts)
bleach - 20% sulphuric acid solution with 2.5 grams potassium permanganate added for each litre
clearing bath - Potassium Metabisulphite (30 grams in a litre of water)
fixer - Fotospeed FX20 (mixed 1-9 parts)
No doubt somebody will criticise the harsh nature of a paper developer but ive had my most accurate results using paper developers and decided to stick to it long ago. For those of you in other parts of the world the developer and fixer I buy is very similar to the run of the mill, budget chemicals that Ilford sell. <only much cheaper >
All very bog standard ingredients and very cheap to buy seperately. it really gets the cost down in a big way buying ingredients seperately rather than using a kit. i find that the clearing agent is cheapest to buy from supermarkets sold as a sterilizing agent for home brew beer. but still really cheap from photo suppliers. it costs me well under £2 all up to mix enough ingredients for a large session.
-I do a first develope for 8 minutes
-Bleach for 10 minutes
the rest is done in daylight
-I then clear for 1 or 2 minutes
-then I hold it up to a lightbulb for around a minute with the last rinse water still in the tank (turning slowly)
-develope for another 2 minutes
-and finaly fix for around a minute and a half but i tend to monitor the fixing by eye and dunk it in clean water at just the right moment. The fixer acts quite quickly and its easy to overcook it when youre not keeping an eye on the film.
All with the obvious rinsing in between stages.
Also everything you read about this sort of thing will say throw away your bleach after the session. I usualy put some scraps of film in it that still have emulsion on them (heads, tails, unwanted etc) to exhaust the permanganate and then leave it sit for a few days in the bottle. over a few days all the spent permanganate settles on the bottom and you can decant the good acid out into another bottle and re-use - ive been doing this for years and only have to top it up a tiny bit with acid, water and fresh permanganate before I go again.